Key Takeaways From The Fifth Democratic Debate | Talking Points Memo

On the heels of a day stuffed with explosive developments in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, which produced positive returns for the Democratic party ‘s impeachment effort, 2020 Democrats coalesced in Atlanta to highlight the fractures in the party’s views on key issues.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

How, pray tell, can they do all of that in the first day or week when Obamacare couldn’t even roll out a website in years? And we are still fighting over whether the President had the right to de-prioritize enforcement on DACA people as an executive action? Sounding like pie-in-the-sky clowns promising stuff they cannot deliver doesn’t seem to me like a great way to start a campaign.


It can’t be done on the first day or in the 1st week. Can’t be done at all with 41+ GOP Senators in office.


Can we please be done with Tulsi Gabbard already.


Still too many on the stage. It’s tedious.

Cut Gabbard (because she’s trouble), Yang (who seemed more intent on clowning), Steyer (mark him down for the EPA or other Green Cabinet post), and, God love him, Cory (Housing Secretary/Veep?).

Klobuchar (seems afraid of being a go get’em progressive) and Harris (doesn’t have a solid stand on any policy) had a good night and they’ll probably hang on till Iowa but I think they’ve garnered their highest poll numbers—single digits.


Warren: “And in the first hundred days I want to bring in 135 million people into Medicare for All at no cost to them.”

What about people already served by Medicare. Will premiums and copays go away?


Apropos of nothing, but this is essentially the plot of Clear and Present Danger, the movie adaptation of the Clancy novel.

sending troops to Mexico to fight drug cartels

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Who knows? All this talk about Medicare for All in the first 100 days or first week is total bs. I’m a strong supporter of universal care, but this game of one-upmanship between Warren and Sanders makes me wonder just how serious they are.


Sanders is not serious; Warren is serious but wrong.


I didn’t watch the debate. The only debate that moved the needle at all was the first one and the movement quickly faded.

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Biden was far and away the best candidate… As long as you watched the debate standing next to a Vitamix blender.


I would feel a lot better about Pete Buttigieg if he had succeeded in just one statewide race in Indiana—for either Senator or Governor. As it is, when I look at him I can’t help but think of Katie Hill, another rising star in the Democratic Party brought low by a scandal from her past no one knew about. (Imagine if Dems had nominated her for President?) I sincerely hope there are no similar ticking time bombs from Mayor Pete’s past. For all I know he may have lived a perfect life, but I think there is way too much at stake in this election to take such an incredible leap of faith.


Completely predictable, however. When Warren tied herself so completely to Sanders plan/vision in the first debate(s), she guaranteed this would happen.

Because at some point, she was going to have to differentiate herself from him, or just concede the race on that one issue entirely. All the more obvious, because they are competing for the same voters on this issue.

And this is one of my problems with Warren. It was a stupid thing to do in the first place, but she has a history of making really stupid political mistakes. She just has bad political instincts.

She is a smart woman, but she should have seen this inevitability from the moment she declared, and should have started creating distinctions between her and Sanders plan from day one. It could never be “I agree 100% with everything Bernie says on healthcare, but I am distinctive on these other issues”…because Sanders is precisely the sort of candidate that will gladly continue to move that issue further and further to the left.

And that is precisely what is happening right now. She will never be able to get to his left on healthcare, because he will always move the sidelines even further to the left. And by surrendering control of this topic to him early, she left him in complete control of doing that.


Warren and Sanders have to get their plans through Congress. I foresee much compromise ahead if either is elected. I want universal, affordable healthcare for all, but threatening to take away the option of private health insurance from folks who want to keep their plans is wrong policy.


She is a smart woman BUT BUT BUT
No more buts. She is the best woman candidate ever.
Enough of this double standard attacks on her.

Be honest, has anyone ever provided the kind of thoughtful, comprehensive,
and largely workable solutions to the entire range of issues we face?
The reason we just gotta criticize her well the emails and benghazi


They set a good example from what I am reading. If Trump had been on stage, it wood have been a smoldering ruin by the end. Dumpster fire accomplished. It is possible that any one of a group of adults might be looking good to voters right now. I hope so.

@tpr The plot of The Hunt for Red October also has currency. Isn’t that when the American President hijacks a US nuclear sub, drives it to Russia and defects?


Tulsi Gabbard then went after Buttigieg for his recent comment that he would consider sending troops to Mexico to fight drug cartels. Buttigieg accused Gabbard of taking him out of context, then dinged her for meeting with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Gabbard responded by saying she would meet with “adversaries and friends.”

What’s up with Gabbard?
She says she wants to end the endless war, which is fine, but she makes a point of criticizing the Dems about those wars, met with Assad without informing top Dem leadership, appeared on Fox News/Hannity to criticize the House Impeachment Inquiry…immediately fought with HRC whom NYT misquoted that Gabbard was being groomed by the RNC (and not the Russians) and now taking Buttigieg out of context:

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg said at a Latino forum in Los Angeles on Sunday that he’d be willing to send U.S. troops into Mexico to combat gang and drug violence.

“There is a scenario where we could have security cooperation,” Buttigieg said.

Even so, he added a caveat: “I’d only order American troops into conflict if American lives were on the line and if it was necessary to meet treaty obligations.”

Saying this again…BEWARE…Gabbard seems like a Jill Stein Version 2.0 Dem Insider Edition!


Only problem with winning state-wide in Indiana if you’re a Democrat is that it’s all but impossible these days, barring a fluke like the one that elected Joe Donnelly.
FWIW, I’m local, & have never heard any nasty stories. Caveat—I don’t do Facebook.


Day 1, first 100 days, etc.; it’s campaign rhetoric, people. Are we really going to nitpick it?

There is no Dem policy position so clever or watertight that it will evade GOP attack.

Trumpp and the GOP will attack any Dem position on health insurance, and if the Dem nominee doesn’t take a position, the GOP will make one up and attack it, or they will attack the Dem nominee for something Obama said about Obamacare back before it became reality.

The GOP won’t care if their attacks make any sense or not. They care only about what makes an impact. They failed attacks will be discarded and the effective ones will be highlighted and repeated ad nauseum.

The “promises” about what happens rapidly at the start of the term are just a way of signaling priorities.

I’m going to sidestep any debates about how much a new Dem President can get through Congress, or how quickly that can be done. That is out of a candidate’s hands. I want to hear healthcare positions communicated in a way that will have a positive impact in the general election. I want to hear candidates communicate why the healthcare plan is so important for improving the lives of Americans, and I want it with more sentiment and less use of numbers (and I love numbers).


She probably won’t make the December debate, but it seems she has enough money to hang on for awhile, and then the possibility of a Nader/Stein spoiler campaign is there. Hillary preempted it somewhat but people like Gabbard love hearing themselves talk, and there are likely financial incentives as well. From Nader to Stein to Gabbard, they are the herpes of leftism. They die down for awhile but never go away.