On Thursday evening, the top 10 Democratic presidential candidates took the stage at Texas Southern University, a historic black college in Houston.
The 10 candidates who duked it out on Thursday night were Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senator Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Kamala Harris, Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, former Congressman Beto O’Rourke and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro.
The candidates discussed issues such as immigration, gun violence, healthcare, international relations and more.
Kamala Harris called out Donald Trump on live television… twice
California’s former Attorney General and current junior Senator, Kamala Harris, showed no remorse in calling out the President of the United States during the third Democratic presidential debate.
During her opening statement, Harris took a moment to directly speak to Trump. She spent her opening statement discussing her opinion on his job performance and the morale he has created in the U.S.
“You’ve spent the last two and a half years full time trying to sew hate and division among us,” Harris said.
After discussing the current legal trouble the Trump administration has recently been embroiled in and how she plans to turn the United States around, Harris finished her remarks by saying, “now President Trump, you can go back to watching Fox News.”
Later on, in regards to international trade relations, Harris compared Trump to “that guy in 'The Wizard of Oz,' you know, when you pull back the curtain, it's a really small dude.”
Julian Castro held nothing back
Julian Castro, the Housing and Urban Development Secretary from 2014-2017, had no problem going after the former Vice President, Joe Biden, on the debate stage.
During a discussion on healthcare reform, Castro asked Biden a question about a previous statement he made regarding whether people would have to “buy in” to be enrolled in Medicare as opposed to being automatically enrolled.
“They do not have to buy in,” Biden said.
“You just said that … two minutes ago,” Castro responded. “Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago? Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago?”
Many, including Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, said the remark was over the line. Some viewers speculated on social media that Castro’s remark may have been a veiled critique of Biden’s age. Biden is 76 years old, compared to Castro who is 44.
Amy Klobuchar goes after Bernie
Bernie Sanders, a Senator from Vermont with a political career spanning nearly 40 years, has been known for his progressive ideas, among things like universal healthcare.
Sanders was trending for days after the second Democratic primary debate, for his ever-quotable phrase “I wrote the damn bill,” referencing his healthcare bill.
Senator Amy Klobuchar threw a jab at Sanders during the debate in regards to his healthcare plan.
“While Bernie wrote the bill, I read the bill. On page eight of the bill, it says that we will no longer have private insurance as we know it. And that means that 149 million Americans will no longer be able to have their current insurance. That’s in four years. I don’t think that’s a bold idea, I think that’s a bad idea,” Klobuchar said.
Beto O’Rourke gets real about gun violence
A little over a month ago, former Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s hometown of El Paso, Texas was turned upside down by a tragic mass shooting which claimed the lives of 22 people and injured 24 others.
O’Rourke spoke on the matter publicly numerous times before Thursday’s debate and made his stance known. He made it clear that he was angry and upset and that if elected he would do something to stop the epidemic of gun violence in America.
Several candidates on stage commended the Congressman for his handling of the situation and the role he continues to play in the healing process of the El Paso community.
When asked if he is in favor of a gun by-back program to “confiscate” firearms such as AR-15s, O’Rourke replied: “I am if its a weapon that was designed to kill people on a battlefield.”
O’Rourke then launched into a passionate and embrazoned monologue about his experiences in dealing with survivors of the El Paso massacre and what he has seen and heard from them.
He finished by saying, “Hell yes we are going to take your AR-15, your AK-47. We are not going to allow them to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.”
What comes next?
The third Democratic primary debate had its heated moments, but now that the field has been narrowed down to 10 candidates, the race has become much more clear-cut.
In the coming months, more debates will be scheduled. With each debate, however, there will be more rigorous qualifications candidates must meet to qualify. The qualifications for the third debate cut the candidate field in half.
With the primary elections not taking place until the summer of 2020, there is still a long time until a Democratic candidate will be nominated. But, if fiery moments continue to pop up like they did during Thursday’s debate, it will certainly be a bumpy ride.