In the moments before this debate began - I happened to log in a little early - I heard three of the preliminary speakers. The Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, spoke in favor of everything Bernie Sanders is about and asks, “Are you ready to rise up?”
Former U.S. Representative, CA–33, Diane Watson said, “I don’t think Donald Trump has much of a backbone.”
Then Tom Perez spoke. I think we could have done without that lengthy rah-rah. About 75 seconds of him would have been enough.
As the candidates were announced - they were already on stage - all waved except Buttigieg. All the candidates had fresh makeovers this time. This was Hollywood after all.
Now we will proceed with the actual debate, the sixth. The last of 2019, but the debates continue monthly for six more months. The candidates were, in alphabetical order, Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Sanders, Steyer, Warren, Yang. And the debate in four sections:
What can you do to make the case that Impeachment was the right thing to do?
Biden - My job is to make the case.
Sanders - We have a president who is a pathologic liar, running the most corrupt administration in the modern history of this country. We have a president who has sold out the working families, and his lies have been documented many thousands of times. (cheers)
Warren - A constitutional moment. We’ve seen the impact of corruption - from tax breaks to ambassadorships.
Klobuchar - The president is not king. We should hear from more witnesses.
Buttigieg - [Buttigieg’s affected loudness has become offensive.] “At the end of the day…” no matter happens in Washington … the impeachment … (the question was what can you do to help convince the people to understand that the impeachment was the right thing.) Does not answer the question regarding what he could do to help convince others.
Steyer - Started an Impeach Trump movement two years ago. Two million signed the petition. Court of public opinion.
Yang - It’s clear why Americans can’t agree because we are getting news from different places, do not trust news media. “The more we see Donald Trump as the problem…” “He’ll be there at the ballot box for all of us to defeat.” (Weird cheers)
Sanders - Not voting for it. It’s a modest improvement, but it’s not going to stop outsourcing. And by the way, climate change is not discussed in this agreement.
Klobuchar - Voting for it. Sanders is correct that it has problems.
A Strong Economy - how?
Buttigieg - People are not getting paid enough.
Yang - 40% of college graduates are doing a job that does not require a college degree.
Warren - Economy works for giant oil companies, but not for everyone else. Need to call it out.
Sanders - Real wages went up last year by 1.1% - that ain’t great.
Tax Increase - Warren, Your plan is especially ambitious.
Warren - They’re just wrong. Invest more in child care - and their mommies and daddies can work harder and longer hours.
Steyer - We will have to take on Trump on the economy. We need a different unconventional way.
Buttigieg - We are being given a false choice - all the way or not at all. No free college for the rich. “Breakout of the Washington mindset that measures the bigness of an idea by how much it increases GDP vs. the boldness of an idea by how many fellow Americans it can antagonize.” [Does this make sense?]
Certain places in the country will be uninhabitable. Would you allocate funds to relocate citizens?
Klobuchar - Doesn’t think we’ll need that. Join Paris Agreement. Put a price on carbon.
Steyer - This is my number one priority. A National Emergency. His ideas here sound like Bernie’s ideas. Would call on Buttigieg to prioritize this higher.
Buttigieg - I know what’s at stake. Summon the energy of the entire nation, ideas multiplied by zero unless something gets done.
Would you sacrifice some oil and gas growth for transitioning to a greener economy.
Biden - Store energy in a battery the size of the top of this podium that can store energy for when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining.
Sanders - The issue now is whether we save the planet for our children and grandchildren. I have introduced legislation to do just that - a National Emergency.
Warren - Got to stop putting carbon into the air and take some out. Keep some nuclear in place. Innovate our way out of this problem.
Klobuchar - Again with Put a Price on Climate and money will come back. [This is the craziest, most outdated idea of the night.]
Yang - We have already relocated cities. Thinks thorium is the solution.
Steyer - No on nuclear. We already have the technology to produce the energy we need.
Return to normal, Biden?
Biden - With Trump out of the way things aren’t going to change that much. We have to be able to get things done.
Race & Diversity
Yang - Thinks $1k per month will create disposable income for people of color so they can donate to campaigns. [This idea is dumb and misleading since his dividend will not go to the poorest people in the country.]
Sanders - Mods: Senator, the question is about race, can you answer the question in that frame? Bernie: I certainly can. People of color are going to be suffering the most if we do not deal with climate change.
Majority will be black and brown.
Klobuchar - Stop voter purging. Stop gerrymandering.
Sanders - We must not only be pro-Israel, but pro-Palestinian as well.
Buttigieg - We are seeing the consequences of this president’s failures, this president’s refusal to lead. It’s not just mockery at a cocktail party.
Warren - We have to close.
Biden - We can close, but you have to have Congressional authority to do it.
China - Should the U.S. boycott the 2022 Olympics in Beijing?
Buttigieg - Any tool ought to be on the table.
Steyer - We need a good relationship with them.
Collision Course with China?
Biden - They are not going to get any further.
Yang - Has family in Hong Kong. Shocking what is going on there. They are leapfrogging us in AI. International coalition to set technology standards.
Klobuchar - Keep our promises and keep our threats.
Buttigieg - The president is echoing the vocabulary of dictators around the world… blah, blah, blah.
Klobuchar - First Amendment, father was a newspaper man, it’s not just talking points.
Obama - women in charge, men get out of the way.
Sanders - Respect for Obama, but disagree. We are living in what is increasingly becoming an oligarchy. Not old or young, male or female.
Biden - He wasn’t talking about me either. I have more experience than anybody else.
Biden: Are you willing to commit to not running a second term?
Biden - No.
Klobuchar - If a night club had those numbers, they’d shut it down.
Warren - Mod: you’d be the oldest to be inaugurated. Warren - I’d also be the youngest woman ever inaugurated. Not to do business as usual. Selfies and I don’t charge $5000 for a selfie.
Buttigieg - Can’t help but feel that might have been directed at me. Trump/they have already $300M. I’m not going to turn away anyone willing to help us.
Warren - The Wine Cave. Buttigieg promised to have open door fundraisers, but this one was closed.
Buttigieg - Issuing purity tests, you yourself cannot pass. We need support.
Warren - I do not sell access to my time. If you can’t stand up when it’s relatively easy, then how can the American people believe you’re gonna stand up to the wealthy when it’s really hard?
Buttigieg - “If you refuse a donation you have no business running for office.” These purity tests shrink the stakes of the most important…
Klobuchar - Did not come here to listen to this argument. Campaign Finance Reform.
Sanders - Again, Sanders is the peacemaker. Sanders has taken no billionaire money. Biden has 44 billionaire contributors, Pete you have only 39, maybe you can catch up.
Biden - Denies that he has taken billionaire bucks, but claims all fundraisers have been open to the public.
Steyer - Take Trump on, on the economy.
A permanent legislative fix for Dreamers?
Yang - This country is misogynist. $1000/month. women wouldn’t have to chase the money tree.
Sanders - Day One, executive order restore DACA, and a path to citizenship for ALL.
Compensation for life-long trauma to immigrants
Buttigieg - Yes. Laws and value.
Buttigieg - Yes. We shouldn’t wait. And, for the longer term, we should look at reparations.
Biden - Invest in the nation of immigrants.
Klobuchar - Mayor, you mocked what has been done in Congress. Experience.
Buttigieg - Bigger fish to fry.
Klobuchar - About choosing a president. I respect your military experience, but that’s not what this is about. Track record.
Buttigieg - Capacity to win? Try running in Mike Pence’s Indiana.
Sanders - The Peace Maker. We need a progressive agenda. Voter turn out.
Warren - 2 cents tax, college for all.
Buttigieg - Plan for free college only up to $150,000 income. But spend the rest on something else. [Few from wealthy families will use the free public college offer.]
Sanders - Cancel all student debt and make college free for all without the bureaucracy of forms and income lines.
Steyer - Yes, we can do free college and provide for those with disability.
Yang - Special needs are the new normal in this country. Freedom Dividend.
Warren - Was a special ed teacher, fully fund IDEA.
Klobuchar - some you voted for including one who just eliminated a part of the ACA.
Klobuchar - Do it right away.
Other litmus tests you would use in appointing judges.
Buttigieg - Personal.
Sanders - We need moral leadership, we need a president who will do everything humanly possible to end all forms of discrimination. We also need health care for everyone, comprehensive health care for everyone.
Warren - Lift up their voices. Will go to the Rose Garden and read the name of those killed in the last year.
Afganistan - we had been mislead, were you, Biden, honest about what you knew.
Biden - Special forces, small footprint.
Mod: but the question was about your time in the White House.
Biden - big mistake, should not have surged
Sanders - you’re also the guy who helped lead us into the war in Iraq. We need to rethink the whole war on terror. End the endless wars.
Mod: you voted for one war.
Sanders - One person was right, Barbara Lee. I was wrong.
Buttigieg - We’re going to leave one way or another. Thought he was the last one, “turning out the lights.”
The merits of your plan
Sanders - I think we will pass a Medicare For All Single Payer system at a cost far lower than others say.
Biden - not realistic. expand ACA. choice.
Sanders - Joe, your plan is the status quo. Eliminating the byzantine system.
Biden - Thinks its preposterous.
Sanders - Eliminating co-pays, deductibles.
Klobuchar - No one has a monopoly on bold ideas. A public option, a non-profit option.
Sanders - my fight is with the greed of the drug companies and the insurance companies.
Warren - Cost - people with insurance can’t afford medicare. Opt-in.
Forgive or gift
Yang - Wow. Breaks down. A copy of my book.
Buttigieg - Love data and books. But does not answer/respond to the question.
Warren - Forgiveness. I get really worked up. What happens when you do a hundred thousand selfies with people…
Biden - We all want the same thing. You’re not the only one who does selfies. Discusses what he has done, does not answer/respond to the question.
Sanders - The gift is a different vision, to create a nation based on love and compassion, not greed and hate. A decent standard of living. An new vision.
Klobuchar - Forgiveness. I can be blunt. Something else going on - a decency check, a values check, a patriotism check.
Steyer - The gift of teamwork, how are we going to going to stand up together. Freedom, equality, teamwork.
Steyer - Different from everyone else on this stage. Corporations have bought our government.Climate #1 priority.
Yang - I know what you’re thinking America. How am I still here. The dividend.
Klobuchar - I want to debate Donald Trump.
Buttigieg - So the nominee is gonna have to do two things. Defeat Trump and unite the country. Crisis of belonging.
Warren - A dark moment in America. Not working for milionaires and billionaires.
Sanders - Forty-five years, great speeches, but not making a nickel more. Real change takes place from the bottom up, not from the top down. Let’s transform this country.
Biden - Who can deliver? Who has the best chance? Who can unite. Who can deliver on getting things done.