The Democratic Primary debates are over, but the discussion continues on the Brooklyn College campus and elsewhere.
Currently, former Vice President Joe Biden is the leader in most polls. According to the Morning Consult, Biden leads at 32%, followed by Bernie Sanders at 20%, Elizabeth Warren at 18%, and Kamala Harris at 6%. Every other candidate is polling at 5% or below, and hasn’t made any significant gains since the debate.
The Vanguard spoke to some students about their concerns, issues, and preferred Democratic candidates for the 2020 presidential campaign.
Terrance Austin, a student who migrated to the United States legally, was unsure of which candidate to support because he wanted to hear more about immigration. He believes that immigration policies have been “screwed over to high hell” and currently reflect the conflict of the “American people versus the American Dream.” Austin spoke about the difficulties of immigrants getting visas stating, “at least give them the opportunity to come before denying them access.”
Paulina Vaynshteyn, a Philosophy major, admitted that she believed Sanders was “crazy,” but is also the candidate that she would ideally prefer. “My ideal is Bernie, but realistically I’m rooting for Warren,” she said.
The biggest issue for both Sanders and Warren was health care. Sanders and Warren are both in favor of Medicare for All, which would create a single-payer, government-run health care system. In a Morning Consult survey, health care was considered to be the most crucial issue of likely primary voters with 25% saying it was their top priority. Economic issues came in second at 22%.
Safyyah Kazim didn’t watch the debate but knew a lot of people that were in favor of businessman Andrew Yang. The “Freedom Dividend,” which is his name for a universal basic income program, is on his agenda if elected as president. However, she thinks that the monthly allowance of $1,000 could lead to a “dependency” that will be significantly affected during an economic crisis.
Yang is concerned that artificial intelligence will soon cause massive changes to the workforce and create unemployment issues paramount to the Great Depression. In a New York Times article last year, Yang said, “We have five to ten years before truckers lose their jobs and all hell breaks loose.”
After the debate, Yang’s favorability increased from 28% to 34%. However, he is currently polling at 3%.
In a poll conducted by FiveThirtyEight, respondents graded candidates on a scale of 1 to 4, with 4 being the best. The clear winner was Elizabeth Warren who, according to the polling data, was considered to have performed the best of all ten candidates with a grade of 3.3. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke were tied for second, with 3.1 in the same poll. Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, and Joe Biden were tied for third with an even 3. Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang, and Julian Castro brought up the rear, each scoring below a 3.
One of the debate’s most notable moments came when Julian Castro suggested that Biden had forgotten what he said minutes earlier about citizens buying into their health care. Castro’s remark created controversy, with some accusing Castro of ageism.
Also cited by FiveThirtyEight was the chances of each candidate beating President Trump in a general election. Joe Biden was considered to have a 67% chance, which dropped from 68% post-debate. Sanders and Warren also scored high with 55% and 53% respectively. According to likely primary voters, Biden was most favorable at 70%, with Sanders at 69% and Warren jumping five points to 69% post-debate.
Medicare for All, immigration, electability, and other issues remain essential for primary voters. But the question remains whether the Democratic Party’s candidates will be up to take the challenge of defeating President Trump in a national election.