The second primary debate of the Democratic National Committee, hosted by CNN, ended Wednesday night.
During this second half, the remaining 10 candidates of the 20 Democrats battling for the nomination discussed topics spanning immigration, healthcare, civil rights, the economy, women’s rights, foreign policy, and climate change.
Last night’s candidates, included Former Vice President Joe Biden, California Sen. Kamala Harris, New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, tech executive Andrew Yang, and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, who took stage for about three hours.
Cartoonists, the internet, and the commentary press were quick in responding to the candidates and takeaways of the debate. We aggregated some of these voices.
Cartoonists depicted the democratic candidates’ preparation for the two-night debate that was ripe to reveal divisions in the party.
During last night’s debate, candidates such as Harris, Booker, and Castro went after tentative frontrunner Biden, criticizing his past comments, actions, and policies including immigration and criminal justice during his tenure as vice president and senator. Biden staunchly defended himself by claiming how “Everybody’s talking about how terrible I am on all these issues. Barack Obama knew exactly who I was,” referring to his time as vice president under President Obama.
Cartoonists reacted to Biden’s being a common target during last night’s debate.
Before the debate began, Biden greeted Harris by saying "“Go easy on me, kid.” Harris did not go easy, as Biden and Harris clashed when talking segregation and healthcare.
The former vice president criticized Harris’ for being a prosecutor and being unable to desegregate schools in San Francisco and Los Angeles during her time as attorney general of California. Meanwhile, Harris reminded Biden of his opposition to busing as a plan to integrate schools and confront racial segregation during his time as senator in the 1970s.
And, while Biden criticized Harris’ new Medicare-for-All plan, which will take 10 years to transition, Harris claimed that his plan would not benefit all citizens of the U.S.
The audience via Twitter responded to the face-off:
Booker called out Biden’s criminal justice plan to reduce mass incarceration. He also criticized the former vice president’s role in drafting the 1994 crime bill, which is blamed for driving mass incarceration of African Americans.
When discussing immigration, Booker denounced Biden’s claim that if an immigrant has a Ph.D., it is easier for the person to obtain a green card and live in the United States. Booker said the following: “Well, that’s playing into what the Republicans want: to pit some immigrants against other immigrants.”
This prompted a response from cartoonists.
Biden and Castro worked together under the Obama administration, and during last night’s debate, Biden criticized Castro for changing his stance on immigration after leaving the Obama administration and running for president. Castro favors the decriminalization of illegal border crossings, but Biden opposes it.
Castro responded to Biden’s claim by saying: “It looks like one of us has learned from the lessons of the past and one of us hasn’t.”
The audience reacted via Twitter:
Biden wasn’t the only target during the debate. Gabbard strongly criticized Harris’ record as a prosecutor, calling out her controversial role in criminal justice issues. Gabbard reminded the California senator of her stance on keeping innocent people in jail and incarcerating more than 1,500 people for marijuana violations.
Here is how viewers reacted on Twitter.
Via Twitter, the audience also noted Andrew Yang’s performance in the debate, especially to his explanation of his Freedom Dividend plan, which is a universal basic income plan that would provide $1,000 per month for citizens over the age of 18.
And the live audience interrupted Booker’s opening statement by chanting “Fire Pantaleo.” These chants were aimed at New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, referencing the N.Y.P.D. officer Daniel Pantaleo and his role in the death of Eric Garner.
People took to Twitter to understand and respond to this interruption.
The next debate will take place in September and fewer candidates will qualify. The audience is saying goodbye to those who will not make it.