The 2020 election campaign is, for all intents and purposes, in full swing and the field of candidates on the Democratic side is coming into focus.
On Sept. 12, 10 presidential hopefuls participated in the third-Democratic debate in Houston, Texas, in what proved to be a more civil, productive meeting than the previous two, as most candidates held similar views on most of the issues presented to them. The handling of gun control, health care and the United States’ involvement in foreign wars were largely agreed upon and the differing stances on each seemed minute, but you would not know it by the way each person reacted to those nuances.
During the debate, former Vice President Joe Biden was questioned regarding his views on universal health care and the plans senators Bernie Sanders (D- Ver) and Elizabeth Warren (D- Mass.) proposed. His response was relatively supported, but veiled in doubt as he asked both participants how they would go about paying for their ambitious overhauls to the medical insurance system.
What commenced was an unnecessary quarrel in which Biden and Sanders ripped into each other over their differences in opinion to a similar solution.
This example, as well as the subsequent debate over gun control and the U.S.’s military presence in the Middle East made clear the desperation each person had in trying to distance themselves from their partisan colleagues who held even the slightest deviation in policy proposal. When Beto O’Rourke was pressed on his stance on gun control, he took one step further the concept of a buyback program for assault-style weapons and asserted that “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15 and your AK-47.”
Not only did this highlight a stark contrast from other debaters, it also provided fodder for the political right to claim that all Democrats want to confiscate their guns. While it is important for the candidates to distinguish themselves when a fundamental difference in views exist, the outcome of such disagreements only pushes people farther to the left or right