Democratic Debates

I doubt anyone had “Watch 20 Dems debate for four hours” on their bucket list.

I certainly didn’t.

But I did it–and I’m glad.

Ten intelligent, hard driving leaders were on stage Wednesday, all saying things few Idaho Democrats hear often enough, and another 10 on Thursday.

They shared American values.

The real America would treat immigrants with compassion.

“And for a party that associates with Christianity to say…God would condone putting children in cages has lost all claim to ever use religious language again.” (South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg)

“When I see these kids at the border, I see my mom, because I know she sees herself because she was separated from her parents for years during the Holocaust in Poland.” (Colorado Sen. Michael Bennett )

(For the record, no one said let them all vote. Candidates proposed working with allies to deal with crises in “failed states” where citizens are in danger.)

Climate change is both a real threat and an opportunity.

“There’s going to be a real worldwide need for…our research and development on green energy going forward. Then we need to say any corporation can come and use that work…but [products] have to be manufactured right here in the United States of America.” (Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren)

Something needs to be done about our extreme economic inequality.

“How can three people own more wealth than the bottom half of America?…Nothing will change unless we have the guts to take on Wall Street, the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the military industrial complex and the fossil fuel industry. If we don’t have the guts to take them on…the rich will get richer and everybody else will be struggling.” (Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders)

Forty thousand gun deaths a year is a national tragedy.

“We must be a country who loves our children more than we love our guns.” (California Rep. EricSwalwell)

“Gun violence is a national health emergency in this country, and we need to treat it like that,” (Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren)

Candidates agreed that healthcare is a basic human right. Most backed a public option as a choice on the health exchange.  Sen. Bernie Sanders was one of four supporting Medicare for All.

“We will have Medicare for All when tens of millions of people are prepared to stand up and tell the insurance companies and the drug companies that their day is gone, that healthcare is a human right, not something to make huge profits off of.”

The first night’s debate resembled a game of hot potato–fast moving, 60-second answers, with one candidate after another throwing ideas in the air. The sense of teamwork was strong, so strong I didn’t see those on stage as rivals, but imagined them serving together in a cabinet.

 The second night, however, was a debate. Contenders working to stand out glossed over issues they agreed on and focused on differences–not just where we should head, but the steps to take.

We went from celebrating shared values to previewing the hard decisions ahead.

Which candidate would best negotiate the agreements needed to move policies forward?

We’ve got over eight months to decide–and five more debate rounds.

Dates for the next two debates are July 30-31 and September 12-13.  Days in October, November, and December have yet to be announced.

Four states will select candidates in February, and 21, including Idaho, during the first two weeks of March.       .

  So right now I’ll simply revel in the strength of shared values among the diverse Democratic candidates and look forward to learning more in the months ahead.

Note this editorial by Judy Ferro published by Idaho Press – 2019

Published by Judy Ferro

Judy Ferro is communication director for the 2C Dems and a columnist for the Idaho Press.

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