On Tuesday, October 15th, the fourth Democratic Debate took place. This debate marks the change in what has been commonplace for the other debates held before the 2020 presidential election, though the night held little to no memorable moments. This debate seemed to be more a precursor to how the Democratic candidates will present themselves in the upcoming discussions and debates.
One of the most noticeable changes on the debate floor was that most of the candidates focused their attention toward Senator Elizabeth Warren. The main issue brought to attention by the other candidates was over her “medicare for all” plan. Some claimed that it was a vague pipe dream that didn’t allow the American people to come to their own decision on how they want to deal with their medicare. These accusations shook her platform, but she did come out of it relatively unscathed. Though Warren did not give any real conclusive answers to the questions posed to her, such as whether her plan would raise taxes on middle-class Americans. The New York Times commented that they saw this attack on Warren as a way for the other candidates to show that they not only can take on Donald Trump but are also able to distinguish themselves from the two current front runners, Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Unlike Warren, Biden was instigated very little throughout the debate. Some see this as a result of Biden’s shrinking relevance, loss of ground to Warren and other democrats, and the turmoil surrounding his son. It’s been shown in the past that Biden does best when responding to attacks, so many candidates had the game plan to leave him out to dry, stumbling his way through moderator questions, which he has a propensity to do. On the other hand, Pete Buttigieg presented himself in a way that heavily contrasted to his previous showings., choosing to not attack other candidates and just present his platform. The shots he levied ranged from Beto O’Rourke over guns to Tulsi Gabbard on the U.S.’s current foreign policy. But most of all, he heavily targeted Warren on her aforementioned medicare for all. She gave little to no authentic answers. This stoked Buttigieg’s flame, leading him to say that her plan would severely harm the private healthcare industry. He proposed that it should be a free choice if one wanted to join in on a medicare for all plan.
The rest of the debate included Bernie Sanders showing that he is perfectly fine after his heart attack three weeks prior, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris going after Trump and his most recent affairs, and other candidates trying to set themselves apart from the white noise. It is to be seen if this newfound aggressiveness will hold with most of the candidates, but what is telling is that the strength of a candidate can change on a dime, with just the right questions.