CNN and The New York Times successfully brought the fourth Democratic National Debate to Otterbein’s campus on October 15, 2019, and the students' reactions were overall positive.
12 candidates debated, the most to ever debate at once. Sen. Warren came under attack, despite feelings from students that she won the debate overall. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg went on the offensive, even going so far as to tell former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, “I don’t need lessons from you on courage” when debating gun control.
Based on student comments, there was confusion between who the student body thought won the debate. Businessman Andrew Yang was mentioned positively, as well as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
When asked how she thought the debate went, senior sustainabilities major Jamie Kuder said, “There was a consensus that we need to work together on some of the biggest problems we are facing today.”
First year design technology major Jacob Gooch had his own opinion, saying, “There were a couple moments where some people got a little bit too competitive.”
The students wished that climate change had been a more prominent topic. “Climate change is a big topic today that a lot of people in our generation are understanding more and more, so I think we need to be able to understand these issues on a bigger, greater scale,” said Kuder.
Gooch also said that he wishes they would have talked more about how the candidates would compromise on their policies. “You’re never going to get your ideal policy,” said Gooch. “I’d love to actually know what is their middle, because they’re definitely not getting 100% of everything they advocate for.”