Democratic Debate Rundown

Democratic Debate Rundown

Alexis Burch, Writer

The first Democratic debate, held Oct. 13, sparked a conversation. It was the highest-rated democratic debate ever, with 15.3 million viewers. Students watched and reviewed the debate, taking their own stance on many of the issues presented.

Democratic frontrunner and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton strives to impose higher taxes on billionaires to make education cheaper and make paid maternity leave possible.

“I think it’s a good idea,” senior Marissa Gaspard said. “For one, education is the future of this country, but it is so expensive. I just got admitted to college, and I’m looking at that cost and I’m going, ‘Oh my God, how am I going to pay for this?’ For most of the countries that are in our caliber, like the same GDP, college is free. We need to step it up and our country needs to get it together. For maternity leave, same thing; plenty of women work and they deserve to be paid. Children are expensive, especially in their first year of life.”

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley believes military action should be a last resort. He also commented on relations with Syria and Russia, saying it was a bad idea to enforce a no-fly zone.

“With Russia, we want a peaceful negotiation,” junior Sebastian Diaz said. “We don’t want to escalate the problem more than what it should be. You know how Russians are, by sending airplanes they can get like ‘Oh, the US is coming over.’ They can take it the wrong way and that could start a really big problem. We already have enough problems of our own at home, and taking on Russia isn’t a good thing right now. So it’s a good idea to have military action as a last resort. I think through negotiation and diplomatic talk, peace could accomplish some resolutions.”

When asked what he believes is the greatest threat to the US, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders replied with “Climate change.” He wants to see a switch from the use of fossil fuels to sustainable energy, so the planet will remain habitable for generations to come.

“I agree that climate change is a great threat,” sophomore Nathan Bush said. “How we treat our environment is something that can be controlled, and to see how we have trashed this gift of a planet is really disturbing. I think Bernie makes a great point in that regard.”

It’s a smaller issue to some, who worry more about the now than the future.

“It’s not the greatest [threat], but it’s up there,” junior Johnnyangel Navares said. “Poor people and people in need of jobs and health stability are the real issue. We should worry about the people now before we worry about our future. We need to make more jobs and give more opportunities. Even taking felons into consideration; giving another chance to change their life and give them a chance to pay their debts.”

On several occasions during the two-hour debate, Virginia Senator Jim Webb directed the focus to his military background, saying he is the most qualified to become Commander-in-Chief.

“We have issues in the Middle East we need to solve, but there is more than just the military aspects of being a president,” senior Jacob Mitchell said. “We need to also focus on our economy issues, our climate change and stuff like that. Our country is in debt, so we need somebody that knows how to budget and handle financing. I feel like he’s not the most qualified. Other candidates have better ideas that are newer, that are fresher, and that are different than something that anybody else is trying to do, like Bernie. I feel like the stuff that [Webb] is saying to us is almost like the generic Democratic promise that anybody else would give.”

As of Oct. 20, Webb dropped out of the Democratic race and has yet to decide if he will drop out of the race entirely or run as an independent.

Former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, who dropped out of the race on Oct. 23, was most proud of his lack of scandals in 30 years of public service. He believes in high ethical standards and hoped to repair American credibility.

“I don’t think [having no scandals] necessarily makes him more qualified,” senior Anna Arendt said. “Everybody makes mistakes, so Clinton may have some scandals, but she has more qualification in the sense that she’s already held positions in office. I don’t think that makes her the most qualified, but I don’t think that the statement he used to make himself liked was credible in a lot of ways.”