Live Blog: Democrat Presidential Primary Debate #6 in Westerville, Ohio

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

The debate begins at 8:00pm ET, one-half hour from now. It is being held at Otterbein University in Westerville, OH, near Columbus[1].

The debate is titled “The CNN/New York Times Democratic Presidential Debate,” which is vile clickbait-driven corporate branding of an electoral function that ought to be returned to a non-profit like the League of Woman Voters, who did a fine job on the issues without a stage-set with all the class of The Price is Right, a format with all the analytical depth of Jeopardy!, and with all the empathy of Fear Factor. Here is an image of the stage:

Oh, I’m sorry. That’s a Spinal Tap stage. I meant these Druidic megaliths:

(I don’t know why there are 22 stars. Readers, any ideas?)

That said, here are the candidates who made the DNC’s weirdly arbitrary and pollster-driven cut:

  1. Joe Biden (Former Vice President)
  2. Cory Booker (Senator, NJ)
  3. Pete Buttigieg (Mayor, South Bend, IN)
  4. Julián Castro (Former HUD Secretary)
  5. Tulsi Gabbard (Representative, HI)*
  6. Kamala Harris (Senator, CA)
  7. Amy Klobuchar (Senator, MN)
  8. Beto O’Rourke (Former Representative, TX)
  9. Bernie Sanders (Senator, VT)
  10. Tom Steyer (Billionaire investor and activist)**
  11. Elizabeth Warren (Senator, MA)
  12. Andrew Yang (Entrepreneur)

* Yes, Gabbard decided to participate

** Steyer’s first debate.

The moderators are CNN anchor Erin Burnett, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper and New York Times national editor Marc Lacey. Could be worse.

How to watch:

CNN, CNN International, and CNN en Español will all broadcast the debate live; it’ll stream on both and beginning at 8 pm ET. Note that you will not need a cable or other subscription log-in to watch online tonight—the DNC’s partners for all these debates have agreed to make them as accessible as possible.

To that end, there are still more options for watching the debate live. It will be available on mobile devices via CNN and the Times apps for iOS and Android; on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and a number of other smart TV devices via the CNNgo apps; The debate will also stream live on Facebook. In addition, audio from the debate will be broadcast on SiriusXM, the Westwood One Radio Network, and National Public Radio.

“[T]he DNC’s partners.” Ugh. I imagine there will be plenty of advertising.

There are a boatload of links on what to watch for out there (here, here, here), but I don’t think the NC readership will need any help with that. What I would watch for:

  • Can anybody lay a glove on front-runner Joe Biden? (Harris had her pre-packaged moment, and then faded)
  • How is Sanders physically? (Say what you will about the DNC, they’ve made this race an endurance contest, and that could actually be good for the country, even if that’s unlikely to have been their intention.)
  • Will Sanders draw distinctions between himself and Warren, especially on #MedicareForAll?
  • Will Warren continue her “friends close, enemies closer” strategy with Sanders? (“I’m with Bernie on Medicare for All,” forsooth; a moderator should really call her on that)
  • Now that Steyer has bought his way in, can he change the subject to climate?
  • Will any of the second or third tier candidates break out, and, if so, which of the leaders will they attack?

It would be nice if the “narrative” of the debate didn’t turn out to be sentimental Middle East surrealpolitik twaddle or competitive virtue signaling on the impeachment saga (and if Bernie says “I’m tired of hearing about Hunter Biden” I’m gonna kill myself).

I’m not sure I will be able to attend, because I have plans; and if so, not at the beginning. So, have fun and be excellent to each other. Also, for those who come in late, please keep your comments as informative and analytical as possible. There are no points at NC for context-free one-liners that only those who are also watching can make sense of; that’s for Facebook or Reddit. I think it adds more value if you take a moment, interpret, and then readers can discuss that. That is what the NC commentariat is so very good at, after all. Thank you!


[1] Otterbein has hosted Presidential debates before:

Previously, Otterbein University has hosted several Republican presidential candidates including Mitt Romney in 2012, John McCain in 2008 and Bob Dole in 1996. In March of 2018, Otterbein was the host site for former Ohio Governor John Kasich’s final State of the State Address to the Ohio Legislature.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. Yves Smith

      We don’t update the main post, if that is what you are asking. Comments and links to anything new and interesting (like tweets) are all in the comment section.

      1. Voltaire Jr.

        Thank you. I want to add that the CNN link is clear but the NYT link requires login via FB or google or email address.

  1. inode_buddha

    Thank you also, because I cannot stand to actually watch this. I usually let others comment in the live blogs and just restrain myself to reading.

    At least, I’ll try to.

    I threw out my last TV years ago; why would I pay someone to lie to me when I can get that for free?

    1. Big River Bandido

      Right with you. I’m also working out of town, been up since 3AM and up at 5 tomorrow, so even if it weren’t a ridiculous clown show, I still wouldn’t watch the damn thing. As Mr. BRB is won’t to say, “eww!”

      But in the morning when I roll into work, I can read all you NCers reviews, critiques, and “interpretations” of the whole bloody affair. This will take far less out of my life than watching it in real time (with all the toxic advertising), and will be far more informative, intelligent, and entertaining.

  2. katiebird

    My favorite way to watch the debates is to hang out here. For some reason, I can’t stand to watch them. I vibrate between worry and rage. But filtered through the comments, I can absorb it without either.

    1. foghorn longhorn

      Would have to let cnn out of the litter box where they hang out with msnbc and foxnews.
      Not. Sure. About. That.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      Ditto, though I watch for a bit to see Bernie for myself. So far, two things: I swear, Warren went positively bounding out onto that stage, creating a contrast between herself and Sanders, who though not appearing weak certainly walked at a measured pace.

      Axelrod: these debates aren’t “live”, they are performances. Everyone has been practicing their “interventions”.

    3. Carey

      I did watch pretty much the whole thing, and wish I hadn’t.

      Mostly one long corporatist mindf*ck. Sanders was good when he got a chance to speak.

  3. Grant

    “The debate is titled “The CNN/New York Times Democratic Presidential Debate,” which is vile clickbait-driven corporate branding of an electoral function that ought to be returned to a non-profit like the League of Woman Voters”

    Exactly. Or, if the Democrats give the debates to organizations like the NYT and CNN, which have clear class and ideological biases, and if the Democrats are supposed to be “progressive”, could one debate be moderated by moderators from left wing organizations and media outlets? Like, instead Don Lemon or whatever moderating, Amy Goodman or Matt Taibbi instead moderating? Will never happen.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I think it would be better to burn the DNC building to the ground and completely reconstitute the personnel under another brand. The institution cannot be saved. (Cf. C. Northcote Parkinson on “injelitance.”)

  4. DonCoyote

    The “stay relatively sober” drinking game:

    1) Drink every time they ask a serious question on climate change
    2) Drink every time they ask about healthcare without a Republican framing
    3) Drink every time they call out Harris/Warren/Biden for cutting other people off or taking too much time
    4) Drink every time they call on Andrew Yang

    (via Ron Placone)

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Which totally explains why it’s happening in an election year, when the Democrats had three years to pull the trigger and were yammering about impeachment from “day one.”

      Granted, “she has to say that.”

    1. sleepy

      Yeah, I find her switch to the down home accent disgusting, and it perfectly reveals the phoniness.

      1. Carey

        Harris tilts her head forward and to the left when she’s soulful™, sincere™, and *lying*. So, most of the time.

  5. nippersmom

    Disappointed in Bernie’s response on the impeachment question (although not surprised). He does, however, look well.

  6. foghorn longhorn

    The sob doesn’t have to buy time
    They just put him front and center 24/7

  7. DonCoyote

    Klobuchar for the the #Resistance trifecta: Ukraine, Russian/Putin, and the Kurds.


  8. nippersmom

    Harris says Trump has been selling out our Democracy in regard to Ukraine. Isn’t that-literally- what Biden was doing?

    1. Carey

      Another five minutes, still impeach!!!

      Biden: “Focus on Trump!” Might work on the 10%, but no one else.

  9. Paul

    15 minutes in, and it’s nothing but the Donald Trump show so far. Trump just be laughing his toupee off right now. Hopefully they move on to something substantive, but I’m not holding my breath.

    Tulsi had the only coherent answer related to the impeachment process.

  10. nippersmom

    Klobuchar is rewriting history. Her own argument also contradicts itself. Oh, and she sounds like she is about to cry.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      i’m not watching, but she had a great job where she could throw office supplies at people who annoyed her or looked at her kind of funny to become an “also ran” and likely a joke.

      Her whole plan was to run as the “serious” candidate who could win the Midwest by kicking down. Her problem is “young people” are now in their late 30’s. They didn’t become internet millionaires. And unlike HRC, Klobuchar won’t be the beneficiary of any false nostalgia.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Klobuchar is still a Senator, but the fantasy of state wide office holders jumping to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave has to be over for her. She’s probably just trying to go out with her perception of dignity.

  11. nippersmom

    The fact that so much of this so-called debate is being spent talking about impeachment is proof that it is distracting people from serious issues that need to be addressed.

    1. Yves Smith

      Yes, and the claim that Congress can impeach and get anything else significant done is laughably false. I’m old enough to remember Watergate. The country was transfixed when the hearings were on.

      1. Pat

        Right up there with the BS that the Senators who get in the way with have to own that, so it is not just an exercise.
        But as we know doing nothing is the point.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I love the talking point that the Democrats can “walk and chew gum.” Except there’s no evidence that they can either (a) walk or (b) chew gum.

      So here we are.

  12. ChiGal in Carolina

    ty Yang for the context: need to look at the reasons Trump was elected—”when we’re talking about him we’re losing”

    1. readerOfTeaLeaves

      Yes. Also loved Cory Booker reiterating the same.

      Hard to take the short response times and the CNN moderators cutting off people who actually have a lot of expertise. I find the debate framework absolutely maddening, and am catching up on other work while it is on. (Watching at NYT site, and have to hide the comments.)

  13. nippersmom

    I disagree with Tom Steyer’s premise. Every one on that stage is not more rational, etc., than Trump.

  14. JohnnyGL

    Biden’s saying a lot of ‘I did nothing wrong, my son did nothing wrong, but we won’t do it again, pinky promise!’

    And yet another “Warren, WILL YOU RAISE TAXES!!!!!?!???” Only the 5000th time.

  15. nippersmom

    Anderson Cooper stating facts not in evidence. I don’t know that Biden and his son have done nothing wrong.

  16. Kilgore Trout

    Finally, First Yang, and now Sanders bring the debate back to reality. It’s still the economy, stupid. And the wars.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Under #MedicareForAll, you get to choose your doctor, which is what dull normals want anyhow.

      Perhaps we could set up a parallel system for those who prefer to choose their call center, and let them keep being put on hold, if that’s what they want.

  17. ChrisAtRU

    Does anyone ever explain how the trillion dollar hole called defense spending gets paid for?

    Can someone just shut Buttigieg up?????

      1. nippersmom

        Can someone just shut Klobuchar up? Maybe someone could remind her that Obamacare was a Republican healthcare plan.

  18. Carey

    Ok, Sanders finally getting to the heart of healthcare costs. Why so hard, why only now?

    Klobuchar: “Public Option, kicking people off their [wonderful] insurance”.

  19. nippersmom

    Warren thinks the new measure of democracy should be how many “selfies” one has taken? That should disqualify her in and of itself.

    1. Rod

      I agreed until I worked setting up an event for her staying to listen then watch her selfies during breakdown.
      It is way more than selfies that happen I will tell you
      Just saying :)

      1. nippersmom

        Then she should talk about speaking with and listening to people, not reduce it to a one-liner about selfies.

        1. Late Introvert

          But “Rod” is just here for a moment, to give us a smilie about how great it all was, trust him!

  20. DonCoyote

    Warren sounds so good on healthcare, you could almost believe her.

    Medicare for All who can afford it and leave behind millions are indeed key points of the centrists plans.

    But give me choice or give me…choice? I can go bankrupt or just kill myself.

  21. Fiery Hunt

    Liz is getting hammered. Repeating phrases and craw-dading language.

    I think we may have seen her peak.

    1. readerOfTeaLeaves

      She’s too resilient.
      She’s too knowledgeable.
      Too many people have donated or helped with her campaign: they’re in. And they’re in for keeps.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I think she’s already picking out the drapes in the White House (because her advisors have her in a bubble, and she’s convinced of her own righteousness). Therefore, I think she will pivot to the center too prematurely, splitting the party (and no, I don’t know what Sanders will do).

        The savage length of this primary process will reveal weaknesses in every candidate, including Warren’s.

  22. sleepy

    Mayor Pete is an arse. He should run as a repub and challenge Trump in the republican primaries. Same with Klobuchar.

    1. antidlc

      So glad to see him calling out the Democratic Party and whether they will have the guts to take on big pharma and insurance companies.

  23. Carey

    OK, Sanders now very on-point on healthcare, Harris then deflecting to women’s issues.. so heartfelt™ from Harris!

  24. Librarian Guy

    Biden is such a narcissistic dumbass. “We’re talking about MY health care plan,” aka ObamaCare 2!! Like any person with a brain, who could believe that bullshit?

    Biden was shamed by Bernie who called out the murderous, profiteering “Health Care” Scammers, got a good amount of applause . . . but then that Know-Nothing, phony cop Harris gets as much or more– the DNC clearly packed that room!! (& nothing against her feminist tropes in the speech, but Kamala is never on the side of the underdog except as a talking point, & not even a viable candidate at this point)

  25. Fern

    I just heard Warren saying that she has spent her “entire life” fighting for the middle class.

    Like here, where she addresses the Federal Society and says that bankruptcy laws are good because “pensions you wouldn’t believe” have driven companies into bankruptcy and bankruptcy saves us from “socializing the losses”, i.e., having the government step in the help the pensioners who are about the lose their pension?

    No, Warren has not “spent her entire life” advocating for the middle class.

    That said, why can’t she just say what Bernie said regarding single payer health, i.e., the total combined premiums and taxes would be less than the current costs for all but the very wealthy? Why does she refuse to answer directly?

    1. Carey

      Dog, these folks’™ rhetoric is all so damn tired (Sanders excepted)- we’ve been hearing it
      for thirty-plus years, dudes!

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        This is a performance, not a serious policy discussion. Points on the teevee for coming off as a human being.

  26. John

    Yang, “yeah, here’s your $1,000 per month”. While he’s flooding the country with millions of foreigners to take the over $100,000 per year jobs.

    Us, “yeah, no thanks.”

    1. Carey


      “Here’s a grand a month for you; here’s an H1B for your new next-door neighbor!”

      Only Sanders is believable to me.

    2. jrs

      back in reality foreigners don’t get 100k a year jobs. not in any reality, and no not even on the coasts.

      1. John

        I’ve worked with plenty of H1B visa holders.
        When the quarterly layoffs come around, (that’s the name of the game in corporate America, keep laying off people with any years at the company and keep hiring cheaper/younger to replace them) they are still in their jobs and Americans are out.

        BTW, H1B visa holders are working in all kinds of corporations doing all kinds of jobs. Not just tech.

  27. Librarian Guy

    Warren “Accountable Capitalism”!? . . . as if . . . obviously Americans don’t know history if Warren is the #1 Dem candidate (& the Establishment isn’t lying about the polling) & shit like defending Capitalism gets her the nomination.

    1. DonCoyote

      40% worker representation on the board means they lose every vote that matters 60% to 40%. But hey, “their voices were heard”.

      1. Librarian Guy

        ++, you called it. It’s like the Dems always being the Washington Generals fighting the ReThug Harlem Globetrotters!! The fake populism is rigged to fail, the Elite 1% wins every time.

      2. jrs

        Bernie’s is 45%, no better, no better at all. And that is quite literally his plan. splitting 5% hairs.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Warren “Accountable Capitalism”!?

      Either capital allocation is done by those who own capital, or it isn’t. Either capital accumulation is the “prime directive” or it isn’t. This whole “accountable” thing is mere formalism, and functions as another Jobs Guarantee for professionals to make the allocation and accumulation slightly less onerous by employing their mad professional skillz (as, for example, advising the workers who hold 40% of the shares under her proposal. Since property ownership is binary, 40% might as well be 0%, unless significant society-wide power is gained by workers, which the Sanders campaign is at least directionally capable of doing, and the Warren campaign is not).

  28. ChrisAtRU

    Yang stuttering along trying to slight the #JG – “what kind of jobs?!!” – after Bernie so expertly said EXACTLY WHAT KIND OF JOBS.


    Don’t worry #YangGang, we can have BI for homemakers, the disabled and unemployed students in tandem with a JG – see Pavlina Tcherneva.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Tulsi likes UBI, opposes JG with some pretty airy fairy language about how people don’t get dignity from their job.


      1. ChrisAtRU

        Indeed, especially from someone (Tulsi) whose claims to derive so much dignity from her “government” job.

        #NeverForget people … soldier is a government job.

        1. scoff

          Millions suffering during the depression were very happy for the work provided by the government, but the idea of government being a boon to Americans has been poisoned by nearly 40 years of “government is the problem, not the solution.”

  29. HotFlash

    Hmmm, nearly 45 min in and I get nada. Not from CNN, not from Rolling Stone — is it b/c I am out of country? Mind you, I *could* be at my local Federal candidate debate, but really, I just am not up for listening to several well-groomed people lie to me tonight. I have laundry to do.

  30. Librarian Guy

    Yang does inspire when discussing the economy, like Bernie. . . I don’t think Warren’s weak tea quite makes it . . . the rest are uninspiring and vapid distractions.

    I do laugh at the fact that Hedge Fund Manager Steyer only got one statement in so far . . . by the way is Bloomberg jumping in yet to fight the dirty commies Bernie & Warren?

    1. scoff

      Steyer did make one valid point, though.

      As union membership has declined inequality has risen. That’s something that ought to be shouted from the rooftops.

      1. John Wright

        Suggesting that unions can ever come back in force in a globalized world of surplus and mobile labor seems implausible to me.

        Sure, unions did help with lowering inequality for a period, but that was before globalization came along in force to cripple them.

  31. Fern

    I don’t agree with Tulsi Gabbard on single-payer health, but she is the best speaker by far. Looking forward to her foreign policy statements.

  32. Librarian Guy

    Booker– “I stood with unions”. Sad, blatant lying. As Newark mayor, he took million$$ of Zuckerberg-Gates cash for for-profit Charter schools, to destroy teacher’s unions. Of course, he fucked it up and squandered all the buck$, but it’s the thought that counts!!

  33. Carey

    Sanders great now on The Billionaires, and looking and sounding *damn good*, BTW.

    Bravo, Senator Sanders!!!

  34. John

    Klobuchar (Senator from Minnesota) was vicious in her attack against Medicare for All.

    Someone, (hint, hint, UnitedHealthCare, headquartered in Minnesota) must have told her to step it up tonight.

  35. ChrisAtRU

    Steyer: Bernie is right …


    (OMG he’s plunging headlong into #Kleptocracy – tear in my eye)

        1. John k

          Somebody’s gotta be veep.
          If sanders gets the nom gonna be lots of conversions to m4a.. he did have an attack… and elites hate him…

  36. scarn

    “I would eliminate the capital gains tax – WAIT no” – Smiling Joe haha

    That billionaire sounded like Sanders which is pretty telling about where we are politically.

  37. nippersmom

    Somehow, I think Biden really meant what he said the first time. I don’t believe he would double the capital gains tax.

  38. Pat

    I would love to point out to Klobuchar that IF Obama had really wanted the public option we would have had the public option. That ACA was passed by Democrats in reconciliation and iirc the House bill had a public option. Not that it would do what you think it would, because it isn’t just about insurance, it is about health care.

    Oh and to make the ACA work you would need to require of insurance companies that the be on the exchange or they don’t sell insurance period. That they meet a higher medical loss ratio, have to meet minimum standards on network size and make up, and put caps on deductibles. All emergency care is paid for deductible free and regardless of network. Along with eliminating income requirements for subsidies as in the government pays for all costs over say 6% of income for everyone above the cap and even more costs for those under the cap. IOW you have to require that people can go to the doctor, get the treatment, and aren’t just paying lots of their income for a certificate to satisfy the IRS they have insurance. Unless you are doing all of that, you corrupt ambitious idiot, you cannot save ACA and even that won’t work because the majority of employers will rebel by the 2024 election regardless.

    1. John

      I thought he was some hot shot businessman until I looked him up on Wiki.
      Please. All he’s got is his pathetic $1,000 per month scam.

    2. Joe Well

      I keep trying to imagine the US constituency for a 17% sales tax and giving money for life to able-bodied people who don’t work.

  39. DonCoyote

    Harris talks about person with two jobs, Beto counters with the four job person. Next up: Castro with the six job worker.

    1. Carey

      Aspirationals for eightJobs!

      They’re slow-walking the 90% to Oblivion, is what they’re doing (Sanders excepted).

    2. Oh

      She works 4 jobs and takes care of a diabled child. Yeah right. There’s only 24 hours in a day and you’ve got to sleep sometime. Spin me another! Reminds me of Raygan’s welfare mom receiving 24 welfare checks that she goes to collect in her Cadillac.

  40. nippersmom

    Weak tea from Klobuchar. She will repeal one tax law and she thinks that will undo the damage of forty years.

  41. DonCoyote

    Booker plays the “for the kids card”…”we need to talk about who we are for” (kids), and against (Trump)

  42. scarn

    Castro has a twin! He could use Joaquin as a security body double!

    Warren has no problem with billionaires.

  43. CarlH

    What does Booker think a primary is? I loathe this fake “unity” crap. This is not an age of rainbows and gumdrops for most people. This is serious.

    1. Morgan Everett

      Good lord, he’s been obnoxious this debate. His platform is apparently that policy differences don’t matter, so vote for me, because I’m so upbeat

    1. sleepy

      Yeah, they’ve disappeared Bernie, but also Biden who won’t have the opportunity to flub it up as much.

  44. nippersmom

    Beto, tax credits don’t “lift people up”. And why is it incumbent on the rest of us to be “unified” with the top 1%, instead of the burden being on them?

  45. Morgan Everett

    Good lord, he’s been obnoxious this debate. His platform is apparently that policy differences don’t matter, so vote for me, because I’m so upbeat.

  46. John

    Can someone tell me why Warren’s universal childcare makes any sense?

    Paying childcare workers to take care of infants and toddlers?

    Isn’t that why you have kids? To enjoy taking care of them when they are little?

    And isn’t that what’s best for the kids?
    Their parents taking care of them not paid workers?

  47. zagonostra

    I don’t know what you would call this spectacle, but its not a debate.

    I think at the end of the day it’s up to you/me to communicate to those around you that the only rational choice is a Bernie Sander’s nomination, that or a third party run.

  48. JohnnyGL

    “Andrew Yang is arguing that politics just doesn’t matter, that rules and laws and markets obey unmoveable laws. It’s nonsense. It’s embarrassing Democrats believe this claptrap, and reflects how little they understand or care about business.”

    Stoller’s absolutely right, but the problem is that the Democratic Party has been so stale and out of ideas since the Clinton era, that even Andrew Yang’s bad idea’s and bad understanding seem like an improvement.

    Stoller often says Dems can’t see power….he’s very right.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Warren: “Wealthy people should cough up a few extra bucks”

      Bernie: “I’m going to take every billionaire over my knee and spank them where it hurts…in their balance sheet!”

      Everyone else on stage: “Bernie and Warren are talking about a bunch of ridiculous pipe dreams that we kind of agree with in spirit but not really and we would like to hit them from the right and also change the subject rapidly.”

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Warren: “Wealthy people should cough up a few extra bucks”

        This “two cents” — audiences actually chant it — drives me bananas. Move the decimal place right and then increment. Buncha tote bag liberals working themselves up over nothing.

        1. vlade

          I agree, but givent he histeria of even 2% rate, if it was 20% I suspect it would be a bit of a millstone (the US is, for some obscure reasons, still a country where the poorest seem to be incapable to vote for high wealth taxes..)

          It’s easier to change the tax rate once the tax is in than to create a new tax.

          1. Heraclitus

            Yang was correct to point out that most European countries have gotten rid of their wealth taxes because they proved so difficult to implement.

            Two percent might not sound like much, but there’s a big difference between an extra two cents on a dollar of income and two cents on a dollar of wealth. It’s likely that the after tax after inflation returns on the wealth of most people who own $50 million plus in assets are less than 4% annually, and maybe 3% or 2%. Reduce that by 2% and they are left with an asset that is not making money. If they rely on that asset to fund their lifestyles, they’ll definitely have to sell over a period of time. Warren’s policy has bad implications for future asset values.

            But nobody seems to have thought this through.

  49. mle detroit

    From the NY Times Live blog:
    Sydney Ember, National Politics Reporter “Bernie Sanders hasn’t lost a step, it seems.”
    Meaningless w/o an emoji.

  50. nippersmom

    Booker, how are we supposed to make an informed decision if everyone just sits around singing kumbaya rather than clarifying the differences between them? You say you have a plan to address childhood policy but tell us nothing about it. You talk about needing to be “for” something, not just against something/someone, but you’re the one who keeps bringing up the need to beat Trump.

  51. DonCoyote

    The most shameful thing in foreign policy a president has done in modern times…methinks thou doth protest too much Joe. What about all those regime change wrs you and your buddy Barack started, including Ukraine. And Turkey is our actual NATO ally, not our ally of convenience.

    1. nippersmom

      Biden never met a war or a regime change he didn’t drool over. Of course he thinks any action that even slightly cuts into the MIC’s profits is “shameful”.

    1. Carey

      Yes, that was Gabbard’s best bit. Warren digging herself a hole on Syria (we need to do it smart!). Buttigieg so damn slippery (can’t stand his pregnant-pause speaking style).

  52. Wombat

    Am I the only one that fast forwards their DVR when either professional stapler thrower Klobuchar or austerity pete buttigieg speaks?

  53. Joe Well

    “American leadership” is the most disgusting phrase in foreign policy.

    And listening to the Dem elites in the audience applaud Mayo Pete for it makes me even more disgusted with this party.

  54. Krystyn Walentka

    Ha! Tulsi just gave Butigeig the stink eye of knowledge regarding his comment on having specialized forces in Syria!

    Keeping on him with the regime change wars…good for her.

  55. Skip Intro

    Tulsi nailed it, and now the rest of them are forced to regurgitate the neocon propaganda.
    Petards abound!

    The casual threats to blow up NATO while defending ‘stability’ are too rich for me!

  56. Fern

    Buttigieg, is of course, absolutely the worst on foreign policy, as we knew from has career choices and his past statements.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > NO, Bernie, NO!!!! Don’t back endlessly staying in Syria because Kurds……NO!!!!

      More Beltway hysteria. And one more reason why the general would be easier for Sanders to win than the primary.

  57. CarlH

    I really don’t like that Bernie won’t back Tulsi up on Syria. He really needs new foreign policy advisers.

    1. John k

      Or maybe he can’t afford more enemies, especially in a fight over something that is a minor issue to the electorate.
      It’s probably my number one thing, but for now I’ll settle for hoping he puts tulsi as secdef or state. Or veep, useful insurance, but she’s not a progressive.

  58. Oh

    Pete Buttface’s trying to play his patriotic card. What an idiot. He doesn’t think we know that we’ve let down so many democratic elements internationally. Tulsi’s got the facts right.

  59. Fern

    Bernie is not the best when it comes to foreign policy — he never had been. I’d rather have Mike Gravel as president. But….he’s just more likely to appoint somewhat better people to shape his foreign policy than any of the other leading candidates.

  60. scarn

    Tulsi’s answer was kind of bad. She didn’t provide enough context, she didn’t attack the policies that created this situation with precision.

    Bernie’s answer was absolutely awful.

    Warren at least said “we shouldn’t be in the Middle East.”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Warren at least said “we shouldn’t be in the Middle East.”

      She did indeed, which is good. Was there any hysteria about her agreeing with Trump? I’m guessing no.

      Warren’s “plan” on foreign policy:

      A strong military should act as a deterrent so that most of the time, we won’t have to use it. We must continue to be vigilant about the threat of terrorism, but it’s time to bring our troops home – and make sure they get support and benefits they’ve earned.

      We should also leverage all the tools of our national power, not just our military might. That means cutting our bloated defense budget and ending the stranglehold of defense contractors on our military policy. It means reinvesting in diplomacy and standing with our allies to advance our shared interests. It means new solutions to new global challenges, from cybersecurity to the existential threat posed by climate change.

      Our strength abroad is generated here at home. Policies that undermine working families in this country also erode our strength in the world. It’s time for a foreign policy that works for all Americans, not just wealthy elites.

      As readers know, #MedicareForAll is my issue, and so Warren’s waffling and crawfishing on it has poisoned the well for me. So I would need to know details.

  61. DonCoyote

    Klobuchar plays the “poor Israel card”.

    The Kurds were already fighting ISIS, Kamala. We just gave them better weapons.

      1. ChrisAtRU

        I feel like I need to Tweet/DM Jacobin’s Demokratiya article to every debate participant … in a better world, they would all have to answer whether America’s interference in Russia’s 1996 election was (also) an “act of war”.

  62. nippersmom

    Bernie, the US invades other countries and destroys them. How are we any better? And we’ve been breaking our promises for decades; it’s not a new phenomenon with Trump.

    I love Bernie, but he is completely wrong here.

  63. Fern

    Bernie can be disappointing on foreign policy. I’d rather see Mike Gravel as president. That said, Bernie would probably pick better foreign policy advisers than any of the other leading candidates.

  64. Jason Boxman

    Wow, I just tuned into the Facebook stream. Wish I didn’t. Russia is gonna get ya. Lots of talk about Trump. I didn’t buy a bottle of vodka for this, which I really need to keep watching. But I have work tomorrow.

    1. Jason Boxman

      The world’s gonna burn whether I watch this or not. Back to chores and stuff for the office tomorrow, I guess.

    1. John

      When you lose to the snake the senate race who lost to snake in the presidential race, you get a chance to lose again. I guess.

    2. Carey

      I’d say that dear O’Rourke is way over his head, but it’d imply the rest aren’t (Sanders and
      Gabbard FP excepted).

    3. nippersmom

      Agree with both statements. Also wonder how Klobuchar manages to hold onto her Senate seat, much less be on that stage.

  65. DonCoyote

    Russia invaded and is still invading our democracy? Beto has been watching Red Dawn too much.

    And plumping for a bigger military at the same time?

  66. nippersmom

    Harris, Russia contained ISIS and is now taking care of the Kurds. And since you don’t seem to remember anything longer ago than yesterday, the middle east was a mess largely of our own making long before Trump was elected.

  67. readerOfTeaLeaves

    Steyer making all kinds of sense, raising climate change and linking it to alliances.
    God, what a breath of fresh air.

    Never thought I’d be so relieved to hear a billionaire speaking sense.
    He and Warren seem to have a similar grasp of economics and the wealth effect, IMVHO.

  68. DonCoyote

    Steyer would change…something “on day one in every single way”. I have no idea what. The stationary?

  69. elissa3

    Have to say that Tulsi looked very good. Even not listening to every word, she looked convincing, dare I say presidential. On the other hand, Harris and Klobuchar seemed older than they probably are–probly because their responses are so damned cliched.

  70. Carey

    They all, again with the exception of Sanders, want to tell a jus’-folks™, down-home story. Not buying it, and I doubt the other 90%ers are either.

    The only believable one is the one who’s not trying that BS.

  71. John

    I heard Steyer the other day on the radio. I agreed with everything he said. Surprisingly.

    So if we have to have a billionaire running for the D team at least it’s not billionaire Bloomberg or billionaire Starbuck guy who’s up there.

  72. CarlH

    Beto thinks gun lovers are just going to willingly go along out of some sense of obedience and give up their guns? I thought Russia Russia Russia would be the peak of lunacy tonight but I guess they brought their BS A games to this one.

  73. Fern

    As we knew, Biden is a foreign policy disaster. Tulsi Gabbard gives the only reasonable analysis.

    No one mentions that 11,000 Kurds died fighting ISIS because WE created ISIS by destabilizing Iraq. We are responsible for 11,000 Kurd deaths.

    Do these guys really believe that we were ever going to go war with Turkey, Iraq and Russia in order to win a major war of secession by a Marxist-anarchist movement? Do we really believe that 1,000 American troops would forever keep the Turks form moving against an armed separatist movement operating on their borders?

    We encouraged the Kurds to engage in a suicide mission. We discouraged the Kurds from making peace with their own government in order to get protection from Turkey.

    Well, if we actually cared one whit about the survival of the Kurds, we should be happy that they have reconciled themselves with their own government. That’s their realistic ticket to survival. They’ll be fine now, and we should be relieved.

    1. blowncue

      One of the most lucid rebuttals I’ve read.

      What kills me is that it’s not clear to me at all that Trump had access to any advisor that said okay you really want to leave?

      Then find the Kurd who has the authority to negotiate on behalf of the Kurds in Syria, and meet with him or her in secret and let him or her know we are leaving and and it’s now time that he or she thinks about what the Kurds are going to do.

      The obvious answer is they’re going to have to become a client of Syria and Russia, so the Kurds need to come up with a shopping list for negotiations.

      Sounds good on paper but if you give a heads-up to the Syrians and the Russians that you want out, what’s the stop them from commencing rapid troop buildup to maximize their bargaining position?

      In contrast, does a rapidly approaching Turkish force in the wake of a surprise withdrawal by the Americans incentivize both the Syrians and the Russians to cut a deal with Kurdish elements?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        None of this is our problem, and every indication is that we not only can’t offer solutions, we make the situation worse. Plus, we keep blowing faraway brown people to pink mist.

      2. Jessica

        The claim has been made – not sure of its truth – that the US blocked the Kurds from cutting a deal with Assad or the Russians.
        The Kurds didn’t need the US to stay. Leaving the right weaponry behind when we left would have been enough.

  74. DonCoyote

    We’re really only halfway done? What’s left? Abortion, women’s rights, opioid crisis, climate change (yeah right).

  75. scarn


    O’Rourke my beautiful Texas brother, you should know better.

    Pete disagrees with pretty Beto: we can stop GUNZ faster without taking them!

    None y’all are taking my guns, though, for reals.

    1. Joe Well

      OK, please explain why this is a stupid question: why can’t we just ban the bullets for these things?

          1. JBird4049

            Ignoring whatever is good or bad about gun control, I have not been following Beto at all, but I rather suspect that his suggestion of banning all “assault” guns at least is just theater. Great attention grabbing political theater true. It is like many politicians who are ostensibly pro-choice or pro-life supporter, but only in front of the mic that they are so passionate about women’s right to choose or for the precious, helpless murdered babies.

            Considering a growing area of the country effectively does not have access to abortions and little things like adequate food, clothing, shelter, and medical care are also often lacking for mothers and their children, it’s just baloney.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        That’s the ‘rent’ part of flooding our communities with guns.

        Although, if you’re going to own a killing machine, you should practice with it. It’s not like a watch.

        1. JBird4049

          That is something I agree with especially if you are carrying it around with you. That is also a problem with many police officers, or gang members for that matter, as they seem to whip out their weapons far too easily; they also blast away with out keeping track of how many times they fired, who or what is behind the target (as bullets don’t just stop and can go through walls, vehicles, and the people behind them) as well as not taking the time to actually aim at them, but only just in the general direction.

          A gun is like any other inanimate object and tool, you are supposedly in control of it and how it affects others is your responsibility.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Although, if you’re going to own a killing machine, you should practice with it. It’s not like a watch.

          Why licensing, as with another metal killing machine — the automobile — is a good idea (“well regulated” and all that).

          1. inode_buddha

            You do realize that the cops *are* licensed, at least in NYS, same as anyone else with a CCW. And here in NY you won’t have any kind of handgun without a CCW. Getting that license requires considerable training and expense.

            And yet I trust private license holders with my life, far more than I trust the cops. For some reason the cops are way too jumpy.

            When you go to buy any type of firearm from a dealer the first thing they will do is get out the federal paperwork that they are required to have on file. Dealers pay a considerable annual BATF tax for their licenses. You fill out the paperwork and if the feds say its ok, then you get to buy.

            Most people can’t afford any of it — the license fees, endorsements, and annual taxes depending on the type of arm and the transaction.

  76. elissa3

    Can anyone calculate the amount Steyer paid to buy his way in to this “debate” divided by the total minutes/seconds he is allowed to speak? Kinda reminds me of when John Connally ran in the primaries (1980?), spent millions and got 1 vote.

  77. nippersmom

    Beto actually had a good response to Buttigieg.

    Someone needs to remind all these dipsticks that the last automatic weapon ban expired on the Democrats’ watch.

    1. JBird4049

      It is always the optics. The appearance of doing, or not, and not actually doing anything substantial that might actually get the true believers mad. In the Democrats case, it means not governing at, but just maintaining the facade of wanting to govern for the welfare of the little guy. That is why they don’t actually don’t care to win enough offices to be able to govern. Just enough to appear to be credible.

  78. scarn

    They are seriously keeping Bernie and Tulsi from talking and letting all these pointless boring cops and prosecutors and rich people talk.

  79. Fern

    October 15, 2019 at 9:45 pm
    Back to Syria:

    None of the major candidates pointed out that WE are responsible for 11,000 Kurdish deaths because WE created ISIS by destabilizing Iraq. 11,000 Kurdish souls would be alive today if we had not engaged in regime change wars in Iraq, Syria and Libya.

    Do these guys really believe that we were ever going to engage in a major war with Turkey, Syria and Russia in order to support a Marxist-anarchist secession movement? That would never have happened. Do they believe that 1,000 Americans troops were going to forever keep Turkey from moving against an armed secessionist movement on their borders — a movement that was working with their follow secessionists right across border in Turkey? Not likely.

    We actively discouraged the Kurds from reconciling with their own country, which isolated them and gave them unrealistic expectations that their secession movement would succeed. We encouraged them to engage in a suicide mission.

    Anyone who cares one whit about the lives of the Kurds should be relieved that they have reconciled with their own country. Now the risk of a genocide or an ethnic cleansing is greatly diminished.

  80. Carey

    Yang making *perfect sense* on opioids. Not allowed!

    People don’t need treatment, though; they need decent jobs.

  81. Acacia

    Steyer comes out against state capture by corporations — audience is silent.

    Yang proposes drug shooting galleries across the country?

    1. John

      Yang’s on the side of the little guy, “the loser”. With him in office I fear the numbers of little guy losers would skyrocket.
      $1,000 a month. yeah.

      But no taxing the rich.

      1. blowncue

        net-net I do appreciate his presence to date, for having carved out moments to inject some good points in good sense.

        I do have the same issues with his idea of universal basic income. but I have a gigantic problem with his thesis that gave rise to Ubi as a solution.

        Namely that Automation and Robotics will permanently displace a large human population by making their labor obsolete.

        I recall a particularly nasty moment when striking bus drivers were shooting at Greyhound buses driven by scabs in the 70s.

        So why is it inconceivable that those same bus drivers would not blow up buses driven by robots?

  82. Carey

    Poor O’Rourke

    “The agony is permanent rather than eternal”

    Oh now Hyena Harris on opioids, now that it’s been made safe as an issue by others.

  83. Acacia

    Finally… Bernie!! Audience laughs

    Oh boy… now CNN tries to kneecap Bernie over the heart attack

      1. Carey

        Sanders’s firmness in directly addressing the charged but pertinent question, coupled with a certain grace, and then showing a little (not too much!) of
        the personal in thanking all his well-wishers, which to me also spoke of
        political power. I think (think) everyone there sensed that power, then.

  84. CarlH

    That was a nice touch by Sanders thanking everyone for their well wishes. It turned the tables on the negative connotation of the question.

    1. Carey

      Thanks for pointing that out. It *was* touching, esp since Sanders doesn’t go in for
      personal anecdotes™.

  85. John

    Joe helped with the “Recovery” Act which helped us from going into a Depression.

    Or as some of us call it, the Theft of Trillions from the American People Act.

    1. nippersmom

      Yes. He was also part of the policy actions that brought us Vladimir Putin. His only real problem with Putin is that Putin refuses to be controlled.

    1. Yves Smith

      Her face is great but if you see her torso, you can see she is thin and looks like she has shrunk since becoming Senator. That reads as frail to me, older person who has lost muscle mass.

      1. scarn

        Thanks, I’ll pay attention to that when I can see her full body. Bernie has maintained dat muscle mass, it’s all in those leg muscles in his shorts pictures haha.

        1. Carey

          Sanders is my man, but he has terrible posture for a former athlete- head
          way forward and hunched, and I only mention it because of casual
          perceptions among possible voters.
          He speaks truth, though, and that’s what the 90% are hungering for.

    2. Anon

      Reduce stress, increase activity, do yoga/stretch, eat right, get regular health care (M4A) and it’s not hard to look like Warren at 70. Heck, i may not be pretty, but I can do 20 pushups (easily), swim 1 Meter/sec in the pool, and bike around town daily. At 72. (But, then, I get Medicare.)

      1. Yves Smith

        Hate to tell you, but for women, genes make a huge difference in appearance. Women with really fine textured skin who get any sun will wrinkle a lot. If they are really fit, the wrinkles might correctly be interpreted as “sporty and weathered” as opposed to aged, but that reading is way more likely with men.

  86. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    CNN Republican “moderators” posing gotcha questions to Democratic candidates.

    I propose we also see a Republican debate, where Matt Stoller, Jimmy Dore, Matt Taibbi, and Krystal Ball rain gotchas at the Repubs.

    1. readerOfTeaLeaves

      Some outlet ought to tap Matt Stoller for a series of conversations about corporate power with each candidate.

      Honestly, some of the best (i.e., most informative) things that I’ve heard have been on podcasts. Recode/Decode with Kara Swisher has an interview of Michael Bennett (missing from today’s debate) that is terrific. And Cory Booker had a terrific conversation on Pitchfork Economics podcast.

      This debate format, with constant interruptions and too-short responses, needs to go into history’s dustbin. Wow, I am totally with Lambert on what a mess this format is… yikes.

      Whee! They are finally getting to Big Tech and corporate power.
      Where is Matt Stoller when we need him…?!

    2. Pat

      I’d actually like to see them take on this group. Fair amount of bull pucky that has been strewn over the stage would have been stopped in its tracks with them doing the “follow up” questions.

      The reality is painful and bad for my blood pressure.

    1. DonCoyote

      That was in Rubio in 2016 #ClownCar, except Rubio was a little more eloquent/verbose:

      “We have a retirement system designed in the 1930s. We have an immigration and higher-education system designed in the 1950s. Anti-poverty programs designed in the 1960s. Energy policies designed from the 1970s. Tax policies from the Eighties and Nineties…”

      The punchline is something about needing to burn it all to the ground and remake everything into a new conservative Eden for the 21st century.

  87. Acacia

    Steyer pinch-hitting for Tech Bros everywhere.

    Parenthetically, this debate seems to be all about giving time to these minor distraction candidates, to strategically ignore the ones that threaten the gravy train.

  88. scarn

    Yang’s bing answer was super cringe.

    Booker is a vegan wtf.

    Beto: “If we had to” we would break them up but it’s bad to say that aloud lol.

  89. Acacia

    Harris: Rooskies in our voting machines!!!

    And Harris wants to “take down” Trump’s Twitter account in the interest of “safety and accountability” ?

  90. Fern

    Interesting that Warren backed away from her demagogic assault on free speech that she’s been conducting. She’s been demanding that Zuckerberg remove a completely reasonable political attack ad on Joe Biden. They were giving her an opening to showcase her campaign demanding Facebook censorship, and she deflected.

    1. Acacia

      Harris tried to get Warren to extend her stance on Facebook censorship to Twitter (Harris the cop’s Trump take down), but W. wouldn’t go there. Deflecting, yeah.

  91. jo6pac

    Thanks everyone for watching the clinton news netwerk. I’ll come back later after Star Gate to read the who won. I doubt it’s us on Main Street

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Went with Tennessee whiskey myself.

        Really, down deep, struggle to understand how most Americans don’t recognize Sanders as our last, best hope.

        That Warren, or godforsaken Biden or any of the rest of the wannabe rich sychophants captures the nomination
        just stains my hope for humanity.

        1. foghorn longhorn

          Just like in 16
          Vote for Bernie in June or
          get Trump in November.
          One last chance to get this right.
          But the ghost of clinton looms large.

      1. jo6pac

        Maybe the Asgard will save us;-)

        I only have an antenna so this isn’t on for me a different but effective censorship.

        1. blowncue

          So noted. Especially the cognitive dissonance.

          For those who would argue that we dishonorably blindsided a client courtesy of a precipitous withdrawal,
          I’m asking isn’t it possible that a precipitous withdrawal actually generates a higher likelihood of a diplomatic solution through the forced concentration of Syrian minds due to the rapidly encroaching Turkish front?

          I think of the many conversations on this site with respect to the impact of kicking the can on brexit.

          1. blowncue

            Above was in response to Lambert’s response to a post regarding whether managed pull out of Syria could achieve the diplomatic objectives that a precipitous pullout seems to have met, namely Syrian and Russian counter to advancing Turks.

  92. Democrita

    On Clarence Thomas alone, Ole lunch bucket should be permanently barred from talking about the Supreme Court

    1. Big Tap

      May not be as much of a slip as you think. Biden ran the committee that approved Clarence Thomas (he voted YES) and the Senate confirmed (he voted NO) to the Supreme Court. Thomas is the fifth vote to end Roe vs. Wade. “I’m the one who ended Roe vs Wade”

      and then their was the Anita Hill smear.

    1. Carey

      The most telling exchange from the last debate, IMO, was when Sanders was movingly
      detailing the hardships the USian healthcare system imposes on most of the citizenry;
      Biden then interjected: “This… is America!”

      Still trying to understand what that means. Unforgettable, at least to me.

  93. scarn

    Warren flubbed that exchange with Biden who is basically a money golem animated by neoliberal hate-magic. Trump will eat her if she is the nominee.

      1. blowncue

        This. She’s going to need to work on what to do when she’s blindsided.

        Most vivid memory of this is when she got cross-examined by Charlamagne Tha God about identifying as Native American.

        There’s a Jimmy Stewart type level of sincerity and earnestness that is appealing to many. but there is a sharp even sarcastic wit that poked its head up recently. Marry a woman if you can find one.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Marry a woman if you can find one

          Elizabeth Warren met her husband, Bruce Mann, at a “Manne Camp”:

          The summer retreat was colloquially known as a “Manne camp,” after its organizer, the libertarian legal scholar Henry G. Manne. With financial support from industry and conservative foundations, Mr. Manne had formed a Law and Economics Center at the University of Miami. (He would later move operations to Emory University and then to George Mason University.)

          Rather like Hillary and Bill crossing a picket line on their very first date. At a higher level, of course.

    1. Carey

      “money golem animated by neoliberal hate-magic”

      That is really very good on dear Joe Biden, though I’d add “with an evident fondness
      for young girls’ bodies” for completeness’s sake.

      dying empire

    2. readerOfTeaLeaves

      Best description of Biden. Ever.
      I doff my cap.

      But Trump will not damage Warren.
      She scares him.
      Pocohantas is not going to cut it.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > But Trump will not damage Warren. She scares him. Pocohantas is not going to cut it.

        Only if you think that most Americans regard Harvard law Professors as authentic, by definition. Yes, a huge portion of the Democrat base believes that, but they would, wouldn’t they (see Thomas Frank). I don’t think the majority of all voters thinks at, at all; every foreclosure notice and dunning letter has an “Esq.” on it somewhere, after all. Her waffling and opportunism on #MedicareForAll doesn’t help her on the left, either. If she tacks to the center* and comes out with some version of Neera Tanden’s Medicare for Some, there’s going to be a firestorm, and not just on the left.

        NOTE * Presumably she’s saving #MedicareForAll to play that card with.

      2. Big River Bandido

        Are you kidding? Warren might as well chisel “Pocohantas” on her tombstone. Rhetorically, that was a masterpiece by Trump. That jibe hits Warren in all the vulnerable spots, but the most devastating point behind it is that she’s a phony.

        If you do not understand why this is so politically potent, it may be that you accept the view of Thomas Franks’ cult of professionalism, or perhaps that you do not live in a formerly thriving community now stripped bare of material wealth and human hope. For people in those communities, “professionals” are a hated lot — they sold out the working class and the nation, after all — and no one could possibly personify that clique better than a Harvard professor and former Republican with a business-friendly “plan for that”…a plan developed, of course, out of the public eye, by brilliant and successful professionals like herself, who think of everything and are born to rule.

        Every time Warren tries to pose as an Oklahoma working class hero, *real* working people throw up a little in their mouth.

  94. Acacia

    CNN: Warren has talked most thus far at 18:21; Biden 14:03; … Sanders 9:13; Gabbard at 6:33 is second to last.

    1. polecat

      Did she leave any sentiment for the tumor ? .. and Lindsey ??

      ….. oh wait .. they’re one and the same !

    1. Gregorio

      I can’t believe Cory didn’t use the opportunity to talk about T-Bone. I mean what friendship could possibly be more surprising than one with an imaginary drug dealer?

    1. foghorn longhorn

      No, you point it at ronnie raygun and the dissolution of the fairness doctrine.
      That was the seed that spawned this vitriol.
      This whole generation of wackadoodle can be lain at the feet of carterreagunbushclintonbushobama inc.

      1. pretzelattack

        we weren’t divided under ford or nixon or lbj or kennedy? last time i remember some kind of broad consensus was under ike, and that didn’t last long and the cracks were already showing.

        1. inode_buddha

          We were divided, but not propagandized. That is the difference. The propaganda serves only to deepen divisions so the elites can continue looting while civil unrest gives cover to three letter agencies.

          1. Monty

            There used to be just one stream of propaganda, now there’s (at least) two! They give you a choice what BS to consume!

      2. thoughtful person

        I thought the fairness doctrine was disposed of under Clinton, but I see that is incorrect. However maybe it was the telecommunications act of 1996 that led to greater media consolidation. Thought the change was around the end of the 90s decade but can’t seem to find it. Something about a requirement truth and accuracy in journalism.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      You can point the finger straight at successful class warfare by billionaires and who they funded to keep the rest of us divided and them on top (and yes, see FOX).

      I’m also really tired of the idea that Republicans have a monopoly on hate. Try mentioning Susan Sarondon in a Clinton forum of you don’t believe me. Or Putin.

      I think the most powerful strategists think of hate as an asset class and work to create and exploit it for that reason. One might conceive of parties as holding portfolios of hatreds.

  95. Bazarov

    According to the Washington Post, AOC is going to endorse Bernie Sanders at his upcoming New York rally!

    That news is *much* bigger than anything that has occurred in this debate–what a coup by Sanders’ team!

      1. ChrisAtRU

        #LeftyTwitter has been (IMO) unusually skittish about this even though I feel as you do – that AOC always would endorse Bernie. However, I think the recollection of what many saw as a betrayal by Elizabeth Warren in 2016 left many on the left really insecure and somewhat afraid that AOC would do the same – i.e. throw her support behind the establishment front runner late in the campaign. Glad to be on the cusp of seeing that this is not going to be a repeat.

        1. ChrisAtRU

          Just to clarify, I’m not including our “famously free press”/“wag-the-dog-punditry” in the collective known as #DonutTwitter. After tweeting about the term last night, I was surprised to see that some people don’t know what it means or where it comes from. So for reference:

          “Lessons From The Donut Debacle”

          What I am referring to is that body of trolls/sock-puppet/fauxgressive-agents-provocateurs who go around tone-policy, insulting and block-reporting those of us on the (real) left on Twitter.


    1. John k

      Be great if she campaigns with him. And her base will like it, useful bc elites will finance somebody to run against her.
      I expect tulsi to endorse too, but not soon if she continues to rise in polls.
      Good for Bernie to get popular young women to support him, helps counter the age thing.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Good for Bernie to get popular young women to support him, helps counter the age thing.

        Sanders needs to take some of Biden’s older voters away from him. I don’t think AOC helps with that.

  96. antidlc

    HA! Biden just admitted we can do Medicare for All in his closing statement. He said we can do anything.

    1. foghorn longhorn

      “He truly makes me physically ill.”

      Then go all bill and lecture people about his godliness.
      Eff you, ya frickin pervert.

  97. John

    Over at the other orange blog Biden is being cheered by many. Kid you not.

    To be fair, some are even applauding Klobuchar.

    1. dcrane

      “The other orange blog”. hah! Ages since I was over there. I see they have declared Warren the frontrunner now. I’m in favor of that – we need to clear out Biden and get busy with the real campaign which is Bernie vs Warren.

      1. Carey

        Assuming Ocasio-Cortez really will be endorsing Sanders, some heads will soon be
        exploding over there (and other places) soon.

        pass the popcorn, for sure.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              AOC has a history of helping other campaigns. It would be nice to see the AOC who staged a sit-in in Pelosi’s office again (though to be fair, her recent bill on poverty appears to be genuinely crafted).

              1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

                I hope youre right.

                Remember when they had that whole Pelosi vs The Squad kerfuffle? I wonder if Bernie talked to AOC knowing that shed endorse him in the upcoming months. Maybe he asked her to play nice, go along with Pelosi, and have maximum impact on registered/likely dem voters?

  98. scarn

    RIGHT so the obvious take-away from the debate on all the media outlets that matter is that in this election it’s Socialism vs Barbarism!

    Not a fan of barbarism? I suggest you donate to Bernie HERE.

    You should also donate to media that matters like nakedcapitalism HERE.

    Find like minded friends HERE.

    And seriously, go to these events! They are fun and filled with people who want the same things as you. This should make you happy and excited, and less likely to punch your boss. It’s like the pictures of plants Lambert puts up, but people you can talk to!

  99. Fiery Hunt

    CNN…AOC and the Squad gonna endorse Bernie!

    The fight’s on, people.
    The fight for ethics and morality in America.

    If Bernie starts to pull away…and gets Liz fully behind him…and makes her his VP choice…
    We might just get a chance to change human trejectory.

  100. anon in so cal

    I didn’t watch the debate.

    But here’s an email from the Tulsi Gabbard campaign (from her sister):

    “If you didn’t watch the presidential debate, you missed Tulsi take the CNN/NYT corporate media hosts — and the American war machine they prop up — to task for their despicable hypocrisy and the shared blood on their hands.

    Let’s look at the past 48 hours:

    Two days ago, The New York Times called Tulsi an Assad apologist and a Russian asset, and smeared all of us in our movement as white nationalists and Russian bots.

    Today, CNN aired commentary claiming there is “no question” that Tulsi is a “puppet for the Russian government” — daring to question her patriotism and loyalty to the country she deployed twice to protect and defend.

    Tonight, the mainstream media and establishment candidates on the stage have as much blood on their hands as President Trump for their role in championing and cheerleading the ongoing costly regime change war that we’ve been carrying out both overtly and covertly since 2011.

    The casualties of this war are both the Kurds who have been left exposed to Turkey’s invasion after we refused to let them negotiate with the Syrian government for protection, and the Syrian people who are suffering under the strengthening of ISIS and al-Qaeda who we have used as ground troops in Syria and the modern-day siege in the form of sanctions being waged against the people of Syria.

    CNN and the New York Times owe us an apology. To my sister who put her life on the line with two deployments to the Middle East. To our veterans and her brothers and sisters in arms and our families who made great sacrifices to defend and protect our freedoms — to fight for their freedom of the press.

    They owe an apology to ALL OF US who pay the steep price of costly regime change wars, the new Cold War and nuclear arms race. Tulsi is being smeared and maligned for daring to speak out against the establishment war machine, for being brave enough to fight for peace. Let’s call these smears out for what they really are: A blatant attempt to silence dissent. To stifle democracy.”

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


        She looked amazing!!!

        Theres a reason internet males have nicknamed her ‘Mommy.’

          1. Carey

            …and we all know there’s nothing worse than a “white internet male”
            who finds a member of the opposite sex to be attractive.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        This comment is inappropriate, but too many have already responded so I’ll leave it up, which also gives me to opportunity to remark to Monty that it’s never a positive to comment in ways that are stupid and crude. I think your personal reaction is a lot less important than knowing whether Gabbard’s undeniable youthful appeal really makes a difference to voters, and a little research would have brought that useful information out. And I can think of elections where that did made a difference: JFK 1960, to pick an example with a Presidential candidate with a different gender.

        tldr: Stop thinking with your d*ck. Good litmus test for whether to press “Post Comment” or not (for some).

        1. Monty

          Sorry for the offense / confusion. I just meant she had more bipartisan appeal than the other candidates.

  101. Acacia

    From the wildly disproportionate amounts of time given to the candidates, I assume the following orders were given to the director of this media event by CNN/NYT/DNC bosses:

    (1) Promote the anointed (Biden and Warren) via additional questions (ergo time) and close-ups
    (2) Give generous time to the also-rans
    (3) Demote the threats to the DNC agenda (e.g., Sanders, Gabbard) by minimizing their time, using also-rans as diluting factor, and wider camera shots (unfavorable mise-en-scène)

    CNN reports minutes and seconds of talk time per candidate, but makes it seem like this was under their control when in fact it was governed by how many questions and when the moderators cut them off.

    As for the stars…

    I don’t know why there are 22 stars. Readers, any ideas?

    My guess would be the CNN/DNC event planners chose 22 as the estimated number of candidates when the order went out for this big neon sign a few months ago. (It’s now down to 19, apparently.) The stars thus stand as proxies for all the Dem candidates, present or not. Inadvertently, they also sort of loom over the whole debate as a reminder of a brokered election to come.

    1. albrt

      My guess is that 22 is the number of states where the DNC will buy substantial media time for 2020. The other 28 states are too deplorable to merit attention from the democrat party.

      The circle itself represents zero, which is the number of states where the DNC will try to expand the voter base.

  102. Hoppy

    I only caught the last hour.

    How was the discussion on climate change? Was there anything meaningful?

    1. Acacia

      Steyer tried to raise the issue in response to a different question.

      As far as I saw, the moderators followed DNC marching orders to steer clear of it.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > As far as I saw, the moderators followed DNC marching orders to steer clear of it.

        The DNC’s “partners” apparently allow the content to be dictated? How odd. I thought they were news organizations.

  103. The Rev Kev

    Just caught up with highlights of the debate and was amazed how Warren virtually bowed down onstage to the memory of Obama’s Presidency in response to a Biden attack on her. With the sort of people that support her I am sure that this flies well with them. For the rest of America, probably not so well.

  104. doug

    Yes, I did not watch, but feel I have the gist. Totally appreciate all of you who did and commented so cogently. Thank you.

  105. Gregorio

    Why do we stand for allowing biased corporate media talking heads asking loaded questions in a non-debate format? Corporate media has hijacked the primary process with what amounts to a shallow soundbite contest, more like a reality TV show than an actual debate.

    1. notabanker

      Thank god we won’t allow them to tell us the results of our electronically tabulated e-votes in 2020.

  106. Stanley Dundee

    I also want to thank the NC commentariat for bearing the pain of watching this misbegotten spectacle (which I did not) and spinning gold from dung. Thanks especially to scarn for the ultimate Biden characterization as a money golem animated by neoliberal hate-magic.

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