NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, July 30th, 2019

We’re watching the first night of the second 2020 Democratic presidential debate. Join us!

Good evening, and wel­come to NPI’s live cov­er­age of the sec­ond Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial debate of the 2020 cycle.

NPI staff are watch­ing and shar­ing impres­sions of the debate as it pro­gress­es, which will take place over the course of two nights in Detroit, Michigan.

CNN is the media part­ner for this DNC-sanc­tioned debate.

The for­mat is as fol­lows:

Can­di­dates will be giv­en six­ty sec­onds to respond to a mod­er­a­tor-direct­ed ques­tion, and thir­ty sec­onds for respons­es and rebuttals.
Col­ored lights will be used to help the can­di­dates man­age their remain­ing response times: 15 sec­onds = yel­low; 5 sec­onds = flash­ing red; no time remain­ing = sol­id red.

A can­di­date attacked by name by anoth­er can­di­date will be giv­en thir­ty sec­onds to respond. There will be no show of hands or one-word, down-the-line questions.

A can­di­date who con­sis­tent­ly inter­rupts will have his or her time reduced. Ques­tions posed by the mod­er­a­tors will appear on the bot­tom of the screen for tele­vi­sion viewers.

Tonight’s line­up of ten can­di­dates is as follows:

  • Mon­tana Gov­er­nor Steve Bullock
  • South Bend, Indi­ana, May­or Pete Buttigieg
  • For­mer Mary­land U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive John Delaney
  • For­mer Col­orado Gov­er­nor John Hickenlooper
  • Min­neso­ta U.S. Sen­a­tor Amy Klobuchar
  • For­mer Texas U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Beto O’Rourke
  • Ohio U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Tim Ryan
  • Ver­mont U.S. Sen­a­tor Bernie Sanders
  • Mass­a­chu­setts U.S. Sen­a­tor Eliz­a­beth Warren
  • Author Mar­i­anne Williamson

Our live cov­er­age begins below.

UPDATE, 5:02 PM (Ruairi): Good evening all, the Demo­c­ra­t­ic debate is  begin­ning in the his­toric Fox The­atre in Detroit, Michi­gan. Stay with us for debate com­men­tary and analysis!

UPDATE, 5:08 PM (Ruairi): Jake Tap­per is joined by Dana Bash and Don Lemon to mod­er­ate the debate between the first set of ten Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates. First to walk on the stage are Sen­a­tors Sanders and War­ren, fol­lowed by Pete Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke. They are fol­lowed by Amy Klobuchar, John Hick­en­loop­er, Tim Ryan, John Delaney, Mar­i­anne Williamson, and Steve Bullock.

UPDATE, 5:11 PM (Ruairi): The nation­al anthem is beau­ti­ful­ly per­formed by a local Detroit church choir, led by Pas­tor Mar­vin Winans.

UPDATE, 5:14 PM (Andrew): CNN decid­ed to intro­duce the can­di­dates by their stand­ing in the polls. That meant Sanders and War­ren came out first. They exchanged very friend­ly greetings.

UPDATE, 5:16 PM (Andrew): CNN gives Montana’s Steve Bul­lock the first word. He’s cer­tain­ly mak­ing a bet­ter pitch than John Hick­en­loop­er did the first time around.

UPDATE, 5:17 PM (Andrew): Bul­lock closed his open­ing pitch with: “I’m a pro­gres­sive… empha­sis on progress.”

It’s cer­tain­ly true that, as Sarah Vow­ell recent­ly not­ed, he has accom­plished a lot with a lit­tle in his home state of Montana.

UPDATE, 5:18 PM (Ruairi): Montana’s Gov­er­nor Steve Bul­lock is the first to give his open­ing state­ment. He decried the “wish list eco­nom­ics” of his rivals and argued that his strong record in a Trump state shows that he can con­nect to ordi­nary Americans.

UPDATE, 5:19 PM (Andrew): If John Delaney’s goal was to secure new con­verts to his cause in this debate, he’s fail­ing. Miserably.

UPDATE, 5:22 PM (Ruairi): Mar­i­anne Williamson recalled the abo­li­tion­ist move­ment, the suf­fragette move­ment and the civ­il rights move­ment in her open­ing state­ment. She called out the eco­nom­ic obses­sion with cor­po­rate prof­its as a “false god” in mod­ern soci­ety. She claimed that “con­ven­tion­al pol­i­tics are not part of the solu­tion because con­ven­tion­al pol­i­tics are part of the problem.”

UPDATE, 5:23 PM (Andrew): Our team at NPI has not for­got­ten that Tim Ryan pre­vi­ous­ly argued that the key to vic­to­ry in the 2018 midterms was for Democ­rats to embrace cor­po­rate tax cuts. Back­ground:

UPDATE, 5:24 PM (Andrew): Props to Beto O’Rourke for bring­ing up the cli­mate cri­sis. We need to stop dither­ing and act to halt and reverse cli­mate damage.

UPDATE, 5:25 PM (Andrew): “Our prob­lems did not start with Don­ald Trump,” @ElizabethWarren astute­ly notes.

UPDATE, 5:26 PM (Ruairi): John Delaney launched into an attack on “bad poli­cies” like Medicare for All and “free every­thing,” as he put it. He recalled the failed cam­paigns of Democ­rats like McGov­ern and Dukakis, and argued that he had real solu­tions, not impos­si­ble promises.

UPDATE, 5:27 PM (Andrew): Bernie Sanders is, not sur­pris­ing­ly, empha­siz­ing health­care and tax fair­ness in his open­ing state­ment. He also men­tioned the fos­sil fuel industry’s destruc­tive impact on the Earth, our com­mon home.

UPDATE, 5:28 PM (Ruairi): Tim Ryan decried America’s “bro­ken eco­nom­ic sys­tem” and wants to install “new and bet­ter” sys­tems. He launched into a pro­gres­sive eco­nom­ic message.

UPDATE, 5:29 PM (Andrew): With the open­ing state­ments out of the way, CNN has set up an exchange between John Delaney and Bernie Sanders over healthcare.

UPDATE, 5:30 PM (Ruairi): John Hick­en­loop­er, in a some­what ver­bal­ly stum­bling state­ment, argued that he could offer prag­mat­ic solu­tions. He tout­ed his suc­cess as a small busi­ness­man, and his suc­cess­es as the Gov­er­nor of Col­orado. He claimed that under his tenure, Col­orado had :”the top econ­o­my in the country.”

UPDATE, 5:31 PM (Andrew): “We should stop using Repub­li­can talk­ing points,” Eliz­a­beth War­ren wise­ly says, jump­ing into the for­ay over healthcare.

UPDATE, 5:32 PM (Ruairi): Sen­a­tor Amy Klobuchar of Min­neso­ta had a sim­ple mes­sage; she is from the Mid­west, which is where the Democ­rats need to win back ground from the Repub­li­cans. She described her poli­cies as ambi­tious, but “ground­ed.”

UPDATE, 5:33 PM (Andrew): Two bad fol­low-up ques­tions from Jake Tap­per, using the Repub­li­can talk­ing points War­ren just decried. It’s tire­some when debate mod­er­a­tors use right wing fram­ing in a Demo­c­ra­t­ic debate.

UPDATE, 5:33 PM (Ruairi): Beto O’Rourke launched into soar­ing rhetoric, describ­ing the poten­tial that the USA had. He was the first can­di­date to men­tion “end­less war” and cli­mate change.

UPDATE, 5:34 PM (Ruairi): May­or Pete Buttigieg’s state­ment paint­ed a dark pic­ture of America’s future, with a “hori­zon of cat­a­stro­phe” approach­ing the world’s cli­mate. He want­ed to “walk away from the past and do some­thing different.”

UPDATE, 5:35 PM (Andrew): CNN view­ers deserve bet­ter facil­i­ta­tion than what we’re get­ting from CNN’s Jake Tap­per in this debate.

UPDATE, 5:36 PM (Ruairi): Bernie Sanders gave the stump speech famil­iar to fol­low­ers of U.S. pol­i­tics – eco­nom­ic pop­ulism, decry­ing the home­less­ness num­bers and crit­i­ciz­ing the top 1% and major cor­po­ra­tions for dodg­ing tax.

UPDATE, 5:38 PM (Andrew): Thank you, Bernie Sanders, for call­ing out Jake Tapper.

UPDATE, 5:40 PM (Andrew): John Delaney just keeps bomb­ing in this debate.

UPDATE, 5:42 PM (Andrew): “It is time to stop wor­ry­ing about what the Repub­li­cans will say,” Pete Buttigieg says, apt­ly point­ing out that Repub­li­cans will throw mud no mat­ter what.

UPDATE, 5:43 PM (Andrew): Eliz­a­beth War­ren nods as Bernie Sanders reminds every­one how much insur­ance com­pa­nies and drug com­pa­nies spend on lobbying.

UPDATE, 5:45 PM (Ruairi): The first ques­tion to the can­di­dates addressed the sub­ject of health­care. John Delaney’s crit­i­cism of Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All pro­pos­al was used to imme­di­ate­ly spark a fierce debate between the idea’s sup­port­ers, and mod­er­ate can­di­dates. Sanders and War­ren defend­ed their plan strong­ly, while O’Rourke and Buttigieg tried to draw atten­tion to their own spe­cif­ic Medicare plans. Delaney, Bul­lock, Klobuchar, Williamson and Hick­en­loop­er attacked the plan as unwork­able. CNN framed the issue in terms of increased tax­es, but Sanders called out the mod­er­a­tors for “using a Repub­li­can frame­work” on the issue.

UPDATE, 5:46 PM (Ruairi): The sup­port­ers of Medicare for All clear­ly had the sup­port of the Fox The­atre audi­ence, where those against the bill were met with stony silence. Pete Buttigieg got a laugh, for point­ing out that, no mat­ter what, the GOP will call the Democ­rats “a bunch of crazy social­ists.” When Tim Ryan tried to claim that Bernie Sanders didn’t know what he was talk­ing about, he snapped back to applause, “I do know that, I wrote the damn bill!”

UPDATE, 5:47 PM (Andrew): We’ve come full cir­cle in this con­ver­sa­tion on health­care with Delaney and Sanders spar­ring again. How about we talk about address­ing cli­mate dam­age now?

UPDATE, 5:47 PM (Ruairi): When John Delaney claimed that the “math is wrong” on Medicare for All, Bernie Sanders accused Delaney of mak­ing mon­ey off of health­care bureau­cra­cy, allud­ing to Delaney’s career in the pri­vate sector.

UPDATE, 5:48 PM (Andrew): Pret­ty smooth answer from Pete Buttigieg on immi­gra­tion and a nice demon­stra­tion of the pow­er of reframing.

UPDATE, 5:51 PM (Ruairi): The sec­ond ques­tion addressed immi­gra­tion. Dana Bash asked why Pete Buttigieg’s plan to decrim­i­nal­ize ille­gal bor­der cross­ings would not “encour­age more ille­gal immi­grants.” Buttigieg and O’Rourke dis­agree on the issue, but both want to change the sit­u­a­tion on the border.

UPDATE, 5:52 PM (Andrew): War­ren is ham­mer­ing home the point of chang­ing our immi­gra­tion laws so that they can’t be used as a weapon to break up families.

UPDATE, 5:52 PM (Ruairi): Sen­a­tor War­ren argued, “the point is not about crim­i­nal­iza­tion,” but did sup­port the mea­sure. Hick­en­loop­er seemed to lack a plan, say­ing, “how hard can that be?” Sen. Klobuchar argued that the immi­gra­tion sys­tem need­ed a reform that gave a path to citizenship.

UPDATE, 5:54 PM (Ruairi): Sen. Sanders argued that he would “end the demo­niza­tion” of immi­grants. He pro­posed a hemi­spher­ic con­fer­ence to address the prob­lems of the immi­grants’ home coun­tries, El Sal­vador, Hon­duras and Guatemala.

UPDATE, 5:55 PM (Andrew): Bernie Sanders empha­sizes the impor­tance of reduc­ing vio­lence and insta­bil­i­ty in coun­tries like Guatemala, El Sal­vador, and Nicaragua so that peo­ple there don’t have to flee their homes in pur­suit of free­dom and safety.

UPDATE, 5:56 PM (Ruairi): Gov­er­nor Bul­lock indulges in some fear-mon­ger­ing about the num­bers of immi­grants com­ing to the U.S. He claimed that the immi­gra­tion debate was detached from ordi­nary Amer­i­cans’ inter­ests. He clashed with Sen. War­ren over which side was play­ing into Don­ald Trump’s hands.

UPDATE, 5:57 PM (Andrew): There is a clear divide between the can­di­dates on this stage who want to decrim­i­nal­ize the free­dom of move­ment (like War­ren and Buttigieg) and those who want the sta­tus quo (like Bul­lock and Ryan).

UPDATE, 5:58 PM (Ruairi): Tim Ryan said, “if you want to come in the coun­try, you ought to ring the door­bell.” He believed that Sen. Sanders’ plans would encour­age ille­gal immi­gra­tion, and he argued that the main prob­lem was Pres­i­dent Trump, not the cur­rent bor­der laws. Sanders respond­ed that, as “health­care is a human right,” the human beings com­ing to the bor­der deserved health­care like every­one else.

UPDATE, 6:00 PM (Ruairi): Pete Buttigieg was asked about what he would do about the epi­dem­ic of gun vio­lence in the USA. He point­ed out that 90% of Repub­li­cans want uni­ver­sal back­ground checks. He sub­tly brought in his mil­i­tary record, point­ing out that the weapons he used over­seas had no place in the home­land. Klobuchar loud­ly dis­agreed with Buttigieg.

UPDATE, 6:01 PM (Andrew): One thing the CNN mod­er­a­tors are doing a good job of tonight is stop­ping can­di­dates from jump­ing in when not called upon and inter­rupt­ing each oth­er, there­by pre­vent­ing the debate from turn­ing into a free for all. They’re also enforc­ing time lim­its more strin­gent­ly than the NBC mod­er­a­tors did.

UPDATE, 6:01 PM (Ruairi): John Hick­en­loop­er was the Gov­er­nor of Col­orado when the Auro­ra cin­e­ma mas­sacre hap­pened. He point­ed out that his admin­is­tra­tion man­aged to imple­ment some gun law reforms. Amy Klobuchar point­ed out that a pres­i­dent had to be able to take on the NRA.

UPDATE, 6:03 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg point­ed out that he was in high school when the infa­mous Columbine Mas­sacre occurred, part of the first mass-shoot­ing gen­er­a­tion. He saw the Park­land gen­er­a­tion as the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion. He pledged that there would not be a third.

UPDATE, 6:04 PM (Andrew): Out­lin­ing his posi­tion on gun vio­lence, Steve Bul­lock invoked the Koch broth­ers as he cas­ti­gat­ed the hold that dark mon­ey has on our nation’s cap­i­tal. Good answer.

UPDATE, 6:04 PM (Ruairi): Steve Bul­lock argued that gun vio­lence had to be addressed as a “pub­lic health issue, not a polit­i­cal issue.” He argued that the true prob­lem in Amer­i­can pol­i­tics was dark mon­ey influ­enc­ing elections.

UPDATE, 6:06 PM (Ruairi): Beto O’Rourke agreed that dark mon­ey over-influ­enced pol­i­tics. He want­ed to ban polit­i­cal action com­mit­tees donat­ing to polit­i­cal can­di­dates. Sen. Sanders, who has lost elec­tions in his home state of Ver­mont over the gun con­trol issues, laid out a  set of poli­cies that would tack­le gun violence.

UPDATE, 6:09 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg launched into an argu­ment about the Con­sti­tu­tion, argu­ing that an Amend­ment was need­ed to get mon­ey out of pol­i­tics. Steve Bul­lock point­ed out that, if he could reduce PAC spend­ing in Mon­tana, it could be done in Wash­ing­ton D.C. Mar­i­anne Williamson point­ed out that a num­ber of the politi­cians on the stage have tak­en mon­ey from large cor­po­ra­tions, and called for a Con­sti­tu­tion­al Amend­ment to pub­licly fund elections.

UPDATE, 6:10 PM (Andrew): Pri­or to the com­mer­cial break, the debate segued from talk­ing about gun vio­lence to a dis­cus­sion about reduc­ing big money’s stran­gle­hold on pol­i­tics — a top­ic that mod­er­a­tors work­ing for big media rarely empha­size in debates.

UPDATE, 6:13 PM (Andrew): Debates offer an oppor­tu­ni­ty for can­di­dates to dis­cuss their views on pol­i­cy direc­tions and poli­cies with each oth­er and view­ers who are watch­ing. Such oppor­tu­ni­ties get squan­dered when mod­er­a­tors ask bad ques­tions, like the one that Jake Tap­per just posed to John Hickenlooper.

UPDATE, 6:15 PM (Ruairi): The next ques­tion addressed the issue of elec­tabil­i­ty. Hick­en­loop­er was asked about his attacks on Sen. Sanders’ social­ism. He called Sanders’ poli­cies “a dis­as­ter at the bal­lot box.” He argued that “Don­ald Trump is mal­prac­tice per­son­i­fied,” and that Democ­rats should focus on sim­ple bread-and-but­ter issues. Sanders point­ed out that his polit­i­cal plat­form had led him to a place where, in every cred­i­ble poll, he could beat Don­ald Trump.

UPDATE, 6:15 PM (Andrew): Did John Hick­en­loop­er for­get that Bernie Sanders was once a may­or? Oops.

UPDATE, 6:16 PM (Ruairi): Hick­en­loop­er argued that “you can’t just spring a plan on the world and expect it to suc­ceed!” Sanders point­ed out that Medicare was just such a plan, and it has been work­ing for decades. Tim Ryan point­ed out that, at this point in the 2016 elec­tion, Hillary Clin­ton was win­ning in the polls too!

UPDATE, 6:18 PM (Ruairi): Ryan want­ed to fight for under-paid work­ing class vot­ers’ issues. Beto O’Rourke didn’t see the nec­ces­sit­ty to over-focus on the indus­tri­al Mid­west, if he could win Texas. Bul­lock point­ed out that he actu­al­ly won a Trump state. He wants to win back Trump vot­ers, by focus­ing on the fact that the econ­o­my wasn’t work­ing most people.

UPDATE, 6:19 PM (Ruairi): The CNN mod­er­a­tors took Warren’s asser­tion that she is a cap­i­tal­ist as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to dri­ve a wedge between her and her social­ist col­league, Bernie Sanders. She didn’t take the bait, point­ing out that she wasn’t afraid of what the Repub­li­cans say about Democrats.

UPDATE, 6:21 PM (Ruairi): John Delaney want­ed to encour­age col­lab­o­ra­tion between the gov­ern­ment and the pri­vate sec­tor rather than more rad­i­cal ideas. War­ren got a huge cheer for point­ing out, “I don’t know why some­one would go to the trou­ble of run­ning for Pres­i­dent, just to talk about what we can’t do!”

UPDATE, 6:21 PM (Andrew): John Delaney isn’t scor­ing any points by try­ing to pick fights with Eliz­a­beth War­ren and Bernie Sanders.

He’s real­ly embar­rass­ing himself.

UPDATE, 6:22 PM (Andrew): Bernie Sanders is cor­rect: Democ­rats need to artic­u­late a com­pelling vision and need to engage young peo­ple to win in 2020.

UPDATE, 6:23 PM (Ruairi): Delaney argued that his ideas were big, and decried the solu­tions of War­ren and Sanders. War­ren point­ed out that “we have already tried” to use Delaney’s solu­tions. She reused the line, “insur­ance com­pa­nies do not have the God-giv­en right to suck bil­lions of dol­lars out of the econ­o­my.” Sanders point­ed out that beat­ing Trump was no easy task, and argued for a rad­i­cal grass­roots approach to the 2020 elections.

UPDATE, 6:25 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar point­ed out that she won Min­neso­ta with her mod­er­ate ideas. O’Rourke point­ed to his record in El Paso, turn­ing around the city’struggling VA.

UPDATE, 6:25 PM (Andrew): Jay Inslee’s cam­paign just sent out a fundrais­ing email not­ing that the cli­mate cri­sis is once again get­ting ignored in the debate. (Inslee is not on stage tonight; he will be tomor­row.) But CNN’s Dana Bash just brought the top­ic up, giv­ing John Delaney the first chance to respond.

UPDATE, 6:26 PM (Ruairi): Delaney is con­front­ed in the next ques­tion with his oppo­si­tion to the Green New Deal, as the cli­mate cri­sis looms.

UPDATE, 6:27 PM (Ruairi): Delaney laid out his own plan, which involves suck­ing car­bon out of the atmos­phere and encour­ag­ing the pri­vate sec­tor. Sen. War­ren argued her plan encour­ages inno­va­tion, and links her cli­mate plan to the man­u­fac­tur­ing indus­tries in the Midwest.

UPDATE, 6:28 PM (Andrew): Eliz­a­beth War­ren is doing a great job explain­ing how we can reduce pol­lu­tion and cre­ate great new jobs at the same time.

UPDATE, 6:29 PM (Ruairi): Hick­en­loop­er called the Green New Deal “a dis­trac­tion.” He wants to build bridges with coun­tries like Chi­na to deal with cli­mate change. War­ren argued that her pol­i­cy was “a real pol­i­cy on the table,” and the likes of Hick­en­loop­er  used Repub­li­can talk­ing points and obfuscation.

UPDATE, 6:30 PM (Andrew): Rea­son­ably strong answer from Tim Ryan on cre­at­ing a stronger clean Amer­i­can man­u­fac­tur­ing indus­try and mak­ing our farms more sustainable.

UPDATE, 6:30 PM (Ruairi): Tim Ryan, who rep­re­sents a huge num­ber of auto work­ers, is asked about Sen. Sanders plan to reduce gas-pow­ered cars. Ryan wants the Unit­ed States to dom­i­nate the elec­tric car and renew­able ener­gy indus­tries. He also wants to strength­en agri­cul­ture indus­try as part of the cli­mate change problem.

UPDATE, 6:32 PM (Ruairi): Sanders argues that the Repub­li­cans are not afraid of their big ideas, “so please don’t tell me that we [the Democ­rats] can’t take on the fos­sil fuel indus­try!” Ryan got a chuck­le from the audi­ence by say­ing, “there’s no need to shout, Bernie.”

UPDATE, 6:34 PM (Ruairi): Sanders wants to be “super aggres­sive” on the issue of the envi­ron­ment. He wants to take on the indus­try, trans­form the econ­o­my, trans­form the trans­porta­tion sys­tem, and lead the world on the issue. Steve Bul­lock point­ed out that the GOP does not even rec­og­nize the exis­tence of cli­mate dam­age, bring­ing back the issue of dark money.

UPDATE, 6:35 PM (Andrew): Work­ers would not be left behind in a Green New Deal that pro­vides a just and respon­si­ble tran­si­tion to a clean ener­gy econ­o­my, Bernie Sanders tells Steve Bul­lock. (Bul­lock con­ve­nient­ly neglect­ed to men­tion his advo­ca­cy for the coal indus­try dur­ing his answer.)

UPDATE, 6:35 PM (Ruairi): Bul­lock was wor­ried that the Democ­rats risked alien­at­ing and demo­niz­ing work­ers in the fos­sil fuel indus­try. Sanders argued that his plan would encour­age an indus­try trans­fer for work­ing class people.

UPDATE, 6:37 PM (Andrew): Props to CNN for final­ly bring­ing up the Flint water cri­sis dur­ing this debate and mak­ing it the sub­ject of a mod­er­a­tor question.

UPDATE, 6:37 PM (Ruairi): O’Rourke (one of the youngest on stage) point­ed out that sci­en­tists warn that the U.S. has only ten years to meet the chal­lenge. He wants to “bring every­one in to the solu­tion.” Buttigieg point­ed out that the USA will only con­front cli­mate change when Don­ald Trump is out of office. He argued that, as a vet­er­an, he could slam Trump for his draft-dodging.

UPDATE, 6:39 PM (Ruairi): Amy Klobuchar was one of the two can­di­dates asked about the Flint water cri­sis. She said that she would put a tril­lion dol­lars into green infra­struc­ture, and pay for it with a change in the cap­i­tal gains tax. Mar­i­anne Willaim­son said that “Flint is just the tip of the ice­berg.” She saw the cri­sis as con­nect­ed to sys­tems of injus­tice and racism through­out the U.S.

UPDATE, 6:40 PM (Andrew): Seri­ous­ly, CNN? That’s all on the Flint water cri­sis? That’s all? You invoke a huge­ly impor­tant, often unad­dressed top­ic and then ask only two of the ten can­di­dates on the stage to weigh in?

UPDATE, 6:41 PM (Ruairi): The ques­tion­ers turned to the issue of race, ask­ing how Beto O’Rourke would be able to take on Trump’s obvi­ous racism. O’Rourke brought up Trump’s attacks on Ilhan Omar, his “crim­i­nals and rapists” com­ments, and his attempt­ed Mus­lim ban. O’Rourke says his home town of El Paso is one of the safest in the USA exact­ly because of its diverse population.

UPDATE, 6:42 PM (Ruairi): Gov­er­nor Hick­en­loop­er answered CNN’s race ques­tion, offer­ing to intro­duce an “urban agen­da,” talk­ing about police vio­lence and afford­able housing.

UPDATE, 6:43 PM (Ruairi): War­ren was asked about the rise of white suprema­cy. She called recent white suprema­cist attacks “domes­tic ter­ror­ism.” She argued that edu­ca­tion was part of the solu­tion, espe­cial­ly her plan to increase Pell Grants for his­tor­i­cal­ly black uni­ver­si­ties, to the applause of the Detroit audience.

UPDATE, 6:45 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg, asked about his trou­bling racial record as May­or, said that”the racial divide lives with­in me.” He point­ed to the many inequal­i­ties in U.S. soci­ety, and out­lined some of his poli­cies to address the issues.

UPDATE, 6:46 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar was asked about Don­ald Trump’s racism. She promised that under her pres­i­den­cy, racist attacks from the White House would stop. She argued that her poli­cies would “help every­one,” non-white com­mu­ni­ties included.

UPDATE, 6:48 PM (Ruairi): O’Rourke was applaud­ed for point­ing out that the entire U.S. econ­o­my is built on racial injus­tice. He laid out a detailed, rad­i­cal plan, which includ­ed repa­ra­tions from slavery.

Williamson sup­port­ed the idea of repa­ra­tions say­ing, “any­thing under 0 bil­lion is an insult!” She was wild­ly applaud­ed by the audience.

UPDATE, 6:50 PM (Ruairi): Sanders, who has not expressed sup­port for repa­ra­tions, was asked about the sta­tis­tic that 73% of African-Amer­i­cans sup­port repa­ra­tions. Sanders respond­ed by out­lin­ing his plan to help a wide vari­ety of dis­ad­van­taged com­mu­ni­ties; riff­ing on War­ren, he claimed, “I also have a plan.”

UPDATE, 6:54 PM (Andrew): In many respects, CNN has done a bet­ter job orga­niz­ing this debate than NBC did with theirs.

For instance, there haven’t been any embar­rass­ing audio sna­fus and the can­di­dates were giv­en the oppor­tu­ni­ty to dis­cuss a broad­er range of topics.

UPDATE, 6:55 PM (Ruairi): Tim Ryan was asked about Pres­i­dent Trump’s pol­i­cy of trade tar­riffs. Ryan argued that Trump “was on to some­thing” on the issue of Chi­na. He linked the degra­da­tion of the work­ing class to both the top 1% of Amer­i­cans AND the Chi­nese. Ryan argued that he would take a more intel­li­gent approach to con­fronting China.

UPDATE, 6:58 PM (Ruairi): John Delaney began his argu­ment by sup­port­ing the Trans-Pacif­ic Part­ner­ship, crit­i­ciz­ing Sen. Warren’s crit­i­cisms of U.S. trade pol­i­cy. War­ren point­ed out that cor­po­ra­tions have no loy­al­ty to the Amer­i­can peo­ple. She planned to nego­ti­ate with cor­po­ra­tions, with union­ists and activists “at the table.” Delaney (inac­cu­rate­ly) argued, “that was the Trans-Pacif­ic Part­ner­ship,” and that Warren’s plan would stop trade with the U.K. and the E.U.

UPDATE, 6:58 PM (Ruairi): Sanders was so infu­ri­at­ed by Delaney’s argu­ment that he began to talk over War­ren, but then said, “Oh! I’m sor­ry!” to his ally in the Senate.

UPDATE, 6:59 PM (Andrew): Anoth­er mem­o­rable War­ren-Delaney exchange, this time on trade. Bernie Sanders is speak­ing now, back­ing up Eliz­a­beth War­ren one hun­dred percent.

UPDATE, 7:00 PM (Ruairi): O’Rourke asked, “when have we ever gone to war, even a trade war, with­out allies?” He want­ed to bring the E.U. into the USA’s efforts against Chi­na. Sanders said that “Eliz­a­beth is absolute­ly right” on inter­na­tion­al trade. He promised to bring cor­po­rate greed to heel by refus­ing to give rapa­cious cor­po­ra­tions gov­ern­ment contracts.

UPDATE, 7:01 PM (Ruairi): War­rren point­ed out that tar­riffs are not the real point of trade deals.  Trade deals “have become a way for giant multinationals…to suck more prof­its out for themselves.”

UPDATE, 7:02 PM (Ruairi): Steve Bul­lock want­ed to ensure that farm­ers and work­ers were pro­tect­ed by new trade deals.

UPDATE, 7:02 PM (Andrew): Steve Bul­lock voiced agree­ment with Eliz­a­beth War­ren when it was his turn to weigh in on trade pol­i­cy and tar­iffs, right after War­ren put on a clin­ic about what’s real­ly in the cur­rent crop of trade deals.

UPDATE, 7:04 PM (Ruairi): May­or Buttigieg was asked about his plan to retrain work­ers for a chang­ing econ­o­my. He argued that such indus­tri­al changes aff­tect­ed his own com­mu­ni­ty of South Bend, Indi­ana. He point­ed to his pro­pos­al to allow “gig econ­o­my” work­ers to union­ize. He quot­ed the Bible, argu­ing that “con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­t­ian sen­a­tors” were oppress­ing the poor.

UPDATE, 7:07 PM (Ruairi): John Delaney would be tar­get­ed by Sen. Warren’s wealth tax. He was asked about this and argued that a wealth tax is not the solu­tion, is “arguably uncon­sti­tu­tion­al”, and pro­mot­ed a raise on cap­i­tal gains tax. War­ren list­ed the things her wealth tax could fund: fund­ing preschools and teach­ers, uni­ver­sal tuition-free col­lege, raise Pell Grants, can­cel a huge amount of stu­dent loan debt.

UPDATE, 7:08 PM (Andrew): Pete Buttigieg man­aged to get in a nice dig at Bet­sy DeVos in his answer on stu­dent debt forgiveness.

UPDATE, 7:09 PM (Ruairi): Pete Buttigieg was asked about his own stu­dent debt, and Bernie Sanders’ plan to elim­i­nate stu­dent debt. He said, “that would be great for us,” but argued that many would be missed by Sanders’ plan. He want­ed to tar­get for-prof­it col­leges and preda­to­ry lenders.

UPDATE, 7:11 PM (Ruairi): Sanders, asked about Buttigieg’s response, launched into a famil­iar spiel; “what we need is a polit­i­cal rev­o­lu­tion.” Williamson’s plan for free col­lege was framed by CNN as a boon for wealthy kids. She argued that any help for edu­ca­tion and col­lege debt would stim­u­late the U.S. econ­o­my. She described her plan as, “using the instru­ments of gov­ern­ment to HELP people!”

UPDATE, 7:12 PM (Andrew): No men­tion of Puer­to Rico so far tonight.

Why’s that, CNN?

UPDATE, 7:12 PM (Ruairi): Instead of free four-year col­lege tuition, Beto O’Rourke’s plan would ful­ly finance (includ­ing room and board) two-year degrees. Klobuchar wants to “focus resources on the peo­ple who need it most,” and is con­cerned that “Wall Street kids” would be the ones who ben­e­fit­ed from a free col­lege plan.

UPDATE, 7:13 PM (Andrew): “Trump is a patho­log­i­cal liar. I tell the truth.” – Bernie Sanders, swat­ting down the premise of anoth­er lousy mod­er­a­tor question.

UPDATE, 7:14 PM (Ruairi): Sanders went on to argue for a pol­i­cy that focus­es on diplo­ma­cy, end­ing con­flict, and work­ing through the Unit­ed Nations.

UPDATE, 7:15 PM (Ruairi): Hick­en­loop­er recalled mourn­ing with the fam­i­lies of Col­orado Nation­al Guard mem­bers who were killed in action. Tim Ryan was asked about North Korea. He said he would not meet with Kim Jong Un, and said that Amy Klobuchar’s asser­tion that she would meet with any leader was wrong.

UPDATE, 7:15 PM (Andrew): John Hickenlooper’s answer on for­eign pol­i­cy was one of his strongest tonight.

UPDATE, 7:17 PM (Ruairi): Tim Ryan described diplo­ma­cy as “long tedious work,” and described Trump’s for­eign pol­i­cy as flashy and incom­pe­tence. Klobuchar described Trump’s for­eign pol­i­cy as the “Go It Alone Doc­trine.” She said the U.S. need­ed to put Amer­i­can issues first, “not the Russians’.”

UPDATE, 7:18 PM (Andrew): One thing the CNN mod­er­a­tors have done rea­son­ably well tonight is mak­ing sure that can­di­dates who are itch­ing to com­ment on a top­ic (or deliv­er a fol­low-up) get called upon in a time­ly fash­ion so they don’t feel com­pelled to interrupt.

UPDATE, 7:19 PM (Ruairi): Asked if he would with­draw U.S. troops from Afghanistan with­in his first year in office, Pete Buttigieg said “we have to.” He pro­posed a “three year sun­set” on any mil­i­tary inter­ven­tion abroad. O’Rourke did not com­mit to with­draw­al “in the first year,” but in his first term. He also point­ed to troop deploy­ment in Yemen, Soma­lia, Libya, Iraq and oth­er countries.

UPDATE, 7:20 PM (Ruairi): Hick­en­loop­er believes that pulling troops out of Afghanistan would cre­ate “a human­i­tar­i­an disaster.”

He said “we’re gonna have to be in Afghanistan!”

UPDATE, 7:20 PM (Andrew): Beto O’Rourke and John Hick­en­loop­er clear­ly dif­fer on what America’s pol­i­cy should be with respect to our pres­ence in Afghanistan.

UPDATE, 7:22 PM (Ruairi): War­ren, who has pro­posed ban­ning pre­emp­tive use of nuclear weapons, was asked why the U.S. should “tie its hands” in that way. She point­ed out that such a pol­i­cy sim­ply makes the world safer. She turned the con­ver­sa­tion back to the End­less Wars.

UPDATE, 7:22 PM (Andrew): Eliz­a­beth War­ren hit it out of the park in explain­ing why we need a pol­i­cy that declares that the Unit­ed States will not launch a pre­emp­tive nuclear strike any­where, ever. It will make the world safer.

UPDATE, 7:23 PM (Ruairi): Steve Bul­lock did not want to take attack­ing a nation with nuclear weapons pre­emp­tive­ly “off the table.” War­ren point­ed out that such a posi­tion could nev­er expand trust in the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty; Don­ald Trump’s nuclear pol­i­cy has led the world “clos­er and clos­er to nuclear war.”

UPDATE, 7:23 PM (Andrew): Sen­a­tor War­ren is doing a great job of explain­ing how we mod­el the lead­er­ship that we want to see in the world on nuclear nonproliferation.

UPDATE, 7:24 PM (Ruairi): Steve Bul­lock said that he didn’t want to wait until Detroit has been destroyed by a nuclear weapon before deploy­ing weapons of mass destruction.

UPDATE, 7:25 PM (Ruairi): It did not escape CNN’s notice that the youngest can­di­date, Pete Buttigieg, is stand­ing next to the old­est, Bernie Sanders.

He was asked about the impor­tance of age in pol­i­tics. He want­ed to focus on vision, not age; “you can be a great pres­i­dent, at any age.”

UPDATE, 7:26 PM (Andrew): Pete Buttigieg deliv­ered a pow­er­ful admo­ni­tion to any Repub­li­can mem­bers of Con­gress who may be watch­ing the debate about their com­plic­i­ty in enabling Don­ald Trump. One of his finest moments.

UPDATE, 7:27 PM (Ruairi): Sanders said that “Pete is right, it’s a ques­tion of vision.” He then led into a speech on his polit­i­cal pri­or­i­ties, describ­ing them as “a new vision.” Eliz­a­beth War­ren seemed keen to speak to the issue, but was unable to get in before the debate went to a break.

UPDATE, 7:28 PM (Andrew): Is CNN going to ask the can­di­dates about pay equi­ty, pay­check fair­ness, dis­crim­i­na­tion on the basis of gen­der iden­ti­ty, or fam­i­ly leave?

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