Sunday’s Democratic debate between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders was slated to be something unique: it came amidst the recent outbreak of the coronavirus causing the debate to be held without an audience, Biden had just come off of a string of victories in primaries to take the lead in the race, and Sanders’s base was looking for him to really dig to get that lead back.
But when all was said and done, it was just kind of more of the same.
The debate started out with tackling the current issue that is dominated the news – the spread of the virus – and both candidates addressed how they would handle it were they in offic, not Trump.
Sanders used the opportunity to talk about his Medicare-for-all plan, which is the backbone of his platform, and would fundamentally change the healthcare system of the country. He highlighted how the virus underscored the issues facing the country’s healthcare systems and how change was needed.
Biden didn’t discuss much about change, but instead continued to focus on what we would do if he were in office right now. He also assured people that the cost of testing wasn’t an issue and insurance policies wouldn’t be a problem.
But after that, the debate became pretty much what we had seen before. The two candidates argued over the usual issues: Social Security, campaign money, abortion, and more. It more or less retread familiar ground with both candidates calling out the other for past policies and actions.
Much has changed in the race for the Democratic nomination. Not too long ago there were seven candidates and Sanders was widely seen as the frontrunner of the group. But after a huge victory in South Carolina and the follow-up win on Super Tuesday, Biden went from grasping to hang on to leading the pack. With more primaries coming up, Sanders has a lot of work ahead of him to close the gap with Biden.
There are more primaries ahead, but many of them have been postponed due to the current health crisis. This leaves Sanders with a decision: use this extra time to put in more work to try and get his footing back, or take the time to call it early and help unite the Democratic party for the major elections in November. That unity, in our opinion, is going to be the most important part for the Democratic party to win th election.
This is shaping up to be an election unlike any other, and not because of the discourse between candidates so far. We are coming off a truly divisive presidential term, we are experiencing an unprecedented health crisis, and if either candidate wants to have the best chance at winning, they need to show their bases why they are strong enough to take down Trump.
We are going into uncharted waters right now, and we will have to wait and just how much this election will be different.