The third Democratic Debate took place Sept. 12 in Houston, TX at Texas Southern University. This time, only 10 candidates made it to the debate stage due to the higher standards required to qualify. Because TSU has a history of being traditionally black and hispanic, the debate was focused around Latinx and race issues in America.
The fact that the debate was in Texas was significant because of the recent shootings in El Paso and Odessa, TX — an issue central to many of the candidates campaigns. One candidate in particular, Beto O’Rourke, has made these shootings the very center of his bid for presidency. O’Rourke has just recently returned to the campaign trail after stepping out of the limelight to grieve with his hometown of El Paso. When asked about gun control, O’Rourke declared that, as president, he would “take your AR-15, your AK-47” — a ballsy statement to make in Texas.
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who touted a “big surprise” before the second debate, revealed his news during his opening statement. In it, he said he would enter every person who donated to his campaign in a random drawing in which 10 people could win $1,000 a month for a year. This is sort of a sneak peak for his UBI plan he wants to start as president which will give every U.S. citizen over the age of 18 $1,000 a month.
Kamala Harris and Joe Biden, who are usually at each other’s throats during the debates, were uncharacteristically not. Instead, Harris focused more on addressing President Trump directly. During her opening announcement, she looked straight into the camera, saying, “President Trump, you have spent the last two-and-a-half years full-time trying to sow hate and division among us, and that is why we’ve got nothing done.”
Julián Castro, who was the lowest polling candidate to qualify for the third debate, made sure to use the time he was given to make an impression on the debate stage. While Harris focused on fighting back against President Trump, Castro took her place in conflict with Biden. Castro attacked Biden, saying “I fulfilled the legacy of Barack Obama, and you did not” in reference to Biden’s health care plan. He also made an apparent jab at Biden for his age. He called Biden out for saying people would have to buy-in to his healthcare plan which would “leave 10 million Americans uncovered.” When Biden denied saying this, Castro accused him of forgetting what he “said two minutes ago.”
Castro has come under fire from reporters, including Chuck Todd, who called the move “petty.” However, Castro has continued to uphold his criticism saying, “I’m going to stand up for a system that gets everybody covered, not leaving 10 million people out. That’s very significant, and I’ll fight for that. I’ll fight for that every single day.”
While many people have predicted that Castro’s attack on Biden may lead to his loss of support, Castro seems to be staying positive.
“I’m in this race to fight for what I believe in and to fight for the most vulnerable people in this country,” Castro said to Chuck Todd on Friday. “I’m not gonna back down on that.”
The next presidential debate will be held Oct. 15-16 at Otterbein University in Westerville, OH. To qualify for the debates, candidates must have at least 2 percent support in three qualifying polls and have 130,000 individual donations from a minimum of 400 different donors in at least 20 states. For the full debate schedule, visit this link.