Category Archives: News/Op-Ed

News/OP-ED: Sanders Emerges as Frontrunner, Buttigieg Leads Moderate Lane

by Timothy Levine, Executive Editor

With the results of both the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary being released, Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders stand apart from the field in a tier of their own with Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren having disappointing showings.  

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The Iowa Caucuses took place in Iowa on February 3, 2020. Normally, the night of the Caucus would be full of speeches going over each candidate’s results, however, the results were delayed and America had to wait six days until 100 percent of the results were reported.

The Iowa Caucus result delay stems from the integration of a new app The Iowa Democratic Party commissioned Shadow Inc., a for-profit technology company, to build according to The New York Times. This app was supposedly plagued with “coding” errors and many volunteers helping to run the caucus were unfamiliar with how to log in and use the app. The party stated that these issues caused “inconsistencies with the reports” and the investigation required time, which led to the delay according to Vox.

With the results now 100 percent reported, Pete Buttigieg can finally be declared the winner with 13 delegates and 26.2 percent of the votes. He holds the slimmest edge over Senator Bernie Sanders with twelve delegates and 26.1 percent of the votes. These two are in a tier of their own with Senator Elizabeth Warren and Former Vice President Joe Biden falling behind with eight and six delegates respectively. The only other delegate awarded went to Senator Amy Klobuchar who garnered 12.3 percent of the vote. Candidates Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer left Iowa empty-handed with zero delegates each.

The New Hampshire primary took place this Tuesday with results quickly following polls closing that evening, unlike the debacle that was Iowa. With the results currently at 98 percent reported, network projections have given Sanders the win with 25.7 percent of the votes and nine delegates. A strong showing from Buttigieg, following his momentum from Iowa, gave him a strong second-place showing with 24.4 percent of the vote and nine delegates as well, thanks to New Hampshire’s tier rules with delegate distribution. The only other candidate to gain delegates was Klobuchar with 19.8 percent of the votes and six delegates in a rather surprising showing for her, surging to third place.

Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden both failed to gain any delegates with less than ten percent of the votes and finishing in fourth and fifth respectively.  This is very disappointing to both campaigns, as they hoped to pick up momentum for later primary elections. Biden, who was once considered the heavy frontrunner, is now in fifth place in total delegates and will need to win big in upcoming primaries. 

In other primary news, Andrew Yang has officially suspended his campaign following poor showings in both Iowa and New Hampshire. A long-shot candidate, Yang was able to surpass many career politicians in terms of fundraising and polling, however, these frustrating results for the Yang campaign give him no clear path forward to win this primary election.

The next primary election will be held in Nevada in the form of a caucus on February 22. Nevada awards 48 delegates, 36 of which are pledged based on the results of the caucuses. This will be an important state to win to gain momentum going into Super Tuesday, where 1357 delegates will be up for grabs.

News/Op-Ed: CoronaVirus

by Ryan Tavera and Joshua Whitfield

The spread of a new disease, 2019-nCoV, widely referred to as the coronavirus has undoubtedly taken the world by storm. The coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China and is currently challenging scientists who are struggling to officially find the source of the virus, although they believe it to be the selling and eating of bats in Wuhan, China. 

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“When you look at the genetic sequence of the virus, and you match it up with every known coronavirus, the closest relatives are from bats,” said Dr. Peter Daszak, president of EcoHealth Alliance, an environmental health non-profit organization.

The virus has proven to be contagious affecting up to 17,000 people and already killing 362 people as of Monday according to Johns Hopkins CSSE live map. 

See the map here.

What does this all mean though for people living in the United States? Well if you are worried about the virus spreading it already has been confirmed in the U.S with 6 cases as of Thursday.  To prevent the further spreading of the virus the infected are being quarantined and treated. 

In recent news, a plane carrying 210 U.S. citizens was issued to evacuate from Wuhan, China after the sudden outbreak. The plane ended up taking the passengers to the March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, California where passengers are going to be quarantined two weeks.  

Considering a plane was evacuated from China holding 200 passengers what does this mean for other American flights to and from China?

US airlines have already begun to suspend flights to China, a different approach when compared to other major airlines which have banned flights completely to China. These include British Airways, Air India, Indonesia’s Lion Air, and South Korea’s Seoul Air and many more that have decided that the best course of action is to cut off travel for the meantime. 

In addition to countries already being on the verge of cutting travels to China, the W.H.O. (World Health Organization) has declared during an interview on Thursday that the coronavirus is a global emergency. 

“For all of these reasons, I am declaring a public health emergency of international concern over the global outbreak of the virus” says the director of the W.H.O, Tredos Adhanom. 

This declaration may sway many more countries towards the cutting off of all air travel to China. 

“Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems, and which are ill-prepared to deal with it” says director of the W.H.O, Tredos Adhanom. 

Dr. Tredos and the W.H.O. are afraid of what the virus can mean for other countries whose health systems aren’t as advanced as other countries. The world has already seen what can happen when a virus makes contact with a county that lacks the funds for a strong health system. Back in 2014 with the Ebola virus striking West Africa and affecting up to 30,000 people and 11,000 deaths.

2019-nCoV however, is no Ebola, it presents it’s own list of problems and precautions. As the coronavirus continues to take its course, America can only prepare and protect its citizens as we continue down this long journey in search of a cure. 

The coronavirus is no new enemy, on the contrary, the virus has some history behind it, but what exactly makes this virus so prominent and contagious? 

The virus infected those not through the air like bacteria, but can only be transmitted through bodily exchanges like blood and/or infected person’s saliva. The common trend was for people to wear face masks in China to prevent it from getting into their nose or mouth. Yet officials say it’s actually not as effective as it seems.

The resurgence in the coronavirus has shaken the western world due to the contagiousness of the disease in China. Among one of the most infamous diseases to resurge in the last ten plus years, the coronavirus has been spread to hundreds of Americans visiting its epicenter Wuhan, Hubei Province, China and contracting the coronavirus. 

In the early 2000s, the coronavirus was a notorious disease in China because of the severe symptoms and possible fatality of it. The coronavirus is classified as a SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome because of its symptoms to cause difficulty breathing and severe coughing. 

“Routine surgical masks for the public are not effective protection against viruses or bacteria carried in the air”, which was how “most viruses” were transmitted, because they were too loose, had no air filter and left the eyes exposed. But they could help lower the risk of contracting a virus through the “splash” from a sneeze or a cough and provide some protection against hand-to-mouth transmissions.” Dr. David Carrington told BBC News

The CDC classifies it as a virus and according to the CDC, the best way to avoid getting sick is not to wear masks but to have better general health and hygiene.

“There are currently no vaccines available to protect you against human coronavirus infection. You may be able to reduce your risk of infection by doing the following; wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands, avoid close contact with people who are sick.” said the CDC

The virus’ potency is now being felt by the rest of the world because unfortunately, US citizens were in Wuhan when the outbreak happened. This now opens the rest of the world to the risk of the coronavirus and is affecting airlines, trade, and general relations with China. This virus now has spread and shows no sign of quickly slowing down.

News/Op-Ed: Legends Never Die

by Robert Johnson

An athlete, pianist, writer, rapper, businessman, husband, and most importantly a father. Kobe “Bean” Bryant was a beyond talented human being, accomplishing more in his lifetime than being an NBA Megastar. 

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Born August 23rd, 1978 in Philadelphia, PA to Joe Bryant and Pamela Cox Bryant. Kobe was born into a family of stardom with his father, Joe Bryant was a former NBA and overseas player. 

When Kobe Bryant was 6, his father Joe retired from the NBA to go play professional basketball in Italy where he played five seasons in a few different cities. 

In order for Kobe to adapt to his environment, he had to pick up the local language which was Italian in order to communicate with his teammates on the basketball court or soccer field. 

Later in life, Kobe learned Spanish, making him completely fluent in three languages. 

Kobe Bryant is extremely intelligent, graduating with a high school degree from Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania. In Kobe’s adult life, he was mostly self-taught, learning the most from his life experiences. 

Kobe was drafted straight out of Lower Merion High School, into the NBA with the 13th overall pick of the 1996 draft. The team that originally owned this pick was the Charlotte Hornets who on draft day would trade Bryant to the Los Angeles Lakers immediately for Vlade Divac, the 7’1 Serbian center. 

“Charlotte never wanted me,” stated Kobe in an interview in 2015. “They had a couple of guards already, a couple small forwards already. So it wasn’t like I would be off the bench much. “ 

This was the trade that would create a dynasty for the Lakers which would dominate most of the 2000s. 

Whether it was Shaq and Kobe or Pau and Kobe. Bryant proved himself to be a champion.  Kobe came into the league wanting to be his own man. 

“I don’t want to be the next Michael Jordan, I only want to be Kobe Bryant.” 

By the end of his career, Bryant cemented himself as one of the greatest of all times.

Having an NBA resume of accomplishments such as five NBA championships with two Finals MVPs, 3rd on the all-time scoring list (4th now, after recently being passed by Lebron James), 15 All-Star Game appearances, and 1 regular season MVP. 

With all of Kobe’s on-court accolades, some of his off-court accolades meant just as much if not even more. 

This list of off-court accomplishments, and the most important starts with his four daughters, Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, Natalia Diamante Bryant,  Bianka Bella Bryant, and Capri Kobe Bryant. 

Many of Kobe’s fans were more concerned about him having sons that would carry on his torch, but Kobe was proud of being a “Girl dad”. 

“Without hesitation,” he said, “I would have five more girls if I could. I’m a girl dad,”  according to Elle Duncan. 

Bryant was heavily invested in being a family man. This is what made Kobe and Gianna ‘Gigi’ Bryant’s sudden death on January 26th, 2020 so impactful on the lives of people all over the world. Kobe was able to stretch himself out to several different age groups.

Everything that Bryant did was for his daughters. Which sadly would lead to his eventual death as he was taking his daughter to a Mamba Sports Academy game. 

After being a father, Kobe was an artist. 

Bryant enjoyed writing poetry, later taking his writing to the mic. Kobe has had several songs over the years. Songs such as “Kobe” with Tyra Banks, “Hold Me” with Brian McKnight, and “Say My Name” with Destiny’s Child. Bryant’s artistry didn’t stop here. He later found himself in the film industry. 

In 2018, Kobe Bryant was the first professional athlete to be nominated and win an Oscar. 

The Oscar that Kobe won was for “Best Animated Short Film” for his film “Dear Basketball”. 

Kobe Bryant’s artistry was second to none, setting the example of creative freedom that any athlete could possibly obtain in their lifetime. 

Bryant was also an advocate for youth sports, rebranding what was initially “The Sports Academy” that started in 2016 in the “Mamba Sports Academy” in 2018. A multisport training center for young athletes in Thousand Oaks and Redondo Beach, California.

Bryant’s daughter Gianna was often seen working, perfecting her craft at this academy. Enjoying the company of her teammates and the game. 

UCONN Women’s Basketball team recognized Gianna’s dedication to basketball from a young age, leaving a jersey with her number on a seat saved for “Mambacita”. 

UCONN has let it be known that Gianna is “forever a Husky”. 

The passing away of these two has left Los Angeles, along with Kobe and basketball fans across the world feeling lost. 

Bryant left behind his wife Vanessa and three other daughters Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. A family that he dedicated himself to day in and day out. 

Not only was Kobe dedicated to his family but also his league. Kobe played twenty years in the NBA, making on-court rivals as well as off-court friends. 

There were plenty of heartfelt interviews from plenty across the NBA. Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, Jay Williams, and Doc Rivers have all sent their condolences to the Bryant family. 

On the court, these men have fiercely competed on the court or coached against Kobe. This was just another reason for them to respect Bryant even more so. 

Younger players across the league like Devin Booker, Trae Young, and Zach LaVine all look up to Bryant. Appreciating Kobe’s detail for the game of basketball. 

Many claim Kobe to be this generation’s Michael Jordan. This is false. 

Some people would say that Kobe Bryant is this generation’s Micheal Jordan. However, just like Kobe said himself, Kobe is this generation’s, Kobe Bryant. A champion in life and a legend whose legacy will never fade. 

 

 

 

News/Op-Ed: Top Four Cautious with Three Weeks ’til Iowa

by Timothy Levine, Executive Editor

This past Tuesday night featured six of the remaining Democratic presidential candidates on the debate stage and with the Iowa Caucuses less than a month away, each candidate tried to push their electability in this much more condensed field.

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Held in Iowa, the main topic of the night’s debate really came down to who can beat President Donald Trump. In this regard, senator Elizabeth Warren shined, she came equipped to challenge those who saw her as too far left to win a general election and delivered one of the best lines of the night. When discussing the electability of women candidates, she noted that the four men on stage lost ten elections, while she and senator Amy Klobuchar have never lost an election. Although she started off slow in the foreign policy portion of the debate, she pushed a strong message of universal healthcare that saw her separate herself from the more moderate mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden. Overall, she had a very strong performance that she will use to gain momentum heading into these first cycle of primaries.

Another strong performer was Buttigieg, who continued to show why he is the best debater in the Democratic race. He came out very strong on foreign policy, showing why he is the most level headed and best equipped to take on the challenges as the head of state. His veteran experience was used to separate himself from the other candidates and had very few rebuttals on the points he made. His attacks on Trump’s approach to Iran showed his understanding of this complicated issue and made it difficult to remember that he is only just a mayor. Inverse to Warren, while he did shine on foreign policy, his more moderate approach to healthcare could set him back in the Democratic race, as more and more of the party seems to shift farther left on this issue.

This debate also featured very few bad performances with Tom Steyer being the only candidate that I can say did a bad job presenting himself. Steyer did little to persuade anybody that he was better equipped than other candidates on any issue, he also lacked any enthusiasm to attack other candidates, which would have been the only way he could gain momentum. While I don’t think his polling will get worse, it is hard to picture a long term path forward in this race.

On the other hand, I felt that Biden, Sanders, and Klobuchar did not stand out, but did just enough to not hurt them going forward. Biden had a solid performance in the debate that shows that he still can compete on the stage and had no real slip-ups that could seriously hurt him. Klobuchar, while not making any lasting impressions, definitely did enough to show herself as another alternative to moderate voters who don’t like Biden and will hope to have a stronger showing in the coming debates. Bernie Sanders also did what he had to do in last night’s debate, showing himself as the most progressive candidate on issues like healthcare, but struggling in the debate with Warren in regards to comments he made about her electability.

Overall, this debate lacked the back and forth battles that previous debates seemed to have, with many candidates looking to have done just enough to keep themselves in their current positions. It will be interesting to see how the Iowa Caucuses plays out and its effects on the following debates.

News/Op-Ed: Mayor Pete Shines, Biden Stumbles

by Tim Levine, Executive Editor

This past Wednesday ten of the remaining Democratic presidential candidates filled the stage for the fifth debate of the primary season, a rather lackluster night that saw moderate candidates come out strong. 

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Held in Atlanta, the debate stage was vacant this time around of former-congressman Beto O’Rourke, who dropped out of the race, and Former Housing Secretary Julian Castro, who did not meet the polling and donor requirements to qualify for the debate.

With the Iowa Democratic Caucus fast approaching, many of the lower-polling candidates needed to have a big night. For example, billionaire Tom Steyer needed to pick up momentum in this debate to show he is a force that has a path forward, but he was largely forgettable and did not do much to either increase or decrease his stock.

Remaining stagnant in the polls at around three to four percent, entrepreneur Andrew Yang was also pining to make an impression on the debate stage. However, with the lack of speaking time he was provided and a rather uneventful line of questioning, Yang suffered by not necessarily performing poorly, but not really performing at all.

Another low-polling candidate, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, also had to make her voice heard and suffered from heavy criticism from Senator Kamala Harris over her anti-party sentiments and her past record. Tulsi continued this anti-party sentiment throughout the debate, claiming the Democrats are “not the party that is of, by and for the people.” By arguing against the party, she could polarize their base of support, a base that will be necessary for a Gabbard nomination run, which looks slim to none, and certainly to beat President Donald Trump in a general election.

Although the above candidates could all be considered in their own rights “fringe” candidates, the night belonged to the more moderate candidates, with Senator Cory Booker, Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Amy Klobuchar and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg all having great nights.

Senator Cory Booker used his time well to attack the front-runner, former Vice President Joe Biden on his opposition to the legalization of marijuana, an important issue for the Democratic party. In one of the viral moments from Wednesday, Senator Booker attacked the former Obama V.P.’s recent support of criminalized marijuana on the campaign trail saying he “thought [Biden] was high” when he spoke to the issue.

Senator Harris was able to push past her poor debate performances and fire back at Congresswoman Gabbard, who had heavily criticized her earlier. Senator Klobuchar, meanwhile, withheld any big shots to highlight her strong electability and her wins in red and purple parts of the Midwest.

Mayor Buttigieg had the strongest performance of the night, remaining composed in the face of several attacks and largely being on defense most of the night. Having the lead in Iowa for the past several weeks, it is clear that candidates had to attack Buttigieg, but none proved effective, as Buttigieg pushed back against attacks throughout the night.

Gabbard questioned his judgment with Buttigieg’s notion that the military can assist in border operations, however, Buttigieg fired back with criticizing her meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is recognized throughout the international community as a war criminal known for regularly gassing his own citizens.

Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders did little to change their stock. Both had clear answers and were able to appeal to their base, but did little to set them apart and show they are clear front runners.

Former Vice President Biden had a very poor performance from the beginning that did not improve, as he stumbled and looked completely unprepared for a debate. In another viral moment, Biden boasted his endorsement from the “only” Black female senator. He, of course, meant the “first,” as he stood on the stage with a confused Harris, wondering if she had been forgotten or if Biden simply misspoke.

The next Democratic debate in December features much stricter polling and donor requirements with currently only six candidates qualified. Yang, Steyer and Gabbard are on the fringe, but with less than a month remaining, the debate stage will definitely become smaller. Candidates now are going to look for a big push going into this debate, as the Iowa Caucus is only three months away.

News/Op-Ed: Problems with Criminal Rehabilitation Plague U.S. Justice System

by R.J. Johnson

Many don’t know that the most difficult thing about doing time in prison is what you do after you’re released. 

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With many ex-convicts not being accepted by society, the chances of living a “normal life” start to become slim to none. According to CSG Justice Center, 76.6 percent of the twelve million people that are released from jail each year are back in jail within five years of release.

Jail or prison is supposed to be a means of rehabilitating criminals and allowing them to be civilized upon release into the world. Instead, it does the complete opposite in some cases, starting from juvenile facilities such as Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center in Chicago to max security prisons like Pelican Bay that are all across America.

Prisoners are treated sub-human, recovering an animalistic nature that is buried deep inside. They go in for small offenses then are released after learning to become even smarter criminals.

In 2011 Brideport, Connecticut, Kelly Williams-Bolar a homeless mother, was arrested and later charged with first-degree larceny for enrolling her five years old son in a school in a neighboring city. Williams-Bolar pleaded down to a five-year prison sentence for something she saw as harmless.

Is seeking proper education for your child worth this serious of sentencing?

What if Mrs. Williams-Bolar went to jail and fell into a life that she wasn’t originally on track for? Or even worse, murdered.

American society has recently adopted a guilty before proven innocent mentality, especially with minority groups.

On the contrary, you see cases such as Amber Guyger who murdered a man in his own apartment which she mistook for her own. Guyger was sentenced to ten years in prison, however, she will most likely end up serving half of that sentence.

Not only was her sentencing sympathetic, but so were the surrounding people in the courtroom. Including the judge and fellow officers.

Did race matter in these two sentencings between these women with Guyger being Caucasian and Mrs. Williams being African American? Does race matter in the criminal justice system in general? It is extremely difficult to tell, with the numbers in court varying between the races.

“Black male offenders continue to receive longer sentences than similarly situated white male offenders” said the United States Sentencing Commission.

Black males are also less likely to get sentenced on the local level but when they do it is 16.8% longer than white males. These statistics relate to non-violent crimes, showing how harsh the judicial system might be to minority groups.

This discrepancy is not accidental, black males/females get more harsh sentencing than white males/females regardless of past criminal history according to the United States Sentencing Commission.

These statistics also reflect the conviction rates for violent crimes. Non-violent criminals are put through the same system that violent criminals are, potentially building the risk of non-violent criminals being released from prison and committing violent crimes.

Once you are in the system, you will most likely remain unless you are cleared of all criminal charges. Meaning that they are stripped of all basic rights that we take for granted. Traveling abroad, voting, and being able to receive financial aid all become either difficult or completely impossible.

How do we expect ex-convicts to respect themselves upon release if they aren’t given a true chance by society to see if they are truly rehabilitated?

If they are told they are monsters and dangers towards society constantly, then that is what they will continue to be. They will begin to feel hopeless. Most prisoners struggle deeply with self-esteem with many of their families giving up on them, leading them to ultimately giving up on themselves.

Once they are released, no matter how much surrounding support they have these prisoners are still alone. Mentally, physically, and spiritually starved. Living a life even worse than what they were struggling with before they were prosecuted.

Once we begin to positively integrate truly reformed criminals into our society, we will begin to notice the true positive impact it would have on America as a whole.  People make mistakes, at all ages and all walks of life. True rehabilitation starts with us.

News/Op-Ed: CNN & New York Times Co-Sponsor Democratic Debate Featuring Twelve Candidates

by Tim Levine, Executive Editor

On Tuesday night, twelve candidates packed the stage as the largest group ever to participate in a United States presidential debate. 

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This most recently anticipated installment of the Democratic Presidential Primary was co-hosted by CNN and The New York Times in Westerville, Ohio over the course of three hours.

The candidates on stage included frontrunners like former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Senator Bernie Sanders, as well as second and third tier candidates like Senator Kamala Harris, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, Senator Cory Booker, former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, Senator Amy Klobuchar, former Housing Secretary Julian Castro, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, and billionaire Tom Steyer. Both Gabbard and Steyer did not meet the requirements for September but qualified for this debate.

With the size of the debate, it made it harder for candidates to get their message across, but one theme was certain throughout and that was attacking the new primary frontrunner Elizabeth Warren, who has begun to edge out former Vice President Biden in some recent polls.

While many polls still predict Biden as the frontrunner, to the candidates on stage, it seemed as though Warren is leading in their minds and candidates felt that attacking her policies could help bolster their poll numbers. Amy Klobuchar attacked Warren on her Medicare-for-all plan, which she deemed too much of a “pipe-dream” that would cut many American’s private insurance plans. Pete Buttigieg also attacked Warren on this issue specifically her refusal to give a number to how much her plan would cost.

While Warren was attacked by Klobuchar and Buttigieg, she was also attacked for her wealth-tax proposal by Andrew Yang. Yang had a strong performance in the debate, countering Warren’s proposal by mentioning that many of the EU’s wealth-tax laws have been repealed, while the value-added tax remains extremely successful, a central component to Yang’s plan.

Yang also continued to bring automation to the forefront, even having Tulsi Gabbard agree with him directly on the issue. This discussion on automation has been brought to the forefront with Yang and, even with his short speaking time, had the biggest impact on the debate.

As far the the low-tier candidate go, Congresswoman Gabbard also had a strong presence on the debate stage, going head to head with Buttigieg on Trump’s withdrawal on troops in Syria and her continued anti-war rhetoric. However, many other candidates seemed to have made little impact on the stage, with their presence scarcely known.

Senator Booker, businessman Steyer and former Housing Secretary Castro all had rather lackluster performances that could send their campaigns a sign that there can’t really be a path moving forward. Biden’s performance was rather weak for a front-runner candidate, which has been a consistent critique of his candidacy.

He did have good points against Senator Warren when it came to bills he helped pass, but his defense of Hunter Biden and attack of Trump did not seem to be conclusive enough to hinder any doubt that Trump has brought up in regards to his son’s presence on foreign boards.

Overall, the debate featured much more concentrated arguments between candidates, even with the crowded stage of twelve, and now only eight candidates have qualified so far for the November debate, so expect the field to narrow slightly.

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