The debate was held in Gersten Pavilion on Dec. 19. The candidates in attendance were Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang.
Just six days before the debate was scheduled on campus, all seven candidates pulled out over a labor dispute concerning employee contracts between Sodexo and Local 11 Labor Union. On Dec. 17, Sodexo and the Unite Here Local 11 labor union announced an agreement.
In pre-debate coverage, a PBS NewsHour host referenced the University’s high tuition. The cost of higher education, in general, was also discussed among the candidates. Buttigieg promoted his plan for education, which would allow free or discounted college tuition to families making less than $150,000 a year. “I do think that if you’re in that lucky top 10%, I still wish you well — don’t get me wrong. I just want you to go ahead and pay your own tuition,” said Buttigieg.
Another memorable topic of the debate was impeachment. The House of Representatives voted on Dec. 18 to impeach President Donald J. Trump just one day before the debate. “We need to restore the integrity of the presidency,” said Biden.
Yang blamed the division in opinions concerning impeachment on the media, specifically cable and network news. “What we have to do … [is] start digging in and solving the problems that got Donald Trump elected in the first place,” said Yang.
The candidates also discussed immigration. A question submitted by an LMU professor asked if Yang would enact a “permanent legislative fix for Dreamers in your first 100 days.” Yang responded that he would do this. “I’m the son of immigrants, myself, and I know that Dreamers are essentially Americans in everything but this legal classification,” said Yang.
Sanders was asked whether all 12 million immigrants would be included if he had the chance to pass a bipartisan reform plan. He said that on “day one” he would restore the status of all DACA recipients and “introduce bipartisan legislation, which will, in fact, be comprehensive, which will result in a path toward citizenship for all of the 11 million who are undocumented. That is what the people of our country want.”
The other candidates were also given the chance to weigh in on this divisive issue. “He’s been vilifying non-white people,” said Steyer when asked about Trump’s immigration policies. “He’s been trying to inflame his base and scare them that if, in fact, white people lose control of this country, that they’re going to lose control of their lives.”
The last question the candidates were asked was if they would rather receive forgiveness from any of their fellow candidates or give a gift.
“We know what a gift it would be to the future and to the country for literally anybody up here to become president of the United States compared to what we’ve got,” said Buttigieg.
Biden closed out the debate claiming he was the most likely to defeat President Trump in the 2020 election. He urged that the American people need to be told the truth.
The seventh Democratic debate took place on Jan. 14 in Des Moines, Iowa. Only six out of the seven candidates who attended the sixth democratic debate qualified: Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar.