Joshua Harder came into Thursday’s debate against Rep. Jeff Denham with a small grin on his face. He has had a great week. FiveThirtyEight.com, a reputable poll analysis website, has given Harder a 70% chance to unseat Rep. Denham, who has served this district in Congress since 2012. For Harder, this debate was exactly what he wanted. The Modesto Bee, which has already endorsed Harder, arranged him the opportunity to have a discussion with his opponent with whom he has exchanged attacks over social media for months. Harder has been preparing for this debate, as he has hosted 16 town halls in 16 weeks to answer questions and be accessible to the district’s constituents. During this first debate though, Harder did not show up. When speaking on agriculture, the district’s biggest and most important industry, Harder demonstrated he had very little knowledge regards to agricultural subsidies to which Rep. Denham said, “Understand the industry that you want to represent.” If this was not enough to calm Harder, he fell flat once again on his number one issue, healthcare. When the moderator asked Harder where the money for this plan would come from not once, not twice, but three times, Harder failed to have an answer. “He talks about reducing our debt or eliminating it but wants to add $31 trillion to it.” Congressman Denham attacked Harder for his irrational support of the Medicare For All healthcare bill. For healthcare being Harder’s number one priority, he must come with a better response than the one he had at the first debate. This first debate showed us that while Harder may have the momentum, that could quickly change if he does not show up for this next debate.

Nick Dokoozlian


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