There are, and will be, a lot of good stories breaking down those issues and challenging the candidates. Check WESA, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and national media to learn more about those.
But another peculiar phenomenon occurred during the forum: selective cheers.
Forums like this with large crowds always cheer for lots of people and lots of issues. But this forum seemed especially cheerful, and some of the cheers that struck Pittsburgh City Paper were merely for places or descriptions.
Candidates, forum participants, and moderators all mentioned cities, institutions within those cities, or types of students or educators.
These forums aren’t just for discussing policy; they’re also about rallying a base that shares similar values. This one was mostly about public education.
CP has ranked some of the cheers, and non-cheers, from early in the forum to gauge the excitement of this base.
1) Teachers unions: Four cheers
Sanders mentioned the importance of teachers' unions a couple of times and received cheers, and his explanation of his labor platform received cheers. During the forum, two members of teacher unions also asked questions and received cheers.
"We have seen teachers not only standing up for their rights as workers, but standing up for their children's education," said Sanders to cheers.
2) Pittsburgh: Three cheers
Obviously with the forum being held in the Steel City, cheers were expected for Pittsburgh. During the first two hours of the forum, Pittsburgh was mentioned three times and received cheers each time.
During a question asked to South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a member of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers mentioned the teachers union to loud cheers. When Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was asked a different question later on, the questioner mentioned the University of Pittsburgh and received cheers.
Interestingly, another questioner asked Buttigieg a question and mentioned Deer Lakes School District in the Pittsburgh suburbs, but received no cheers.
3) Student Debt: Three cheersBoth times when Warren mentioned her plan to eliminate student debt, she received emphatic cheers from the crowd. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) mentioned his plan to cancel student debt and received a large cheer from the crowd.
Other candidates, like Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Buttigieg, also mentioned the high cost of college but did not advocate for eliminating the debt and didn’t receive any significant cheers.
4) LGBTQ students and students of color: Two cheers
When Bennet mentioned his former role as superintendent, he talked about the importance of servicing LGBTQ students and students of color. This received a large cheer from the crowd. When a questioner mentioned the same thing in another question, there was also a chorus of cheers.
It was a good talking point to rile up the crowd.