The 20 Democratic presidential hopefuls faced off in a pair of back-to-back debates on Wednesday, June 26 and Thursday, June 27, moderated by Rachel Maddow and Chuck Todd at the 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. Among the democratic candidates in attendance was Washington’s own governor Jay Inslee.
Among those watching the debates was Bellevue College political science professor Leena Shah, who believed that the debates provided an opportunity for some of the candidates to distinguish themselves on the crowded stage.
“Some of the key moments were Senator Warren addressing the question of inequality, corruption and that we need to make a ‘structural change in our government and our economy.’” Shah said, when discussing key moments in the debate.
“Cory Booker made gun violence a cornerstone of his debate, calling it a personal issue,” said Shah, “Kamala Harris addressing race relations, immigration and attacking Vice-President Biden on his stand on busing in the past,” Shah added.
Shah was particularly impressed with Harris, and how she debated with Joe Biden, who is leading in most polls.
“Biden, the favorite front runner, was unable to defend his record on busing when Kamala Harris questioned him on that,” Shah explained “His strongest point was his ‘electability,’ however this was taken down by Harris.”
When asked about who she believed won the first night of the debates, Shah stated that Elizabeth Warren won.
“Senator Warren won the debate with her talking points,” said Shah, “She seemed to connect with the voters on the issues and her personality shone. Her speaking style was simple and appealing.”
When it comes to night two of the debates, Shah clearly stated Kamala Harris won over her opponents.
“Kamala Harris was hands down the winner,” stated Shah, “She was passionate and able to stand her ground on issues that the public cares about.”
While she believes Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren are picking up steam in their campaigns, Shah also discussed how Bernie Sanders is losing his.
“Nothing seems to have changed for Bernie. Though this time around he seems to lack enthusiasm,” stated Shah, “It’s been a lackluster campaign so far for Bernie.”
Shah believed that the 2020 elections should be watched carefully, not only by Bellevue College students, but young voters in general.
“Listen to the candidates carefully, what do they stand for and make sure to vote in 2020. This generation of young voters can make a difference.”