By Benjamin Myer, Assistant Editor, USDR.
As a millennial this is one of my first elections I have the privilege of voting in. I care about this country and want to be informed. No, I do not have a fancy political science degree. Nor will I be analyzing this debate over every fact and policy mentioned. I am going to look at what I took away and how the impression that was made on me, a millennial.
Tonight was the night before the Iowa caucus this Monday. Has anything changed after tonight? No. Well, Donald Trump wasn’t there so that’s different. I had hopes that this debate would be different without the Donald interfering with everything being said. However, it was still filled with bickering, attacking, and pointless rhetoric between the 7 candidates Sen. Rand Paul, Gov. Chris Christie, Dr. Ben Carson, Gov. John Kasich, Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio, and Sen. Ted Cruz. As a millennial I am looking at the issues our generation will end up having to face and wincing at the trouble we could be in. ISIS is a major threat, we are trillions of dollars in debt, social issues are dividing our country. What will these candidates offer me? Offer this generation? Were any of those questions answered tonight, not really. Big issues were talked about and words were said, just not much of the mud thrown actually stuck.
ISIS and foreign policy took center stage. Rubio proceeded to go on and on about making America strong militarily, and thereby a powerful nation. Sounded like he took a page out of Trump’s “Make America Great” book. Rubio wants to make America powerful but at what cost? What will we have to sacrifice for that to happen? He sadly did not fill us in. Paul went to the opposite, and borderline isolationist, side of things. Paul wanted to focus on protecting the homeland and keeping our borders safe. Cruz got involved and mentioned how he doesn’t want to “tie our soldiers’ hands” when we send them overseas. Concluding thoughts? ISIS is a problem, thank you candidates for pointing that out! (Forgot to mention Cruz went all dramatic and threw a hissy fit over being “attacked” by the moderators.)
Immigration was another major issue for tonight’s candidates. Rubio talked about “modernizing immigration” and bringing about immigration change. Bush proceeded to call him out by referencing an immigration bill crafted by Rubio that Rubio failed to support. Cruz took a strong stand on immigration wanting to bring it to an end. He concluded with advertising his website on which you can find out more information on this issue. Somehow during this part of the debate the issue of Puerto Rican statehood came up?
Christie was asked about how to stop spending and he responded with a major attack on Planned Parenthood. Ultimately calling for an end to federal funding of that organization. Cruz was also asked about if he still wants to repeal Obamacare. Cruz answered with a plan for modifying healthcare such as delinking healthcare from employment and allowing it to be purchased across states. That caught my interest as it is something different that I haven’t heard before. It also could work. Expanding across states will promote competition across that industry.
Dr. Carson sadly said nothing that stood apart from what he has said in the past. He is a very intelligent man with a lot of interesting ideas. Presidential material, no. Kasich also had literally nothing to contribute to the debate. Every time he was asked something he referenced Ohio. So he essentially was a walking resume. Paul actually did well tonight, compared to past debates. He was the only one to address the issue of racism in the country, and issues of personal liberty. He still did not propose any plan of substance just talk.
So that was the debate as I saw it. A lot of talk from a large pool of candidates. We still have a long way to go before November and a lot could change. Not having the Donald in the debate was not as rewarding as I expected sadly. By the end of the night I was wishing he was there. At least then the rest of the candidates could have focused on hurting him and not poorly timed attacks on themselves. We are living in a country divided, it’s time someone steps up to unite this country.