BY ALEXANDER WILLIS
The first round of the Democratic debates kicked off Wednesday and Thursday night in Miami, Florida, and saw the more than 20 presidential candidates spar off in everything from gun control to immigration. U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn had a lot to say about the debates, and was particularly critical of calls to decriminalize illegally crossing across the U.S. border.
“When you watch this and you look at some of the comments from each of the two nights, you know that the Democrat party has tacked left,” Blackburn said. “They talk about how they would open the southern border, how they would provide health care for all of those crossing the border illegally, [and] they want to decriminalize illegal entry into the country. The question to the Democrats would be, if that is your position then, are you just going to declare that we have an open border and anyone can come in, and everyone that comes in can get benefits from the U.S. taxpayer?”
Polls on the candidates had remained mostly steady leading up to the first round of debates, with former Vice President Joe Biden being the clear front runner. Biden’s strong lead did see some turbulence over the past few weeks, however, due to his past support of the Hyde Amendment, a provision that bars the use of federal funds to pay for abortions, as well as his past work with known segregationists such as James Eastland, who was a strong opponent of racial integration during the civil rights era.
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders has routinely placed as a strong second in the polls, though U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s polling numbers have been climbing fast, even surpassing Sanders’ ranking in a Gravis Marketing poll conducted in Maine and released on Friday.
Both Sanders and Warren have introduced major proposals to combat wealth inequality and student loan debt, the latter of which has recently surpassed $1.6 trillion across more than 44 million borrowers.
Regarding some of their proposals, which include Warren’s wealth tax that would see all assets over $50 million receive an annual 2 percent tax, or Sanders’ proposal to cancel $1.6 trillion of student loan debt, Blackburn said that ultimately, all these policies would end up doing is hurting the American middle class.
“Their focus is on policies that would be so expensive, even Bernie Sanders had to end up admitting that his policies would require tax hikes on middle-income Americans,” Blackburn said. “The Democrats are always going to look for a way to raise your taxes and take more money out of the taxpayers’ pocket, because they want to put their agenda of big government control in place and tell you what you can do with your money. I support letting taxpayers keep their hard-earned money, they do not need the federal government telling them how to live their life from the time they get up, to the time they go to bed.”
Another proposal Blackburn said would end up hurting the taxpayer came from entrepreneur Andrew Yang, whose major proposal has been implementing a form of Universal Basic Income that would see every American receive $1,000 a month.
“This would cost $3.2 trillion per year, so who’s going to be paying for that,” Blackburn asked. “It’s going to be the taxpayer who is going to pay for that. If you think your taxes are high now, what would it be if you’re having to pay more in order to get $1,000 a month?”
Another topic that saw fierce debate Wednesday and Thursday was gun control. Californian State Legislator Eric Swalwell proposed introducing an assault weapon buyback program, with the eventual goal of buying back every assault weapon in the country, with U.S. Senator Cory Booker proposing citizens be required to obtain a license before the purchasing of any firearm.
Blackburn said the proposals set “a very dangerous precedent,” and were clear infringements on the Second Amendment.
“I support the second amendment, and when you have individuals talk about beginning to infringe on that second amendment, I think that that is a very dangerous precedent,” Blackburn said. “This talk about eliminating the ability of individuals to own firearms, or to say they can own them but they can’t shoot them… this is not something that is going to help strengthen the second amendment. These are policies that sound good, but I think what they’re talking about is something that is just not workable.”
“Every time there is a problem, the Democrats on those stages said government is the solution – what Tennesseans know is many times government is the problem,” Blackburn said. “What Tennesseans want to see is people honor and abide by the constitution and the rule of law, they want to see our freedoms protected, and they want to see freedom bolstered so that we hand it on to another generation for them to enjoy the benefits of a free nation. Our emphasis this week has been on securing that southern border so that we protect our nation’s sovereignty, it has been on supporting our U.S. military so that they are able to defend the U.S. at home and abroad, and then to hear some of this that would diminish our rights and our freedoms… I think it’s not something that most Tennesseans are going to agree with.”
The second round of Democratic debates will be held in Detroit Michigan on July 30.