HomeBad Ass AsiansDebate: Harris attacks the true villain; Yang announces his 'big surprise"

Debate: Harris attacks the true villain; Yang announces his ‘big surprise”

Andrew Yang with Kamala Harris and Beta O’Rourke at the ABC News 2020 Democratic Presidential debate. ABC photo

Views from the Edge

The debate among 10 of the 19 Democratic candidates probably didn’t change their poll standings so much for the top tier hopefuls. If there’s any shuffling about it would be among the middle tier and those single-digit candidates.

The top three candidates — Joe Biden, Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — will remain where they are with Biden as the frontrunner and — depending on the poll — followed by Warren and Sanders.

Asian Americans Kamala Harris and Andrew Yang didn’t do any damage to their campaigns which means the California senator is still fourth or fifth and Yang in sixth or seventh (Although he is currently fifth in the new Hill Harris X Poll released this week.)

Yang’s “big surprise” that his campaign teased Wednesday turned out to be a contest for 10 American families to get $1000 a month over the next year as part of a showcase for his Freedom Dividend, or universal basic income plan. 

Yang announced the online raffle during his opening statement, which drew applause from the audience. 

People will be able to enter during the next week, according to a person with knowledge of the plans. The money will be distributed to 10 families in increments of $1,000 per month as a way of highlighting Yang’s signature campaign promise, a universal basic income.

Yang is already paying out of his pocket $12,000 a year to families in Iowa, New Hampshire and Florida, three states that could shape the voting trend in the primaries.

A campaign official said the money would come from campaign funds and would be paid out for the full year even if Yang does not become the nominee.

In another strong moment, Yang talked about his father living in a shack on the ground in Taiwan, then immigrating to the US to raise a son who would run for President of the US. He argued that immigrants, their ambitions and entrepreneurship are what drives America’s economy.

He avoided a trap question that recalled Yang’s earlier statement that charter schools are better than public schools. “I am for good schools,” Yang responded.

Kamala Harris at the ABC News 2020 Democratic Presidential Debate. ABC photo

Harris had a change of strategy for the third Democratic debate that chose to focus on Trump and not the other candidates on the stage in Houston.

In her opening statement, she made clear that the main goal of her campaign is to defeat Trump. Unlike Trump’s hate and divisiveness, she wants to focus on “our common issues, our common hopes and desires, and in that way unifying our country, winning this election, and turning the page for America.” 

She ended with a line that drew cheers and hearty applause from the crowd: “Now President Trump, you can go back to watching Fox News.”
Talking about Trump’s trade policies and his lack of success, Harris said, “The bottom line is this: Donald Trump in office on trade policy … reminds me of that guy in The Wizard of Oz,” she said. “You know, when you pull back the curtain, it’s a really small dude.”

All in all, Harris emphasized the human side of her campaign allowing the audience a peek at her past when she quoted her India-born mother, who told her, “Don’t let anybody tell you who you are, you tell them who you are.” 

The strange GOP commercial

During the debate, ABC aired a troubling ad paid for by the New Faces GOP PAC, run by former congressional candidate Elizabeth Heng, who in 2018, ran unsuccessfully against California’s Fresno 16th District against incumbent Rep. Jim Costa.

The 30-second ad opens with an image of New York Democrat, Rep. Alejandra Ocasio-Cortez, an outspoken progressive who won her seat n 2018.

Heng’s narration calls Ocasio-Cortez, the “face of socialism and ignorance.” Ocasio-Cortez’s face then burns away to reveal images of skulls.

“Does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez know the horror of socialism?” the narrator asks.

“Mine is the face of freedom,” Heng says to the camera during the ad’s closing seconds. “My skin is not white. I’m not outrageous, racist nor socialist. I’m a  Republican.

In a news release previewing the ad, the PAC’s organizers say the mission is twofold: Broaden the GOP’s image and “lead the fight against socialism.”
“Republicans are running TV ads setting pictures of me on fire to convince people they aren’t racist. Life is weird!” Ocasio-Cortez responded on Twitter. “Know that this wasn’t an ad for young conservatives of color — that was the pretense. What you just watched was a love letter to the GOP’s white supremacist case.”

The rest of the field

Most of the other candidates had their moments. It was probably the best performance for Beto O’Rourke who will probably move up in the polls.
Pete Buttigieg did well enough to stay in the race. His measured, plain-talking style has an appeal to white mainstream voters.

Julian Castro, the former Obama administration HUD secretary, tried to attack Biden but his aggressiveness made him looking like a bully.
Senators Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker, though they had no major flubs, should consider dropping out of the crowded field although they will probably stick around for the fourth debate next month.

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