During my radio discussion prior to the fourth Democratic Primary Debate on October 15, 2019, with Hezi Aris of the Yonkers Tribune and Westchester On the Level, I was pessimistic regarding the state of politics in America. After watching the debate, however, I am happy to say that my pre-debate analysis was wrong.
Based upon the performance in September debate of the top candidates like Elizabeth Warren, I fully anticipated another win for the Democratic Socialist faction that has gained significant political clout since 2016. Although I would not declare a specific candidate as the winner of Tuesday’s debate, moderate Americans—regardless of political affiliation—finally achieved a clear victory.
From the beginning of the event, ideologues Warren and Sanders were sharply rebuked for their extremism particularly with respect to Medicare for All. While Sanders was respected for acknowledging that his plan would increase taxes on middle class Americans even though they would experience a net reduction in total cost, Warren evaded the issue completely, utilizing political double-speak to dodge an inconvenient soundbite—a maneuver earning her flak from not only the moderators and the other lower-polling candidates but also Joe Biden, calling her proposals unnecessarily “vague.”
Similar ideological purity staples of the farthest left Democrats, such as mandatory buy-backs of “weapons of war” proposed by Beto O’Rourke and the reproductive justice of Julian Castro, came under attack by comparative moderates including Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and Andrew Yang. Recognizing not only the impracticality of implementing these policies but also the alienating nature of standard leftist rhetoric, these three middle-ground candidates made a compelling case for centerist proposals aimed at uniting a nation rather than championing an ideology. Open to small victories rather than sweeping grand schemes and conveying a willingness to compromise on alternative but effective policies, a decent chunk of the Democratic debate stage emphasized the need for a candidate not only to win the general election in 2020 but also to move America forward from its decades of division.
But are the American people—let alone the voters in the Democratic Primaries—willing to listen to moderate voices?
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According to a recent study from the Pew Research Center (conducted before the recent impeachment proceedings against President Trump), America’s concern regarding increasing political division is overwhelmingly bipartisan, with 78% of Americans regardless of affiliation seeing an observable increase in party extremism since 2016. Eighty-one percent of Americans are at least “somewhat” concerned by this rise in extremist politics. Even more telling is the fact that near majorities on both sides of the aisle see their own party as being too extreme.
The data suggests that Americans want some sort of middle ground. With the moderate candidates Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and Yang each performing strongly in this week’s debate—in addition to Warren and Sanders both falling in the polls since October 9 according to Real Clear Politics—the possibility that a moderate front-runner could gain a substantial enough lead to secure the Democrat nomination is closer to reality than many would have anticipated.
As a self-identifying libertarian-conservative, there is little agreement between the policy proposals of any of the Democrats—even avowed capitalist Andrew Yang—and my ideal political remedy; however, as an American, the fact that there are candidates who acknowledge the consequences of a prolonged lack of unity and express a willingness to engage in a mutually-respectful dialogue to achieve practical solutions gives me hope for a brighter future of American politics.
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Original publication by The Unvarnished Blog on October 18, 2019. – https://theunvarnishedblog.wordpress.com/2019/10/18/october-2019-democratic-debate-hope/
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Gabrielle M. Etzel is a recent graduate of Grove City College with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in Economics. She is a freelance Political Analyst, Writer, and Editor in Chief of The Unvarnished Blog<https://theunvarnishedblog.wordpress.com/>, direct email to email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> | LinkedIn <https://www.linkedin.com/in/gabrielle-m-etzel-60090/>
She is also a contributor to the Yonkers Tribune and the radio program, Westchester On The Level. Although she plans to pursue graduate study in American Politics and Public Policy, Gabrielle’s primary career goal is to make quality social science content accessible to a variety of audiences. If you liked this piece, consider checking out The Unvarnished Blog<https://theunvarnishedblog.wordpress.com/>.