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Excellent Democratic debate shows no clear winners or losers

Democratic 2020 presidential debate
REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Participants in Tuesday's Democratic 2020 presidential debate included former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Last night’s Democratic presidential debate was excellent (according to me), and left me with an overwhelming feeling that anyone on that stage would be a considerably better president than the current occupant of that office.

I didn’t think any of the candidates had a particularly good or bad night. My first sentence above captures how I feel: No winners and the only loser, in a sane world, would be the current incumbent, who, on the best night of his political career, would have come across as infantile and dangerous compared to any of the six who were on the stage.

I didn’t learn anything much about their issue differences (which, again, are small compared to any issue  positions of Donald Trump) nor did I have a strong impression about which of them might have the chance of beating him in November. I’m committed to maintaining a position that the much-sought “electability” quotient is unknowable.

I should mention, although you’ve probably picked up on this already, that the punditocracy seems quite obsessed with a possible frostiness between two of the leading contenders, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and the analysts were all studying footage (with no sound) of Sanders and Warren talking briefly after the debate.

It’s possible that Warren seemed annoyed and Sanders seemed dismissive. The theory is that this is a follow-up to Warren saying on Monday that Sanders told her during a meeting in 2018 that he didn’t think a woman candidate could win in 2020 — a proposition which, if it is true, would be unwise and could have offended Warren, now the leading contender of that distinguished gender. Sanders denied saying it.

(In fact, Sanders was asked about the alleged remark during the debate, and he pointed out in reply that in 2016 a woman candidate, Hillary Clinton, had received more popular votes than Trump, an answer that worked well enough for me, at least.)

But, to my astonishment (considering how I felt about the entire two-hour exchange, which I summarized above), the media aftermath seemed to be largely about whether the two senators, known to be friends of longstanding, were quarreling. If so, it’s dumb, and if not, it’s even dumber that the talking heads have decided to make that the big takeaway of the evening.

Further your affiant sayeth naught.

Comments (66)

  1. Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 01/15/2020 - 09:12 am.

    I have predicted for a long time, Bernie will be ignored mostly (when he isn’t being trashed), until it looks like he could win, and then the real dirty tricks start flying. He has the lead in Iowa and New Hampshrie.


    Such is politics in America, when even your long time ally will betray you for the slightest advantage.

    Except this seems more evident of the character of CNN and Warren than of Bernie.

    • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 01/15/2020 - 09:20 am.

      And of course the media making a big deal about it is, corporate media would rather have Trump the president than Bernie. Warren is being set up as Biden’s VP. It is an epic propaganda manipulation.

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/15/2020 - 02:04 pm.

        A comment following the logic of:

        “I am smart enough to not be manipulated by the media, too bad you are not”

        An almost Trumpian self assessment of personal capabilities…

        • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 01/15/2020 - 05:57 pm.

          You put that line in quotation marks but I didn’t say that and I never would, speaking of so called Trumpian moves.

          Now is it Trumpian to suggest, speaking of epic manipulations, how interesting it is that both Warren and Bernie will be locked up in the absurdity ot that impeachment trial for two weeks, right up to the Iowa vote, while neoliberals Biden and Buttigieg will have that time to politic in Iowa?

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 01/15/2020 - 11:39 am.

      Betrayed? All Warren did was further expose Sanders’s misogyny.

      • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 01/15/2020 - 05:40 pm.

        In a nationwide vote for who has more integrity, Bernie, Elizabeth Warren or CNN, my guess is the tally comes in at 1,2,3 respectively.

        I’ve heard Bernie called a lot of things, but misogyny is a new one for that old bird

  2. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/15/2020 - 09:19 am.

    Yeah, the “media” is all a flutter about the “feud”. In fact there was NO argument, everyone agrees that women are “electable”. Regardless of what you may think Sanders’s said to Warren in a past private conversation, LAST NIGHT Sanders clearly supported the electability of women. Warren basically launched an argument with herself, she claims women are electable, and no one disagrees.

    Whether Sanders actually made the claim, or whether Warren is mis-remembering or mis-characterizing Sanders (i.e. lying about it) it’s a curious campaign strategy because it didn’t work for HRC. While American voters are certainly ready and willing to vote for a women, they won’t necessarily vote for a candidate just because the ARE a woman. White women took a pass on HRC for instance. I’m not sure where Warren is going with this or if it’s a good idea.

    Why is the media reporting a “clash” that didn’t actually happen? On one hand it may the result of mundane efforts to attract eyeballs. Nothing much of any interest or importance actually happened in the debates so an exaggerated gender debate fits the bill.

    A more insidious explanation may emerge from the hostility so many “mainstream” media outlets have for progressives. The hate on Sanders is undeniable and obvious, with Warren close behind. This manufactured on stage “feud” may serve the “moderate” status quo by creating an impression that the progressive candidates are breaking up and can’t get along, even with each other. While the purported gender debate may be a figment of media imagination, it serves the “moderate” anti progressive narrative rather well.

    • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 01/15/2020 - 09:38 am.

      Manufacturing Consent (for Biden)

    • Submitted by Howard Miller on 01/16/2020 - 02:06 pm.

      Spot on, Paul

    • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 01/16/2020 - 08:41 pm.

      ” This manufactured on stage “feud” may serve the “moderate” status quo by creating an impression that the progressive candidates are breaking up and can’t get along, even with each other. While the purported gender debate may be a figment of media imagination, it serves the “moderate” anti progressive narrative rather well. ”

      Again with the moderate bashing, and a matching conspiracy theory as well!

      While I agree 100% that this Sanders/Warren dust-up is much ado about nothing, I think the reason all the main stream media outlets played it up, is just because they are doing what media has done for centuries – that is, look for sensationalism in the form of personal confrontations/etc. to “sell newspapers” or in today’s world “sell internet clicks”.

      Notice that when Kamala Harris did a harsh hatchet job on Joe Biden in one of the debates, that got tons of media attention, and also lots of press from CNN and other ‘mainstream’ media sources about how “strong” Kamala Harris looked in the debate and how she was “the one to watch now”, and so on.

      They WANT a cock-fight in these debates, with lots of ‘at-each-others-throats’ action unfortunately, it’s more ‘dramatic’ and therefore “sells more clicks” or so they believe.

      The mainstream media would probably love it if most of the debate was the candidates yelling at each other, throwing 4 letter words, and maybe an attempt by one candidate to strangle another on stage!

      This isn’t about progressive vs moderate, I believe the media would have played up Biden accusing Buttigieg of “calling him a liar on national TV”, just as they played up the Warren/Sanders dust-up.

      So, I think the conspiracy theory about this being a way for the evil ‘moderates’ in the mainstream media to undermine progressive candidates is not really why they played it up – it’s just their preference for sensationalism IMO.

      Other than that, I guess I see this little incident exactly as you’ve expressed it – I don’t believe Bernie Sanders hates women, it doesn’t sound like something he’d say, and I don’t think Elizabeth Warren is making up her recollection either.

      Who knows what he actually said or didn’t say, maybe for example he said he thought a woman would have a HARDER time winning? (which is different than saying a woman CAN’T win) or maybe he did say it for some reason, but has just forgotten saying it, who knows?

      In any case, who cares, it’s not what he believes NOW in my opinion, he’s not misogynist IMO, and I hope and expect the two of them will just come to closure over this little dust-up (hopefully privately), and as you’ve said, this will be a non-issue by next week.

      My only regret about the whole incident, and the media overstating it because of their usual love of sensationalism, is that it tended to overshadow the actual BIG news item of the day – namely the revelations of Lev Parnas in his TV interviews.

    • Submitted by Tom Crain on 01/17/2020 - 01:49 pm.

      I agree, Paul. I’m still amazed as to why the Warren campaign thought this stunt would work. No one but the most jaded is going to believe Sanders is a misogynist. I fully expect her support to plummet.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/17/2020 - 02:01 pm.

        I agree.
        Since there appears to be no recording of the alleged remark, the political value is questionable.
        It’s just an allegation about an allegation.

    • Submitted by Steve Rose on 01/17/2020 - 04:17 pm.

      After the debate, Sanders extended his hand and Warren refused to shake it. Warren inquired if Sanders had called her a liar on national television. Sanders countered, asking if they could have words at a later time. That’s called a dust-up.

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 01/15/2020 - 10:54 am.

    Having watched 4 hours of “Frontline” last night, which was pretty depressing, I’ll have to read and listen to the opinions of others regarding the quality of the debate.

    That said, what I find interesting in the whole kerfluffle over Sanders’ alleged remark is that it’s being characterized in every outlet where I’ve seen or heard it as something between a “dismissal” of either Warren in particular or women in general, and an “accusation” (i.e., “You’re a loser, Elizabeth,” though not in those words). No one I’ve come across so far seems willing to suggest – even if Sanders did actually say it – that the statement might be more one of regret or apology than a declaration of internecine warfare between Democratic hopefuls.

    If that’s the case – and I don’t know that it is, or isn’t – the statement still would be difficult to defend, perhaps, but it would quickly fade into media oblivion, where, in my opinion, it belongs. Regardless of who the eventual nominee turns out to be, that person should be prepared to respond to directly, or in some other fashion counter, several months of outrageous lies and infantile name-calling on the part of the oldest spoiled child in government at the federal level, who will be their opponent.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/15/2020 - 11:34 am.

      If he said it at all. A statement like that, specially as late as 2018, would be very uncharacteristic of Sanders and contrary to most of his public statements over the decades.

      American’s are perfectly willing to elect women. The problem in 2016 was that too many voters just didn’t wan’t to vote for HRC, they’d vote for a woman, just not any or THAT woman. I can’t imagine Sander’s doesn’t or didn’t recognize that fact, he’s not a dumb guy.

      • Submitted by Pat Terry on 01/15/2020 - 06:12 pm.

        Its perfectly in character for Sanders. The guy has a long history of dismissing women. It goes back even before his political career when he wrote that women fantasize about being raped.

        He’s a misogyinst through and through.

        • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 01/16/2020 - 09:54 am.

          Read the article and you will see, it is about women throwing off their submissive roles, empowering themselves, and how men expect them to remain submissive.

          Like I’ve been saying, if it looks like Bernie might win, the knives will come out.

          Even Snopes is too dense, or too deranged, to get it.

          Which is precisely the kind of misinformation Trumpians are accused of. Fake news, as it were.

        • Submitted by Joel Fischer on 01/16/2020 - 10:02 am.

          That’s a load of horse puckey, and you know it.

          Sanders has been saying a woman could be President since at least the 80s (It’s even on video!). He ALSO deferred to Warren in 2016, waiting for her to run for the nomination, before he threw his hat in the ring.

          We get it. You don’t like Bernie. That’s no reason to misrepresent his public statements.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/16/2020 - 01:02 pm.

          Pat, I know you’re better than this, go the source document. Sanders’s wasn’t describing his own personal rape fantasy, he was describing rape fantasies that permeate male sexual attitudes and assumptions about women. At the time role and existence of rape fantasies was a somewhat controversial claim in feminism. Sanders wasn’t promoting or sharing his own rape fantasy, he was exposing them as a dangerous element in male psychology.

          When you guys do stuff like this you just remind us how dishonest, divisive, and toxic HRC and her supporters could be. We can live without such reminders.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/16/2020 - 06:18 pm.

          To quote from the Snopes article (which was about things Sanders wrote 50 years ago:

          “One way to read the essay is that Sanders was doing (in a supremely ham-handed way) what journalists do every day: draw the reader in with an attention-getting lede, then get to the meat of the article in the middle.

          You can draw divergent conclusions from the article itself. On the one hand, he’s talking about liberating people from harmful gender norms. On the other, with his nameless hypothetical “man-and-woman” characters, he also seems to imply that men fantasize about raping women or that women fantasize about being raped.”

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/18/2020 - 08:55 am.

            “he also seems to imply that men fantasize about raping women or that women fantasize about being raped.”

            This is where Snope’s (and others) fails due to their ignorance regarding radical feminist theory and critique regarding patriarchal hegemony. This wasn’t an “implication”, it was an explicit claim about the male psyche. The “rape” fantasy the idea is that women invite or fantasize about rape as core feature of the male psyche, and that such fantasies drive male sexual behavior, assumptions, and attitudes. Where do think “no” means “no” came from? When you hear feminist today talk about the “Rape Culture” THAT’S what they’re talking about.

            When Sanders wrote this in the early 70’s this was a controversial new feminist theory, he was trying to expose the rape mentality, it wasn’t an essay about his own fantasies, it was an article in a local/campus feminist magazine.

            Radical feminism has never been a feature of “moderate/centrist” Democrats who are more comfortable with glass ceiling feminism, that explains the ignorant attempts to deploy this critique to people like Sanders. It’s kind of ironic and sadly comical to see glass ceiling feminists who have been pushing back against more radical feminism for decades suddenly pretending to be Warren champions using unfamiliar misogyny critiques against Sanders.

    • Submitted by Brian Simon on 01/15/2020 - 03:53 pm.

      The debate reinforced preconceived notions.

      For me, those are:
      * Biden should retire. He’s slowing down & is not the right person to navigate us through this point in history.
      * Sanders is genuinely passionate about the issues he’s been fighting for, but he’s not POTUS material. Many of his observations on the faults in our society are spot-on. Some of his proposals are pretty good. In other areas he’s out of his element (albeit less so than DJT).
      * Klobuchar is nice, a competent Senator and very genuine person who wants to please everyone all the time. She’ll not lead in a bold direction, but incrementally compromise for slight changes to the status quo.
      * Buttigieg is still wet-behind-the-ears & not ready for prime time. He’s less prepared for the job than Booker, ORourke or Castro was, but has a pleasing demeanor that apparently appeals to some people. I’m admittedly ageist and cannot imagine voting for a 37 year old for POTUS. Unless they’re the only choice that’s not DJT.
      * Stein(?) Seems like a nice guy, well informed. Total enigma in terms of his actual political positions, as he’s never held office. No idea how he has any support. Oh yeah, he’s a billionaire.
      * Warren. I went in as a Warren supporter & her performance reinforced that preference. She’s passionate on the issues, has clearly thought them through & has the mental capacity to deal with the unexpected. She has a bold vision and a realistic understanding of what it takes to get there. She had an underappreciated observation on prescription drug prices; Biden & Sanders argued for price controls, whereas she merely proposed that the Gov’t contract firms to make generics when existing sources are unreasonably priced. Conservatives flip out at Gov’t doing anything, but it’s a pretty clever way to pressure pharm mfrs to keep prices reasonable. That’s thinking I can get behind.

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 01/16/2020 - 05:12 am.

        I agree with your assessment but it seems to me that Warren was calling for an actual government-run pharmaceutical company to compete with the private sector. This combined with her idea to eliminate private insurance (and all its jobs) would be easily ripped apart by Trump in a debate as anti-jobs and anti-capitalist.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/17/2020 - 02:05 pm.

          Transferring jobs from the private to the public sector is not eliminating jobs, unless you believe that the public sector is more efficient (can do the same job with fewer people).
          Which way do you want it?

          • Submitted by Arthur Swenson on 01/19/2020 - 09:52 am.

            Medicare is generally described as spending 3-5% of its funding on “administration”. The private insurance industry reportedly adds about 20% to our over-all cost of heath-care. I know which one I prefer.

  4. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/15/2020 - 10:58 am.

    Just a quick note regarding one of the “fact checks”: The Washington Post does a “fact check” of 8 claims:

    ( ).

    Wapo “checks” 4 Sanders claims, 3 Biden Claims, and one claim by Buttigieg.

    Media like Wapo and the NYT’s have been openly hostile to Sanders and his proposals for years, and that hostility continues despite his growing popularity and strength, when it comes to “balance” Sanders is the exception.

    Whatever- here’s the thing: Of the the 4 Sanders’s claims Wapo “checks” 3 of their checks are fair enough, they find that Sanders continues to exaggerate a few claims, although not necessarily to the extent that Wapo claims. However one of Wapo’s “checks” is actually misleading. Again the hostility towards MFA is persistent and you see again here when Wapo responds to Sanders’s claim that MFA lowers costs by point to an increase in spending that most studies predict:

    ” It turned out that all but one of five major studies, from the left to the right, predict the Sanders plan would increase health spending, not reduce it. The author of the fifth predicts a decline but said Sanders’s statement is exaggerated.”

    Two things, first Wapo’s “expert” economist is cherry-picking “major studies”. But we’ll set that aside. The main issue is the fact that even this guy admits MFA will be less expensive than the current system, he just doesn’t think $10 trillion is a big deal.

    But it’s important to note that while everyone predicts an increase in spending, there is nevertheless a decrease in over-all costs. You get the increase in “spending” because tens of millions of Americans start getting health care they aren’t getting now. However THAT increase doesn’t generate and increase in the over-all cost of health care because the health care all those people are getting will be less expensive to provide than is is now. These are important distinctions that get blurred in the Wapo “fact check”.

    In general whenever Wapo and the NYT’s discuss MFA their articles are riddled little misrepresentations spurious factoids. Just something to keep an eye on.

    • Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 01/15/2020 - 11:47 am.

      But Paul, NYT and WaPo are arbiters of the Truth!

      Just kidding. Both are preeminent news makers, about what we are expected to believe, from the neoliberal Washington consensus.

      I am clearly remember one day in 2016 when WaPo published 22 takedown articles about Bernie.

      And to be truly fair, if you really dig into their list of lies told by Trump, a lot of it is merely Trump saying something counter to what NYT and WaPo expect us to believe, about war and economics mostly.

    • Submitted by Bob Petersen on 01/15/2020 - 01:29 pm.

      What you seem to forget is that everything that the government does, always costs more. It never gets less. Heck, look at what came out of the ACA. Every cost skyrocketed. Obama tried to sell it as a $2500 annual decrease to every family in keeping their same doctor and program. And many knew the analytics behind it all was a sham as many states sued.
      So why should anyone believe it will cost less this time around, especially when the program will be much bigger than the ACA?

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/15/2020 - 05:24 pm.

        Bob, stereotypes about big guvmint don’t reflect reality. Private sector insurance is far more costly and inefficient. Medicare and Medicaid right now are more cost effective, less expensive, and more efficient than private sector coverage. Health care cost have been climbing out of control beyond any economic justification for decades without government intervention.

    • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 01/15/2020 - 02:37 pm.

      The Bernie bros here (and the Trump supporter, Mr Duncan, who keeps trying to tell Democrats whom they should prefer in their nominating primaries!) fail to mention that the bravest, most honest,, proponent of Medicare for All among the candidates is Elizabeth Warren.

      Unlike Bernie Sanders, who tries to get by with vague ideological statements and approximations (e.g, his MFA will cost less than our total health care cost today), Senator Warren actually put out a very specific plan for funding Medicare for All as she proposes it. She took the hit, and her campaign has yet to recover, among the commentariate who think that Americans are too afraid to contemplate losing their non-choice health insurance plans of today to consider a Medicare alternative. Bernie has been too cowardly to do that.

      Also, Warren has a solid history of actually creating a consumer-friendly government department, the Consumer Financial Protection agency. One of the first things that Trump attacked and tried to destroy when he became president, because it was so effective against banks and big business abuses of the average consumer.

      Bernie Sanders, who does not play with others especially well, given the rigidity of his ideological approach to everything and his relative lack of accomplishment as a member of either the House or the Senate, is not flexible enough to do what Warren has been doing: In discussion of MFA, she admits that it will take a Democratic Senate to do it, and there may be a few years to wait.

      Warren is by far the stronger candidate on this issue of a Medicare for All health insurance plan..

      That is strength in compromise. Bernie doesn’t know the meaning of the term compromise. Not a plus fir his candidacy, in many of our minds. do we need a rigid ideologue in the White House, or a legislator who creates solutions that fit the problems?

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/16/2020 - 08:12 am.

        The “Bernie Bro” gambit didn’t work for HRC and it won’t work for Warren. Let’s not promote the same toxic myths that cost Clinton the election in this election.

      • Submitted by Tom Crain on 01/17/2020 - 02:03 pm.

        Compromise is what got us Obamacare w/o any public option, much less M4A.

        And please do drop the pejorative “Bernie-bros” label. It’s tired and worn-out and frankly doesn’t help Warren who happens to be this Bernie supporter’s second choice. The progressive movement needs many leaders including Warren.

  5. Submitted by Mark Voorhees on 01/15/2020 - 11:25 am.

    My take is Biden is too old. He stumbled/stammered almost every time he spoke almost like he was just waking up from a nap and needed to get his thoughts straight. He isn’t a forward thinker as he only referred to his previous history. In my opinion he was the loser in last nights debate.

  6. Submitted by Pat Terry on 01/15/2020 - 11:55 am.

    Sanders should drop out and endorse Warren.

  7. Submitted by BK Anderson on 01/15/2020 - 01:13 pm.

    All I know is that there are not so many progressives in America that they can indulge in a (completely meaningless) “feud”.

  8. Submitted by Donald Larsson on 01/15/2020 - 02:14 pm.

    One thing that very few pundits have noted is that the “winner” in Iowa will inevitably have only a plurality to claim “victory.” The same applies to the other Democratic primaries and caucuses. Under current party rules, anyone getting 15% or more of the vote will have delegates allotted. The actual rules are somewhat more complicated and vary a bit from state to state, but unless there’s a radical shift in the next couple of weeks, expect each of the Big 4 (Sanders, Biden, Buttigieg, and Warren) to come away with a bit more or less than 1/4 each of Iowa’s 41 delegates. (1990 delegates will be needed for a first-round win at the convention.) As in past early primaries, “winning” will be a matter of media perception. (The Republicans, it should be noted, still have winner-take-all primaries/caucuses–when they have them at all this year.)

  9. Submitted by cory johnson on 01/15/2020 - 03:00 pm.

    I’m stunned to say I actually felt sorry for Bernie last night. I disagree with him on most policy issues, but CNN and the Warren campaign are obviously in cahoots to steal female leftist votes from him.

  10. Submitted by Solly Johnson on 01/15/2020 - 07:06 pm.

    I did not watch the debate, but most summaries I have read disagree with this article’s author about the quality of the debate. Many stated that numerous questions were asked about costs for medical care plans being proposed, but no questions about paying for our many and endless wars. This is not surprising considering that the establishment media has championed our foreign wars, an example being the New York Times supporting virtually every foreign excursion since the Spanish/American War.

  11. Submitted by joe smith on 01/15/2020 - 09:37 pm.

    I wish someone could decipher what Joe Biden said in that debate so it could be fact checked. Joe rambled on and on but I’m pretty sure he said nothing, couldn’t really tell.

  12. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 01/15/2020 - 09:55 pm.

    I must agree with the columnist, nobody stands out but anyone on the stage will easily beat the most hated man in America. Choose wisely.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 01/16/2020 - 05:25 am.

      “The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for 15 Jan 2020 shows that 49% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance.”

      At the same point (15 Jan 2012) Obama’s approval rating was at 45%.

      • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 01/16/2020 - 10:54 am.

        I just went to RealClearPolitics, which highlights 11 January polls. Most have Trump in the low 40’s, with an average of 44.5%. Funny that a dyed-in-the-wool Trumper would cherry-pick and misrepresent those numbers. Learning at the feet of the master, I guess.

        It’s tough to have 51% of the people approve of your job when 47% want you removed from office.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/16/2020 - 01:09 pm.

          Jackson, it’s called “Debate Gaming” And no, it has little if anything to do with legitimate or honest analysis.

      • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 01/16/2020 - 05:27 pm.

        And Ipsos has him down 56 to 39.

        He and Lev will soon be eating cheeseburgers with Michael Cohen.

    • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 01/16/2020 - 07:00 pm.

      “Anyone on that stage will easily beat the most hated man in America”.

      Well, from your lips to God’s ears, but I’m not sure what you’re basing that on, I think in the swing states that will determine the election, the polls still show a fairly close battle that either side could win, and there’s still a ton of time left before the election so lots of room to move either way.

      And Trump has a HUGE war chest and a smart digital campaign as I understand it, so personally I’m not so confident that this is an “easily beat” type of situation unfortunately.

      If we had a simple popular vote election like most countries, I’d be pretty confident also, but we don’t, with the electoral college system.

      We need to remember both Gore and Clinton won the popular vote, but the electoral college gave us Bush and Trump instead, which gave us the Iraq war, and the mess we’re in now with Trump.

      So personally, in terms of ‘choosing wisely’, I’d very much urge ALL candidates to think of electability in how they present themselves, especially thinking of those critical swing states, and for primary voters to place a lot of weight on that also when they make their decisions on who to support.

  13. Submitted by lisa miller on 01/15/2020 - 10:11 pm.

    Thanks for all the mansplanning. And I’m not even a Warren supporter. She told her truth as she saw or heard it. She was not rude, she was firm and direct and for that, some people fly off the handle. Yep, Trump, Bernie and others can yell, shout, but Good Lord, a woman raises her voice and watch out–some people just can’t handle a woman boss. Yet people go right for the personal attacks. We see this over and over with woman candidates, no matter the party.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/16/2020 - 08:29 am.

      I don’t know if this qualifies as “mansplaining” but I think people lose credibility when they pretend to be responding to non-existent behavior. In the end credibility was HRC’s biggest problem in 2016. Her supporters bring that liability into 2020 at their own peril.

      I might have missed it but I don’t see anyone even attacking Warren let alone trying to silence her or criticize her for simply for making this accusation. We simply note that Sanders denies it and go on to agree with Warren that in any event we’ll vote for a woman if one ends up on the ballot. As we voted for HRC so shall we vote for Warren if that’s the choice. Anyone who characterizes a willingness to vote for Warren as an act of misogyny will likely demolish their own credibility.

      I would note that the only people arguing about the “electability” of women are “moderate/centrists” who supported HRC… the rest of us take it for granted that women are electable and that more of them should be elected.

      On the other hand, it’s nice to see HRC supporters who have thus far thrown their support to Biden, finally coming around to a progressive candidate. I have wondered many times whether or not all of these erstwhile HRC supporters were applying for a special place in Hell by supporting Biden over Warren.

  14. Submitted by John Jacobson on 01/16/2020 - 01:09 am.

    I disagree with your point on this one Eric. I think all the candidates are losers. None of the candidates have what it takes to beat Trump.

  15. Submitted by Susan Maricle on 01/16/2020 - 11:15 am.

    I doubt that the Sanders/Warren controversy will resonate with anyone but political junkies. It’s the recreational users of politics who will decide the next president. Whichever candidate reaches out to them will be the most successful.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/16/2020 - 02:55 pm.

      Agreed. By the end of the week the only one’s who will still be talking about this are those who want to amplify the “feud” in order to damage progressive candidates. It’s already slipping out of the news cycle and it won’t be a factor in the primaries.

  16. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 01/16/2020 - 11:28 am.

    How sad, that when discussing women candidates for president, some people just can’t get over their obsession with Hillary Clinton.

    Of all the current candidates, there is no one, male or female, who has come up with as many thoughtful, precise, and doable plans to move America forward in a “progressive” way, as Elizabeth Warren. She actually has studied these issues, and is not an ideologue who just verbally pounds the podium.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/16/2020 - 02:46 pm.

      I think you’ll find if you go back through the comments over the last year or so, that biggest Democratic critics of Warren are HRC moderate/centrists who have always questioned her “electability”. These people can hardly describe themselves as champions of Warren, although they’ll certainly attack Sanders given any opportunity. It goes without saying that Republicans won’t vote for any Democrat.

      The rest of us have no problem declaring that we’ll vote for Warren if she gets on the ballot. Among liberal/progressive voters like myself, the only candidate we agree we will NOT vote for is Biden. Most of us voted for Clinton.

      So take heart, America is ready and willing to put a woman in the White House, and Warren is the most likely woman to get on the ballot in this election cycle. And yes, people need to get past Clinton- Warren is NOT Clinton.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/16/2020 - 06:28 pm.

        Something about letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.
        Like Clinton, Warren would be a great Secretary of State (the office that’s been functionally vacant for the past three years). She gets hung up on details, which is not good politics.
        And anyone who refuses to vote for Biden if he is nominated (he’s the leading candidate so far) is making a second Trump term more likely. Do you really want to live through that?

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/17/2020 - 10:54 am.

          No one is expecting perfection, but you need a candidate that people want to vote for if you want to win elections. No one I know has ever seen a perfect candidate, nor does anyone think that Warren or Sanders are perfect. This seems to obvious to everyone but “moderate/centrists” who pretend to shower us with their political wisdom while running candidates that lose to the likes of Donald Trump. Whatever.

          My problem with Biden is that he’s neither perfect or good. No candidate that suggests they’d put a Republican on the ballot will get my vote, that’s a line I won’t cross. The mere fact that he would even consider bringing Fascists into his cabinet is simply disqualifying, I’m out, we’re done here.

          And then of course his vote for the Iraq War; Clinton and Kerry had the same problem, they supported a catastrophe and then try to brag about their superior judgement- it’s just doesn’t track and we don’t need THAT kind of judgement in the White House, fortunately we can do better, we actually have “good” candidates to choose from, but Biden isn’t one of them.

      • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 01/16/2020 - 08:00 pm.

        Some thoughts on some of your comments –
        ” It goes without saying that Republicans won’t vote for any Democrat.”

        Did you not notice, as I think a lot of progressives are not noticing (or are deliberately not noticing?), how the democrats won back the house in 2018 because quite a large number of moderate republicans, disillusioned with DJT, voted for moderate democrats instead, flipping a large number of red congressional seats to those moderate democratic candidates?

        Republicans voting for a democrat was exactly how the house was won back in 2018!

        So why is that such a hard to believe in concept for 2020?

        There are definitely moderate/centrist republican votes for the taking by a democratic candidate.

        I think that you say this because as a leftist you are trying to convince readers that a moderate democratic candidate in the 2020 election has no edge over a far-left candidate in the ability to pull moderate republican votes, which I believe is just plain wrong, and the 2018 election proved that.

        Many times you will hear moderate republicans, and republicans who are no longer even republicans because they have renounced the party due to the effect of DJT, say that they will vote democratic, as long as the candidate isn’t too far left.

        ” The rest of us have no problem declaring that we’ll vote for Warren if she gets on the ballot. ”

        Nor do I.

        I will vote for any democratic candidate on the stage at this last debate, not question at all about that – at a bare, bare minimum they are all “the lesser of two evils” compared to DJT, and in fact I’d say they are all at least relatively decent candidates.

        ” Among liberal/progressive voters like myself, the only candidate we agree we will NOT vote for is Biden. Most of us voted for Clinton. ”

        Okay, that troubles me. I really wish all of those who oppose DJT would take a vow, no matter how reluctantly, to vote for whoever opposes him, as much as they are doing only because that candidate is “the lesser of two evils”.

        The “most of us voted for Clinton” part of that paragraph rings true, and the fact that quite a few Bernie supporters were such HRC haters that they refused to vote for her, may be one reason why we have Donald Trump as our president.

        They stayed home, or voted for their dog or whatever, and that passively allowed Trump to win, and then some went out to march in inauguration day protests afterwards!

        The protests IMO should have been directed at them, for not choosing to vote for the lesser of two evils, and thereby letting DJT win.

        Anyone who chooses to not vote and then protests about who won afterwards, should be charged with misdemeanor hypocrisy IMO. ;- )

        I personally despised HRC, and was very disappointed when Comey decided not to pursue charges against her for the email server thing, because I was very, very much wishing that that would get her out of the primary race.

        But I voted for her because it was clear from his campaign that Trump was an even worse choice, and boy was I right about that.

        I don’t think any of us can afford another 4 years of DJT just because we aren’t all that pleased about who the democrats put forward as their candidate.

        If the candidate passes the “is he or she a better candidate than DJT?” check box, they deserve our vote, or that’s how I see it.

        I’m not sure we’ll even have a democracy if there is another 4 years of DJT, so that’s a pretty good reason to vote for anyone who opposes him IMO.

        ” And yes, people need to get past Clinton- Warren is NOT Clinton.”

        Other than Connie’s post on this board, honestly I haven’t heard anyone else anywhere talk about how Clinton losing shows that women can’t win elections, so I see that as non-issue myself.

        And yes, Warren thank God is not Clinton. IMO Warren has far more integrity as a key take-away for example.

        I’m not on board with some of her policy positions, and I worry those positions may be a problem in getting elected in the swing states required to win the presidency, and may have a negative carry-over effect also on democratic senate candidates running in rural states needed to take the senate as well.

        But I would have no problem voting for her based on the fact that I believe her to be a person of high integrity and honesty, and I think we need a bunch of that in Washington DC, where contrary to draining the swamp, the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania avenue has added a few new feet of muck, dishonesty, and corruption to that swamp.

        And I think that the positions that I have a problem with are probably not going to be voted into law anyway, the votes won’t be there, particularly in the senate.

        So although Amy Klobuchar would be my first choice, and I believe she would have a somewhat better chance of winning against Trump, and would make it more possible to take the senate as well (a positive carry-over effect instead of a negative one), I’d be reasonably happy for voting for either Warren or Sanders if they become the candidate.

        I think Bernie like Warren also has high integrity, plus I kind of like the gruff old grandpa thing he has going on.. ;- )

        And as with Warren, I believe some of his too-far-left-for-me positions will probably not make it into law, because I think for one thing, the negative carry-over effect on other senate races if either of those two are the candidate, will prevent the senate from going into democratic hands, and that will also be a check on some of their too far-left proposals.

        So with either Warren or Sanders as the candidate, I would pray like hell that they can win the presidential election, and then believe that a Washington Dc with one of them as president, the house in democratic hands, and the senate most likely in republican hands, would be a far better situation than we have now.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/17/2020 - 11:17 am.

          “I’m not sure we’ll even have a democracy if there is another 4 years of DJT, so that’s a pretty good reason to vote for anyone who opposes him IMO.”

          The problem here is that your making a facile assumption that Trump and Trump alone threatens our democracy. This threat has been growing in the Republican ranks for decades, long before being president was a twinkle in Trump’s eye. Trump isn’t the only Fascist in America or the Republican Party and simply removing him from the White House won’t eliminate the threat.

          A weak Democrat who promises to empower Republican’s and Fascists with respect and power sharing can be just a dangerous as Trump. Don’t forget Obama and “moderate” Democrats set the stage for Trump’s rise to power, it’s illogical to assume that simply returning such candidates to the White House will prevent further disintegration. If someone like Biden thinks that Fascists on the other side the Isle are his “friends” he can be just a dangerous in the end as Trump or someone else like Trump.

          One of the worse characteristics the Democratic Party regime under neoliberal “moderate/centrist” leadership has been the etch-a-sketch focus on winning the next election and simply trading places with Republicans. The facile focus on simply winning without producing results AFTER taking office has empowered Republicans for decades.

          Putting the wrong Democrat in the White House could be just as disastrous as losing the election. Beside, “vote blue no matter who” is a failed campaign message, it didn’t work 2016 and there’s no reason to assume it will work in 2020. Democrats need to face the fact that they can’t muster enough votes to win an election from their own Party ranks. They’re not going to get Republican votes, so they need to appeal to liberals and independents who won’t vote for a candidate just because their a “blue” candidate. Those voters are breaking for Sanders and Warren.

          • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 01/17/2020 - 01:18 pm.

            ” Beside, “vote blue no matter who” is a failed campaign message, it didn’t work 2016 and there’s no reason to assume it will work in 2020 ”

            Well Donald Trump just loves the way you’re thinking – he’d love nothing better than a fragmented democratic party with a democratic electorate who will not vote for the democratic candidate if they aren’t that pleased with them.

            That would be an easy way for him to win in 2020.

            If you are agreeing that that was one reason HRC lost in 2016 (“it didn’t work in 2016″), then instead of blaming ‘moderates’ as you are so overly fond of doing, you can also thank left-leaning friends who refused to lower their standards to vote for her, that we now have Trump as president.

            And in the ‘weak’ versus ‘strong’ terms you used, I’d call doing that incredibly ‘weak’ – because it’s essentially forfeiting the game to your opponent’s team, because you didn’t like the starting lineup that was chosen by your own team.

            That’s not ‘strong’, it’s just foolish and very ‘weak’ indeed, since you are making a win for your opponent and a loss for yourself and all you value very likely.

            You falsely accuse of moderates of being ‘weak’, but you are promoting an unbelievably weak position yourself in this particular post (by saying. ” ‘Vote blue no matter who’ is a failed campaign message”).

            But it’s music to republican ears, that’s for sure.

            Hopefully, unlike yourself, most democratic voters, including those who support the more left-leaning candidates as well as the moderate ones see the importance of winning the election, no matter who the candidate is, and realize that that’s the ‘strong’ position to take.

            Surrender to the other side is NOT exhibiting ‘strength’.

            If you somehow think the cause of the progressive political system that you say you believe in is advanced more by having another 4 years of Donald Trump, rather than by having a moderate democratic candidate as president instead, I think you’re very, very sadly mistaken in that belief.

            I will vote for any candidate the democratic candidate puts forward that was on that stage at the last debate – no way do I surrender to the other side by staying at home, or throw my vote away on a write-in vote.

            • Submitted by Tom Crain on 01/17/2020 - 02:27 pm.

              There are two approaches to winning. The classic approach is the one you advocate that the nominee must appeal to those ‘swing’ voters . In this election this is actually a stronger argument than it usually would be. There are plenty of disaffected Trump voters that realize their mistake, that have Trump fatigue like everyone else and might vote for a more conservative Dem candidate instead.

              There is however an even stronger argument to be made that it is the biggest “party” of all – the non-voters – that should be appealed to, not the ever dwindling and elusive ‘swing voter’. The site made the case after the election that registered voters who stayed home probably cost Clinton the election. Particularly the minority voters in swing states.

            • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/18/2020 - 09:08 am.

              It’s always kind of sad and comical when those who lost to Trump point out the fact that Trump won and go on claim the way they lost is the only way anyone can defeat Trump. When step back and recognize the fact that these guy haven’t just lost to Trump, but have lost 5 of the last 7 presidential contests, and only won 1 of those contests with a “moderate” candidate running the campaign they recommend- their claims to know how to win elections and defeat guys like Trump are clearly facile.

              It is no coincidence that the more Democrats have pursued their concept of “moderation” and “centrism”, the stronger Fascists have become. It’s no coincidence that we’ve seen a pretty steady march from Reagan to Trump during an era where FDR liberalism has been classified as “radical” leftism by “New Democrats”. Clearly the antidote to right wing extremism is liberalism, not the moderate conservatism that Mr. Brandon and other Democrats keep demanding.

  17. Submitted by Tim Smith on 01/17/2020 - 08:04 am.

    Typical cnn shoddy “journalism” taking warrens story about Sanders and women at face value. Thus the question was why did you say that? Vs, did you say that? A real journalist would have asked the latter question, especially since Warren is a proven liar. Her claim wreaks of a Clintonian style dirty trick.

    Other than that, Klobuchar and Biden the adults in the room trying to bring the tax that, regulate that, redistribute that, the world is falling apart crowd into reality. Good luck.

  18. Submitted by Steve Rose on 01/18/2020 - 04:34 am.

    The Intercept reports that while CNN was Sanders’ biggest opponent at the debate, his campaign rang up their largest fund raising hour. Clearly CNN learned nothing from their role in electing Trump President. Or, they know and don’t care because it is good for business. Clueless or corrupt?

  19. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 01/19/2020 - 10:23 am.

    Not to belabor the point but let’s take a quick look at one of Mr. Johnson’s statements in a comment above:

    “Did you not notice, as I think a lot of progressives are not noticing (or are deliberately not noticing?), how the democrats won back the house in 2018 because quite a large number of moderate republicans,…”

    Here’s what progressives have “noticed”:

    1) You guys lost the last election to Trump. I know you’d like us all to overlook that fact and pretend you’re the only ones who know how to defeat Trump but you can only fool some of the people some of the time. Biden is essentially tied with Trump right now, as was HRC for most of the campaign.

    2) One of the reasons you lost to Trump on 2016 is that you assumed Republican voters would put you over the top. Now you’re determined to make that same mistake again.

    3) While “moderates” might win elections in some locations, it’s the progressive narrative that’s driving national politics right now. The Democratic practice of etch-a-sketching from one to election the next might lead to temporary victories once and while, but the over-all historical trend has been to lose more and more power to Fascists. Yes, moderates thought themselves to be political geniuses when Obama got elected… then Trump walked into the White House.

    4) Unlike “moderate” Democrats who prefer to reach across the isle rather than reach out to fellow Democrats and liberals, Progressive are perfectly willing to work with “moderates” who get elected. From Omar to Sanders we see radical “moderates” attacking progressive candidates whereas Progressive candidates try to focus on their own issues and agenda and save their attacks for Trump. The latest tussle between Warren and Sanders is a exception, not the rule, and it will quickly fade from view as both candidates get back to focusing on promoting their own agendas and policies.

    5) To put a finer tip on my point, we can see that a lot of “moderates” helped win back the House, but the historical trend tells us that “moderates” won’t roll back or even effectively resist Fascism or “Trumpism”. We can clearly see that the “moderate/centrist” practice of marginalizing liberal candidates and agendas has created a steady march towards Fascism that’s culminated in Trump’s election.

    The only real antidote to right wing extremism is liberalism. If moderates are to be part of the solution rather than the decent and disintegration of our democracy, they will have to work with liberals and progressives to accomplish that goal.

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