February 25 is the tenth Democratic debate. This time seven candidates were present, since Mike Bloomberg returned and Tom Steyer qualified after missing out on the last debate. Once again, this was an intense debate as the South Carolina primary looms near. Who do you think won tonight’s debate? Vote in the poll, which is at the end of this article.
The candidates who were in the February 19 debate for the Democratic nomination were Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, and Elizabeth Warren. Four months ago, readers voted that Andrew Yang won the debate, followed by Bernie Sanders and Tom Steyer. Three months ago, the winner in Heavy’s poll was Bernie Sanders by 86.44 percent. Then, the winner in Heavy’s poll for the next debate was Andrew Yang at 48.67 percent, closely followed by Bernie Sanders at 38.92 percent. Yang dropped out of the race, and when six candidates faced off on February 19, the winner was Pete Buttigieg at 42.65 percent and second was Bernie Sanders at 37.85 percent.
The first question went to Sanders about the low national unemployment rate that we’re currently experiencing. His question was how a democratic socialist would do better than Trump with the economy. Sanders pointed out that the economy was doing great for millionaires and billionaires. “For the ordinary American, things are not so good,” he added. “We’re going to create an economy for all.”
Bloomberg responded to Sanders’ comment and said Russia was helping Sanders because Russia wants Trump to be President. Sanders said: “Let me tell Mr. Putin… If I’m President…Trust me, you’re not going to interfere … in the elections.”
Warren said Sanders is winning because Democrats are a Progressive party and “progressive ideas are popular ideas.” She said she’d make a better President than Sanders because she can actually get the progressive agenda enacted because she digs into the details.
Buttigieg said that Russians want chaos “and chaos is what is coming our way.” He said if the last four years have been toxic, “imagine spending the better part of 2020 with Bernie Sanders vs. Donald Trump.”
Steyer said that Sanders’ analysis was right but his solutions weren’t. “I think what we need to do is present an alternative that includes a vibrant, competitive sector. But we all know unchecked capitalism has failed…The answer is for us to break the corporate stranglehold on our government.”
Joe Biden commented that Sanders voted against the Brady Bill. “That man would not have been able to get that weapon if the waiting period had been what I suggested,” Biden said. Biden also said Sanders wanted to primary Barack Obama. “Progressive is getting things done.”
Everyone pretty much came out of the gate attacking Sanders. Sanders commented: “A lot of the issues we’re discussing tonight are issues I raised four years ago.”
Klobuchar later said that Sanders’ math didn’t add up for some of his proposals and said Medicare for All would kick people off their health insurance. She said Sanders’ ideas would be broken promises.
Sanders responded that a recent Yale study showed that Klobuchar’s program would cost $50 trillion ultimately and we’d pay more for prescription drugs over time. He said every study shows Medicare for All will ultimately save money.
At one point, Biden threw shade at the moderators for not controlling the candidates enough. “The only way to do this is jump in and talk twice as long as you should.”
When asked about the coronavirus, Klobuchar said they’d have treatment for Americans exposed to the coronavirus and quarantine them, but they wouldn’t close the borders. “I’m going to give the CDC website, which is CDC.gov…” She said doctors are saying it’s just a matter of time before we see it here. “I would better coordinate throughout my presidency to be ready for the next pandemic and to prepare for this one.”
Biden said that he was part of making sure Ebola didn’t make it to the U.S. He said that he helped set up the pandemic office and increased the budget of the CDC. “Our President today has wiped that all out… What I would do immediately is restore the funding… I would be on the phone with China, making it clear, we are going to need to be in your country… We have to know what’s going on… I could get that done.”
Sanders said that whatever the issue, climate change or an infectious disease, “we have to work and expand the World Health Organization, we have to make sure … our infectious departments are fully funded…” and we have to work with other countries.
Bloomberg said he wouldn’t let Chinese firms build critical infrastructure in the U.S. “We have to deal with China if we’re ever going to solve a climate crisis, because our economies are … linked.”
Biden was very annoyed by people talking over their time. At one point, when he stopped talking after the moderators asked him to, he said, “Gentleman don’t get treated very well up here.”
When asked about their mottos and biggest misconceptions, here are the candidates’ answers.
Steyer said for him the misconception was being defined by business success and money. He said every day he writes a cross on his hand to remind himself to tell the truth.
Klobuchar said the biggest misconception is that she’s boring, and her motto is that politics is about improving lives.
Biden said everyone’s entitled to be treated with dignity, and everyone should be represented. He wants to add a black woman to the Supreme Court, he said. As for the biggest misconception, it’s that “I have more hair than I think I do.”
Sanders said the biggest misconception about him is that the ideas he’s talking about are radical. “In one form or another, they exist in countries all around the world.” He said his motto is a quote from Mandela: “Everything was impossible until it happened.”
Warren said one misconception about her is that she doesn’t eat very much. “In fact, I eat all the time,” she joked. Her motto is Matthew 25: “Inasmuch as ye have done to one of these, the least of thy brethren, ye have done that to me.”
Buttigeig said the biggest misconception is that he’s not passionate. “I get that I’m kind of level…It’s precisely because I’m so passionate…that I consider it important to approach all of that with discipline.” His mottos, he said, are to be a servant before a leader, and that we should treat others as we would be treated.
Bloomberg said a misconception is that he’s 6-feet tall. His motto is that he’s been planning for this job for a long time and he’s going to do something, not just talk about it, when he gets it.
Who do you think won the debate? Was it the candidate who had the best jokes, the one who made the best policy argument, or someone who seemed to rise above a tougher moment?
Now that you’ve read the article, vote in Heavy’s poll below. Who do you think won the February 25 debate in South Carolina? The candidates are listed in the poll below.