And The Winner Is “Donald Trump”
Democrats spent more time making the case for their ability to beat President Donald Trump than trying to defeat each other in their fifth debate Wednesday night.
Civil in tone, mostly cautious in approach, the forum did little to reorder the field and may have given encouragement to two new entrants into the race, Mike Bloomberg and Deval Patrick.
The questions about impeachment did little to create much separation in a field that universally condemns the president.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders warned, “We cannot simply be consumed by Donald Trump, because if you are you’re going to lose the election.”
Perhaps more than in any debate so far, Democrats explicitly acknowledged the importance of black and other minority voters.
California Sen. Kamala Harris said repeatedly that Democrats must reassemble “the Obama coalition” to defeat Trump.
The exchanges show that candidates seemingly accept the proposition that the eventual nominee will have to put together a racially diverse coalition to win, and that those whose bases remain overwhelmingly white aren’t likely to be the nominee.
Every debate seems to evolve quickly into an argument over health care.
Warren found herself on the defensive as she explained she still supports a single-payer government run insurance system — “Medicare for All” — despite her recent modified proposal to get there in phases.
Sanders reminded people that he’s the original Senate sponsor of the “Medicare for All” bill that animates progressives. “I wrote the damn bill,” he quipped. Again.
Biden jumped in to remind his more liberal rivals that their ideas would not pass in Congress.
Democratic voters identify health care as their top domestic policy concern, but they also tell pollsters their top political priority in the primary campaign is finding a nominee who can defeat Trump.
Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has carved out a distinctive role during the Democratic debates and standing by her comments last month that its last presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is the “personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long.”
Gabbard said Democrats are “no longer the party that is of, by and for the people, it is a party that continues to be influenced by the foreign policy establishment in Washington and by the military-industrial complex.”