On Oct. 13, 2015, CNN and Facebook are co-sponsoring the first Democratic Party presidential debate. The luxurious Wynn Las Vegas Hotel in Las Vegas, NV, will host the match at 6 p.m. Pacific Daylight Savings Time (PDT). According to the 2016 Election Central Website, there are five candidates scheduled to participate. The Democratic debate will include frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, as well as three other lesser known candidates. The additional candidates include former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Rhode Island’s former Governor Lincoln Chafee, and Jim Webb, a former U.S. Senator from Virginia.
With two Republican debates completed, and the associated media circus following many of the 16 right-wing party’s presidential hopefuls, it may have been easy to miss the fact there are, in fact, five Democrats competing against one another. The Democratic debates include Clinton, Sanders, O’Malley, Chafee, and Webb. However, there are three more politicians mentioned as possible Democratic candidates. These potential contenders include U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. According to CNN, Biden, Warren, or Cuomo may participate in the October debate if they do one of two things. They must either “File a Statement of Candidacy or publicly indicate the statement will be submitted to the Federal Election Commission by Oct. 14, 2015.”
According to The Verge, those viewers who are unable to watch the debate in person, on television, or via a recorded source have an alternative method for viewing the contest. By using a Samsung Gear Virtual Reality headset, the viewer will feel as though they are in the front row of the audience. CNN first offered this unique opportunity during the Republican debate on Sep. 16, 2015.
Meet the Democratic Candidates
The five current contenders seeking to become the next Democratic U.S. President are listed as follows by order of the date they announced their candidacy:
- Clinton is 67 years old and the former Secretary of State. Clinton’s official platform includes an economic plan to raise middle-class incomes and all-inclusive reform of immigration. She also discusses how her presidency would reduce barriers for college education due to cost, as well as methods for breaking down barriers within the current system of racial inequities.
- Sanders, 74 years old, is a VT Senator, whose biography lists him as Independent. His stand on the issues includes creating decent paying jobs, climate change, and the environment. Moreover, he is also a proponent of racial justice and equality, women’s rights, humane immigration, veterans, and equality for the LGBT community.
- O’Malley is a 52-year-old politician who is a former MD Governor. He outlined 15 goals he wants to accomplish as U.S. President. Included among these goals are his desire to increase the living wage for median-income families and veterans, as well as improve immigration and education policies. He also discusses reducing infant mortality rates, reforming the criminal justice system, ending childhood hunger, and converting America’s dependence on fossil fuel-based electricity to renewable energy.
- Chaffee is 62 years old and a former governor of RI. His broadly stated policies include freedom for all Americans, financial security, decreasing military spending, fair economic opportunities, and being an environmental steward.
- Webb is 69 years old and a former VA Senator. While this politician does not explicitly list his stand on the issues, his topics are found within published articles on his website. These include national security and foreign policy, social justice and economic fairness, accountability of the government, as well as military and veteran affairs.
According to CNN, Vice President Biden’s debate podium is ready should he decide to announce his bid for office. On Sep. 28, 2015, NBC News reported a new poll which indicated Biden would win a hypothetical election. He holds a favorable rating of the poll’s respondents over every Democratic and Republican candidate in the current campaign. While he has not announced his decision to seek the presidency, one can imagine his advantage over Clinton, whose campaign has been plagued by misdeeds during her Secretary of State tenure. It was in the 2008 presidential campaign when Clinton first sought the highest office in America. According to her current ratings, as reported by CNN, Clinton holds an 18 percent lead over Sanders. While she holds a 44 percent approval rating, it appears the feasibility of having a female President of the United States might be increasing. This being the case, perhaps Warren should announce her participation and give voters another woman candidate. At this point, the Democratic debate includes the frontrunner candidates Sanders and Clinton as well as Webb, Chafee, and O’Malley. There is still room for Biden, Warren, and Cuomo on the campaign trail, especially against the 16 Republican candidates. In this author’s opinion, America needs more choices among the Democratic Party candidates.
Opinion by Cathy Milne
Edited by Leigh Haugh
2016 Election Central Website: 2016 Democratic Primary Debate Schedule; Who’s Running for President in 2016?
CNN Politics: CNN debate criteria would allow Joe Biden to participate
The Verge: CNN is going to live stream the Democratic debates in virtual reality
CNN Politics: Poll: Hillary Clinton maintains 18-point lead over Bernie Sanders
Featured Photo Courtesy of michelphoto’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Photo Courtesy of Unsplash’s Pixabay Page – CC0 Public Domain License