WHY WESTERVILLE FOR DEMOCRATS? STRATEGY
The fourth Democratic presidential debate is planned for Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio on Tuesday, Oct. 15, beginning at 4 pm Alaska Time.
For most of America, the event takes place on CNN; it is moderated by CNN and the New York Times.
If you haven’t heard of Westerville, here are the Cliffs Notes: It was founded in the 1800s, but is now a suburb of Columbus, the somewhat liberal capital of the state. In 1859, the city of Westerville became “dry,” with the passage of a law prohibiting the sale of alcohol. The Anti-Saloon League, a major player in the Prohibition movement, moved its headquarters there.
Today, it’s a city of 40,000 that boasts of a city-owned smart grid comprised of an underground fiber network connected to a city-owned data center and delivering 100 Gbps connectivity to municipal service providers, businesses, schools, the local university and research institutes.
Democrats chose this community because they see it as a rising progressive area in a state that is a “must win” for presidential candidates. Plus, it’s a demographic they need — well-off, progressive whites. The town is over 86 percent white, families are stable, crime is low, and 69 percent of the people who live in Westerville were born in Ohio. The town has 26 Christian churches, so homogeneousness is a major characteristic.
Those characteristics would typically mean it’s Republican territory, but perhaps the Democrats have some polling to tell them otherwise. Donald Trump won Ohio with by 8 percentage points in 2016, but has a net negative job approval rating now in Ohio, according to a new poll from Emerson College. Three of the top Democratic candidates beat him in a the poll’s head-to-head matchup, although just within the margin of error.
THIS DAY IN 2015
While this Tuesday, Democrats are on their fourth debate, jump back to Oct. 13, 2015, when the Democrat field of candidates had its first debate for the coming presidential election cycle, starring the eventual nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton, along with Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee.
The debate among the five, held in Las Vegas, was sponsored by CNN/Facebook and most analysts gave the win to Clinton. Westerville, Ohio could not be more different from Las Vegas.
WHO HAS QUALIFIED FOR TUESDAY’S DEBATE?
Candidates who met the Democratic National Committee’s threshold for the Tuesday debate include 10 who debated each other in September, plus the addition of billionaire Tom Steyer and Hawaii U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who met fundraising and polling thresholds.
This means there will be the most ever candidates on stage for this debate series:
- Former Vice President Joe Biden
- U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts
- U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont
- U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, of California
- South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg
- Businessman Andrew Yang
- U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, of New Jersey
- Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, of Texas
- U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, of Minnesota
- Former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro
- Billionaire investor and activist Tom Steyer
- Hawaii U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
AGE A FACTOR?
Pollster Nate Silver points out that the leading Democrats are old by presidential standards: Elizabeth Warren will be 71, Joe Biden 78, and Bernie Sanders 79 on Election Day, 2020. Sanders would be 83 years old at the end of his first term. President Reagan was 77 when he finished his second term. (Donald Trump will be 74 years old next June).
WHERE LEADING CANDIDATES STAND ON THE ISSUES
Support impeachment – Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, Andrew Yang.
Does not support impeachment: Tulsi Gabbard.
MEDICARE FOR ALL:
Support Medicare for all – Cory Booker, Julian Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Andrew Yang. Pete Buttigieg supports Medicare “For All Who Want It.”
Support reform of the Affordable Care Act: Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar.
Support universal health care: Tom Steyer, Beto O’Rourke.
Support federal gun licensing: Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, Andrew Yang.
Support ‘assault weapons’ ban: All 12 – Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Gabbard, Harris, Klobuchar, O’Rourke, Sanders, Steyer, Warren, Yang.
Supports gun seizure: Beto O’Rourke, who in the last debate said: “Hell yes we’re gonna take your AR-15, your AK-47.”
Support federal universal background checks: All 12 – Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Gabbard, Harris, Klobuchar, O’Rourke, Sanders, Steyer, Warren, Yang.
GREEN NEW DEAL:
Support Green New Deal: 11 of the 12 – Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Harris, Klobuchar, O’Rourke, Sanders, Steyer, Warren, Yang.
Does not support Green New Deal: Tulsi Gabbard.
Support ban on offshore drilling, fracking, and ending oil/gas leases on public land: All 12 – Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Gabbard, Harris, Klobuchar, O’Rourke, Sanders, Steyer, Warren, Yang.
Support making illegal border crossing into a civil, rather than criminal violation: Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Harris, Sanders, Steyer, Warren, Yang.
Support raising the current cap on refugees: All 12 – Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Gabbard, Harris, Klobuchar, O’Rourke, Sanders, Steyer, Warren, Yang.
Support expanding the DREAM Act, and making easier pathways to citizenship: All 12- Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Gabbard, Harris, Klobuchar, O’Rourke, Sanders, Steyer, Warren, Yang.
Support higher taxes on wealthy: Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, O’Rourke, Sanders, Steyer, Warren.
Not committed to higher taxes on wealthy: Biden, Gabbard, Harris, Klobuchar, Yang.