Story by Hollye Carrol
As the 2020 presidential campaign cycle kicks off, this column will serve to deconstruct and demystify the American political system. In conjunction with “One Nation Under Pod,” available on the RoseRadio SoundCloud page, we will cover the current presidential candidates, debates and issues that are important to our demographic: student debt loan forgiveness, healthcare, the environment and job creation.
The second round of the presidential candidate debates was held in Detroit July 31 and Aug 1. Due to the high number of candidates, this will only discuss the heavy hitters we all know by name and who are doing the best in the polls.
The first night included Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’ Rourke, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. A stark contrast to the first round, Tuesday’s debate saw Warren and Sanders go head-to-head. Buttigieg, or Mayor Pete as he’s more commonly known, and O’Rourke both made valid points and appealed to their ever-growing bases but everyone involved knew this night was for Warren and Sanders. In an attempt to set themselves apart from one another, both candidates articulately stated their differences without infighting; unlike night two but we’ll discuss that shortly.
Warren’s student debt forgiveness plan includes a two cent tax on the 0.1% of Americans making over $50 million a year. A two cent tax will be placed on every dollar made after the 51 millionth dollar, which would effectively cancel student debt for 95% of the population.
Sanders’ plan is to effectively cancel all student debt by a new tax on financial transactions, which he expects could raise more than $2 trillion over the next 10 years. The tax plan will include a 0.5% fee on all stock trades, a 0.1% fee on all bond trades and a 0.005% fee on all derivatives trades.
Night two ushered in Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris and Andrew Yang on the stage. This night was a stark comparison to the first because the bulk of the night was spent trying to attack both Biden and Harris’ political careers.
Yang and Gillibrand were definitely the dark horses of the debate and used their time wisely to introduce legislation and focus on appealing to voters. Booker made incredibly compelling points but the highlights revolved around the quips thrown Biden’s way. Michael Bennet also delivered but is barely polling and sounds like Matt Damon’s character from “Team America: World Police.”
It’s understandable that the candidates have to beat each other first before becoming the nominee but night two saw too much infighting and that served as a distraction. The rule of thumb should always be country before party and the candidates from the first round seemingly pursued this much more.
The winner of night two was Yang with his proposal to put a monthly stipend of $1,000 in every American’s pocket starting from birth. Yang also discussed future job creation and the inevitable job loss brought on by the advancement of technology. The other candidates may still be on stage trying to discredit Biden and Harris.
By no means am I pledging allegiance to Yang Gang but his closing remarks have stayed with me and encapsulated the mindset each candidate should have, “This isn’t about left or right; this is about moving forward.”