COLUMBIA, SC (WBTW) – More than 20 Democratic presidential candidates took the stage in South Carolina this weekend at the State Democratic Convention.
The presidential hopefuls delivered big promises and pointed remarks towards the Trump Administration.
“Let me say a few words about how we defeat Donald Trump, the most dangerous president in American history,” Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said . “We defeat Trump by running a campaign of energy and enthusiasm that substantially grows voter turnout that gets minorities, young people and working people involved in the political process in a way we’ve never seen.”
Sanders was not the only one emphasizing minorities, millennials and working-class people Many of the candidates spoke on their plan to bolster federal programs to assist those demographics.
“We have a government that works terrifically for the powerful,” Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said on Friday. “I want a government that works for the rest of us. I believe that the time for small ideas is over. We need big structural change… That starts with a big idea.”
Warren has been pushing for big reforms in public education and plans to alleviate student loan pressure on college graduates by imposing additional taxes on top-earning Americans.
Concerns surrounding the cost of education were echoed by several other candidates. Former Vice President Joe Biden (D) told the convention he hopes to make community college completely free.
“We can easily afford free community college, cutting in half the cost of four-year colleges for everyone qualified to get in and further than that, we have to do something and reduce the student debt,” Biden said.
He continued by saying that he hopes to make child care more affordable for single parents by providing them with an $8,000 tax cut.
Just before the convention, a forum was hosted by Planned Parenthood to provide a space to discuss reproductive health issues like abortion.
“Women are desperate and we deserve constitutional protections,” Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said. “It’s why I will lead on repealing (the) Hyde (Amendment). It’s why I will make sure poor marginalized and black women have the same reproductive freedoms as any person. It’s why I will not allow male legislatures around this country to make those life and death decisions for you and I. It is why I will make sure that I will guarantee reproductive freedom for every woman, and every transgender woman and every non-conforming individual who needs these basic human civil rights.”
Another big issue at this weekend’s convention was environmental policy. Many candidates said America needs to be doing more to combat climate change.
Governor Jay Inslee (D-WA) went so far as to say it will be his greatest concern as president.
“We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and the last generation that can do something about it,” Inslee said. “I’m elected, defeating the climate crisis will be the number one priority of the United States of America.”
Speaking of global issues, Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) said that there needs to be a change in America’s foreign policy. She focused on how her military background would influence her decision making when it comes to war.
“I know the cost of war,” Gabbard said. “For too long warmongers from both parties have been dragging us from one regime-change war to the next, and this president right now is leading us closer and closer to the brink of a war with Iran…As your president, commander and chief, I will end our long-standing regime-change war policy that has taken so many lives, that has cost us trillions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars and have made the American people less safe.”
South Carolina is a strategic battleground state for these candidates. The Palmetto State has the largest electorate in the first group of states to cast their ballots at primaries.
So far, Biden has held a steady lead in the polls among Democratic candidates.