WAVERLY, WARTBURG WEIGH IN ON DEMOCRATIC DEBATES

NATHAN STEPHANY, KVN NEWS DIRECTOR

“Everybody who’s eligible to vote should consider it their civic responsibility to do that,” Mike Sherer, a Waverly city councilman, said. “It’s very challenging times, and if people don’t, we’re all responsible for what happens.” 

The more than 20 candidates seeking the Democratic party nomination for the 2020 Presidential Election throughout the summer have dwindled due to drops in polling numbers. 

The Democratic debate in Houston, Texas hosted 10 Democratic presidential candidates Thursday, Sept. 12, in front of a packed auditorium and 14 million television viewers which made it the second most watched Democratic primary debate in history, according to The New York Times. Even more viewers watched the candidates go head-to-head by livestream. 

“The differences amongst us Democrats on the stage are not as great as the urgency for us to unite as a party,” Sen. Cory Booker said in his opening statement of the televised debate. 

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Booker was joined in the debate by polling leader and former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Kamala Harris, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and Sen. Julian Castro, and Venture For America founder Andrew Yang.

With the 10 candidates on stage and more that did not qualify for the debates but are still in the race, the Democratic party faces a crossroads. 

The party could easily be perceived as split between all the different candidates and platforms, which intersect at certain points and branch away at others.

“I remember talking to people from other campaigns actually about that we need to stick together, no matter who it is,” Wyatt Hintermeister said, a third-year Wartburg student who also interned as a field organizer for the Amy Klobuchar campaign. “Back in 2016, there were people who said I won’t support that person. This time I’m hearing so many Democrats say, and it’s very refreshing, I will support the Democrat and I will work for that person, campaign for that person, support that person no matter what because this is high stakes.”

Hintermeister is just one representative of a new generation of American voters who can now vote in the 2020 Presidential Election.

In fact, more than half of Wartburg’s student population who will be eligible to vote in 2020 were too young to vote in the 2016 election which elected President Donald Trump.

“People were mad because they were too young, we couldn’t vote,” London Dodd, a third-year Wartburg student and graduate of nearby Janesville High School said.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is the most recent candidate to visit in August, at the Waverly Area Veteran’s Post. Roughly 200 people stopped by to listen to Klobuchar speak. 

“It ran the age gamit,” Meredith Keelan, general manager of the Veteran’s Post, said.. “I know there was a handful of highschool kids and it was just a very eclectic group of people.”

Candidates visiting Iowa will do their best to ensure potential voters know who they are and what they represent before the Iowa Caucuses come around on Feb. 3, 2020.

“In this community, a candidate is heard differently than they are in the big metro areas,” Anelia Dinatrova, editor of the Waverly Newspaper, said. That’s why they come here for that one-on-one contact with people. I really think that Waverly has the pulse of the nation.”

Democratic candidates will return to the debate stage on Oct. 15 in Westerville, Ohio. Currently the Republican party has four candidates.

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