The second democratic debate had candidates former Vice President Joesph Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris, Mayor Pete Buttigeig, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Michael Bennet, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former governor John Hickenlooper, author Marianne Williamson, Rep. Eric Swalwell and attorney Andrew Yang square off. This fiery night two was one for the books.
On night two, Democrats squabbled over topics very similar to those discussed during night one such as immigration, health care, guns and climate change. However, it proved to cause much more discord this time around. Direct bashes to policy differences and the historical relevancy of each candidate were fair game for the candidates, especially those who seemed to have done their homework on their opponents.
The variety on stage for night two proved to wean out the moderates of the party to the more radical. The mixed group of senators, a vice president, a mayor, a former governor and an author slash entrepreneur all joined in to make for a debate full of come-backs and a trivial showcasing of fundamental differences.
Unlike night one where it felt as though all Democrats were arguing the same things in different ways, each candidate in night two voiced why their policy was better and how historically, they have showed more to the American people than the other.
Sen. Harris really shined in this debate. By referencing direct policies that have negatively affected the country, she made her mark known as to how she earned her place on that stage. Calling out opponents such as former Vice President Biden for backing a policy which directly affected her upbringing was one way Harris stumped opponents.
“It was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country ... There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public school and she was bused to school every day,” Harris said. “And that little girl was me.”
In a nearly impossible attempt to defend, Biden said, “If we want to have this campaign litigated on who supports civil rights and whether I did or not, I'm happy to do that.”
Biden continued to point out his specific position on the busing act as a means to give the decision of busing up to the states, to which Harris reaffirmed her position that the federal government has the duty to step in when “states fail to preserve the civil rights of all people.”
Biden finished the debate with a seemingly frustrated rebuttal in which he cut himself off and allowed the rest of the questioning to ensue.
Another star of the debate was Mayor Pete Buttigieg. In the 11 minutes and 12 seconds of time Buttigieg received, he made his stances on immigration, civil rights, climate change and gun reform apparent.
In articulate and earnest addresses to the question thrown at him, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana made his presence memorable.
In a question which pressed why only 6% of his city’s police force is black in comparison to the city's 26% black population Buttigieg said, “I couldn’t get it done.”
What came off as an overly honest reply was followed up with determination in addressing relations between civilians and police forces.
While honesty came off the youthful Buttigieg, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand showcased other skills while debating with her opponents.
As a hard push to be heard, Gillibrand interrupted and went over on time without breaking a sentence. Her pushes were hard on abortion and gender equality.
Rep. Swalwell, Williamson and Gov. Hickenlooper were in the bottom three for speaking time and did not prove to engage in any real debate with other Democratic hopefuls, except for Swalwell.
Buttigieg made a statement regarding police brutality in his city, referring to an incident where Eric Logan, 54, was shot by police. The event is still under investigation. The officer in question had his body camera off and Buttigieg disclaimed his lack of ability to comment due to the ongoing investigation.
Swalwell retorted, “If the camera wasn't on and that was the policy, you should fire the chief."
To which Buttigieg replied, “Under Indiana law, this will be investigated and there will be accountability for the officer.”
Another candidate who had little speaking time however made her stances clear was author Marianne Williamson. As the precedent from the first debate has been set, many candidates have made it very clear that one goal the entire party shares is to “defeat Trump.”
As the most googled candidate after the debate, Williamson made herself known through statements that were out of the ordinary for a debate such as this.
“It’s really nice if we’ve got all these plans, but if you think we’re going to beat Donald Trump by just having all these plans, you’ve got another thing coming,” Williamson said. “He didn’t win by saying he had a plan. He won by simply saying ‘Make America Great Again.’”
In her final statement Williamson said, “You [Donald Trump] have harnessed fear for political purposes and only love can cast that out … I’m going to harness love for political purposes. I will meet you on that field. And, sir, love will win.”
In the same vein as other political debates before, the big names in the election process thus far made attempts to maintain their position in the election while underdogs came out on stage with the chance to make themselves heard.
All Democratic candidates came out guns blazing in this second night of the debates and have foreshadowed a lengthy year of politics ahead.