Moderators Hit Hard at the Brown and Black Forum
DES MOINES, Iowa—On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Vice News moderated the Brown and Black Candidate Forum at the Iowa Events Center. The event was probably the most satisfying political event I have attended this election cycle. The Vice moderators asked excellent questions and did not let any of the candidates get away with dodging a question. In fact, every candidate was asked challenging questions about what their campaign would realistically do for people of color or problems their campaigns have relating to people of color.
The challenging questions began with Mayor Pete Buttigieg. The former mayor was asked about the decline in black police officers and his refusal to meet with black police officers during his time as mayor. When Mayor Buttigieg stated that he met with many police officers, the moderators did not relent, bringing up complaints from a specific group which he allegedly refused to meet with. Mayor Buttigieg’s response throughout the grilling remained that he had met with many officers, but would not discuss disciplinary issues with officers.
The next candidate to enter the flames was Representative John Delaney. The moderators asked Rep. Delaney why he would not support Medicare for all even though it was immensely popular among Black and Latinx voters. Rep. Delaney claimed that his health care vision was best, as it did not take existing healthcare away from people who liked it.
Senator Elizabeth Warren was asked if she would stay true to her promise to increase funding to Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Instead of immediately answering the question, Sen. Warren launched into her stump speech about how she was raised and how those values translate to her campaign. The moderators quickly stopped her and redirected her toward the question at hand. Sen. Warren eventually committed to funding HBCUs.
Former Vice President Joe Biden was grilled about Obama era immigration policies, and if he would follow in the former President’s footsteps. After Biden explained his immigration policy to the crowd, the moderators pressed him to explain comments he made at a different event that seemed to hint at his disagreement with Pres. Obama’s immigration policies. Biden refused to elaborate on those comments and instead reiterated his thoughts on immigration.
These are just a few examples of the incredible and in-depth questions asked by the Vice News moderators. Vice made it abundantly clear that they did their research on the candidates, and they knew what issues seriously affected voters of color. This was not the event for fluffy stump speeches and empty promises, and the moderators saw to that. I know I was not the only attendee impressed by the moderators. The guests sitting next to me expressed their enthusiasm for the style of the moderators in between candidate appearances. This event felt like the most honest and open look at the candidates of the 2020 election cycle.