Good evening, and welcome to NPI’s live coverage of the fourth Democratic presidential debate of the 2020 cycle.
NPI staff are watching and sharing impressions of the debate as it progresses.
CNN and The New York Times are the media partners for this DNC-sanctioned debate, which is expected to run three hours.
Tonight’s lineup of twelve candidates is as follows:
- Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren
- Former Vice President Joe Biden
- Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders
- New Jersey U.S. Senator Cory Booker
- South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg
- Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro
- Former U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke
- California U.S. Senator Kamala Harris
- Minnesota U.S. Senator Amy Klobouchar
- Entrepreneur Andrew Yang
- Billionaire Tom Steyer
- Hawaii U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard
Our live coverage begins below.
UPDATE, 4:55 PM (Ruairi): Anderson Cooper has begun introducing the twelve candidates. Joe Biden cameo ut on stage first.
UPDATE, 4:58 PM (Ruairi): With Secretary Julián Castro present, the twelve candidates who qualified for this debate are all on stage.
UPDATE, 5:03 PM (Ruairi): The CNN/New York Times debate, live from Ohio, has begun. There will be no opening statements, owing to the large number of candidates who are sharing the same stage tonight.
UPDATE, 5:03 PM (Ruairi): The debate starts with the issue of impeachment. Elizabeth Warren is asked why it shouldn’t be the voters who decide Trump’s fate.
UPDATE, 5:04 PM (Ruairi): “Some issues are bigger than politics,” Warren said. She argued that the failure to hold an impeachment vote after the release of the Mueller report led to Trump committing further crimes.
UPDATE, 5:06 PM (Ruairi): Bernie Sanders says Democrats have no choice but to impeach: “Trump is the most corrupt President in the history of this country.” Besides the Ukrainian incident, Sanders also points to Donald Trump’s violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.
UPDATE, 5:06 PM (Andrew): Very strong answers so far from Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders on impeachment.
UPDATE, 5:06 PM (Andrew): “I agree with Bernie… Senator Sanders,” Joe Biden says, calling Trump the most corrupt president in history.
UPDATE, 5:07 PM (Ruairi): Biden is asked about his support for President Clinton during his impeachment. Biden says that Trump’s stonewalling of Congress gives the House of Representatives no choice but to impeach.
UPDATE, 5:07 PM (Ruairi): Biden points to Trump’s unprecedented hostility towards the congressional investigations.
UPDATE, 5:09 PM (Ruairi): Kamala Harris: “Our framers imagined this moment…and rightly designed our system of democracy.” She says ” I know a confession when I see it,” from Trump’s ongoing behavior.
UPDATE, 5:09 PM (Ruairi): Booker was asked if he can be fair in a Senate trial of Trump. He argued that the country is facing “a moral moment and not a political one!” He said that he will do his duty, even if Trump has violated his.
UPDATE, 5:10 PM (Andrew): Impeachment seems to unite this field like no other issue. The message discipline we’ve seen so far tonight is remarkable.
UPDATE, 5:11 PM (Ruairi): Amy Klobuchar said “we can do two things at once,” in response to the argument that Democrats will distract from bigger issues with impeachment. Klobuchar demolished Trump’s recent foreign policy moves: coddling up to Putin, betraying the Kurds and the Ukraine scandal.
UPDATE, 5:12 PM (Ruairi): Julián Castro said that Democrats “can walk and chew gum at the same time,” laying out the ways Trump is both failing in his promises to the voters and betraying the country.
UPDATE, 5:13 PM (Ruairi): Pete Buttigieg said that Republicans are betraying “their own supposed values” by supporting Trump. He said that politicians of the future will look to this moment to see if they can get away with terrible behavior.
UPDATE, 5:14 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg then pivoted to the argument that a Buttigieg presidency can unite a divided, post-Trump America.
UPDATE, 5:15 PM (Ruairi): Tulsi Gabbard steered a more cautious course on impeachment, but she says she does believe that Trump should be impeached.
UPDATE, 5:15 PM (Ruairi): Tom Steyer reminded everybody that he started the Need to Impeach movement. He said that the House of Representatives has to impeach Trump as a matter of principle.
UPDATE, 5:17 PM (Ruairi): Andrew Yang pointed out that impeaching Trump won’t solve the problems that led him into office. He returned to his trademark message of policies that help people in the face of the fourth industrial revolution.
UPDATE, 5:17 PM (Ruairi): Beto O’Rourke said that veterans bravely defend the country against enemies, and Congress has to show bravery in taking on Trump’s criminality.
UPDATE, 5:19 PM (Ruairi): Biden was asked about his son’s foreign business ties while he was Vice President. “My son did nothing wrong, I did nothing wrong,” said Biden. He wants to focus on the importance of removing Trump from office.
UPDATE, 5:19 PM (Ruairi): Biden recalled that George Washington himself warned about foreign interference in elections. “The President and his thugs have already proven that they are flat lying.”
UPDATE, 5:20 PM (Ruairi): Biden promised that, if nominated by the Democrats, he will beat Trump “like a drum” in the election.
UPDATE, 5:20 PM (Ruairi): Biden said he is proud of his son’s judgment in how he is dealing with the President’s false accusations.
UPDATE, 5:21 PM (Ruairi): Bernie Sanders brought up the other crucial issues the country faces, pointing out that voters can’t be led to believe that the Democrats only want to take on Trump.
UPDATE, 5:22 PM (Ruairi): Elizabeth Warren was asked about Medicare for All – will she raise taxes on middle income families? Warren responded: “For hard-working middle class families, costs will go down.”
UPDATE, 5:23 PM (Ruairi): Warren recalled conversations with people who have had terrible illnesses and declared that their insurance companies “pulled the rug from underneath them.” She said that people shouldn’t worry about the costs of healthcare when facing illness.
UPDATE, 5:24 PM (Ruairi): Warren dodged a question framed around taxes, saying that “costs” will not go up. Buttigieg went on the offensive, saying that Warren doesn’t have a plan for Medicare for All, and doesn’t have an answer.
UPDATE, 5:25 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg said that his plan, “Medicare for All Who Want It”, avoids “a giant, multi-trillion dollar hole.” Warren slapped him down: “Understand what that truly means – Medicare for All Who Can Afford It.”
UPDATE, 5:26 PM (Andrew): Really bad framing here from Pete Buttigieg. Not a good look for him at all. Going after Warren wasn’t a good choice.
UPDATE, 5:26 PM (Ruairi): “Costs are what people care about,” argued Warren. Buttigieg declared that he believes that giving people a choice is better than passing legislation that he believes would “obliterate private plans.”
UPDATE, 5:28 PM (Ruairi): Bernie Sanders retorted that under his plan, “premiums are gone, co-payments are gone…we’re going to do better than the Canadians have done.” He does think “it is appropriate to acknowledge that taxes will go up,” and says that the drop in costs will compensate for tax increases.
UPDATE, 5:29 PM (Ruairi): Despite having been given a great argument by Sanders, Warren again declined to answer a question framed around taxes. Amy Klobuchar pounced, citing Warren’s refusal to accept that framing, and argued that what the country needs is an expanded Patient Protection Act.
UPDATE, 5:29 PM (Ruairi): Strangely, Klobuchar just offered up the crazy argument that supporting Medicare for All is “a Republican talking point.”
UPDATE, 5:30 PM (Ruairi): Warren said “the problem…is the overall cost of healthcare.” She recalls her record of studying the causes of bankruptcy in the United States. Klobuchar snaps back that there’s a difference “between a plan and a pipe dream.” Healthcare for all is a pipe dream?
UPDATE, 5:31 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar then pivoted to admonishing pharmaceutical companies for their bottomless greed.
UPDATE, 5:32 PM (Ruairi): Biden was asked about healthcare. He says that an expanded Patient Protection Act is “the Biden plan.” He conceded that costs will go down under Warren and Sanders’ plans, but argued that taxes would go up.
UPDATE, 5:33 PM (Ruairi): Sanders says that he is tired of people defending a system that is “dysfunctional and cruel.” He argues that Democrats need “the guts” to follow through on lasting healthcare reform.
UPDATE, 5:33 PM (Andrew): Kamala Harris took the initiative to steer this healthcare conversation in a different direction by talking about reproductive health. The candidates should do this kind of pivoting more often.
UPDATE, 5:34 PM (Ruairi): As mentioned, Kamala Harris chose to change the subject. She brought up the attack on reproductive rights in the United States “Women will die… because these Republican legislatures who are out of touch with America are telling women what they can do with their bodies.”
UPDATE, 5:35 PM (Ruairi): Bernie Sanders was asked about the threat of automation to American jobs. “Damn right we will…” have enough jobs to fill the gaps left by automation, Sanders said. He argued in favor of massive infrastructure development to provide jobs to Americans.
UPDATE, 5:36 PM (Ruairi): Sanders argued that a Green New Deal will create twenty million new jobs for Americans: teachers, doctors, dentists, carpenters. He also pointed out that cancelling student debt will give people opportunities.
UPDATE, 5:37 PM (Andrew): Andrew Yang just uttered the words “trickle up economy”. Um, what? There’s no such thing.
UPDATE, 5:37 PM (Ruairi): Yang argued that a federal jobs guarantee will trap people in jobs they do not work. He says that the federal government will not handle resources as well as individuals will under his Universal Basic Income plan.
UPDATE, 5:38 PM (Ruairi): Cory Booker is feeling”déja vu all over again” with respect to the format, pacing, and topical matter in this debate.
UPDATE, 5:39 PM (Ruairi): Warren argued that “bad trade policy” and multinational corporations are to blame for job losses, not automation. Warren declared that she wants “accountable capitalism,” where forty percent of board seat in companies are elected by workers (a similar system to Germany).
UPDATE, 5:40 PM (Ruairi): Castro was asked about Warren’s statement. He says automation “is only part of the issue,” and that he would be willing to pilot U.B.I. policies. He wants investment in infrastructure and a Green New Deal.
UPDATE, 5:42 PM (Ruairi): Yang clashed a bit with Warren – he pointed to the millions of truck drivers and the industries relying on such workers, who could find themselves replaced by autonomous trucks.
UPDATE, 5:42 PM (Ruairi): Warren compares Universal Basic Income to Social Security, a decades-old deferred payment system she is planning to expand. She addressed many of Yang’s critiques directly, point-by-point.
UPDATE, 5:44 PM (Ruairi): Tulsi Gabbard said she wants to “get to the heart of the fear.” She realizes that many people are afraid of the uncertainty that economic changes bring. She doesn’t believe in a federal jobs guarantee.
UPDATE, 5:44 PM (Ruairi): Cory Booker was asked about the UAW workers’ strike – how would he convince General Motors to return jobs to the United States? Booker says that Yang’s UBI plan wouldn’t put the dignity back in work.
UPDATE, 5:45 PM (Ruairi): Booker wants American workers to be “at the center of every trade deal.” He pointed to his longstanding support of trade unions, and promises to help unions spread in his presidency. He also argued for a living wage.
UPDATE, 5:47 PM (Andrew): One of the themes of tonight so far has been a focus on elevating the role of unions in this country. A lot of candidates have talked about strengthening the labor movement and bolstering collective bargaining rights. That is refreshing to hear and great to see!
UPDATE, 5:47 PM (Ruairi): Beto O’Rourke was asked the same question. He said that Ohio has been “decimated by [GM’s] malfeasance.” He called for fairer trade deals that help Mexican workers to join unions, increased investment in school education and college, union membership.
UPDATE, 5:48 PM (Ruairi): Sanders was asked about income inequality, and his wealth tax – will he “tax billionaires out of existence.” He immediately pointed to the millions of homeless, uninsured people, those struggling with student debt. He said that the billionaire class has been at war with the working class for forty-five years. He wants “a nation and a government that works for all of us.”
UPDATE, 5:50 PM (Ruairi): Tom Steyer, the billionaire on stage, starts by emphatically agreeing with Sanders about the inequality in America. He would undo Trump’s tax policies and introduce a wealth tax.
UPDATE, 5:50 PM (Ruairi): Steyer argued that “our government has failed” and that corporations have bought the government. Shockingly, the billionaire is trying to out-Bernie Bernie Sanders! Steyer is no John Delaney.
UPDATE, 5:51 PM (Ruairi): Biden wants to reward work, not wealth. He promises to change the tax system to benefit workers rather the wealthy. He wants to eliminate billions of dollars that escape taxes through loopholes.
UPDATE, 5:52 PM (Andrew): Tom Steyer made it very clear he’s in alignment with Bernie Sanders on tackling income inequality and achieving fair taxation, offering a powerful commentary on what’s happened during the past forty years.
UPDATE, 5:52 PM (Ruairi): Biden said “the fact is that everybody is right” on stage about many of the issues. Warren said “show me your budget, show me your tax plan, and we’ll know where your values are.”
UPDATE, 5:54 PM (Ruairi): Warren pointed to the many benefits of her wealth tax – massive raises in investment in education across the board. She wondered aloud: ”Why does everyone else on this stage [except Bernie Sanders] think it is more important to protect billionaires than an entire generation of Americans?”
UPDATE, 5:54 PM (Andrew): The CNN/NYT moderators really need to stop cutting off the candidates in a lame attempt to enforce time limits.
UPDATE, 5:55 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg recalled growing up in the Midwest, seeing industrial decay as he grew up. He says that Democrats are paying attention to the wrong things, and possibly letting Trump win again.
UPDATE, 5:56 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar snapped back at Warren, saying ”not even the billionaire wants to help the billionaires” on stage (a reference to Steyer). She then turns to attacking Trump’s tax plans. “Taxing income is not going to get you where you want to be,” argues Warren.
UPDATE, 5:57 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar says she wouldn’t even be on the stage if it weren’t for unions. “Just because we have different ideas,” doesn’t mean she and other candidates do not support a level playing field for workers.
UPDATE, 5:57 PM (Ruairi): Kamala Harris was asked about her plan to give tax breaks to working families. She recalled how, growing up, her mother struggled to “make it work” for their family.
UPDATE, 5:59 PM (Ruairi): Yang said that Warren’s wealth tax “makes a lot of sense in principle,” but that European countries that have implemented wealth taxes have repealed them because they were unworkable.
UPDATE, 6:00 PM (Ruairi): Beto O’Rourke argued that Warren is focused on “being punitive” rather than bringing people together. He promised to not increase taxes on working families.
UPDATE, 6:02 PM (Ruairi): “I don’t have a beef with billionaires,” argued Warren, but she says “all of us helped pay for” the top 1%’s success. She pointed again to the essential services that her plans would fund – pre‑K, raising childcare workers’ wages, universal college, and so on.
UPDATE, 6:03 PM (Ruairi): Castro said that he grew up in a single-parent household that struggled to get by. He sees people struggling to cope across the United States. He proposes a wealth inequality tax and raising the top tax rate.
UPDATE, 6:04 PM (Ruairi): Booker went back to his theme of bringing the candidates together and making sure that Trump can’t win again – getting a big round of applause from the audience.
UPDATE, 6:05 PM (Ruairi): Booker then brought up the “moral obscenity” of American child poverty, noting it doesn’t get much attention.
UPDATE, 6:11 PM (Ruairi): The debate has turned to Trump’s abandonment of the Kurds in northern Syria. Biden was asked if he would send American troops back into the region of Syria where they previously were. Biden points out that the Americans who are still in Syria are under attack because of Trump’s decision.
UPDATE, 6:12 PM (Ruairi): Biden sounds a little incoherent about the leaders of Syria and Turkey (Assad and Erdogan). He promises to find the way back to a situation where the Kurds would be protected.
UPDATE, 6:13 PM (Andrew): “Regime change wars.” Tulsi Gabbard is trying really, really hard here to drive home her framing on the conflict in Syria.
UPDATE, 6:13 PM (Ruairi): Gabbard says that the slaughter of the Kurds is a ramification of the “regime change war” in Syria. She is shamefully describing the Syrian Revolution, which was brutally suppressed by Bashar al Assad as a Western-led effort to end the Assad regime.
UPDATE, 6:14 PM (Ruairi): Gabbard asked Warren to call for an end to “regime change war.” Warren said that she wants to get U.S. troops out of the Middle East, but wants to do it responsibly, not disastrously as Trump has done.
UPDATE, 6:15 PM (Ruairi): Warren added: “we need to get out, but we need to do this through a negotiated solution.”
UPDATE, 6:16 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg took Gabbard to task on the causes of the Syrian War. He argues that American forces were “the only thing” between the Kurds and “the beginning of a genocide and the resurgence of ISIS.”
UPDATE, 6:17 PM (Ruairi): Gabbard accused Buttigieg of desiring to continue the “regime change war” and undermining the United States’ national security.
UPDATE, 6:18 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg said that Donald Trump is “taking away the honor of American soldiers.”
UPDATE, 6:19 PM (Ruairi): Sanders said that “Turkey is not a U.S. ally when they invade another country and engage in mass slaughter.” Sanders recalled that 11,000 Kurdish troops died fighting ISIS on America’s behalf.
UPDATE, 6:19 PM (Andrew): Pete Buttigieg is faring much better in this foreign policy segment than in the previous segments.
UPDATE, 6:19 PM (Ruairi): Sanders asserted that “[Trump] has wrecked our ability to do foreign policy…because nobody in the world will believe this pathological liar.”
UPDATE, 6:20 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg assessed that Donald Trump’s failure to provide leadership in the world community has caused countries like Turkey and Saudi Arabia (both autocracies) to behave irresponsibly.
UPDATE, 6:21 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar said she wants to work with US allies to call on Turkey to reverse course. She cited other United States allies who feel threatened by Trump’s untrustworthiness.
UPDATE, 6:22 PM (Ruairi): Kamala Harris says that Trump has “sold out the Kurds.” She says Trump has given “10,000 ISIS fighters a get-out-of-jail-free card.” She says “this is a crisis of Donald Trump’s making… I will stop this madness!”
UPDATE, 6:23 PM (Ruairi): Castro said he wants people to think about how Trump “cages kids on the border and effectively lets ISIS fighters run free.” Castro brought up the termination of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran as another example of Trump’s failed leadership.
UPDATE, 6:24 PM (Andrew): Props to Cory Booker for bringing up Trump’s disastrous policy of enabling Saudi Arabia to inflict mayhem in Yemen.
UPDATE, 6:24 PM (Ruairi): Cory Booker was asked about checking Russian power. He said that Trump is turning the “moral leadership of this country into a dumpster fire.” He says that Russia will grow in influence if the United States abandons its responsibilities and leadership role.
UPDATE, 6:25 PM (Andrew): Biden accurately described Trump as somebody “who knows not a damn thing about foreign policy.”
UPDATE, 6:25 PM (Ruairi): Booker argued that the Russians understand strength, and that Trump shows “moral weakness.” Trump is “partnering more with Putin than he is with Merkel and Macron.”
UPDATE, 6:26 PM (Ruairi): Biden declared that he knows Erdogan personally, and says that the Turkish President “knows that if he’s out of NATO, he’s in real trouble.” Biden attacked Gabbard’s “regime change” rhetoric, saying the U.S. policy under Obama was to save lives from a murderous dictator.
UPDATE, 6:28 PM (Ruairi): O’Rourke was asked about Putin’s corruption. He says that the United States must be “unafraid of holding Russia accountable for invading the world’s greatest democracy.” He says that the country needs to renew alliances to take on Russia.
UPDATE, 6:29 PM (Ruairi): “The Kurds are a case in point,” O’Rourke elaborated. He says that the betrayal of the Kurds ensures that another generation of American troops will have to defend against ISIS.
UPDATE, 6:30 PM (Ruairi): Tom Steyer would work to reveal the corruption of Vladimir Putin. He said that Trump’s “America First” diplomacy has “proved to be a disaster.” He also brought up the need for climate justice.
UPDATE, 6:31 PM (Ruairi): Andrew Yang wants to look at the chain of events, from Trump’s election to the disastrous foreign policies. In passing, he acknowledged that the United States, as well as Russia, has interfered in elections.
UPDATE, 6:32 PM (Ruairi): Yang says that Russia is a perfect case example of the twenty-first century problems the United States faces.
UPDATE, 6:32 PM (Ruairi): Amy Klobuchar says that the United States can’t be morally compared to Russia – but she cited examples of Russian actions that the U.S. could also be accused of (like interfering in elections and shooting down planes carrying civilians).
UPDATE, 6:34 PM (Ruairi): Beto O’Rourke was asked how his plan to round up assault weapons would work. He wants to ban the sale of assault weapons, referring to massacres in Dayton and El Paso. He says every single assault weapon is “a potential weapon of terror.”
UPDATE, 6:36 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg said that “we can’t wait” for universal background checks, red-flag laws or other policies. He says we have “to just get something done,” although he didn’t say what he meant by that.
UPDATE, 6:37 PM (Ruairi): O’Rourke says we can do more than one thing. He doesn’t want to be “limited by the polls or the consultants.” Buttigieg, a veteran, retorted: “I don’t need lessons from you on courage,” before arguing that the President needs to take on the NRA.
UPDATE, 6:38 PM (Ruairi): O’Rourke argues that Buttigieig’s description of an assault weapon ban as “a shiny object” is “a slap in the face” to survivors. The exchange between O’Rourke and Buttigieg has become quite ill-tempered.
UPDATE, 6:40 PM (Ruairi): Cory Booker recalls a personal connection who was murdered with an assault weapon. He doesn’t want to attack his rivals, but says that gun violence is “a daily nightmare” for many Americans.
UPDATE, 6:40 PM (Ruairi): Booker then pointed out that there are more mass shooter drills in schools than fire drills.
UPDATE, 6:41 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar was asked about her voluntary buyback proposal: “The majority of Trump voters want to see universal background checks.” She points to the bills that are already in the legislative process. She doesn’t want the fight to “mess up” the Democrats.
UPDATE, 6:42 PM (Ruairi): Warren wants to identify the huge spread of gun violence: mass shootings, suicides, domestic violence, etc. She wants to know “why hasn’t it happened?” Warren also wants to get rid of the filibuster so we can deal with gun violence, otherwise the NRA will have “a veto” over legislation.
UPDATE, 6:42 PM (Andrew): Huge props to Elizabeth Warren for saying we need to repeal the filibuster. That’s essential to making the Senate work again.
UPDATE, 6:44 PM (Ruairi): Kamala Harris recalled her record as a prosecutor dealing with the victims of gun violence. She said she has a strong platform, and will give Congress one hundred days to adopt the platform.
UPDATE, 6:45 PM (Ruairi): Biden claimed he is the only one on stage who “beat the NRA twice,” with gun legislation in the 1990s.
“I’ve done this, and I know how to get it done.”
UPDATE, 6:42 PM (Andrew): Too bad that 1990s-era assault weapons ban had an expiration date. How about we don’t make that same mistake next time?
UPDATE, 6:46 PM (Ruairi): Secretary Castro recalled gun violence incidents in his earlier life. He argued that mandatory buybacks are a recipe for increased police killings, declaring: “I am not going to give police another reason to go door-to-door in certain communities.”
UPDATE, 6:47 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar was asked about the opioid epidemic in rural communities. “This should never have happened to begin with… it’s gotten worse and worse,” the Senator said.
UPDATE, 6:48 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar wants the pharmaceutical companies to pay for rehab and treatment, with a number of taxes she has proposed. She recalled her father, who struggled with alcoholism for decades.
UPDATE, 6:49 PM (Ruairi): Tom Steyer calls the epidemic a “heartbreaking experience” for America. He wants to treat it as a public health crisis. He argued that the opioid epidemic is another facet of the dominance of large corporations in American government.
UPDATE, 6:51 PM (Ruairi): Yang argued that “this is a disease of capitalism run amok.” He says that the fines on pharmaceutical companies are not nearly sufficient. He wants to give people counseling and treatment, not a prison term.
UPDATE, 6:52 PM (Ruairi): Yang said he wants to open safe injection centers because they save lives. O’Rourke agrees that decriminalization is necessary, and supports legalizing marijuana, which is far less addictive than opioids.
UPDATE, 6:53 PM (Ruairi): Harris said she wants to send pharmaceutical executives to jail: “They are nothing more than some high-level dope dealers.” She says the billion in pharma profits are “on the backs” of victims of the epidemic.
UPDATE, 6:54 PM (Ruairi): Castro is also in favor of imprisoning pharma executives, as well as Wall Street executives who caused the financial crisis.
UPDATE, 6:55 PM (Ruairi): Bernie Sanders pointed to the extreme wealth of pharma executives, who knew that their products were killing people. “This is what unfettered capitalism is doing to this country…we need a political revolution!”
UPDATE, 6:56 PM (Ruairi): Sanders was asked about his recent heart attack. He invites the audience to a rally in Queens, New York City. He plans to reassure the American people with the vigor of his continuing presidential campaign.
UPDATE, 6:56 PM (Andrew): The Washington Post is reporting that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will endorse Sanders’ campaign at that rally in Queens.
UPDATE, 6:57 PM (Ruairi): Sanders offered a heartfelt thanks to the many who have supported him through his health scare. He was applauded by the other candidates onstage, as well as by members of the audience.
UPDATE, 6:58 PM (Ruairi): Biden argued that his age brings wisdom. He says that he has the experience as Vice President to do the job of president “on day one…I know what has to be done, I’ve done it before.”
UPDATE, 6:58 PM (Ruairi): Biden said he doesn’t need any on-the-job training. He promised to release his medical records before the Iowa caucuses to reassure voters.
UPDATE, 7:00 PM (Ruairi): Warren was also asked about her age. She said she will “out work, out organize or out last anyone, and that includes Donald Trump.” She pivots to her key message – taking on the corporate corruption and big issues.
UPDATE, 7:00 PM (Ruairi): Warren added: “Democrats will win when we give people a reason to get in the fight.”
UPDATE, 7:01 PM (Ruairi): Gabbard would be the youngest president in history. She is asked: “Does age matter?” She turned the question around, asking: “Who is fit to serve?” She argued that Trump is unfit to be president.
UPDATE, 7:02 PM (Ruairi): Gabbard argued that her experience in Congress and the military has prepared her to be Commander-in-Chief.
UPDATE, 7:02 PM (Andrew): Gabbard, trying to start a conversation on her own terms, really got cut off there as the moderators headed to a commercial break. The other candidates probably don’t mind in the slightest.
UPDATE, 7:08 PM (Ruairi): Back from the break. Andrew Yang was asked about breaking up big tech problems. He says that increased competition will not necessary solve the problems caused by the tech companies.
UPDATE, 7:09 PM (Ruairi): Yang argued that the existing anti-trust framework won’t work to solve twenty-first century problems. Warren countered that she is not willing to give up so easily. She described the process by which Amazon is increasingly dominating ecommerce in the U.S. and other countries.
UPDATE, 7:11 PM (Ruairi): Tom Steyer agreed with Warren about dealing with monopolies and monopolistic behavior. He pointed out that Trump will be running on the economy – Steyer says that, “as a real businessman,” he can take on Trump’s arguments by showing him to be “a fraud and a failure” as president.
UPDATE, 7:12 PM (Ruairi): Booker pointed out that tech companies are undermining democray itself. He wants to strictly enforce anti-trust laws.
UPDATE, 7:13 PM (Ruairi): Beto O’Rourke described the control that Facebook has over people’s lives – he wants to treat Facebook as a publisher, not a utility company. He then expressed caution about using the power of government to dictate business practices.
UPDATE, 7:14 PM (Ruairi): Bernie Sanders, discussing the”rigged economy,” pointed to the massive monopolies developing in every industry. He wants to appoint an attorney general who will take on monopolies.
UPDATE, 7:14 PM (Andrew): Kudos to Bernie Sanders for bringing up the issue of mass media ownership. Media concentration is an issue that *almost never* gets discussed in the mass media, for obvious reasons.
UPDATE, 7:15 PM (Ruairi): Kamala Harris was asked if breaking up tech companies would increase election interference. No, she said. On monopolies, she said that “the rules that apply to the powerless don’t apply to the powerful.”
UPDATE, 7:16 PM (Ruairi): Harris argued that Twitter should suspend Trump’s account due to his violent, antidemocratic and threatening rhetoric. She asked Warren why she has not taken the same stance.
UPDATE, 7:17 PM (Ruairi): Harris sought to tie her stance on Trump’s Twitter account to Warren’s stance on big tech companies. Warren brought the conversation back to corporate corruption in American politics.
UPDATE, 7:18 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar argued that “we have another Gilded Age going on.” She wants to break down consolidation in key industries and empower regulatory enforcement of the rules.
UPDATE, 7:19 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar lamented a “start-up slump” in the USA.
UPDATE, 7:20 PM (Ruairi): Castro lambasted Amazon for destroying small businesses and mistreating its workers. Andrew Yang said he wants to change how data is treated – people should be paid by companies for their data.
UPDATE, 7:21 PM (Ruairi): The debate turned to the issue of reproductive rights. Harris plans to take on states that violate Roe v. Wade. Her Department of Justice would stop anti-freedom laws being enacted through pre-clearance.
UPDATE, 7:22 PM (Ruairi): Harris pointed to her famous interrogation of Brett Kavanaugh. Characterizing the need ro protect a woman’s right to obtain an abortion, she said: ”It is her body, it is her right, it is her decision.”
UPDATE, 7:22 PM (Ruairi): Amy Klobuchar pointed to the fact that Donald Trump argued that women should go to jail for abortions – he has been trying to defund Planned Parenthood, while she would fund it properly.
UPDATE, 7:23 PM (Ruairi): Booker sees the attack on abortion as another example of an assault on poverty, since limitations on abortion hit the poorest hardest. Booker would create a White House office of reproductive freedom.
UPDATE, 7:25 PM (Ruairi): Tulsi Gabbard sees abortion being used as a divisive political weapon. She quoted Hillary Clinton in saying “abortion should be safe, legal and rare.” She does support some restrictions on abortion. That position is unlikely to go over well with progressive activists.
UPDATE, 7:26 PM (Ruairi): Biden was asked if he would add justices to the Supreme Court to offset the seat Mitch McConnell stole. Biden argued that “court-packing” would undermine the legitimacy of the Supreme Court. He says that he would campaign against people throwing up barriers to constitutional rights.
UPDATE, 7:27 PM (Ruairi): Biden said he supports the right to privacy, on which a woman’s right to choose an abortion is based. Biden says that he would recommend using McConnell’s tactics against him by holding up any new Supreme Court nominations until the next election.
UPDATE, 7:28 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg suggested that maybe the Supreme Court should be increased to a total size of fifteen members, with a process to ensure bipartisanship and depoliticization.
UPDATE, 7:28 PM (Ruairi): Castro said he thinks Buttigieg’s ideas are interesting. He is more interesed, though, in Supreme Court term limits to ensure “a replenishment of perspective.”
UPDATE, 7:30 PM (Ruairi): Warren said she lived before the Roe v. Wade decision – rich people still got abortions in those days! She says that three fourths of Americans believe Roe v. Wade should be upheld. “We should not leave this to the Supreme Court, we should do it with democracy because we can!”
UPDATE, 7:31 PM (Ruairi): Biden was asked about the big visions of his closest rivals, Warren and Sanders. He claimed that he is the only candidate who has ever gotten anything big done (referring to the Obama years and his time in the Senate). “Who’s gonna be able to get it done?”
UPDATE, 7:32 PM (Ruairi): Biden said that Warren and Sanders are “being vague” on the issue of Medicare for All. Sanders had a retort ready. He reeled off a list of things that Biden got done that weren’t positive for the country, like the disastrous occupation of Iraq, bad trade deals, and a revision to the United States bankruptcy laws requested by corporations.
UPDATE, 7:33 PM (Ruairi): Sanders said that the American people pay twice as much as people in every other developed country for healthcare. Biden claimed that we can do that without Medicare For All. Sanders replied: “No, you can’t.”
UPDATE, 7:34 PM (Ruairi): On the issue of getting something done, Warren brought up her work to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
UPDATE, 7:36 PM (Ruairi): Biden asserted to Warren that “I went on the floor and got you votes” for the Dodd-Frank bill, which enacted the CFPB. Warren paused before replying, then said she is “deeply grateful” for everyone who fought for her plan. She says, “dream big, fight hard.”
UPDATE, 7:37 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg was asked about the vision for Democrats to beat Trump. He says that Biden, Warren and Sanders’ plans are “a false choice.” He says that Biden’s idea of “back to normal” won’t work for a changed America.
UPDATE, 7:38 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg also decried the idea of “infinate partisan struggle” that he says the boldest plans of Democrats would bring. Klobuchar said that her ideas can win the “flyover states,” and that she has a record of winning in red areas (specifically, Republican congressional districts in Minnesota).
UPDATE, 7:39 PM (Ruairi): Warren said people who are struggling with healthcare or student loans or racism “are in a fight today.” Anyone who doesn’t understand that there is already a fight going on for most people will not win their votes.
UPDATE, 7:40 PM (Ruairi): Bernie Sanders justified his manifesto of a political revolution by declaring: “It is what the American people want!” He points to the massive support for his plans. “You have to inspire people, you have to excite people… because they know you stand for them, not corporate America.”
UPDATE, 7:42 PM (Andrew): Sanders and Warren did a good job making the case that if you want to win a nationwide election, you campaign effectively with bold ideas that actually address the scale of the problems we face.
Ideas that inspire people.
UPDATE, 7:42 PM (Ruairi): Beto O’Rourke pointed to his record of helping veterans in El Paso as a Representative. Just because issues are not national emergencies, it doesn’t mean they are unimportant. He pointed to his Senae campaign as a model for winning over voters to beat Trump.
UPDATE, 7:47 PM (Ruairi): The final question from the moderators (Anderson Cooper in particular) concerned Ellen DeGeneres’ friendship with George W. Bush. Cooper asked the candidates to describe a “surprising” friendship.
UPDATE, 7:48 PM (Ruairi): Julián Castro said he has had many friendships with people who are extremely different. He agreed with Ellen’s “being kind to people” ethos, but stressed that we should hold people accountable for their actions.
UPDATE, 7:50 PM (Ruairi): Tulsi Gabbard pointed to her Hawaiian heritage, explaining the real meaning of “Aloha!”. She said that she and former U.S. Representative Trey Gowdy, a Republican, have developed a relationship based on mutual respect. She says she “doesn’t see deplorables.”
UPDATE, 7:51 PM (Ruairi): Amy Klobuchar said she misses John McCain “every day.” She visited the senator and war veteran when he was dying of cancer. She wants to remember that what unites Americans is bigger than what divides us. She wants to bring independents and reasonable Republicans into her tent.
UPDATE, 7:53 PM (Ruairi): Tom Steyer thought of Deanna Berry, an activist who he said reminds him of his parents. He connected his parents’ examples of taking on problems directly to why he started tackling the climate crisis, and started the Need to Impeach campaign.
UPDATE, 7:53 PM (Andrew): The climate crisis and related issues like deforestation and ocean pollution once again got short shrift tonight, which is why there ought to be a DNC-sanctioned #ClimateDebate.
UPDATE, 7:54 PM (Ruairi): Beto O’Rourke recalled bringing people together to achieve: in his business, in the El Paso City Council, as a Representative. He remembers driving 1,600 miles with Republican Will Hurd, who is retiring from the U.S. House as part of the “Texodus”. At the end of the trip, they had developed a friendship and trust. They then worked together in the House often.
UPDATE, 7:56 PM (Ruairi): Cory Booker has often been obliged by his political offices to make unusual friendships, whether that entailed to going to Bible studies with James Inhofe or going to restaurants with Ted Cruz. He says that rugged individualism is noble, but there is so much more to America’s great legacy.
UPDATE, 7:56 PM (Ruairi): Booker said he wants to “revive civic grace…patriotism is love of country. You cannot love your country unless you love your neighbors.” He wants to restore honor to the highest office in the country.
UPDATE, 7:58 PM (Andrew): Other issues that could and should have been discussed at greater length tonight: Voting rights and the need for secure elections, affordable housing and land use policies, and childcare.
UPDATE, 7:58 PM (Ruairi): Andrew Yang said he knows “a guy name Fred,” who is a trucker, a Trump supporter and a former felon. Yang managed to persuade Fred to join his campaign and move away from supporting Trump. He says that people suffering from the fourth industrial revolution don’t really care about party affiliation. “It is not left, it is not right, it is forward” he said.
UPDATE, 8:00 PM (Ruairi): Kamala Harris said she and Rand Paul worked together in the Senate to end money bail. She wants to be a leader that unifies the country. She recalls her mother’s extraordinary life, hat convinced her that she could do anything. If Donald Trump had his way, her story would not be possible.
UPDATE, 8:00 PM (Ruairi): Harris said she is “uniquely able” to see the commonalities between the people of America.
UPDATE, 8:02 PM (Ruairi): Pete Buttigieg recalled his comrades in the military who had different experiences, ethnicities and politics, but who trusted him with their lives and vice versa. Buttigieg believes that “only the president can build a sense of belonging and purpose for the entirety of America.”
UPDATE, 8:03 PM (Ruairi): Bernie Sanders recalled working with John McCain. He also cited his work with Utah Republican Mike Lee on ending America’s involvement in Saudi Arabia’s awful war in Yemen.
UPDATE, 8:04 PM (Ruairi): Sanders said he wants to end the divisiveness of the Trump regime. He also wants to bring people together around a “progressive agenda that stands for all.”
UPDATE, 8:05 PM (Ruairi): Elizabeth Warren thought of George Freed, a deeply principled Republican, who made sure she got a job that let her help people struggling with bankruptcy. Two of her own brothers are Republicans, but she and they agree on so many things, she told the audience.
UPDATE, 8:06 PM (Ruairi): Warrren said that “people across this country are ready to say no more, we want an America that works for everyone…I know what’s broken, I know how to fix it.”
UPDATE, 8:07 PM (Ruairi): Joe Biden is reassured that all the candidates acknowledged the necessity of working with Republicans to improve people’s lives. John McCain was a close friend of Biden. Biden noted that he gave a eulogy for McCain. Biden said that Trump has “ripped the soul out of this country.”
UPDATE, 8:08 PM (Ruairi): Biden concluded by saying that he wants voters to remember that “this is America…there’s nothing we’ve been unable to do when we decide to do it!” And with that, the debate ended.
We hope you enjoyed our live coverage!