2019 Democratic Presidential Debates, Round 2
2019 Democratic Presidential Debates, Round 2

Good evening, and wel­come to NPI’s live cov­er­age of the sev­enth 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 sev­er­al hours in Des Moines, Iowa.

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

The net­work’s Wolf Blitzer and Abby Phillip as well as The Des Moines Reg­is­ter’s Bri­anne Pfan­nen­stiel are the mod­er­a­tors for the debate. Blitzer has a lousy rep­u­ta­tion as a mod­er­a­tor and we’ll be watch­ing close­ly to see how many ques­tions he asks that are framed using right wing ideas.

“In order to qual­i­fy for the debate, can­di­dates need­ed to meet both polling and fundrais­ing min­i­mums,” CNN’s debate guide explains.

“For the polling cri­te­ria, can­di­dates need­ed to receive 5% in at least four DNC-approved nation­al or ear­ly state (Iowa, New Hamp­shire, Neva­da and South Car­oli­na) polls, or receive 7% in two ear­ly state polls.”

“Can­di­dates also need­ed to receive dona­tions from at least 225,000 unique donors, and a min­i­mum of 1,000 unique donors per state in at least twen­ty dif­fer­ent states.” Most of the can­di­dates still seek­ing the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty’s nom­i­na­tion for Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States did­n’t meet this criteria.

The six who did and will appear onstage tonight are as follows:

  • For­mer May­or Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana
  • U.S. Sen­a­tor Bernie Sanders vof Vermont
  • U.S. Sen­a­tor Eliz­a­beth War­ren of Massachusetts
  • For­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden
  • U.S. Sen­a­tor Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
  • Bil­lion­aire Tom Steyer

Our live cov­er­age begins below.

UPDATE, 5:54 PM (Ruairi): This debate stage will fea­ture the small­est debate stage yet, only six candidates.

UPDATE, 5:54 PM (Ruairi): Joe Biden is first on stage, fol­lowed by Bernie Sanders. Eliz­a­beth War­ren fol­lows, get­ting a few enthu­si­as­tic cheers.

UPDATE, 5:55 PM (Ruairi): Pete Buttigieg, Tom Stey­er and Amy Klobuchar com­plete the debate line-up.

UPDATE, 5:56 PM (Ruairi): Tom Stey­er looks par­tic­u­lar­ly pleased to be on stage, as the can­di­dates wait for pho­tos to be taken.

UPDATE, 6:01 PM (Ruairi): CNN’s mod­er­a­tors are deter­mined to empha­size that his debate is the final one before the Iowa Demo­c­ra­t­ic caucuses.

UPDATE, 6:02 PM (Ruairi): Wolf Blitzer opens the debate ask­ing about the can­di­dates’ pre­pared­ness to become Com­man­der in Chief.

UPDATE, 6:03 PM (Ruairi): Bernie Sanders imme­di­ate­ly points to his anti-war lead­er­ship in the run up to the inva­sion of Iraq. He points to his joint efforts with Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Mike Lee to try to stop Sau­di Ara­bi­a’s war in Yemen.

UPDATE, 6:04 PM (Ruairi): Joe Biden is asked about his judge­ment over the Iraq inva­sion. He says he acknowl­edged that it was “a mis­take” thir­teen years ago. He says he “led the effort” against a troop esca­la­tion in Afghanistan.

UPDATE, 6:04 PM (Ruairi): He says that Iraq was a mis­tak­en vote but he is pre­pared to defend the rest of his record against any­body on the stage.

UPDATE, 6:05 PM (Ruairi): Sanders is asked why he vot­ed for the AUMF against Al Qae­da in the after­math of Sep­tem­ber 11th. He says that his Afghanistan vote was dif­fer­ent, as Iraq turned out to be the worst for­eign pol­i­cy mis­take in Amer­i­can history.

UPDATE, 6:06 PM (Ruairi): Sanders says that both he and Biden heard Cheney and Bush’s argu­ments about Iraq: he was skep­ti­cal of them, but Biden “had a dif­fer­ent opinion.”

UPDATE, 6:07 PM (Ruairi): Amy Klobuchar is asked why her expe­ri­ence as a sen­a­tor is more impor­tant than Buttigieg’s mil­i­tary expe­ri­ence. She points out that their expe­ri­ences are very different.

UPDATE, 6:07 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar points out that she opposed the Iraq inva­sion and worked as a sen­a­tor to “improve the sit­u­a­tion for our troops” regard­ing jobs, edu­ca­tion and healthcare.

UPDATE, 6:07 PM (Andrew): CNN made a smart deci­sion to start off by ask­ing about the can­di­dates’ views on diplo­ma­cy and con­flict instead of health­care. Sanders nim­bly han­dled the first ques­tion from Wolf Blitzer.

UPDATE, 6:08 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar points out that the real for­eign pol­i­cy dan­ger is Don­ald Trump. She points to bipar­ti­san Sen­ate agree­ment against Trump’s aggres­sion towards Iran.

UPDATE, 6:09 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg points out that peo­ple are enlist­ing today who weren’t alive when the deci­sions were made over Iraq and Afghanistan

UPDATE, 6:09 PM (Ruairi): Eliz­a­beth War­ren is asked if she is pre­pared – she says “the prin­ci­pal job of the Com­man­der in Chief is to keep Amer­i­cans safe.” She lays out how she has worked on that, includ­ing vis­it­ing troops overseas.

UPDATE, 6:10 PM (Ruairi): War­ren points out that she has three broth­ers in the mil­i­tary. She says that there is a revolv­ing door in the Belt­way between the Pen­ta­gon and the defense industry.

UPDATE, 6:10 PM (Ruairi): War­ren sees the mil­i­tary-indus­tri­al com­plex as anoth­er exam­ple of cor­po­rate corruption.

UPDATE, 6:11 PM (Ruairi): Tom Stey­er, a hedge fund man­ag­er by pro­fes­sion, says that he under­stands how Amer­i­ca inter­acts with the world because of his inter­na­tion­al busi­ness connections.

UPDATE, 6:12 PM (Andrew): Stey­er is cor­rect — it’s more about judg­ment than expe­ri­ence. This is a real­ly good answer. Glad to hear Stey­er and War­ren talk­ing about the need for more effec­tive pro­cure­ment, as well. We need defense spend­ing to be less wasteful.

UPDATE, 6:12 PM (Ruairi): Stey­er says that “an out­side perspective…is what we’re look­ing for now.” He wants to move mon­ey from the bloat­ed defence bud­get to oth­er areas of the budget.

UPDATE, 6:13 PM (Ruairi): Sanders is asked if his pol­i­cy of with­draw­ing troops from the Mid­dle East would cre­ate anoth­er Islam­ic State group. He says that dis­as­ters in both Viet­nam and Iraq were based on lies: he says that Trump could drag us into anoth­er war with lies.

UPDATE, 6:13 PM (Ruairi): Sanders calls to bring inter­na­tion­al coali­tions togeth­er, and “ensure that Iran nev­er gets a nuclear weapon.” Biden jumps on the ref­er­ence to the Joint Com­pre­hen­sive Plan of Action with Iran.

UPDATE, 6:14 PM (Ruairi): Biden says that Trump is respon­si­ble for the loss of U.S. stand­ing in the Mid­dle East and alien­ation from allies.

UPDATE, 6:15 PM (Ruairi): Biden would leave troops in the Gulf of Per­sia, and believes it is a mis­take to pull out troops that are cur­rent­ly fight­ing ISIS. Amy Klobuchar has “long want­ed to bring our troops home” from Afghanistan.

UPDATE, 6:16 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar says she would reverse many of the deci­sions Trump has made in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syr­ia. She refers to her ques­tion­ing of Trump offi­cials on for­eign pol­i­cy issues.

UPDATE, 6:17 PM (Ruairi): “We need to get our com­bat troops out… we need to get out of this con­cept that we can do every­thing with our com­bat troops,” says War­ren. She says that com­bat troops are “not help­ing” in the Mid­dle East.

UPDATE, 6:18 PM (Ruairi): Biden says there is a dif­fer­ence between com­bat troops and spe­cial forces. He brings the con­ver­sa­tion back to inter­na­tion­al alliance-build­ing and diplo­ma­cy to take on terrorism.

UPDATE, 6:18 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg says that Trump “is actu­al­ly send­ing more” troops to the Mid­dle East. When he sees this, “I think about the day I shipped out” as a com­bat soldier.

UPDATE, 6:19 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg tells a sto­ry of a friend of his who was forced to leave their young child behind to fight in the Mid­dle East.

UPDATE, 6:20 PM (Ruairi): Sanders reels off a series of domes­tic prob­lems, from pover­ty to home­less­ness, and say­ing that Amer­i­cans are “sick” of tril­lion-dol­lar wars.

UPDATE, 6:20 PM (Ruairi): Biden argues that he has always argued for “informed con­sent” of the Amer­i­can peo­ple. He wants to cre­ate inter­na­tion­al coali­tions against ter­ror­ism, and not be “the world’s policeman.”

UPDATE, 6:21 PM (Andrew): This is a good dis­cus­sion about whether to leave troops deployed in the Mid­dle East or bring them home. Most of the can­di­dates are voic­ing sup­port for with­draw­ing at least some troops.

UPDATE, 6:22 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg calls for the AUMF (which gives the pres­i­dent lots of pow­ers) to be repealed, and wants more over­sight by Con­gress. He wants a “three year sun­set” on the use of troops by a future president.

UPDATE, 6:23 PM (Ruairi): War­ren says she will fol­low the Con­sti­tu­tion in mil­i­tary sit­u­a­tions. She asks how her rivals will actu­al­ly make the change – “it’s not enough to say some­day we will get out!”

UPDATE, 6:23 PM (Andrew): War­ren makes a great point about how gen­er­als have repeat­ed­ly claimed that we are “turn­ing the cor­ner” in Afghanistan, only for noth­ing to change. We’ve had U.S. forces in Afghanistan for near­ly two decades.

UPDATE, 6:24 PM (Ruairi): Stey­er says he would take mil­i­tary action to pro­tect Amer­i­can cit­i­zens. He says that the U.S. mil­i­tary strat­e­gy is nonex­is­tent. “We know from The Wash­ing­ton Post that there was no strategy.”

UPDATE, 6:24 PM (Ruairi): Stey­er says we need to focus on oth­er issues, like cli­mate jus­tice. Such issues need sim­i­lar “val­ue dri­ven coali­tion build­ing” to mil­i­tary issues.

UPDATE, 6:25 PM (Andrew): Props to Stey­er for bring­ing up the Aus­tralian bush­fires, which have wrought unimag­in­able destruc­tion on the world’s small­est continent.

UPDATE, 6:25 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg is asked about nuclear weapons in Iran. He says stop­ping Iran­ian nuclear weapons is a pri­or­i­ty of his, but that the Trump regime has made the job harder.

UPDATE, 6:26 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg wants to “work with our partners…we can’t do this alone.” He wants to engage “new lead­ers, emerg­ing around the world” to meet the goal of avoid­ing a nuclear-armed Iran.

UPDATE, 6:27 PM (Ruairi): “Our secu­ri­ty depends on ensur­ing that Iran does not become nuclear,” says Buttigieg. He wants to tack­le nuclear pro­lif­er­a­tion across the world, not just in Iran.

UPDATE, 6:28 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar wants to restart nego­ti­a­tions, and cred­its Euro­pean lead­ers for try­ing to hold the deal togeth­er. She would fol­low Obama’s exam­ple – “you have to have a pres­i­dent who sees this as a num­ber one goal.”

UPDATE, 6:28 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar points out that she argued that the Iran sit­u­a­tion was some­thing she warned about in the very first debate.

UPDATE, 6:29 PM (Ruairi): On North Korea, Biden says he would not meet Kim Jong Un with­out pre­con­di­tions. He says that Trump has giv­en North Korea every­thing they are look­ing for.

UPDATE, 6:30 PM (Ruairi): Biden promis­es to “put enor­mous pres­sure on Chi­na because it’s also in their inter­est” to allow a nuclear North Korea. He points out that the North Kore­ans have called him “a mad dog.”

UPDATE, 6:31 PM (Ruairi): Stey­er says that North Korea is “a clas­sic sit­u­a­tion where the Amer­i­can idea of going it alone doesn’t make any sense.” He says that using alliances and eco­nom­ic pres­sure is good strategy.

UPDATE, 6:32 PM (Ruairi): Bernie Sanders is asked about the USMCA trade deal with Chi­na. He says the U.S. can “do much bet­ter” than the USMCA. “I’m the guy who vot­ed against NAFTA… we have forced Amer­i­can work­ers to compete…against peo­ple who earn star­va­tion wages.”

UPDATE, 6:33 PM (Ruairi): Sanders says “I will not vote for a trade agree­ment” that doesn’t reduce cli­mate dam­age. “If we do not get our act together…the plan­er will be increas­ing­ly uninhabitable.”

UPDATE, 6:34 PM (Ruairi): War­ren is asked why she vot­ed for the USMCA. She says “we have farm­ers here in Iowa who are hurt­ing,” due to the trade war. “This new trade deal is a mod­est improvement…I believe we accept that relief…and we get up the next day and fight for a bet­ter trade deal.”

UPDATE, 6:35 PM (Ruairi): War­ren says she is ready to fight, but she wants to help peo­ple suf­fer­ing right away. Sanders argues that trade pol­i­cy is hard to change once it is agreed to.

UPDATE, 6:35 PM (Ruairi): “I am sick and tired of trade agree­ments nego­ti­at­ed by cor­po­rate CEOs,” says Sanders.

UPDATE, 6:36 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar says that Trump’s trade war is hurt­ing “real peo­ple.” She sup­ports the USMCA, but wants to focus on tak­ing on Chi­na with North Amer­i­can eco­nom­ic alliances.

UPDATE, 6:37 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg says he remem­bers the trade deals of the 1990s: “that promise was bro­ken… that is why there is such frustration!”

UPDATE, 6:38 PM (Ruairi): Biden is asked about his votes on trade agree­ments. He promis­es envi­ron­men­tal­ists and labor unions “at the table” when his admin­is­tra­tion does trade deals.

UPDATE, 6:38 PM (Ruairi): Biden says that trade agree­ments are nec­es­sary because “nine­ty-five per­cent of the cus­tomers are out there… and we want to write the rules of the road.”

UPDATE, 6:39 PM (Ruairi): Sanders argues that NAFTA cost four mil­lion jobs, due to “the race to the bot­tom.” He promis­es to pun­ish cor­po­ra­tions who lay off Amer­i­cans by with­draw­ing fed­er­al contracts.

UPDATE, 6:40 PM (Ruairi): Biden says that “if we don’t set the rules of the road…,” then Chi­na will “con­tin­ue to abuse their pow­er” using their cor­po­rate-state system.

UPDATE, 6:41 PM (Ruairi): War­ren argues against the struc­ture of trade nego­ti­a­tions – gov­ern­ment nego­ti­a­tions are “sur­round­ed” by cor­po­ra­tions who “whis­per in their ears.” She wants to “call out the cor­rup­tion” of cor­po­ra­tions call­ing the shots on trade.

UPDATE, 6:42 PM (Ruairi): Tom Stey­er is asked how he would help Iowans get back on their feet. He would get rid of Trump’s tar­iffs, and get rid of waivers for fos­sil fuel companies.

UPDATE, 6:42 PM (Ruairi): Stey­er says “if cli­mate is your num­ber one pri­or­i­ty, you can’t sign this deal” because it doesn’t men­tion the cli­mate cri­sis. “We can­not put cli­mate on the back seat all the time.”

UPDATE, 6:43 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg says the cli­mate issue “is per­son­al for me.” He says we need to ensure that envi­ron­men­tal pri­or­i­ties “actu­al­ly get done.” He says that the chil­dren of today will “sit in judge­ment” over this generation.

UPDATE, 6:44 PM (Andrew): Boooo. Instead of let­ting the can­di­dates talk about cli­mate action, the mod­er­a­tors are try­ing to insti­gate a con­flict between Bernie Sanders and Eliz­a­beth Warren.

UPDATE, 6:44 PM (Ruairi): The debate turns to a spat between the War­ren and Sanders cam­paigns. He says he didn’t say that a woman can’t be pres­i­dent. He says there are videos on YouTube show­ing him, thir­ty years ago, argu­ing for a female president.

UPDATE, 6:45 PM (Ruairi): Sanders points out that he want­ed to draft War­ren to cam­paign in 2016, and when Hillary Clin­ton won the pri­ma­ry, he cam­paigned for her vigorously.

UPDATE, 6:46 PM (Ruairi): War­ren says she dis­agreed over the ques­tion of a female pres­i­dent. She wants to “attack it head on.”

She wants to look at “win­ning records.”

UPDATE, 6:47 PM (Ruairi): War­ren points out that the only can­di­dates on stage who have won every elec­tion they have been in are the women. She is the only can­di­date to have beat­en an incum­bent Republican.

UPDATE, 6:48 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar says “who don’t have to be the tallest…you don’t have to be the skinniest…you don’t have to be the loudest…you have to be confident.”

UPDATE, 6:48 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar says a pres­i­dent has to know what she’s doing. She has “won every race, every time,” point­ing to her record of elec­toral suc­cess in Minnesota.

UPDATE, 6:49 PM (Ruairi): Sanders wants “to set the record straight,” point­ing out he beat an incum­bent Repub­li­can con­gress­man. War­ren points out that she did say thir­ty years ago.

UPDATE, 6:50 PM (Ruairi): “Who believes that a woman can’t win? Of course a woman can win,” says Sanders. He says that his cam­paign “has the strongest grass­roots move­ment,” which is why he can beat Trump.

UPDATE, 6:51 PM (Ruairi): War­ren points out that since 2016, “women can­di­dates have out­per­formed men can­di­dates” in elec­tions. She points to the elec­tions of Kennedy (a Catholic) and Oba­ma (a black man) to show that women can win.

UPDATE, 6:52 PM (Ruairi): Biden says he has the broad­est coali­tion of endorse­ments – his sup­port among women, peo­ple of col­or and the LGBT com­mu­ni­ty is strong.

UPDATE, 6:56 PM (Andrew): Con­sid­er­ing that CNN is host­ing this debate, the ques­tions have been pret­ty good so far, with a few exceptions.

UPDATE, 6:57 PM (Ruairi): The debate moves toward the issue of health­care. Sanders is asked about the cost of Medicare For All. He points out that it will “cost sub­stan­tial­ly less than the sta­tus quo.”

UPDATE, 6:57 PM (Ruairi): Sanders points out that the U.S. sys­tem is an “absur­di­ty,” since Amer­i­cans pay more for health­care than any oth­er coun­try, yet mil­lions are uninsured.

UPDATE, 6:58 PM (Ruairi): Biden says “we need to be can­did with vot­ers,” say­ing that Sander’s plan “doesn’t even come close” to pay­ing for Medicare For All, which he says could cost as much as trillion.

UPDATE, 6:59 PM (Andrew): The “but how will you pay for it” health­care ques­tion is bogus and it’s absolute­ly ridicu­lous that it con­tin­ues to be asked in a Demo­c­ra­t­ic debate. There is a dou­ble stan­dard here.

Repub­li­cans are almost nev­er asked how they’d pay for tax cuts or for­eign wars, but when it comes to uni­ver­sal health­care, Democ­rats are con­tin­u­al­ly asked “but how will you pay for it?”

UPDATE, 6:59 PM (Ruairi): Biden lays out his own plan, an expan­sion of Oba­macare. Sanders come back, say­ing that under the cur­rent sys­tem worker’s pay for health­care out of their pay­checks. “Now is the time to take on the greed and cor­rup­tion” of the health­care industry.

UPDATE, 7:00 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar says “this debate isn’t real,” say­ing that the answer is “a non prof­it pub­lic option.” She wants to focus on addic­tion care and long-term care insurance.

UPDATE, 7:01 PM (Ruairi): War­ren says thir­ty-six mil­lion peo­ple in 2019 couldn’t afford to fill their pre­scrip­tion. “We’ve got to get as much help to as many peo­ple as quick­ly as possible.”

UPDATE, 7:02 PM (Ruairi): War­ren wants to use pres­i­den­tial pow­er to reduce drug costs and defend the Patient Pro­tec­tion Act. She points out that Democ­rats are up against Trump, who is try­ing to destroy health­care altogether.

UPDATE, 7:03 PM (Ruairi): Biden says his plan allows Medicare to nego­ti­ate drug prices, adds men­tal health par­i­ty, and puts lim­its on drug price hikes.

UPDATE, 7:04 PM (Ruairi): Tom Stey­er says he agrees with Biden, devel­op­ing Oba­macare. He points out that the stag­na­tion in this debate is due to “the cor­po­rate stran­gle­hold on our government.”

UPDATE, 7:04 PM (Ruairi): Sanders is asked if his plan would bank­rupt the coun­try. His plan would not bank­rupt the coun­try, but mas­sive­ly improve the lives of work­ing and mid­dle class people.

UPDATE, 7:05 PM (Andrew): What a ter­ri­ble ques­tion. Did CNN out­source the craft­ing of ques­tions for this por­tion of the debate to Repub­li­can operatives?

UPDATE, 7:05 PM (Ruairi): Sanders says his pro­pos­al would end the enor­mous costs of the insur­ance industry’s “admin­is­tra­tive night­mare.” Klobuchar says her pro­pos­al is “a plan and not a pipe dream.”

UPDATE, 7:06 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar turns away from health­care to talk­ing about the nation­al deficit.

UPDATE, 7:07 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg is asked about his plan, “Medicare for All Who Want It.” He says he wants o ensure that every sin­gle Amer­i­can is insured. “There’s no need to kick Amer­i­cans off the plan that they want.”

UPDATE, 7:08 PM (Ruairi): Turn­ing to the deficit, Buttigieg points out that Repub­li­cans always increase the nation­al debt and deficit, but his pro­pos­als will deal with bor­row­ing and roll back cor­po­rate tax cuts.

UPDATE, 7:08 PM (Andrew): It was dis­re­spect­ful and inap­pro­pri­ate for the mod­er­a­tors to ask Bernie Sanders a loaded, right wing framed ques­tion that insin­u­at­ed his cam­paign is pro­mot­ing fis­cal­ly irre­spon­si­ble pol­i­cy directions.

Just ter­ri­ble.

UPDATE, 7:08 PM (Ruairi): War­ren says that Biden and Buttigieg’s plans “are a small improve­ment, that’s why they cost so much less.”

But she points out that these plans don’t go far enough.

UPDATE, 7:09 PM (Ruairi): War­ren says that tak­ing on the tax-dodg­ing cor­po­ra­tions will ensure that the gov­ern­ment has enough money.

UPDATE, 7:10 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg says that his plan “is a game-chang­er.” He says the cur­rent sys­tem doesn’t make sense, but his plans can solve the problems.

UPDATE, 7:10 PM (Ruairi): War­ren says that Buttigeg’s plans “just don’t add up,” that the expens­es of health­care in the U.S. can be cov­ered by the Mayor’s plan.

UPDATE, 7:11 PM (Ruairi): War­ren wants a health­care sys­tem with doc­tors, patients, and “no insur­ance com­pa­ny stand­ing in the middle.”

UPDATE, 7:12 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar says that she doesn’t buy that her plan doesn’t go far enough: “It is a big big step… as Pres­i­dent, I can get it done.” She wants to lift restric­tions on Medicare’s nego­ti­at­ing rights.

UPDATE, 7:13 PM (Ruairi): Sanders is asked about the liveli­hoods of insur­ance indus­try work­ers. His plan will pro­vide health­care and job train­ing for these peo­ple. He says the cur­rent expense of the U.S. sys­tem “is insane!”

UPDATE, 7:14 PM (Ruairi): Sanders repeat­ed­ly says that every oth­er advanced coun­try can ensure uni­ver­sal health­care, and the only thing in the way is cor­po­rate cor­rup­tion. Stey­er echoes Sanders’ dia­tribe against cor­po­rate corruption.

UPDATE, 7:14 PM (Ruairi): Stey­er says the cur­rent sys­tem, “is cru­el­ty for money…in order to break this we have to break the cor­po­rate stranglehold.”

UPDATE, 7:15 PM (Ruairi): Biden’s defence of his sys­tem is ram­bling and hard to fol­low, but he says he will let peo­ple stay on their cur­rent insurance.

UPDATE, 7:16 PM (Ruairi): War­ren is asked why she would get the gov­ern­ment to man­u­fac­ture drugs in the case of a shortage.

“I’m just going to use the pow­er that is avail­able,” and low­er drug prices – “that’s gonna bring a lot of relief to a lot of families.”

UPDATE, 7:18 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar wants to allow the import of cheap­er drugs to help com­pe­ti­tion. She points out that “there are two phar­ma lob­by­ists for every mem­ber of Congress!”

UPDATE, 7:19 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg is asked about child­care costs. “It makes no sense for child­care to cost 23 of a person’s income, we’ve got to dri­ve it to 7 per­cent or less.”

UPDATE, 7:19 PM (Ruairi): He wants to sub­sidise child­care and ensure decent pay for peo­ple to help them afford it.

He points out that this is a big dri­ver of the gen­der pay gap.

UPDATE, 7:20 PM (Ruairi): War­ren is asked why her plan for child­care has pay­ments for high­er income brack­ets. She points out that her plan does ensure child­care for these peo­ple. She remem­bers the strug­gle of child­care for herself.

UPDATE, 7:21 PM (Ruairi): Warren’s two cent wealth tax would ensure uni­ver­sal pre‑K child­care. She also want to raise the wages of child­care work­ers: “That’s an invest­ment in our babies.”

UPDATE, 7:22 PM (Ruairi): “Every psy­chol­o­gist in the world knows zero through four years is the most impor­tant stage in life,” says Sanders. He links the USA’s inad­e­quate child­care to health­care and mil­i­tary spending.

UPDATE, 7:23 PM (Ruairi): Biden is asked if he sup­ports free uni­ver­sal income care. He points out that, as a sen­a­tor, he was a sin­gle dad who couldn’t afford childcare.

UPDATE, 7:24 PM (Ruairi): Biden plans tax cred­its for par­ents that will make child­care more affordable.

UPDATE, 7:25 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg is asked why he doesn’t sup­port free col­lege tuition. He says that his plan wouldn’t make col­lege unaf­ford­able. “If you’re in that top bracket…I just need you to go ahead and pay that tuition.”

UPDATE, 7:25 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg points to the issue of pover­ty – he doesn’t want to “sub­si­dize the chil­dren of mil­lion­aires and billionaires.”

UPDATE, 7:26 PM (Ruairi): War­ren says that her wealth tax upon mil­lion­aires and cor­po­ra­tions will ensure child­care, uni­ver­si­ty edu­ca­tion and reduc­ing the nation­al debt.

UPDATE, 7:27 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar syas we need to look at con­nect­ing edu­ca­tion to the econ­o­my. She points to the need for home health­care work­ers, elec­tri­cians, etc. “We’re not going to have a short­age of MBAs, we’re going to have a short­age of plumbers.”

UPDATE, 7:29 PM (Ruairi): Stey­er says he talked about a wealth tax a year and a half ago. He, like Buttigieg, talks about the Poor People’s Cam­paign. He wants to invest in “specif­i­cal­ly poor kids, specif­i­cal­ly black kids, specif­i­cal­ly brown kids.”

UPDATE, 7:34 PM (Ruairi): The debate moves onto the issue of impeach­ment. Biden is asked if it will be hard­er to run against Trump giv­en his like­ly acquit­tal, and Trump’s accu­sa­tions against the Biden family.

UPDATE, 7:35 PM (Ruairi): Biden says “I under­stand who these guys are…they’ve sav­aged my sur­viv­ing son and me.”

He says of Trump, “I’ve done my job, the ques­tion is, has he done his job?”

UPDATE, 7:36 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar is asked if a Sen­ate acquit­tal will embold­en Trump. She says “no,” and talks about the Repub­li­can refusal to call wit­ness­es – “they may as well make him king.”

UPDATE, 7:36 PM (Andrew): “Do you wor­ry Trump will be embold­ened by Sen­ate acquit­tal?” Anoth­er dumb question.

The qual­i­ty of the ques­tions in this debate have not only regressed dur­ing the last hour, but arguably regressed below the mean.

UPDATE, 7:36 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar brings up the McCarthy hear­ings, point­ing to the man who said “have you no sense of decen­cy, sir?” She says that the elec­tion and tri­al “is a decen­cy check…this is a patri­o­tism check.”

UPDATE, 7:38 PM (Ruairi): Stey­er points to his peti­tion dri­ve of 8 mil­lion Amer­i­cans ask­ing Con­gress to impeach Trump.

“If you ask me whether stand­ing up for what’s right…isn’t worth it, then you don’t share my idea of what America’s about.”

UPDATE, 7:39 PM (Ruairi): War­ren is asked if impeach­ment will be a prob­lem for her cam­paign in Iowa. She says that the impeach­ment is more important.

UPDATE, 7:39 PM (Ruairi): War­ren says that to win the elec­tion the Democ­rats need to point out Trump’s corruption.

UPDATE, 7:40 PM (Andrew): This impor­tant cli­mate-relat­ed flood­ing ques­tion should have been asked a lot ear­li­er, in place of the dumb “but how will you pay for it” health­care question.

UPDATE, 7:40 PM (Ruairi): Mov­ing to the cli­mate cri­sis, Buttigieg is asked about the flood­ing in Iowa. He talks about his may­oral expe­ri­ence deal­ing with floods. Refer­ring to the Aus­tralian fires, he says “we have to ensure that we don’t allow this to get any worse.”

UPDATE, 7:41 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg wants to use fed­er­al funds to sup­port “those whose lives will inevitably be impact­ed,” point­ing out that peo­ple of col­or are dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly impacted.

UPDATE, 7:42 PM (Ruairi): Stey­er says “this is why cli­mate is my num­ber one pri­or­i­ty.” He would declare a state of emer­gency, cre­ate the “biggest job pro­gram in Amer­i­can his­to­ry,” to take on the issue.

UPDATE, 7:43 PM (Ruairi): Stey­er is asked about his invest­ment in fos­sil fuels. He says “we invest­ed in every part of the econ­o­my.” He says he divest­ed from the indus­try over ten years ago, and is a leader in the cli­mate fight.

UPDATE, 7:44 PM (Ruairi): War­ren is asked about the envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tions rolled back by Trump. She will stop all new drilling on fed­er­al lands, bring in farm­ers, and use pres­i­den­tial powers.

UPDATE, 7:44 PM (Ruairi): War­ren points out that the cli­mate cri­sis was not dealt with because of cor­po­rate cor­rup­tion – deal­ing with it is the only way to deal with the issues.

UPDATE, 7:45 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar says she has a one hun­dred per­cent rat­ing from the League of Con­ser­va­tion Vot­ers. She brings up the rules on methane, restor­ing rules tak­en away by Trump.

UPDATE, 7:46 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar sees nat­ur­al gas through frack­ing as “a tran­si­tion fuel” to get towards a green­er econ­o­my. She wants to make sure that tax­es on car­bon will help peo­ple affect­ed by cli­mate change.

UPDATE, 7:47 PM (Ruairi): Sanders says that the econ­o­my has to change right now, “not by 2050, not by 2040,” point­ing to crises in Iowa, Cal­i­for­nia and Aus­tralia. “We have got to take on the fos­sil fuel indus­try and all of their lies.”

UPDATE, 7:48 PM (Ruairi): Biden says he intro­duced the first cli­mate bill in 1986. Say­ing, “we have to act right away,” he promis­es to bring back Oba­ma-era reg­u­la­tions. He wants to build new “green high­ways” and charg­ing stations.

UPDATE, 7:48 PM (Ruairi): Biden wants to pay Iowan farm­ers to get to net zero car­bon by plant­i­ng trees.

UPDATE, 7:49 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg is asked about his near­ly nonex­is­tent black sup­port. He says that in his com­mu­ni­ty, most black elect­ed offi­cials are sup­port­ing him. He says that “the biggest mis­take we could make is to take black votes for granted.”

UPDATE, 7:50 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg says South Bend has been “nation­al­ly recog­nised” for reforms on racial issues, includ­ing police use of force.

UPDATE, 7:51 PM (Ruairi): Sanders is asked if his social­ist ide­ol­o­gy will jeop­ar­dize the effort to defeat Trump. He says his cam­paign will expose Trump’s fraud, how Trump received pub­lic mon­ey for his businesses.

UPDATE, 7:52 PM (Ruairi): Sanders points to his poli­cies such as Medicare for All, the Green New Deal and jobs pro­grams: “That is what Demo­c­ra­t­ic social­ism is about.”

UPDATE, 7:53 PM (Ruairi): Stey­er says he can beat Trump because Trump will run on the econ­o­my. He says as a busi­ness­man he can beat Trump on the econ­o­my: “I have thir­ty years of inter­na­tion­al busi­ness experience.”

UPDATE, 7:54 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg says: “I am ready to take on the Pres­i­dent on the econ­o­my.” He also says,”he’ll have to stand next to a war vet­er­an and explain how bone spurs made him inel­i­gi­ble for Vietnam.”

UPDATE, 7:55 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar is asked if she can inspire Democ­rats with prag­ma­tism. She points out that Trump has told “over 15,000 lies…what Amer­i­cans want is some­thing dif­fer­ent.” She touts her cre­den­tials as a Midwesterner.

UPDATE, 7:55 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar wants to take on Trump’s inher­it­ed wealth with her family’s back­ground of pover­ty and hard work.

UPDATE, 7:56 PM (Ruairi): War­ren is asked about scar­ing away swing broth­ers. She says that two of her three broth­ers are Repub­li­cans, but “there’s a whole lot we agree on.” Her mes­sage on cor­po­rate greed can res­onate with all Americans.

UPDATE, 7:57 PM (Ruairi): “We have an Amer­i­can right now that’s work­ing great for those at the top…we have a chance to unite!” War­ren wants to “make Amer­i­ca work for every­one else.”

UPDATE, 7:58 PM (Ruairi): Biden is asked if he is pre­pared to debate Trump. He points out that Trump is already sling­ing mud at him.

He has “sup­port across the board… with regard to the econ­o­my, I can hard­ly wait to take the debate to him!”

UPDATE, 7:58 PM (Ruairi): Biden says he would “love that debate” with Trump over the economy.

UPDATE, 8:04 PM (Ruairi): Clos­ing state­ments begin with Klobuchar. She says that the issues should be about the Amer­i­can peo­ple, not Don­ald Trump’s ego. “We need a can­di­date who is actu­al­ly going to bring peo­ple with her.”

UPDATE, 8:04 PM (Ruairi): Klobuchar points to her record of elec­toral suc­cess in Min­neso­ta. She says that she can bring peo­ple togeth­er and “find com­mon ground instead of scorched earth.”

UPDATE, 8:05 PM (Ruairi): Tom Stey­er talks about team sports, and says “the Amer­i­can epople are my team mates.” He says that Repub­li­cans are “basi­cal­ly kick­ing the Amer­i­can peo­ple in the face.”

UPDATE, 8:06 PM (Ruairi): Stey­er wants to take on the Repub­li­cans, and appeals for the sup­port of Iowans on cau­cus night.

UPDATE, 8:06 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg wants “to send Trump­ism into the dust­bin of his­to­ry.” He wants to aban­don “the same Wash­ing­ton” that has brought us to this point tonight.

UPDATE, 8:07 PM (Ruairi): Buttigieg says “if you can­not look your kids in the eye and explain this pres­i­dent to them, join me.”

UPDATE, 8:08 PM (Ruairi): War­ren men­tions issues that didn’t come up tonight: dis­abil­i­ty, gun vio­lence, child pol­i­cy, the trans com­mu­ni­ty, black infant mor­tal­i­ty, the impact of cli­mate change on black com­mu­ni­ties, etc.

UPDATE, 8:08 PM (Ruairi): War­ren says that this is “our moment, when no-one is left on the sidelines…hope and courage, that is how I will make you proud every day as your nom­i­nee and as the first woman pres­i­dent of America.”

UPDATE, 8:09 PM (Ruairi): Sanders looks at pover­ty and inequal­i­ty in the U.S. “How does that hap­pen?” he asks to so many issues in the coun­try. “This is the moment where we have got to think big, not small.”

UPDATE, 8:10 PM (Ruairi): Sanders wants to cre­ate an econ­o­my and gov­ern­ment that “works for all of us, not just the one percent.

UPDATE, 8:10 PM (Ruairi): Biden says that every per­son in the U.S. should be treat­ed with “fun­da­men­tal basic decen­cy.” He says that “eight years of Don­ald Trump will be an absolute disaster.”

UPDATE, 8:11 PM (Ruairi): Biden wants the U.S. to regain world lead­er­ship with a strong moral exam­ple, “that’s how we do it!”

UPDATE, 8:11 PM (Ruairi): That is the end of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic debate in Des Moines, Iowa. The can­di­dates con­grat­u­late each oth­er on stage.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

Adjacent posts