Democrats Attack Trump, Support More Spending in Atlanta Debate
Written by Steve Byas
The 10-candidate Democratic presidential debate held Wednesday night in Atlanta had two main points. The first was that President Donald Trump was a “pathological liar” and “corrupt” (Senator Bernie Sanders), and that “we have a criminal living in the White House” (Senator Kamala Harris). Harris even included Vice President Mike Pence in what she called a “criminal enterprise.”
Secondly, the Democrats uniformly called for expanding the size, power, and scope of the federal government, the only difference being one of degree. For example, both Senators Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris favored paid family leave, with Harris calling for six months and Klobuchar advocating for what she considered a more fiscally responsible three months.
It was Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren who seemed to take the lead in out-bidding each other in promising more and more free stuff. In contrast, Klobuchar, in an effort to appear more moderate, retorted, “I’m not going to go for things that sound good on a bumper sticker,” like a “free car.” South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg opposed “commanding” Warren’s Medicare for All, while former Vice President Joe Biden argued that the vast majority of Democrats do not support Medicare for All, but would rather “build” on ObamaCare by placing a Medicare “option” in it.
Warren offered a virtual cornucopia of taxpayer-funded benefits, including universal child care and raising the wages of every child care worker, education from pre-K through graduate school (and cancelling student loan debt), along with Medicare for All (which she would phase in by lowering the Medicare enrollment age to 50, after which the public would be clamoring for a complete government take-over of the health care industry — she claims).
The candidates all seemed to agree that more government regulations were needed to combat “climate change.” Sanders even promised to prosecute the fossil fuel industry, whom he charged with being “criminally liable” for supposedly destroying the planet. When California tycoon Tom Steyer was asked about putting $300 million of his own money into his presidential effort (by being called a “special interest” on his own), he defended himself by saying he had been fighting the big drug companies and the big oil companies. Fellow candidate Andrew Yang even praised Steyer for all the money he has spent fighting climate change.
Surprisingly, considering his recent rise in the polls (finishing first in recent polls in Iowa and New Hampshire), the other candidates said little in attacking Buttigieg, other than his lack of federal experience. Moderator Andrea Mitchell, however, did ask him about having lost his only statewide race by a large margin and his limited experience as the mayor of a city of only about 100,000. Buttigieg proudly boasted that he was the least wealthy person on the stage, and offered that he had a “different kind of experience” in his work on the local level.
Perhaps the sharpest exchange of the evening was when Representative Tulsi Gabbard was asked about her recent criticism of Hillary Clinton (which was actually just a response to Clinton’s unilateral attack on Gabbard), and she explained that Clinton was part of the foreign policy establishment and the military-industrial complex. Gabbard vowed to take the Democratic Party out of the hands of those such as Clinton, Bush, and Trump who have made it American policy to effect “regime change” around the world, which has cost America thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. “I will end this new Cold War,” Gabbard insisted.
Harris retorted that it was “unfortunate” that Gabbard was even on the stage, to which Gabbard responded that Harris traffics “in lies.” She added that it was apparent that Harris would continue the same regime change policy that has dominated American foreign policy for the past several years.
“I will not put party interests first,” Gabbard promised.
Perhaps the most surprising statement made during the debate was when Harris used the expression, “In the year of our Lord 2019,” while making the claim that women are still not getting equal pay. While Democrats in previous generations regularly made such religious allusions, when Democrats put “God” into their 2012 platform, it was booed by the delegates on the floor.
When asked about abortion, Warren called abortion rights “economic rights.” She said that the one entity that should not be involved in a woman’s decision about whether to have an abortion is the government. It appeared to be the only issue that united the Democrats in reducing the power of the government in anything.
After watching the debate, it is not surprising that Donald Trump is rising in the polls. In a Marquette University Law School poll released earlier in the day, Trump had moved into a lead over all of the top four Democratic candidates in a hypothetical general election matchup in the key battleground state of Wisconsin.
Trump narrowly won Wisconsin in 2016 by about 23,000 votes, which probably explains why the Democrats are holding their 2020 national convention in Milwaukee. Despite this, Trump leads Biden 47 percent to 44 percent; Sanders 48-45; Warren 48-43; and Buttigieg 47-39 in the Marquette poll.
Steve Byas is a university instructor of history and government, and the author of History’s Greatest Libels. He can be contacted at [email protected].
Courtesy of The New American