The Democratic Debate which took place on the 27th of June sparked an interesting discourse on the left-wing political structure of the United States. Despite the unity of being under the Democratic Party, every candidate brings a nuanced policy approach to the election campaign. We have candidates from across the political spectrum like the centrist Pete Buttegieg who has been accredited for providing a bridge between Conservatives and Democrats to the populist, left-wing leader, Bernie Sanders. Sanders has, in fact, famously called himself a democratic socialist – perhaps becoming the first presidential candidate to bring with him the principles of socialism into a widely corporate America.
Although the debate brought issues of healthcare and the American economy to the forefront, with Kamala Harris pushing for progressive taxation reforms and Buttegieg criticizing Sander’s “medicare for all,” what lacked was a comprehensive statement from any candidate on their foreign policy stance.
Electoral politics has been inevitably imbedded in all democratic institutions, making it hard to deny the blatant fact that the politicians go where the voters are. For this reason, election campaigns have largely focused on issues that the American public can resonate with and healthcare and the domestic economy are top on that list. For issues to be brought up, they have to have the capacity to be directly related to the common person because at its very essence, that’s how electoral politics works. Quite unfortunately, rarely does foreign policy makes this cut.
But the foreign policy of any country impacts citizens much more than they can imagine, more so if it is in a hegemonic position like the United States. The tariffs imposed on the Chinese government have setbacks for American corporations which eventually affect the prices of products – and hence, inflation – in the domestic economy. The threat of war with Iran, although far from imaginable for the common American man, is a threat that could easily become a reality depending on the foreign policy adopted by the president.
Most Democratic voters are looking for a candidate who can defeat Trump. They need someone who incentivizes a systematic change away from the political environment that Trump has created. The best way to do this is for these Democratic candidates to bring their foreign policy proposals to the table. They need to be more specific about how they are going to be dealing with imminent foreign problems that will have a trickle-down effect on the American people.
What I want to see, above all else, in the next debate are explicit foreign policy proposals that link to domestic issues, because this is essentially how any Democrat will be able to have a standing against Trump. The candidates need to educate the public about the impact of foreign policy decisions on domestic issues and exactly how the changes that they promise to make will benefit the overall public.