Seventh Democratic debate may be deciding factor for voters in primary elections

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The January Democratic debate is coming up this Tuesday. It will be critical for many of the candidates, as it is the last debate before the primary voting season which will begin Feb. 3 in Iowa. Because Iowa will vote first, the debate will be held in Des Moines, Iowa at Drake University. The event will be broadcasted by CNN and The Des Moines Register from 8 to 10 p.m. CST. 

Taking the stage are front-runners Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. These three have been the leaders throughout the entire election so far, and they are the strongest threat to Donald Trump’s re-election. They are accompanied by only three others: Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg and Tom Steyer. 

I personally think that the smaller number of candidates will be refreshing. The last debates were very crowded, making it difficult for every candidate to get a word in. Hopefully, the smaller stage will create a more balanced debate and allow voters to narrow down who they will support in the primaries. 

Topics certain to be mentioned during the upcoming debate are the Australian wildfires and the flooding in Indonesia. These two events will probe the question of climate change which has become increasingly less mentioned during the last few debates. The U.S.’s assassination of Iran’s Major General, Qasem Soleimani, will be another topic up for debate. This will most likely tie into the question of President Donald Trump’s impeachment because he did not consult congress in this controversial attack on Iran. 

Tulsi Gabbard, the only Democrat to not support the impeachment of Trump, did not qualify for the January debate. Her risky choice to vote “present” on impeachment has proven to have a devastating effect on her campaign. 

In other news, on Jan. 10, Oprah’s spiritual advisor and author Marianne Williamson dropped out of the presidential race. This was not surprising. As noted in last week’s column, she recently laid off her entire campaign staff and has not qualified for a debate since last July. 

Williamson was an anomaly among the field of Democrats running for president. Her entire campaign was centered around the ideas of peace and love. While these are admirable qualities for a future president to have, they are not productive on their own.  

Legend has it that my dad once met an avid Williamson fan inside of a Thundercloud, but I’m not sure I believe it. I’ve never met someone who took her seriously. She simply did not have the aggression necessary to make her voice heard, and she often let herself get drowned out by the other candidates on the debate stage. Rather than quarrel to prove her points, she sat back and waited her turn. She apologized when she was interrupted and raised her hand feebly when she wanted to speak. Her contributions were weak and made her appear uneducated and naïve on a stage surrounded by experienced politicians. When she failed to qualify for the August debate, she all but disappeared from the public eye. 

Still, it is impressive that her campaign survived this long. She out-ran both Senator Kamala Harris and President Obama’s former Cabinet member Julián Castro. In a statement released on the day she left the 2020 race, Williamson said that she stayed in the race to “take advantage of every possible opportunity to share our message,” but that she decided to suspend her campaign because she didn’t want to “get in the way” of any progressive candidate winning the primaries. While Williamson was always a long-shot, her ideas of “harnessing love” left an impression on a heated debate stage. 

Make sure to tune in on Tuesday at 8 p.m. for the seventh Democratic debate. As always, feel free to leave your thoughts, comments and questions down below.