Good evening, and welcome to NPI’s live coverage of the fifth Democratic presidential debate of the 2020 cycle.
NPI staff are watching and sharing impressions of the debate as it progresses.
MSNBC and The Washington Post the media partners for this DNC-sanctioned debate, which is expected to run two hours. The media partners have put together an all-female lineup of four moderators drawn from their newsrooms.
It consists of:
Rachel Maddow, host of “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC; Andrea Mitchell, host of “Andrea Mitchell Reports” on MSNBC and NBC News’ chief foreign affairs correspondent; Kristen Welker, NBC News’ White House correspondent; and Ashley Parker, a White House reporter for The Washington Post.
Tonight’s lineup of ten 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
- 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, 6:03 PM (Ruairi): The first question addresses the issue of impeachment, and today’s testimony by Gordon Sondland.
Warren is asked if she will try to convince Republicans on impeachment.
UPDATE, 6:04 PM (Ruairi): Warren refers to the Mueller report, saying when there were no consequences for Trump for inviting the Russian Federation to meddle in America’s elections, he was emboldened to hold up military aid to Ukraine to score assistance for his reelection campaign.
UPDATE, 6:05 PM (Ruairi): Warren points out that Gordon Sondland is unqualified to be an ambassador, and only got his job die to corruption. She promises that no donor to her campaign would become an ambassador.
UPDATE, 6:05 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar believes that the Ukraine scandal represents “impeachable conduct…it’s really our democracy at stake.”
UPDATE, 6:06 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar quotes Walter Mondale: “We told the truth, we obeyed the law, we kept the peace.”
She says that is the minimum that Americans should expect.
UPDATE, 6:07 PM (Ruairi): Bernie Sanders is asked how central the impeachment inquiry would be to his presidential campaign. He says “we cannot simply be consumed by Donald Trump…or we’ll lose the election!”
UPDATE, 6:08 PM (Ruairi): Sanders says “we can deal with Trump’s corruption, but we also have to stand up for the working families of this country.” He says the economy is rigged in the favor of the rich.
UPDATE, 6:09 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg is asked the same question. He says that impeachment should be “beyond politics.” He says “we are going to have to unify a nation that is divided as ever.” He brings up the issues of mass shootings, economic inequality and climate.
UPDATE, 6:10 PM (Ruairi): Joe Biden is asked whether Republicans will be willing to work with him. He says that the next president must get a Senate majority: “who is most likely to increase the number …of Democrats in the House and the Senate.”
UPDATE, 6:11 PM (Ruairi): Biden says, based on the impeachment inquiry’s revelations show: “Donald Trump doesn’t want me to be President… Vladimir Putin doesn’t want me to be president.”
UPDATE, 6:12 PM (Ruairi): Kamala Harris says that the Trump Administration is “a criminal enterprise” and that the whole White House is corrupt.
UPDATE, 6:12 PM (Ruairi): “There are two different sets of rules…for the powerful people…and for everybody else.”
Harris says that she wants to bring justice for all Americans.
UPDATE, 6:13 PM (Ruairi): Warren is asked if the divide in the country is permanent. She wants to “talk about the things that unite us…an America that works for the people, not just the rich folks.”
UPDATE, 6:14 PM (Ruairi): Warren brings up her “two cent wealth tax” saying that it isn’t about punishment, but about “pitching in.”
UPDATE, 6:15 PM (Ruairi): Cory Booker doesn’t agree with Warren’s wealth tax, but wants to tax capital gains and change other taxes. He wants to be able to increase wealth and give more people opportunities.
UPDATE, 6:15 PM (Ruairi): He says that people want “an economy that provides not just equalities of wealth but equalities of opportunity.”
UPDATE, 6:17 PM (Ruairi): Warren says that her wealth tax can provide free preschool and massively increase school quality, cancel student loan debt and provide free college: “We can invest in an entire generation.”
UPDATE, 6:17 PM (Ruairi): Booker argues, without providing any evidence, that wealth taxes are “cumbersome” in countries that have tried it, but wants to focus on “pathways to prosperity” for more Americans.
UPDATE, 6:18 PM (Ruairi): Warren says that her wealth tax is fair: “I’m tired of freeloading billionaires.” She points out that billionaires pay half as high a percentage of their wealth in taxes than ordinary people.
UPDATE, 6:20 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg believes that the Democrats have a majority on the issues “if we can galvanize, not polarize, that majority.”
UPDATE, 6:20 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg argues his Medicare for those who want it plan is superior, saying that “ordering… commanding people to accept that option…is not the right approach to unify the American people.”
UPDATE, 6:21 PM (Ruairi): Warren is asked if her Medicare for All plans will cost the Democratic Party votes. She lays out the many benefits of her plan, and says it will build on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
UPDATE, 6:21 PM (Ruairi): Warren says after a few years, “after we have seen it and tasted it, we’re gonna want it.”
UPDATE, 6:21 PM (Andrew): These Democratic debates would benefit from better moderator questions. It’s offensive and inappropriate for the pejorative “Obamacare” to appear in a debate question. It’s wrong for questions to be framed around right wing talking points.
UPDATE, 6:22 PM (Ruairi): Sanders is included, and says “Thank you, I wrote the damn bill,” (a line from the first debate that became popular with his fans) getting a laugh. He says “the current system is not only cruel, it is dysfunctional.”
UPDATE, 6:23 PM (Ruairi): Sanders points out that the United States pays twice as much as other countries for healthcare, but we still have a system when people can go bankrupt because of medical expenses.
UPDATE, 6:24 PM (Ruairi): Biden is asked to respond to Sanders’ plan. He says that the vast majority of Democrats don’t support Medicare for All. He wants to build on the Patient Protection Act, adding a public option.
UPDATE, 6:24 PM (Ruairi): Biden repeats his (dubious) point that one hundred and sixty million Americans “like their private insurance.”
UPDATE, 6:24 PM (Andrew): Tulsi Gabbard has received her first question. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang and billionaire Tom Steyer have not spoken yet and have not been called on by the moderators.
UPDATE, 6:25 PM (Ruairi): The question Tulsi Gabbard was asked concerned “the rot” she sees in the Democratic Party. She says that it is overly influenced by “the foreign policy establishment… and other greedy corporate interests.”
UPDATE, 6:26 PM (Ruairi): Gabbard wants to “hear the voices of those who are struggling across this country.” She repeats the “regime change wars,” saying that they have cost trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives.
UPDATE, 6:27 PM (Ruairi): Harris says “it’s unfortunate that we have someone on stage…who spent four years full time on Fox News criticizing President Obama.” She says Gabbard, “buddied up to Steve Bannon.”
UPDATE, 6:27 PM (Ruairi): Harris demolished Gabbard’s record, then says the Democrats need someone who can “bring the Party and the nation together.”
UPDATE, 6:28 PM (Ruairi): Gabbard didn’t much care for being criticized. She says that Harris is trafficking in “lies, smears and innuendoes.” She says that means Harris will “continue the destruction” of foreign wars.
UPDATE, 6:29 PM (Andrew): Tulsi Gabbard seems obsessed with trying to repeat the phrase “regime change wars” as many times as she can in each one or two minute answer that she gives.
UPDATE, 6:29 PM (Ruairi): Harris says that the country needs a nominee who can “speak to all people,”, citing her record as a lawyer and Attorney General. She says her five most common words were “Kamala Harris for the people.”
UPDATE, 6:30 PM (Ruairi): Tom Steyer is asked if he is “the embodiment of a special interest.” He says he has a record of bringing movements together to take on corporate power.
UPDATE, 6:31 PM (Ruairi): Steyer says he has built one of the largest movements in American history: “I’ve tried to push power down to the American people.” He wants term limits for members of Congress, which we don’t support.
UPDATE, 6:32 PM (Ruairi): Amy Klobuchar says she “doesn’t come from money” but she appreciates Steyer’s work. She wants to overturn
Citizens Corporations United. She also wants a better system of voter registration, especially in states like Georgia.
UPDATE, 6:32 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar invokes Stacey Abrams to point out that the country suffers from racial voter suppression.
UPDATE, 6:33 PM (Ruairi): Andrew Yang says of Steyer “you can’t knock somebody for having money and spending it in the right way,” referring to the climate crisis. He says that his plans will help the U.S. catch up with China.
UPDATE, 6:34 PM (Ruairi): Yang wants to focus “on the true threats of tomorrow,” such as climate change, AI and Chinese technology.
UPDATE, 6:35 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg is asked about his lack of experience. He says “we need something very different now.”
He also told viewers: “I am literally the least wealthy person on this stage…I know how to bring people together to get things done.”
UPDATE, 6:35 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg says his experience as a Mayor can be scaled up to work in the nation’s capital.
UPDATE, 6:37 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar was asked about her comments on gender and Pete Buttigieg. She says that Buttigieg is qualified, but points out that America has never had a female president. She has the record to be able to win.
UPDATE, 6:37 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar declared: “If you think a woman can’t beat Trump, Nancy Pelosi does it every day.”
UPDATE, 6:37 PM (Andrew): That was one of Amy Klobuchar’s best answers by far in any Democratic debate.
UPDATE, 6:38 PM (Ruairi): Biden says that he has “passed more major legislation than every person on this stage combined.”
He talked about everything from criminal justice to the Yugolsav wars (butchering Milosevic’s name in the process).
UPDATE, 6:39 PM (Ruairi): Booker was asked about Trump’s “unfiltered communication.” Booker observed that Trump likes to breaks norms, but the next President should bring the country together.
UPDATE, 6:40 PM (Ruairi): Booker sayid that his experience as a mayor (like Buttigieg) helps him to be ready for executive experience.
UPDATE, 6:41 PM (Ruairi): Rachel Maddow asked about the “lock him up” chants against Trump. Sanders says that “the people of this country are catching on to the degree that this President thinks he is above the law.”
UPDATE, 6:41 PM (Ruairi): Sanders says that if Trump did break the law, he should be prosecuted like anybody else, but that bringing the nation together is more important.
UPDATE, 6:42 PM (Ruairi): Sanders rejected a lot of the sense of division in the country: Americans largely agree on the need for climate justice, an end to income inequality, gun safety, and progress on other issues.
UPDATE, 6:43 PM (Ruairi): Asked about prosecuting Trump after he leaves office, Biden says he would “not dictate who should be prosecuted…it’s the Attorney General of the United States, not the President’s personal attorney.”
UPDATE, 6:44 PM (Ruairi): Biden doesn’t want to model the Democrats after Trump, saying that civility is important to restoring “the soul of this country.”
UPDATE, 6:44 PM (Ruairi): Sanders declared: “Joe is right, it is the function of the Attorney General.” However, he says that increasingly, Americans do believe that Trump has committed criminal acts.
UPDATE, 6:45 PM (Andrew): A question about childcare? It’s. About. Time!
UPDATE, 6:46 PM (Ruairi): As mentioned, the debate has turned to childcare and paid leave. Andrew Yang points out that the only country that doesn’t have mandatory paid family leave is Papua New Guinea: “We need to get off this list!”
UPDATE, 6:47 PM (Ruairi): Yang is making the case for “a Freedom Dividend…from day one.” He says, “we should not be pushing everyone to leave the home and going to the workforce.”
UPDATE, 6:48 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar was asked about her proposal for three months federally guaranteed paid family leave. “Look at my website…you can see my plans and how I’m gonna pay for it,” she responded.
UPDATE, 6:49 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar vowed, “I’m not gonna go for things because they sound good on a bumper sticker,” referring to the ambitious plans of her rivals. She cited tuition free college and Medicare for All.
UPDATE, 6:50 PM (Ruairi): Harris said her plan (for six months, not three) is relevant to the changing nature of American parenthood – people are having kids later, and also often taking care of their own parents.
UPDATE, 6:51 PM (Ruairi): Harris pointed out that the burden of care often falls on women. She also points out that “women are not paid equal for equal work,” and points to her broader plans to address women in work.
UPDATE, 6:52 PM (Ruairi): Steyer was asked about affordable housing. He says “when you look at inequality…you have to start with housing.” He says that California’s lack of housing affects millions: homelessness and skyrocketing rents.
UPDATE, 6:53 PM (Ruairi): Steyer wants to be building new housing in a sustainable way, because housing has a “dramatic effect on climate and sustainability.” He wants to force certain municipalities o change housing policy.
UPDATE, 6:54 PM (Ruairi): Warren said that “the federal government stopped building years ago… I’ve got a plan for 3.2 million new housing units.” She says “housing is how we build wealth in America,” emphasizing the history of racist red-lining policies that have discriminated against millions of people.
UPDATE, 6:55 PM (Andrew): This is a welcome change of pace from past debates: an affordable housing question followed that childcare question. If the moderators keep asking good questions about topics that are rarely addressed, this could turn out to be the best Democratic debate yet.
UPDATE, 6:55 PM (Ruairi): Booker brought up his record as Mayor of Newark. He cited gentrification, which compounds racial segregation. He promised a tax deduction for renters who spend a large proportion of their income on rent.
UPDATE, 7:00 PM (Ruairi): The next question deals with farmers and the trade dispute with China. Would Mayor Buttigieg continue farm subsidies?
UPDATE, 7:00 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg said the subsidies “aren’t even making farmers whole… I don’t think this president cares one bit for farmers.”
UPDATE, 7:01 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg said that consolidation and monopolies should be taken on to help farmers. He also says that farms are essential to dealing with climate change.
UPDATE, 7:02 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg said he would continue subsidies, but he would bring the trade dispute to an end to make them unnecessary.
UPDATE, 7:03 PM (Ruairi): The debate has shifted to the climate crisis. Tulsi Gabbard says “this is not a Democrat[ic] issue or a Republican issue,” a tired and meaningless phrase which is on NPI’s Banished Words List.
UPDATE, 7:04 PM (Ruairi): Gabbard wants to wean the United States off fossil fuels and investing in sustainable industry and agriculture. She claimed to want to be a world leader on the issue of climate justice.
UPDATE, 7:05 PM (Ruairi): Steyer says that climate justice is his number one priority. He would use the emergency powers of the presidency, prioritizing climate justice in domestic and foreign policy.
UPDATE, 7:05 PM (Ruairi): Steyer thinks that there’s nothing better for bridging the partisan divide than “saving the world!”
UPDATE, 7:05 PM (Andrew): With Jay Inslee not on stage, Tom Steyer is really trying to claim the climate justice campaign mantle.
UPDATE, 7:06 PM (Ruairi): Biden says he doesn’t need a lecture from Steyer on tackling climate damage: he says Steyer invested in the coal industry, while Biden was pursuing climate-friendly policies.
UPDATE, 7:07 PM (Ruairi): “Everyone in this room has lived in an economy based on fossil fuels,” Steyer responded. He argues that Congress has never passed a major climate justice bill (the House has, but not the Senate). Steyer said wants to make climate “the most important thing.”
UPDATE, 7:08 PM (Ruairi): Sanders points to legislation that he is putting forward right now. He says the U.S. needs to “get our act together right now,” as the world faces an unprecedented crisis.
UPDATE, 7:08 PM (Ruairi): Sanders says “the fossil fuel industry is probably criminally liable…they lied and lied and lied when they had the evidence!”
UPDATE, 7:08 PM (Andrew): That’s the end of the climate justice discussion? Already? Bad choice, moderators.
UPDATE, 7:09 PM (Ruairi): Kamala Harris was asked about North Korea. She says that “Donald Trump got punked,” by Kim Jong Un. She says he fails to understand the role of Commander in Chief.
UPDATE, 7:10 PM (Ruairi): Harris wants to ensure that the United States not only has a strong military, but is respected in the world community, which simply isn’t the case right now. Trump’s breaking of international agreements makes him “the greatest threat to the national security.”
UPDATE, 7:11 PM (Ruairi): On North Korea, Harris said: “There are no concessions to be made.” She demonstrated comprehensive knowledge of the region.
UPDATE, 7:12 PM (Ruairi): Biden was asked what he would do that Obama didn’t do. Biden said he would first recreate the alliances that Trump has degraded. He wants to work with China and South Korea to pressure North Korea.
UPDATE, 7:13 PM (Ruairi): Biden pointed out that “this guy [Trump] has no idea what he’s doing.”
UPDATE, 7:13 PM (Ruairi): Bernie Sanders was asked if he would negotiate a deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan. To buttress his argument that he has better judgment than Biden, Sanders pointed out that Biden voted to authorize the occupation of Iraq, while he voted against it.
UPDATE, 7:14 PM (Ruairi): Sanders wants to have a foreign policy that “understands who our enemies are,” and he would bring troops out of Afghanistan. He would do it “working with the international community” and would talk to the Taliban.
UPDATE, 7:15 PM (Ruairi): Andrew Yang was asked what he would say to Vladimir Putin. Yang paused before answering, then declared: “First I would say, ‘I’m sorry I beat your guy.’” He would say that any Russian interference in elections would be viewed as aggression.
UPDATE, 7:16 PM (Ruairi): Yang quoted James Madison: “The more you spent on diplomacy, the less you spend on ammunition.” He also wants to address China’s treatment of minorities, particularly Uyghur Muslims.
UPDATE, 7:17 PM (Ruairi): Cory Booker was asked about the if he would help demonstrators in Hong Kong. He reeled off some of the human rights violations China is guilty of and noted: “There is a larger battle going on on planet Earth.”
UPDATE, 7:18 PM (Ruairi): Booker sees a global conflict between democracies and authoritarian regimes. Booker wants to call out Chinese human rights abuses, but would bring American abuses (such as on the border or in Yemen) to heel.
UPDATE, 7:19 PM (Ruairi): Biden was asked about Jamal Kashoggi and other Saudi abuses. Biden declared that he would not sell weapons to Saudi Arabia and make them an international pariah.
UPDATE, 7:19 PM (Ruairi): Biden says the Saudis have to be held accountable. “We are clear that we stand for human rights.”
UPDATE, 7:20 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar said “we need a new foreign policy,” including reasserting American values, strengthening alliances. She says that Trump’s reaction to the Kashoggi killing “sent a signal” to dictators.
UPDATE, 7:21 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar said she, like the Chinese regime, sees in the long term, because “they are in it for the long game.”
UPDATE, 7:22 PM (Ruairi): Sanders touted his strong record on criticizing Saudi Arabia. He wants to say to Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Palestinians that the United States is sick of funding their wars with each other.
UPDATE, 7:23 PM (Ruairi): Warren is asked if more Americans should serve in the military. “I think it’s an important part of who we are as Americans…it’s how we help bring our nation together.”
UPDATE, 7:23 PM (Ruairi): Warren wants to see even more service opportunities for Americans, such as in national forests and national parks.
UPDATE, 7:25 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg was asked if he would cut military budgets. He wants to reprioritize spending, such as increased funding for Artificial Intelligence. “There is no concept of strategic planning” in the Trump regime.
UPDATE, 7:25 PM (Andrew): This is a good discussion about reforming defense procurement and changing up our foreign policy, but we’re running out of time to tackle the topic of voting rights and combating voter suppression.
UPDATE, 7:30 PM (Ruairi): The moderators are now asking about white suprematism and domestic terrorism.
Gabbard claims she wants correct racial injustices, beginning with the criminal justice system and “the failed war on drugs.”
UPDATE, 7:31 PM (Ruairi): Gabbard added that she wants to “correct the failures of the past…we have to treat each other with respect… that kind of leadership starts at the top.”
UPDATE, 7:31 PM (Ruairi): Andrew Yang said he wants to designate white supremacist terrorism as domestic terrorism so that the Department of Justice can track it. He recounts talking to a former white supremacist.
UPDATE, 7:32 PM (Ruairi): Yang also said he wants to “get into the roots of our communities…for men in particular who are falling through the cracks.” He wants to find ways to “turn our boys into healthy and strong young men.”
UPDATE, 7:33 PM (Ruairi): Biden was asked about the #MeToo Movement. He wants to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, and “fundamentally change the culture of how women are treated… it’s everyone’s responsibility.”
UPDATE, 7:34 PM (Ruairi): Biden referred to efforts he led on college campuses, citing the need to get men involved. “It’s a gigantic issue and we have to make it clear from the President on down that we will not tolerate it.”
UPDATE, 7:35 PM (Ruairi): Harris was asked about her criticism of Pete Buttigieg’s attempts to bridge racial divides. She sidestepped the opportunity to critique Buttigieg, and tried instead to speak to bigger issues.
UPDATE, 7:36 PM (Ruairi): Harris said she wants the Democrats to be there for people of color, and not just showing up in election years. “Show up for me!” She says that black people are more likely to die in childbirth or violence.
UPDATE, 7:36 PM (Andrew): Kamala Harris is really finding her groove as she gets further into her answer on this critical question.
UPDATE, 7:36 PM (Ruairi): Harris said that, on race, the “question has to be ‘where you been, and what are you gonna do?’”
UPDATE, 7:37 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg agreed. He said his city is racially diverse, he has “lived and breathed” the racial issues within South Bend. He brought his Christian faith to the answer, saying he is obliged to help the oppressed.
UPDATE, 7:38 PM (Ruairi): As a gay man, Buttigieg says he sometimes feels like “a stranger in my own country.”
He saw people fight for gay rights even if they were nothing like him, and he wants to support people who are nothing like him.
UPDATE, 7:39 PM (Ruairi): Harris wants to rebuild the Obama coalition to win the 2020 presidential election. She says that that coalition was built on a leader who had worked in diverse communities.
UPDATE, 7:40 PM (Ruairi): Warren talked about the massive racial inequality in student loan debt. “Student loan forgiveness…will help close the racial gap.”
UPDATE, 7:41 PM (Ruairi): Warren was asked if she would use taxpayer money to take down Trump’s wall. She says the border is “a man-made crisis” because of Trump’s policies.
UPDATE, 7:42 PM (Ruairi): Warren emphasized her visits to border facilities and described her sadness at seeing people being oppressed, including children in cages. “A great nation does not separate children from their families.”
UPDATE, 7:42 PM (Andrew): Senator Warren just offered the answer of the night, emphatically and eloquently denouncing the inhumane, immoral separation of children and their parents at the border.
UPDATE, 7:42 PM (Ruairi): Cory Booker said the wall “is just wrong” and returns to the issue of black voters: “I’ve been one since I was eighteen!” He says that black voters are “pissed off and worried.”
UPDATE, 7:43 PM (Ruairi): Booker criticized Biden for saying that marijuana should not be legalized: “I thought you might have been high when you said it!”
UPDATE, 7:44 PM (Ruairi): Booker pointed out the massive inequalities when it comes to prosecuting marijuana users. He points out that the Democrats lost Michigan because of “a massive dimunition in the African-American vote.”
UPDATE, 7:45 PM (Ruairi): Biden said that marijuana offenders should be released and that marijuana should be studied. He points to his “longstanding connection to the black community” as “part of the Obama coalition.”
UPDATE, 7:46 PM (Ruairi): Biden says that his large degree of support from the black community comes from the fact that “they know me” thanks to his years in the Obama White House as Vice President.
We’re heading to a break.
UPDATE, 7:50 PM (Andrew): We’re back from the break and Rachel Maddow has a question about women’s reproductive rights.
UPDATE, 7:51 PM (Ruairi): As mentioned, the debate has shifted to the topic of abortion and women’s rights. Klobuchar reminded everyone of the restrictive laws being passed, adding that Democrats cannot forget “that the people are with us.” She pointed out that over 70% of Americans support Roe v. Wade.
UPDATE, 7:52 PM (Ruairi): Warren said she believes that abortion rights are human rights and economic rights. “Rich women will still get abortions… it’s still going to fall hard on poor women and girls.”
UPDATE, 7:53 PM (Ruairi): When people decide whether to get an abortion, “the one entity that should not be in that equation is the government.”
UPDATE, 7:53 PM (Ruairi): Bernie Sanders says that “the men of America must stand with the women.” He criticizes conservatives who “want small government” but don’t want women to control their own bodies.
UPDATE, 7:54 PM (Ruairi): Booker brought up voter suppression, tying it to the discussion over reproductive rights. The connection is that the anti-freedom bill being pushed in Georgia is opposed by over 70% of Georgians.
UPDATE, 7:54 PM (Andrew): Rachel Maddow has squeezed in a question about voting rights here at the end of the debate. This topic should have been addressed early on, in hour one.
UPDATE, 7:55 PM (Ruairi): How would Buttigieg ensure access to the ballot? “This affects every other issue we care about.” He says that election day could be made a federal holiday. He talked about using a “carrots and sticks” approach to build a consensus for election reforms among state and local leaders.
UPDATE, 7:56 PM (Ruairi): “Right now we have politicians picking out their voters, not the other way around.” Buttigieg wants to reform the election process, including eliminating the Electoral College.
UPDATE, 7:57 PM (Andrew): Given the first opportunity to talk about voting rights and access to the ballot, Pete Buttigieg made the most of it. He covered a lot of ground in a short amount of time. His best answer of the night by far.
UPDATE, 7:57 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar touted her experience in the Senate of pressing for bills that improve confidence in government and voting rights. “I have also actually done this work,” she said, a comment directed at Buttigieg.
UPDATE, 7:58 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg responded by saying that “Washington experience is not the only experience that counts!” He recounted out his experience in the military and local government.
UPDATE, 7:59 PM (Ruairi): Gabbard touted her bill that mandates paper ballots. She attacked Buttigieg for saying that he would send troops to Mexico to fight cartels. She cited her experience in the House foreign affairs and armed services committees.
UPDATE, 8:00 PM (Ruairi): “That is outlandish, even by the standard of today’s politics,” says Buttigieg. Gabbard took his statement out of context: “Do you think anyone on this stage is seriously proposing invading Mexico?”
UPDATE, 8:01 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg brought up the elephant in Gabbard’s room – her meetings with Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad. “I wouldn’t meet with a murderous dictator like that,” Buttigieg told Gabbard.
UPDATE, 8:01 PM (Andrew): It’s Pete Buttigieg vs. Tulsi Gabbard: not a debate dynamic many were expecting.
UPDATE, 8:01 PM (Ruairi): Gabbard cited past presidents who met with Soviet dictators. (Of course, she is not the President of the United States.)
“Like Trump, who met with Kim,” snaps Buttigieg.
UPDATE, 8:02 PM (Ruairi): Sanders brought the conversation back to voter suppression, and pointed out that
Citizens Corporations United “allows billionaires to buy elections.” He wants public funding of elections.
UPDATE, 8:03 PM (Ruairi): Steyer said he wants the Democrats to not only beat Trump, but win across the country. He wants to talk turnout: “Up to half the people don’t vote at all!”
UPDATE, 8:03 PM (Ruairi): Steyer pointed to his experience with NextGen America in increasing turnout in areas where his group campaigned.
UPDATE, 8:05 PM (Ruairi): In his closing statement, Cory Booker gives a shout-out to Representative John Lewis, the civil rights icon.
“We all owe a debt that we cannot repay, we all drink from wells of freedom and liberty that we did not dig.”
UPDATE, 8:05 PM (Ruairi): Booker promised to cause “good trouble”, in the words of John Lewis.
UPDATE, 8:06 PM (Ruairi): Tom Steyer said he is “different from everybody else on this stage… I’ve spent decades putting together coalitions of ordinary voters” to beat corporations.
UPDATE, 8:07 PM (Ruairi): Steyer touted his business experience, saying that he can use it to take Trump to task on the economy.
UPDATE, 8:09 PM (Ruairi): Tulsi Gabbard promised to treat everyone with “respect and compassion.” She referred to Martin Luther King’s admiration of Hawaii’s racial harmony. She told viewers she wants to “usher in a twenty-first century of racial harmony, of racial justice.”
UPDATE, 8:09 PM (Ruairi): Andrew Yang referred to his two kids: “Our kids are not all right…we are leaving them a future that is far darker.” He says that the fourth industrial revolution is pushing families aside.
UPDATE, 8:10 PM (Ruairi): Yang said his first reaction to the crisis was not running for president – “because I am not insane!” He says “like many of you, I am a parent and a patriot,” and that’s why he is running for the White House.
UPDATE, 8:12 PM (Ruairi): Amy Klobuchar talked about the impeachment hearings: “In this country, you can tell the truth, and you will be fine.” This is not just an election about everyone’s economic security, “this is a patriot check.”
UPDATE, 8:12 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar said she wants to win independents and Republicans “who cannot stomach this guy any more.” She added her win won’t be “a personal victory, it will be a national victory.”
UPDATE, 8:13 PM (Ruairi): Kamala Harris started by declaring: “So we’re in a fight.” She wants a nominee who “can go toe-to-toe with Trump,” and touted her questioning of Bill Barr, Jeff Sessions and Brett Kavanaugh.
UPDATE, 8:14 PM (Ruairi): “My entire career has been spent having one client and one client only: the people.” Harris said that “justice is on the ballot in this election.” She wants to unlock the potential and promise of America.
UPDATE, 8:15 PM (Ruairi): Pete Buttigieg said that Atlanta is the heart of the black middle class because of great local leaders. He is running to prepare for “the era that must come after Trump.”
UPDATE, 8:15 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg said he can unite progressives, biconceptual voters, and “future former Republicans…everybody is welcome in this movement we’re creating.”
UPDATE, 8:17 PM (Ruairi): Bernie Sanders pointed out that he is the son of an immigrant. He touted his record in the civil rights movement, protesting as a student. Sanders said he wants to not only beat Trump but change America, without the help of the rich, corporations, or super PACS.
UPDATE, 8:18 PM (Ruairi): Elizabeth Warren said “we know what we need to do…the majority of Americans are with us on it, yet we don’t make change.”
She declared the problem is corruption.
UPDATE, 8:19 PM (Ruairi): Warren argued she has authored the “biggest anti-corruption bill since Watergate” that will “end lobbying as we know it.” She wants to start by “attacking the corruption” that is the source of so many problems.
UPDATE, 8:20 PM (Ruairi): Joe Biden immediately mentioned Barack Obama when it was time for his closing. The country needs a leader who believes that America leads “not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example,” a memorable line from a past Bill Clinton speech.
UPDATE, 8:21 PM (Ruairi): Biden says “get up, let’s take back this country and let’s lead the world again!” He says that America has never failed to achieve something it has set its mind to. And that’s the final word in this debate!
Good night, and thank you for following along with us.