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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

US senator Elizabeth Warren shines in debate that showed Democratic divide on issues

There were no breakout moments to trigger the kind of internet frenzy that followed Senator Kamala Harris’s takedown of former Vice-President Joe Biden in the first debates, but Warren impressed experts and pundits with her obvious command of policy issues and her readiness to canvass them aggressively.

world Updated: Jul 31, 2019 21:09 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Washington
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks to the media in the spin room after the Democratic Presidential Debate July 30, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks to the media in the spin room after the Democratic Presidential Debate July 30, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (AFP)
         

Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders held their own against unrelenting attacks in the first leg of the second Democratic presidential debate Tuesday as competing ideological and policy strands at play in the party came to the fore — on healthcare, immigration and climate change.

The two leading lights of the party’s liberal wing also gave the debate its most memorable lines. “I wrote that damn bill,” Sander s said, snapping at suggestion he did not know details of his own healthcare plan. And Warren drew applause for decrying Democrats who are running for president “just to talk about what we can’t do and shouldn’t fight for”.

There were no breakout moments to trigger the kind of internet frenzy that followed Senator Kamala Harris’s takedown of former Vice-President Joe Biden in the first debates, but Warren impressed experts and pundits with her obvious command of policy issues and her readiness to canvass them aggressively.

“Democrats win when we figure out what is right and we get out there and fight for it,” she said. “I am not afraid and for Democrats to win, you can’t be afraid either.”

Liberals like her and Sanders are pushing the party towards “big ideas”, as one of them put it at the debate: government-run Medicare for All health insurance plan, decriminalizing immigration, all-in approach to climate change under Green New Deal, college student debt waiver for all.

The sharpest argument, and the longest of the debate, took place on the issue of medicare for all, a plan backed by progressives Warren and Sanders and opposed by party moderates such as most of the others on the stage in Detroit, Michigan Tuesday night, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former representatives Beto O’Rourke and John Delaney. Delaney called the medicare for all plan “fairy-tale economics” and former governor Steve Bullock, another moderate, said it was “wish-lest economics”.

Biden and Harries will lead another group of 10 candidates on to the stage for the second leg of the debate Wednesday night. And they will find themselves under fire from others who are now in a make-or-break battle, as the field winnows considerably from here for the next debate, which is scheduled to take place mid-September in Houston, Texas.

President Donald Trump, whose ouster unites every Democrat and who came in far scathing attacks as a “racist” and a “xenophobe” among other things, did not respond to the debate. But his campaign did saying Democrats once again demonstrated their belief in “big government”.

Trump is a racist: Poll

President Donald Trump insists he is not racist, but a majority of Americans believe he is, according to a new poll published by Quinnipiac University Tuesday.

Fifty-one percent of respondents said the president was a racist, and 45% said he is not, according to the poll that was conducted in days after Trump denounced four Democratic women lawmakers of color and called for them to leave the country if they don’t like it here.

Trump has pushed back against criticism his remarks about the four lawmakers and subsequently a senior African American lawmaker are racist, and told reporters, once again, on Tuesday, “I am the least racist person there is anywhere in the world.”

First Published: Jul 31, 2019 21:09 IST

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