Commentary: The presidential debates have only just begun

Dr. James B. Ewers Jr.

Commentary: The presidential debates have only just begun
July 03
03:00 2019

By James B. Ewers Jr.

We’ve only just begun to live; white lace and promises, a kiss for luck and we’re on our way. The brother and sister duo called The Carpenters made those lyrics popular in 1970. “We’ve Only Just Begun” was a timely record and the words gave you a feeling of hope. Hoping for a better day and for a different way of life.

Sometimes music can mirror both past and present conditions in our lives. Maybe this Carpenters’ song is a precursor of things to come. Certainly, we want happier days filled with joy, understanding and forgiveness. We know our aspirations need inspiration and our expectations need to be reality-based.

It could be said that a lot of the Democratic candidates are singing that song. The Democratic presidential debates started last week in Miami, Florida. In this first round, there were 20 candidates over a two- night period.

While the debates were much anticipated and interesting to watch on television, were any minds in America changed? That is the question.

All of us know that issues such as healthcare, education, jobs and immigration are going to be keys to victory for the Democrats to win back the White House. During this most recently held debate, most candidates had a plan as to how to relieve the pain and suffering of most Americans.

For example, Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont espoused free healthcare for all Americans. He said, “Americans should not have to live in fear that they will go bankrupt if they get sick.” Fundamentally and morally, we would like to see everyone have free healthcare; however is that realistic? Almost everyone points to the Canadian model of free healthcare. Now some are taking a closer look at the German model, where individuals, employers and the government all contribute to the cost. Senator Sanders believes that Wall Street should bare the burden of paying for free healthcare. Well, it sounds like a bold idea and answer, but it’s not on Wall Street’s to do list to pay for healthcare.

Senator Kamala Harris, former vice president Joe Biden, and Senator Elizabeth Warren all had some interesting moments last week. Senator Harris went after Biden on his voting record regarding school busing. Her review of the facts was compelling; however, will she be able to last and hold on to the end?

Senator Warren wants to make public education free and to forgive student loan debt. If you have a student loan debt, then you will probably pay close attention to her. Yet who will pay for the forgiveness of the debt? Maybe as the president of the United States of America, she will simply sign an executive order and just wipe it out. That is truly power in its rawest of forms.

Immigration was another topic that brought some heat and some jousting, especially between Julian Castro and Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke. Castro is the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development and O’Rourke served in the House of Representatives. I think Castro will be around for the next series of debates. At this moment, I am not sure about “Beto.” Both are from Texas, so we will see how deep their pockets are as they continue their run to the presidency.

Money and issues will be at the forefront in the coming weeks. On the surface, I would opine that Biden, Warren and Sanders have the most cash on hand for their campaigns. However, that could change in the coming months. I am surprised at the continued success and appeal of Bernie Sanders. After all, he is an Independent masquerading as a Democrat.

Some blame Bernie Sanders for Hillary Clinton not becoming president. The critics say he should have conceded earlier instead of waiting until the convention. It is simply too early to speculate and prognosticate about next year’s dynamics.

Who will be in the next debate? Only time … and money … will tell.

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