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From Joe Biden’s ‘Punching at it’ Fail to Elizabeth Warren’s ‘Free College,’ Teens React to Atlanta’s Democratic Debate

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Honestly, I got second-hand embarrassment watching Joe Biden during the Democratic Presidential Debate held Wednesday night in Atlanta. Around this time last year, most Americans would have probably assumed he would be the Democratic presidential candidate, given his extensive background in politics and for having name recognition. And honestly, to me, that’s his only selling point. He was VP for eight years, and the general public knows who he is.

But it looks like to me he’s having a real hard time connecting with voters. I found myself taken aback several times last night. On the issue of abuse and harassment of women, he said “we just got to keep punching and punching at it” and apparently knowing the “only the African American woman to get elected to the Senate.” Plain and simple, he fumbled. I don’t know if it’s poor debate skills or nerves or whatever, but he needs to get it together if he’s serious.

A lot of Cory Booker’s stellar performance may have stemmed from his desperation to stay in the race. Sadly, I don’t think he’ll be able to get enough donations or poll high enough by the next debate scheduled for December. And even if he does, he’d only be at the bare minimum to qualify, which is not what we need in a prospective presidential candidate.

Right now, I’m honestly thinking long-term electability and who can go against Trump. With the impeachment inquiry going on, I see that it’s plausible Trump may not be eligible for being the Republican candidate at all, but sadly, these things tend to end up working out for Trump anyways (he should’ve been impeached after the Mueller Report).

The candidates that I see so far who would be able to attack and denounce Donald Trump effectively on the debate stage would be U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Generally speaking, I think Warren and Sanders are both great debaters and have solidified their platforms well enough for voters to know them. When they speak, you can feel a lot of passion and emotion from their words, and they both have had long-term experience in the Senate. But Pete Buttigieg is refreshing to listen to. He’s eloquent but concise in his words at the same time. It’s just a feeling I get.

But I strongly recommend everyone to try this during the next debate: Picture Trump up on the stage, and who would most effectively destroy him. That’s who we need to start thinking about, because time is of the essence.

Tiffany Pham, VOX teen staff

The Democratic Candidates Need to Go Beyond Attacks on Trump

After watching Wednesday night’s Democratic President Debate held in Atlanta. One thing is clear to me — Donald Trump being the focal point of this election will not be beneficial to Democrats in the long run. It’s important that they acknowledge the impeachment process, but it is extremely important that Democrats focus on their own agendas and discuss their plans for the future.

Trump is extremely popular among millions of Americans. Attracting voters to the Democratic Party with policies and plans, instead of attempting to take Trump’s support away, will prove much more effective.

Kamala Harris needs to focus on policy, not jabs

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris continues to fail to realize that the Trump jabs will not secure more poll points in this race. She has very little policy and plans for this country but consistently makes witty and news bite ready responses that work at times, but fall face flat during others, preventing her from looking like a viable and serious candidate.

What’s going on with Amy Klobuchar? 

For an individual polling at numbers as low as hers, U.S. Sen. Klobuchar received a virtually limitless amount of time during the debate. The progressive side of the Democratic Party has a serious disdain for establishment politicians both on the Left and Right and her political views and ideologies, such as support for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and moderate views on healthcare are slowly beginning to fade out and are starting to become less and less popular among Democrats.


Wednesday night’s debate displayed that the top four candidates are locked in, and everyone else better raise more money or gather more support. Although U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden had poor performances, they have secured their spots both with voter support and financial support for the Iowa caucus.

Unexpectedly, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker had some fascinating remarks when he was able to get the spotlight. His criticism of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s “wealth tax” was extremely justified. Warren’s plan fails to recognize that billionaires like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos do not have $70 billion in some Duck McScrooge-type bank that can be collected immediately, but instead their wealth is measured in the markets and stock values that they hold. Sen. Booker, instead proposed providing aid to entrepreneurial minorities and small businesses so that more Americans are prosperous, which attracts new voters, but might also rile up support from the Democratic base.


Bernie Sanders was especially weak in Wednesday night’s debate. His failure to stand out and remind voters that he is one of the front runners in this race could be an extremely consequential to his success. His failure to discuss his policies, put himself out there, and appeal to the American middle class might just slow down his momentum.

Biden continues to fall face flat with gaffs, admittedly much less in this debate than previous ones. Booker’s attack that Biden allegedly said marijuana should be illegal and criminalized did not help the former Vice President’s case either. Although he had a poor performance, Biden’s poll numbers and voter support will most likely will not change.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard didn’t have a great night either. Her failure to maintain the spotlight is almost as much her fault as it is the moderators who seemed reluctant to ask Gabbard any questions.

Key Take Aways

If this debate had never happened, nothing much would be changed. We’ve all heard these talking points and not much of anything new was introduced to the table. “Trump is bad,” “healthcare should be for all” and “an increase of taxes on the wealthy” has already been heard and played out. Nothing new was learned in this debate and voters will have to continue to keep looking for the right candidate to vote for before they head to the polls in 2020 with little help from MSNBC, CNN and the media.

Terell Wright, VOX teen staff

Student Debt and the 2020 Race

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren talks a mean game when it comes to student loans and at Wednesday night’s debate held at Tyler Perry’s Studios in Atlanta, she even went as far as to mention those who attend HBCUs. As an incoming freshman in college, this is a huge idea. Yes, I would love to come out of school debt free.

However, is this really a plausible concept? How will she achieve doing away with student loans? Is this even something that is economically possible, and if not, is there a way to ease the weight of student loans? Witnessing this race and being able to vote for the first time in my life, I want someone in office that I can trust. How will Warren live up to all that she says, and is what she saying the actual truth?

During this debate, I found myself lost and trying to find what seems right and what seems wrong. This process of trying to determine who I want to be the next leader of the free world is quite intimidating.

So where do teens come into the situation, and how do we navigate through? Half the battle is registering to vote, but the other half is being well versed in the material to become a responsible voter. I’m terrified for what is ahead, and paralyzed under this current administration.

I don’t know who to trust, or where to even start. All I know Is that we need change, and these debates seem to be a start.

India Rice, VOX teen staff

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