Sanders and Warren Dominate Moderates in Second Democratic Party Debate
There were two progressive frontrunners on stage for night one of the Democratic Party’s second primary debates in Detroit. After an aggressive performance from Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, effectively swatting back criticism from low-polling moderate candidates, it is now clear just how influential their ideas are within the Democratic Party.
While the mainstream media tried building up potential conflict between the two leading up to the debate, Sanders and Warren instead unified behind their progressive ideals.
In a night where underperforming moderates like John Delaney, Tim Ryan and John Hickenlooper were desperate to attack progressive policies to achieve a breakout moment, the one-two punch of Sanders and Warren proved too much to overcome. With the debate almost completely centered around bold progressive policies, it appeared as if the moderates had no ideas of their own.
Here are some key moments from the debate that demonstrated the growing strength of the Democratic Party’s progressive wing.
Warren: Why run on what we can’t do?
This was the line of the night for Elizabeth Warren. In fact, it is a central point between the progressive/moderate divide that will be relevant throughout the 2020 primary.
In response to John Delaney calling progressive policies like Medicare-for-All and the Green New Deal a “fairy tale,” Warren unloaded.
“I don’t understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for,” Warren said.
By focusing more attention on why we shouldn’t do progressive policies, instead of talking positively about his own moderate policies, Delaney ended up shining the spotlight on progressivism even brighter. Taking a page from Obama’s “yes we can” rhetoric, Warren’s line inspires Democrats to think about what we can achieve if we aim for big, progressive change.
According to John Delaney’s own Wikipedia page, this was the moment Warren killed him. Based on the crowd reaction, it’s hard to argue with that.
Sanders: Your question is a Republican talking point.
In response to Jake Tapper asking the candidates whether they support raising taxes on the middle class to pay for Medicare-for-All, Sanders took the gloves off and set the record straight: that is a Republican talking-point.
“What I’m talking about it and others up here are talking about is no deductibles and no copayments, and Jake, your question is a Republican talking point,” Sanders said. “And by the way, the health care industry will be advertising tonight on this program.”
He’s right. Journalists and pundits often ask this question as if raising taxes means that consumers will end up paying more for healthcare than they currently do. What they don’t give any credence to in their framing is that if you eliminate deductibles, co-payments and premiums by a greater amount than the tax increase, it is entirely possible that the American people will end up spending less on healthcare.
Kudos to Sanders for calling this out. Brownie points for pointing out the role the health insurance industry has in pushing this talking point.
Warren: We should stop using Republican talking points
John Delaney is running in the Democratic Primary, but boy does he sound like a Republican sometimes. On Medicare-for-All, he is basically filming their 2020 attack ads for them.
He regularly accuses the plan of throwing tens of millions of Americans off of their private insurance. While technically true, he portrays it as if the bill would cause a mass amount of people to go uninsured. In reality, Medicare-for-All replaces those people’s private insurance with a comprehensive public healthcare plan, uninfluenced by the profit-motive that leads to sick people being exploited by private insurance companies.
Warren calls him out on this disingenuous attack. She did so effectively.
“We are not trying to take away health care from anyone,” Warren said. “That’s what the Republicans are trying to do. And we should stop using Republican talking points in order to talk with each other about how to best provide that health care.”
Sanders: I wrote the damn bill!
Isn’t it ironic how people like Tim Ryan accuse Bernie Sanders of not understanding Medicare-for-All, when in reality, they are the ones misunderstanding his proposal?
This is one of those moments.
As Sanders was explaining that his Medicare-for-All plan would expand Medicare to include dental care, hearing aids, and glasses for the elderly, Ryan responded by saying, “You don’t know that.”
Sanders response decimated Ryan’s illegitimate point. In typical passionate Bernie style, he said, “I do know that, I wrote the damn bill!”
Someone edit Ryan’s Wikipedia page because I don’t know how he’s still walking after that one.