Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Live-blogging the first night of the first 2020 Democratic debate

I'll be live-blogging the first 2020 Democratic debate here. Keep reloading this post for more updates.

I'll be doing this live, without the benefit of a pause or rewind button, so I'll be writing quotes on the fly which might not be verbatim, but I'll try to keep them reasonably accurate. (It's also possible I'll go back later and make some corrections.)

[Interactive transcript of the whole debate.]

Ann Althouse (my mom) is also live-blogging.

These are the 10 out of 20 candidates who are debating tonight (from Politico):

9:06 — Sen. Elizabeth Warren gets the first question. "You have many plans…" But most Democrats say "the economy is doing well." Warren says it's "doing great for a thinner and thinner slice at the top" — private prisons companies, drug companies, etc. — but not for people who want to get their drug prescriptions filled.

9:08 — Sen. Amy Klobuchar is asked about her comment that "free college" is "a magic genie," and she suggests that Warren's plan would be "paying for college for rich kids." Still, Klobuchar would "make community college free."

9:10 — Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke answers the first question in both English and Spanish! [ADDED: He apparently made several grammatical errors in Spanish, including that he "used masculine adjectives to describe 'economy' and 'democracy,' which are feminine nouns in Spanish."] After all that, the moderator offers him an extra 10 seconds "if you want to answer the question" about if he supports a 70% marginal tax rate. He says we should raise corporate taxes.

9:12 — Sen. Cory Booker uses his first answer to remind us, "I live in a low-income black and brown community," and he sees that they're not benefiting from the economy.

9:15 — Julián Castro is asked: "What would you do to ensure that women are paid fairly in this country?" He accepts the dubious implication of that question, and says we should "pass legislation" to make sure that happens (even though that's already the law). Here's a 2013 piece from the liberal Slate debunking the idea that “women make $.77 to every dollar men make on the job.”

9:17 — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is asked about the fact that his city has the most severe income inequality in the country. He says Democrats are "supposed to be for" 70% income taxes and "free college" — an obvious call-out of the candidates who wouldn't clearly take those positions: Beto and Klobuchar.

9:19 — Former Rep. John Delaney says he's different from everyone else on the stage because he's been an entrepreneur, not just a politician. "I know how to create jobs." He smartly supports improving the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

9:20 — Washington Governor Jay Inslee: President Trump "says wind turbines cause cancer. We know they cause jobs!"

9:22 — Elizabeth Warren says the country's "industrial policy" is: "Let giant corporations do whatever they want to do." "Giant corporations have exactly one loyalty: to profit. If they can profit by sending jobs to Canada or China, they will."

9:23 — Moderator Lester Holt asks all the candidates who would "abolish" private health insurance in favor of a government program. Only Elizabeth Warren and Bill de Blasio raise their hands.

9:24 — Amy Klobuchar says Trump's policy on health-care prices is "all foam and no beer."

9:25 — Elizabeth Warren says she spent much of her career "studying why families go broke" — including people who do have health insurance. She describes the perverse incentives of health insurers, and says: "Medicare for All solves that problem."

9:28 — Beto O'Rourke confirms that he wouldn't get rid of private insurance. He starts to explain: "Choice is fundamental to…" But Bill de Blasio immediately interrupts and lambastes Beto: "It's not working! … Why are you defending private insurance?!"

9:30 — Rep. Tulsi Gabbard points out that every other country with universal health care still has "a role for private insurers."

9:31 — Cory Booker again brings up his own low-income neighborhood, this time to underscore that he gets how the health-care system holds back kids from getting an education.

9:32 — Jay Inslee says he's "the only candidate here who's passed a law protecting women's reproductive rights and a public option." Amy Klobuchar shoots back: "There are 3 women up here who have fought pretty hard for a woman's right to choose!"

9:34 — Julián Castro is asked if he wants his government health-care program to cover abortion, and he says yes: "I don't believe only in reproductive freedom; I believe in reproductive justice."

9:35 — Elizabeth Warren says on the right to an abortion, we shouldn't "just depend on the courts"; Roe v. Wade should be codified in "federal law."

9:36 — Asked about the opioid crisis, Beto O'Rourke points out that 2.3 million Americans are behind bars, including for possession of marijuana despite the trend toward decriminalization — yet not one person from Purdue Pharma has done any jail time.

9:40 — Castro is asked about the tragic story of the father and his infant daughter who both drowned on their way to America. "Watching that image is heart-breaking. It should also piss us all off." My mom says this must be the first time any presidential candidate has said the word "piss" in a debate.

9:41 — Booker responds to the same question — in Spanish first, and then in English. Castro says he was the first candidate to propose a comprehensive immigration plan, and he's glad Booker "agrees" with him.

9:45 — De Blasio attributes that tragedy to Americans' political views about immigrants, and he passionately tells people who've been "left behind": "The immigrants didn't do that to you! Big corporations did that to you! The 1% did that to you!"

[The libertarian Reason magazine responds: "It's almost as though de Blasio's role in this race is to just say the harshest, most unacceptable position against private property ownership to make candidates like Warren seem more reasonable."]

9:46 — Castro attacks Beto's record as too harsh on immigrants, and says Beto would understand this "if you did your homework on this issue." [VIDEO.]

9:50 — Klobuchar emphasizes how much immigrants contribute to economic growth. She's positioning herself as a progressive yet relatively moderate candidate who makes arguments that can appeal to swing voters and Republicans.

9:54 — Who would go back to President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran? Everyone but Booker raises their hands. He clarifies that Trump shouldn't have pulled out of the deal — but he wouldn't "unilaterally" say the old deal should be reinstated. He'd try to re-negotiate a better deal. (Klobuchar and Gabbard agree the deal was "imperfect"; for instance, Klobuchar says there should have been "longer sunset periods.")

9:56 — Gabbard says Trump has "led us to the brink of war with Iran," which would be even worse than the Iraq War. "Trump and his chickenhawk cabinet" "are creating a situation where just a spark would get us into war."

10:05 — Technical issues create an embarrassing situation for new moderators who take over halfway through — Chuck Todd and Rachel Maddow. Todd keeps trying to ask his first question (about guns), but he and the candidates keep laughing about weird chatter in the background. Apparently some microphones were still on, but Todd can't seem to decide if it's an "audience" mic or the mics for the moderators who have left the stage! Todd tells the control room to turn off the mic, but that doesn't work, so they take another commercial break before any candidates can get a chance to answer. This was especially awkward since it led to candidates like Klobuchar cracking up while Todd was talking about the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.

10:10 — Warren says the hardest question out of 2,000 she's been asked while running for president was "one from a little girl and one from a little boy": "How are you going to keep us safe?"

10:12 — Booker says he's gotten the same questions as Warren, but "what's even worse is I hear gunshots in my neighborhood." He mentions the shooting of "someone I knew at the top of my block."

10:16 — Rep. Tim Ryan (who might have spoken the least of anyone so far) cuts in without being asked a question to talk about the need for mental health care to address school shootings, because kids feel "shamed, traumatized, or bullied."

10:17 — Beto says the gun issue "must be led by young people." So he's no Dianne Feinstein!

10:19 — Booker says not all the candidates agree with him about this even though 70% of Americans do: "If you need a license to drive a car, you should need a license to buy a firearm."

10:20 — De Blasio points out: "I've been raising a black son in America." He talks about the conversations he's had to have with his son about race. (De Blasio is a white man married to a black woman.)

10:22 — Todd asks what the plan is if Mitch McConnell is still Senate Majority Leader and blocks the Democratic president's Supreme Court nominee. Warren passionately but vaguely says she would "make this Congress reflect the will of the people."

10:24 — Delaney positions himself as a pragmatic uniter: "All the big transformative things we've ever done in this country have only happened when big majorities of the American people get behind them." So we shouldn't aim for "impossible promises" like getting rid of private health insurance.

10:26 — Rachel Maddow asks Inslee, who has said that climate change is "all the issues," if he would "save Miami." He says he would; his climate plan has been called "the gold standard."

10:28 — Beto, who's been taking a consistently earnest and concerned tone throughout the debate, answers a climate change question by saying he'll "put farmers and ranchers in the driver's seat" with renewable and sustainable energy.

10:31 — Tim Ryan is asked how we "pay for climate mitigation." He glosses over that question briefly, then reels off a list of issues that he wasn't asked about (guns, etc.), and says the Democrats need to change their image from "coastal elites" to a "working-class," "blue-collar party" that represents "the forgotten communities." (Ryan is from Ohio.)

10:32 — Delaney chimes in to give a stronger answer to the question that was posed to Ryan: we need to "put a price on carbon, and give a dividend back to the American people."

10:33 — Chuck Todd asks Gabbard why Americans should trust her on gay rights after she made anti-gay statements years ago. She says many Americans can "relate to" her as someone who "grew up in a conservative community" and had views about gays that she no longer holds.

10:34 – Klobuchar sums up her whole life and career as being "about economic opportunity," including better child care. In what she calls "a first" on the debate stage, she touts her own legislation that Trump signed.

10:38 — John in New York (not me!) asks if the US has a "responsibility to protect" victims of genocide, even when it doesn't implicate our national interests. Beto says: "Yes," but always with "our allies." "When the United States presents a united front, we have a much better chance of achieving our foreign-policy ends."

10:40 — De Blasio jumps in and stresses "the War Powers Act," which requires the president to get congressional approval before going to war. De Blasio talks about how his dad lost his leg in war, leaving "physical and emotional scars"; "he did not recover, he took his own life."

10:43 — Ryan makes a rather dull statement on how the US needs to be "engaged" against terrorism, but Gabbard says that answer is "unacceptable" to military families. Ryan mentions September 11, but Gabbard says "al Qaeda attacked us on 9/11; the Taliban didn't." Ryan says the Taliban was supporting al Qaeda.

10:45 — Everyone is asked to name the biggest geopolitical threat to the United States. Many candidates say "climate change" along with something else, especially nukes and China. Only one candidate says "Russia" — de Blasio.

10:48 — Rachel Maddow points out that "no US President has ever been prosecuted for crimes after leaving office." Delaney says: "There's always a first!" But he quickly pivots away from that topic, saying it isn't what Americans have been asking him about.

10:54 — Now they're doing closing statements. Delaney: "I don't just want to be your president to be your president. I want to do the job." Um, OK, but how does that distinguish you from any of the other candidates?

10:55 — In his closing statement, de Blasio notes that he passed a $15 minimum wage, "universal health care," and "universal pre-K."

10:55 — Inslee decided to run for president so that on his "last day on earth," he could look his kids in the eye and say he "did everything possible" to fight climate change.

10:58 — Gabbard says we have "government of, by, and for the rich and powerful," and this "must end."

10:59 — Castro talks about his grandmother coming to the US from Mexico at age 7.

10:59 — Klobuchar admits she doesn't have the most progressive platform — "I don't make all the promises everyone up here makes" — but she'll get things done.

11:02 — Warren makes the last closing statement. She paints a picture of her upbringing in Oklahoma, when she never expected to run for president. "My dream was to be a public school teacher."

What was the most striking thing about this debate? The top candidate in the polls, Elizabeth Warren, seemed to do what she wanted to do — and no other candidate ever attacked her. It was Warren's night.

Winners: Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Julián Castro

Losers: Beto O'Rourke, Tim Ryan, NBC

Check back at this blog tomorrow for the other 10 candidates!


Michael Fitzgerald said...

Anti-American radical trash raised fat on hatred, vengeance, and hypocrisy. Utterly disgraceful that the views and opinions of these major party leaders are considered in any way but insanity. And millions upon millions of American citizens will support these maniacs. "Transwomen must have access to abortions!"... These people are dangerous and should not have power of any kind.

Jamie said...

So far the most time, as far as I can tell, has been spent on immigration. Specifically ILLEGAL immigration, though that term is elided throughout. It is funny to me that half of the Democratic field (and the moderators) seem to believe that THIS issue is the most important one for them to address. The behavior and treatment of non-citizens, who, independently and for their own reasons, come to this country, theoretically unable to vote for and not intended to be represented by any elected official of this country, is the TOP issue.

It seems fundamentally... unserious.

Ken B said...

I didn’t watch. Klobuchar sounds like she’s trying to be “boring”.

Ken B said...

Sounds like Delaney is the only one you could have a reasonable conversation with.

Skipper said...

Was this Lenin vs. Trotsky or what?