An overview of the third democratic debate, how Joe Biden got in the lead

Photo courtesy of rollingstone.com

By Anna Synakh || Contributing Writer

All across the country Democratic Debate viewers like me were awaiting the fight of the year on our televisions, as Sanders, Warren and Biden, the top three democratic candidates were set to face off on Thursday night. Their performance over the first two debates was evenly bumpy and each of the three candidates needed to improve their presentation in order to truly be able to beat Trump. Though improvement was seen in all three, Biden drove home the run with the most presidential attitude. Throughout the debate Biden showed his dominance over the two in his experience, confidence, and understanding of what can and cannot be achieved in his presidency. 

Former Vice-President Biden came in strong with his introduction, as he built on John F. Kennedy’s catchphrase “We refuse to postpone.” He was one of the only candidates who truly tried to focus on uniting the nation without losing focus. His dislike of the sitting president was shown to the public, without wasting time on anti-Trump rants. His use of language and overall confidence on stage proved his eligibility.

The Pennsylvania native continued the strong performance as he discussed healthcare. The former vice-president questioned the plans proposed by Warren and Sanders, as the two refused to comment on the tax raise expected to come with the Medicare-for-all program. Biden used relevant data to dispute the claim that ridding of the private option will be economically beneficial for all. For the three past debates Warren has avoided stating that taxes for the middle class would increase, but the Vice President called attention to the 30 trillion dollars unaccounted for in the senator’s plan. 

Unlike during the previous two debates, Biden seemed to be better prepared for the attacks from other candidates, and questions from moderators. During the question of gun control, and his alleged inability to do anything after Sandy Hook, Biden highlighted his leadership in passing the Brady Bill. He stayed true to his centrist positions instead of getting swayed by the majority on stage, and showed strength of character when speaking of his son and wife.

Senator Sanders opened with a “blunt” statement that President Trump is the most dangerous President the nation has ever elected, but quickly returned to discussion of policy. Although Sanders took a better path than most, he still filled the introduction with empty promises and sprinkled some classic 1% phrases. He continued the anti-oligarchic protests throughout the debate, called for elimination of out of pocket expense, and once again mentioned his low NRA rating. Overall, Senator Sanders left less than a memorable impression post-debate. His behavior during the debate seemed condescending at times with his body language suggested anxiousness and anger, rather than calmness and stability sought in a presidential candidate.

Senator Warren took the safe route of relating to the audience present by describing her ascendance into the middle class and her experience of the American Dream. She focused on her and her brothers’ experiences, rather than discussing policy, possibly in response to being called unrelatable and unexciting prior to the debate. Throughout the debate she avoided direct answers to questions and similarly to Sanders took on an offensive attitude. 

While the three candidates are viewed as the best by most political scientists, a high level of qualification was also shown by Pete Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke. Although the two have little experience in high level governmental positions, both showed their strong sides during the debate. 

Mayor Buttigieg shined during the Iraq question stating that he would go against what is recommended and remove all troops. 

Beto O’Rourke moment of fame came when he argued for full confiscation of AR15s and AK47, without fear of being to liberal in his attitude. Many candidates also noted his work with El Paso post shooting.

The two showed themselves to be great public speakers and presidential candidates who simply need to become more well known in their fields. It is rather likely that we will see both of them ranking high in the 2026 presidential election.

The third presidential debate showed new sides to many of the candidates and gave a chance for all to give voters a better understanding of what is to come. Despite the strength of many of the participants, it seems that the top three will remain unchanged, with Biden in the clear lead.

First-year Anna Synakh is a Contributing Writer. Her email is asynakh@fandm.edu

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