Democratic 2020 candidates clash on healthcare, immigration and economy in first debate

Ten candidates took the stage for the first of back-to-back debates, and cast themselves in sharp contrast with Trump

Ten Democratic presidential candidates cast themselves in sharp contrast to Donald Trump in the first primary debate of the 2020 election on Wednesday night, even as they disagreed on how far left the next US president should lean.

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The Democratic hopefuls took to the stage at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami for the first of back-to-back debates over two nights, which see the 2020 race kick-off in earnest and give the 20 candidates who qualified for the events a national platform that could help to clarify the leaders in the enormous and unsettled field.

Candidates savaged Trumps handling of the US economy and the worsening migration crisis at the US-Mexico border. But despite his occasional tweets, the president did not dominate the debate, which produced a substantive discussion of policy that led to clashes on healthcare, inequality and foreign policy, promises on immigration, reproductive rights and the economy, and a lengthy exchange on the climate crisis a novel development for US presidential debates.

Elizabeth Warren took center stage in more than one sense, as the only top-tier candidate to appear in the first debate. The Massachusetts senator, who has built momentum by releasing an ever-expanding cache of policy proposals, opened with a strong answer to the first question, on the economy.

Candidates
Candidates chat during a break at the first US 2020 presidential election Democratic candidates debate in Miami, Florida Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

She said the economy was doing great with the wealthy, for owners of private prisons, for giant oil companies, but not for people struggling, earning the first of several applauses.

We need to make structural change in our government, in our economy and in our country,she said, setting the terms for the others on stage.

For the many Americans who have not followed every twist of an election that is still more than 16 months away, the debate offered a first glimpse of 10 of the Democratic candidates vying for their partys nomination, to go head-to-head against Trump in November 2020.

Other Democrats in Wednesdays lineup included New Jersey senator Cory Booker; former Texas congressman Beto ORourke; former housing secretary Julin Castro; Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar; Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard; Washington governor, Jay Inslee; New York mayor, Bill de Blasio; Ohio congressman Tim Ryan, and former Maryland congressman John Delaney.

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The stage reflected the increasingly diverse Democratic party in which women and people of color are ascendent. Three women two more than have ever shared a stage during a presidential primary debate and one of whom is Hindu a Latino former congressman and a black senator participated.

Booker and ORourke occasionally spoke Spanish a gesture that was ribbed online by some rivals who will appear in Thursdays debate. Andrew Yang tweeted My Spanish is terrible and apologized to his ninth grade Spanish teacher.

One NBC debate moderator, Chuck Todd, launched into a string of questions about the climate crisis, beginning an exchange lasting around seven minutes more than the entire time spent on climate in the 2016 general election debates.

Miami is seen as one of the US cities most under threat from the effects of climate change. Asked if his plan could save Miami, Inslee who has made the environment the central plank of his campaign touted efforts he has lead as a governor.

Trump loomed large over the debate tweeting his thoughts intermittently but he was not a focus. A quarter of an hour passed before his name was mentioned, by Klobuchar.

As the candidates debated healthcare and discussed immigration, Trump, watching the debate aboard Air Force One on his way to attend the G20 summit in Japan, tweeted simply: BORING.

Candidates
Candidates raise hands while responding to a question on the Iran nuclear deal Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

While the Democrats veered left on issues from immigration to gun control, they diverged on how boldly to transform the US economy. Only Warren and DeBlasio raised their hand when asked who would eliminate private health insurance as part of their healthcare plan.

The pragmatists on stage expressed skepticism with Bernie Sanders Medicare for all healthcare proposal, which many of the candidates have endorsed.

We should be the party that keeps whats working and fixes whats broken, Delaney said, in a moment that was cheered by the partys centrists and even some Republicans.

The debate was seen as clarifying moment for several candidates who have struggled to break through. Castro, who has struggled to stand out, appeared to find his voice on immigration and afterward told reporters that he believed his status would change after tonight.

ORourke, who entered the presidential race with a higher national profile than many of his rivals, found himself on the defensive.. No candidate criticized Warren directly, allowing the Massachusetts senator to largely command the conversation.

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In a memorable exchanges of the evening, Inslee touted his record as the only candidate here who has passed legislation protecting a womans right to access reproductive health through her health insurance.

With a smile, Klobuchar shot back: There are three women on this stage that have fought pretty hard to protect womens right to choose.

Immigration opened a round of fierce debate led by Castro. He grew emotional when responding to a question about the photo of an immigrant father and his toddler daughter found lying face-down after drowning in the Rio Grande, and called the image heartbreaking. It should piss us all off, he said.

He then implored ORourke, a fellow Texan who has also made immigration reform a central plank of his campaign, to support his plan to decriminalize border crossings.

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Technical issue interrupts Democratic debate video

The two-hour debate was briefly stalled by a technical difficulty with the moderators microphones. The network quickly cut to a commercial break but Trump, ever eager to attack the press, seized on the mishap. Truly unprofessional and only worth of a FAKE NEWS Organization, which they are! he tweeted.

After the two-hour special, the Trump campaign called the debate an in-kind contribution to the Presidents campaign, in a lengthy statement that accused the Democrats of exploiting the crisis at the border while embracing socialist policies.

The second night on Thursday could see a contentious debate between the two leading contenders: the former vice-president Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders. They will appear alongside Senator Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the Colorado senator Michael Bennet, the former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, the California congressman Eric Swalwell, the new age author Marianne Williamson, and the tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang, will also feature.

The sprawling field of Democratic contenders which grew last week to 25 is the largest and most diverse in presidential history. Biden consistently leads the field in polls. He is trailed by Sanders and Warren, progressive firebrands who, according to recent surveys, are neck-and-neck. Rounding out the list are Harris, who had a strong start to her campaign but hasnt yet taken off, and Buttigieg, who has soared from near anonymity to near the front of the pack.

It is perhaps a sign of the times that a meme candidate Yang and a bestselling author of new age self-help books Williamson will have a chance to make their case for the presidency while a two-term governor of Montana, Steve Bullock, and a decorated US Marine Corps veteran and three-term Massachusetts congressman, Seth Moulton, have both been excluded.

To qualify, each presidential hopeful cleared a threshold set by the Democratic National Committee: they secured donations from more than 65,000 people in at least 20 states across the country and reached at least 1% in at least three separate national or early-state polls.

Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

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This post was curated & Posted using : RealSpecific

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