The Democrats held their final debate before the primaries begin — everything you should know about their health care views

This appeared in The Millennial Source

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On Tuesday, six of the 12 remaining United States Democratic candidates for president met on a debate. This was the seventh debate for the Democrats of this election season and the last before the first primary, which will occur in Iowa Feb. 3.

Of the six candidates who qualified to appear on the debate stage, four are considered among the likely candidates to earn the party’s nomination. The winner will go on to face incumbent US President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, which will be held Nov. 3, 2020.

Poll after poll has regularly shown that health care is the number one concern among American voters and that’s no different in a poll from RealClear Opinion Research. With so many differing opinions on the candidates, it’s important to know who each candidate is and what they stand for. Here is what you should know.

Tuesday night’s debate

One issue included a CNN report that Sen. Bernie Sanders told Sen. Elizabeth Warren a woman couldn’t win a presidential election. Sanders has stated his words were mischaracterized and he believes a woman could win.

Sanders and Warren are both considered part of the Democratic Party’s left wing and have generally had a friendly relationship. Now, though, supporters of each candidate have worried about a possible rift between the two candidates that could hurt both of them, according to The New York Times.

The debate was taking place with the backdrop of the US’s tensions with Iran and a possible escalation of fighting. At the same time, Trump is facing impeachment, with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi calling a vote to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate on Wednesday, according to the BBC.

Six candidates qualified for the debate

To appear in the debate, candidates were required to raise money from 225,000 unique donors (at least 1,000 in 20 states each), according to NBC News. They also had to achieve one of two polling thresholds. Either they had to receive 5 percent in four separate polls or 7 percent in two separate polls.

Six candidates reached the threshold: Sanders and Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend (Ind.) Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer. Steyer was the last to qualify, doing so the day before the DNC’s qualification deadline.

A seventh candidate, former mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg, has been rising in the polls since entering the race in November 2019, according to The Hill. As a result, he achieved the polling threshold necessary to appear in the debate. However, Bloomberg, who is a billionaire, is mostly self-funding his campaign, according to The New York Times, and therefore did not achieve the donation qualification.

Who are the candidates?

Of those four candidates, they are usually described as being centrist or leftwing. Here’s a quick overview of them:

Top tier — centrists

One of the issues that has been highlighted in this campaign is Medicare for All. This is a leftwing proposal that would provide healthcare to all residents of the United States. Biden opposes this policy, instead supporting the expansion and strengthening of the Affordable Care Act (often referred to as Obamacare), which was passed while he was vice president.

Buttigieg is the mayor of South Bend, Ind. He entered the race supporting policies that are generally considered leftwing, including M4A, but has since shifted toward the center, according to The Washington Post. He now supports what he calls “ Medicare for All Who Want It,” a public option which would combine private and government health insurance.

Buttigieg, the youngest candidate in the race, was elected mayor of South Bend in 2012 but has no prior governing experience. He served in the US Navy from 2009–2017. Buttigieg, who is openly gay and married, appeals mostly to college-educated voters, according to The Atlantic. He has struggled to draw support from black voters, which would hurt him, according to Five Thirty Eight, as African-American voters could make up to 25 percent of the primary voters.

Top tier — leftwing

Sanders calls himself a democratic socialist, according to Vox, and is outspoken about his opposition to corporate interests in the political sphere. He has long supported M4A (longer than any other candidate), according to The Gazette, and funds his campaign with small donations, according to POLITICO, having received an average of $18 from 5 million donors in 2019. Beyond the United States, Sanders has gained support from international leftwing politicians, according to POLITICO.

Warren became the US Senator for Massachusetts in 2013. Prior to running for the Senate, she was a lawyer and law teacher. Warren built up her profile in the years following the 2008 economic collapse by advocating for increased scrutiny and restrictions on banks and Wall Street, according to Reuters. As a lawmaker, she has lobbied against corporate interests and centered herself as the anti-corruption candidate, according to Reuters.

Like Sanders, Warren supports M4A and advocates for making the economic system fairer for all people, according to The Economist. However, she has called herself a “capitalist to my bones,” according to The New York Times, and the Sanders campaign has criticized her for only appealing to college-educated Democrats, according to POLITICO.

Klobuchar and Steyer

Steyer, who has no experience in politics, has said climate change is his “ number one priority.” This is despite having accumulated much of his wealth by investing in coal, oil, and gas, chief culprits in the changing climate, according to The Verge. Similar to Buttigieg, Steyer opposes M4A, according to POLITICO, and wants to build up a public option in which the government could negotiate prescription drug prices.

Originally published at on January 16, 2020.

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