Former United States Vice President Joe Biden took advantage of the Democratic debate to announce that he will appoint a woman as vice president if she is elected to face Donald Trump; while his rival, Bernie Sanders, used the coronavirus to illustrate the need for a public health system.
The debate was marked by the crisis caused by the new virus: it took place in the CNN studios in the city of Washington, there was no invited audience, no applause or cheers were heard, and the candidates were separated by almost two meters apart. .
The surprise came from Biden, who promised to choose a woman as a running mate, which automatically sparked guesses about who the candidate might be.
“I UNDERTAKE TO CHOOSE A WOMAN”
In US history only two women have been nominated as vice-presidents: in the Democratic Party, Geraldine Ferraro did it in 1984; and, on the part of the republicans, Sarah Palin, did it in 2008. In no case, the applicants arrived at the White House.
“I promise to choose a woman to be my vice president. There are several qualified women to be presidents tomorrow. I will choose a woman to be my vice president,” Biden promised, without elaborating.
The moderators asked Sanders if he would name a woman, to which the senator avoided committing and simply said, “In all likelihood, I will.”
“For me, it’s not just about nominating a woman, but making sure we have a progressive woman,” Sanders said.
CORONAVIRUSES AND MORE CORONAVIRUSES
Beyond Biden’s announcement, the debate focused on the crisis caused by the rapid spread of the coronavirus, which in the United States. it has left 3,200 cases and 62 deaths, in addition to the closure of schools, restaurants and other establishments in several of the 50 states of the country.
The candidates showed their differences on how to deal with the crisis: Sanders emphasized the root problems of the health system, while Biden tried to focus the discussion on the current crisis and proposed guaranteeing free access to medicines only in this case, but not as general norm.
Biden also asked to deploy the military to help in hospitals. “It is a national emergency. I would summon the military right now,” he said.
BERNIE POINTS TO PHARMACEUTICALS
For his part, Sanders took the opportunity to defend a healthcare model called “Medicare for all”, which would abolish private insurers and guarantee the right to health of all citizens.
“This pandemic exposes the incredible weaknesses of our healthcare system. We are spending twice as much on healthcare as any other country. How in God’s name do we have 87 million people without health insurance?” Asked Sanders, who has championed the Fight for a free system in the US, where there are 340 million inhabitants.
“Why can’t people pay for the medicines they need? Because we have a group of corrupt pharmaceutical companies who are saying: Oh! This is an opportunity, we are going to make a fortune!” Emphasized Sanders, while rubbing his hands.
SOAP AND DISINFECTANT GEL FOR CANDIDATES
In addition, during the debate, the moderators asked the candidates what measures they have taken to protect themselves from the coronavirus.
Sanders, 78, who had a heart attack a few months ago, said he is “being very careful” with the people he interacts with and using “a lot of soap and a lot of hand sanitizer gel.”
For his part, Biden, 77, revealed that he has a disinfectant gel in the luggage he carries with him.
The two, who are considered at-risk populations due to their advanced age, refused to shake hands at the beginning of the debate and greeted each other with their elbows together.
NEXT PRIMARY IS TUESDAY
On the primary calendar, the next key date is Tuesday, when millions of people are called to the polls in the states of Arizona, Illinois, Florida and Ohio.
Those primaries are currently scheduled, although two states (Georgia and Louisiana) have delayed their elections and Wyoming has established a vote by mail.
In U.S.A. the primary process is a matter of mathematics: the candidate who manages to win the support of a larger number of delegates at the party convention, in which the candidate is formally appointed, wins the Democratic nomination.
This year there will be 3,979 delegates to the convention, so applicants must win at least 1,990 (50% plus one) to secure victory.
For now, Biden leads the race with 890 winners, while Sanders is backed by 736.
Beatriz Pascual Macías