• Wednesday's night debate again included Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker. They were joined by Michael Bennet, senator from Colorado; Andrew Yang, tech entrepreneur; Jay Inslee, governor of Washington; Julian Castro, former Housing and Urban Development secretary; Kirsten Gillibrand, senator from New York; Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York City; and Tulsi Gabbard, representative from Hawaii.
• The topics discussed ranged from criminal justice reform to immigration issues, healthcare, white privilege, pay inequality and more.
• Healthcare again took center stage with Biden attacking Harris' 10-year timeline for Medicare for All plan. Biden argued that the 10-year timeline was too drawn out as its success will depend on how well her successor executes it. Gillibrand, Gabbard, and De Blasio were in favor of Harris, while Bennet was the other centrist on stage besides Biden.
• When discussing race, Booker denounced Trump of â€œusing the tired old language of demagogues, of fear mongers and racists to divide our country against itself.â€ Later Inslee called Trump "a white nationalist."
• While talking about immigration policies, both Castro and Booker criticized Biden over the immigration policies during the Obama administration. Biden was asked if high-levels of deportations will continue in his administration as well.
• When talking about criminal justice, Booker slammed Biden over his record. Gabbard also slammed Harris over her record. Biden also received flak from Harris and Gillibrand over his record on women issues.
• One stand out point of Wednesday's night debate was lower-polling candidates, such as Gabbard, De Blasio, Gillibrand, and Inslee taking on higher polling candidates. Yang earned huge applause while arguing for a new measure of economic prosperity. â€œLike our health, well-being, mental health, clean air and clean water ... if we change the measurements for the economy to our own well being
The second night of the July debates dove right into the contentious issue of healthcare. Harris shared her vision of a 10-year-plan, while Biden explicated his vision for expanding healthcare access by building on Obamacare and retaining private insurance options. As the discussion unfolded, ideological divides emerged with a vengeance. While Harris pointed out Bidenâ€™s reluctance to disavow private insurers, Tulsi Gabbard confronted Harrisâ€™ cooperation with Kathleen Sibelius, who works for Medicare Advantage and stands to profit from her new plan. Amid heightening tensions, Cory Booker gave an important reality checkâ€”â€œthe person thatâ€™s enjoying this debate most right now is Donald Trump, as we pit Democrats against each other while he is working right now to take away Americansâ€™ healthcare.â€
When the conversation shifted to immigration, what unraveled was the urgency of the border crisis, demanding a Democratic vision. As Bennett said, the Trump administration has â€œturned our border into a symbol of nativist hostility.â€ This topic spurred several candidates to ask why Biden did nothing to stop mass deportation that occurred under the Obama Administrationâ€”sparring another cautionary warning from Booker to not let Republicans divide this party against itself.
The debate started and ended with a laser focus on Biden and Harris, with provocative standout moments from Booker and Yang, of which the latter called for a stop to the scapegoating of immigrants. These debates carry immense value in this critical time: as a platform to underscore the perils facing our nation under Trump, which are often obfuscated by rapid media cycles and competing voices. The debates, too, are driven by competing voices, but the message that emerges from the choir of candidates is that we cannot let the Republican Party endanger our nation for much longer.