Democratic Party of Evanston holds debate watch party


Samantha Aguilar/The Daily Northwestern

Evanston resident Earl Weingirden has a lively discussion with another democratic debate viewer about the events of the debate. The Democratic Party of Evanston has been hosting watch parties for the democratic debates and invite Evanston residents affiliated with any candidate.

Samantha Aguilar, Reporter

As the 2020 presidential race continued Tuesday night with the fourth Democratic debate, viewers across Evanston tuned in to watch. This included the Democratic Party of Evanston, which has hosted watch parties for each debate.

At the Democratic Party of Evanston’s headquarters, 1806 Church St., the organization offers a space for anyone to watch the debates. Former board member and committee chair Jane Neumann explained turnout at the Democratic Party of Evanston has declined because some DPOE members are now affiliated with specific democratic candidates.

“It’s still important for us to provide a venue that is welcoming to those who don’t want to sit alone at home yelling at the TV,” Neumann said. “We want to keep the lights on for people that are unaffiliated.”

This Democratic debate, hosted by CNN and the New York Times, was crucial for candidates hoping to remain competitive in the upcoming primary elections. Viewers identified the increasing competitiveness displayed by some candidates.

“In the era of Trump, there’s a feeling candidates have that they need to pop. They need to say something that hits the news cycle. And I think for some of them they feel like those types of tactics will be successful for them,” Evanston resident Neal Weingarden said. “They’re all trying to find their space.”

This fourth Democratic debate had the most contenders, 12, on stage for a televised presidential debate in history. Much of the evening focused on policy and invoked criticism from the candidates on a variety of issues, from U.S. withdrawal from Syria to Medicare for All. Many lower-polling candidates directed their jabs toward Sen. Elizabeth Warren, (D-Mass.) who is leading the field in the latest polls.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg criticized Warren for her plans on healthcare.

“I don’t understand why you believe the only way to deliver coverage for everybody is to obliterate private plans,” Buttigieg said.

Viewers at the watch party picked up on the aggression between contenders. Weingarden said the candidates are trying to stand out as “unique” to gain attention.

“Candidates are picking specific candidates to contrast themselves with,” Weingarden said.

At this point in the campaign cycle, many voters already have an idea of who they will be supporting in the elections.

Neumann explained her strategy in watching all of the democratic debates.

“I would say I’m using (the debates) to be certain of who I wouldn’t (affiliate with),” she said.

During the second break of the fourth Democratic debate, the small but expressive audience at the watch party discussed their thoughts on how the candidates had performed. Weingirdan said candidates are walking a thin line by trying to “not tear each other down” but still distinguish themselves.

After the debate ended, the viewers stayed for a few extra minutes to discuss what they had just watched. While they didn’t all agree on which candidates they supported, they shared similar views on how specific candidates did.

“None of them surprised me on the basis of tonight,” Neumann said.

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