Biden and Sanders Fight Over Policy and Records in Head-to-Head Debate

Mar 15, 2020 · 228 comments
J c (Ma)
While Bernie drones on about what we could be doing if only we had his perfect healthcare, Biden has a plan for covid19 that acknowledges the system we actually have. Of course he wants aa better system, but I want a president that deals with the reality in front of him, not one that complains about things and panders to the wishful thinking of people that don’t understand basic supply and demand.
Barbara (SC)
This is the key to winning in November: whoever loses, Biden or Sanders, and all the others who have now dropped out of the Democratic nomination process MUST campaign heavily for the nominee. Period.
Liz (Chicago, IL)
So, Biden highly praises Warren, adopts some of her agenda and announces a female running mate. This is looking promising!
Thomsd (PA)
Biden's pandering (I'll choose a black woman to sit on the Supreme Court, or I'll choose a woman VP candidate) is more of the same old insincerity that he and the Dem. machine want the public to buy in order to get himself noticed and to have his approval ratings increase. There's no there there. He'll probably win the nomination anyway (even though Elizabeth and Bernie would make far better Presidents) and go on to be another mediocre POTUS unless he chooses Anita Hill as a running mate...there you are Joe. Do something really meaningful like that that shows real contrition for that ugly chapter of your life. Then I may believe, even though I'll vote for you no matter what...
Harvey Green (Santa Fe, NM)
@Liz That's all it takes? Really?
Anne (CA)
Biden has already amassed a team. We can visible see who might join much of his cabinet. And collectively suggest our preferences meanwhile. Biden listens and his presumptive VP will also. Bernie is a force of ideas and has caring and sincere supporters but has no Executive Team. He is an Independent Party member. A lone wolf. Trump never had a team. Always in flux and many of his cabinet and directors eventually rebelled and quit, or were terminated, (You're fired), to an omg extent that I have never seen before in any other administration. The secretive Federalist Society picked all the Trump era judges. The Republican party held no debates or primaries this year. The Democrat debates produced a range of ideas and solutions that will come together. And a collective team vision. It's the team, stupid? The one thing we most need clarity and consistency on. A strong team supported by committed Democrats and right now our smartest Conservatives. ________ Make your own org chart while you 'isolate'. Make a list of everyone you want in the executive branch of either or all parties. Your next 3 Supreme court nominees. We are electing a team in Nov.
Norman (Dale)
In the now highly unlikely e ent that Bernie got the nomination—an ever slimmer possibility for which one certainly can’t hold Biden responsible!—highly talented truly progressive and innovative folks would come forth. No, that would not include Bloomberg but I bet Warren would be in and it’s not hard to choose which would be a more effective advocate for the less fortunate.
Lilly (New Hampshire)
The neoliberals like Biden have created the system where citizens are nothing but walking sources of money to extract at every phase of our lives for the American oligarchs. Even when we are dying of cancer. Does Canada have Canadian oligarchs, like they have in the corrupt, dictatorship Russia and the USA? No. You wouldn’t. Billionaires shouldn’t exist, as you all know.
Jane Doe (The Morgue)
I could only handle about 45 minutes of the debate, especially after Biden referred to the corona virus as SARS and Sanders made a comment that Bush enacted a policy after Obama - something to that effect. Even Biden, El Gaffer Primo, made a questioning head turn.
Matt (Seattle)
Joe Biden and Selina Meyer— / the hybrid dream team that will inspire / an alt-reality romp / to drain the D.C. swamp, / trumping Trump’s media muck and mire.
Norman (Dale)
Your summary of the context of Biden’s “give me a break” retort is misleading. The column said, “Mr. Biden laughed at one of Mr. Sanders’s rebukes and muttered “Give me a break” when the Vermont senator urged him to disavow a super PAC supporting his campaign.” In fact Biden said that when Bernie responded to the accusation that he (Bernie) had 9 SuperPACS. Bernie challenged Biden on that and Biden replied “Do you want me to list them?” Bernie responded,” Ya , you go ahead and list them.” It was at that point Biden said “C‘mon—give me a break.” Adroitly, Bernie shot back, “No I won’t give you a break on this one.” It should have been hard to misconstrue this, as your writer alas, did. It was a very revealing moment about Biden’s behaviour under pressure. Hasn’t America had long enough with a president who lies when the going gets rough?
Hope (SoCal, CA)
Once again, Old Man Biden has demonstrated how self-serving he is. He is going to cave into pressure and select a woman VP, as long as she won't challenge the status quo for Old Man Biden and his Wall Street pals. In other words, he wants a woman who will know her place and will keep her mouth shut. He wants a token woman. As usual, Old Man Biden has no concept of equality and what it means. The Dems have already lost the White House by backing this archaic, disingenuous old man. Now more than ever, America needs and deserves real leadership and change. Other countries have been testing for the virus since January, but our third world healthcare can't seem to get kits out months later and is being crippled by a virus. The current leadership is useless and has created more chaos and the future leadership of Biden looks just as dismal.
Lilly (New Hampshire)
The neoliberals like Biden have created the system where citizens are nothing but walking sources of money to extract at every phase of our lives for the American oligarchs. Does Canada have Canadian oligarchs, like they have in the corrupt, dictatorship Russia and the USA? No. You wouldn’t. Billionaires shouldn’t exist, as you all know.
Greg (Lyon, France)
Biden: People ask me why I aways enumerate my points. Number One That's the way my handlers think I can best remember things. Number Two I need to show that I can count better than Donald Trump. Number Three I voted for math in schools. Number Four errrr ...... Bernie ??
That's What She Said (The West)
They are both too old, it was like watching two old white grandpas arguing how to change the lightbulb while the plane plummets into the mountain. That said, I love Bernie, The Factory is going with Biden. God Help Us All--Please keep Warren up on deck..
Casey S (New York)
Things Joe lied about: 1) Bernie being funded by “nine” super PACs. Absolutely false. Bernie takes money from three Super PACs, among them the Sunrise Movement and a Nurses Union. Where did Joe get this totally made up number?!?!? 2) His past efforts to cut social security. Like Bernie said, hit the YouTube. He’s been bragging about it on camera for decades. Why didn’t the moderators press him on this?? Cuz they were too busy throwing him life preservers. 3) His support and/or architecting of the Bankruptcy bill, crime bill and Iraq War. I could go on, but for any discerning voter this should be more than enough. Do lies only matter when they come out Trumps mouth??
Elizabeth Q (Los Angeles)
Can we move ALL debates to a no-audience platform from now on, please? And while you're at it, make sure the debates are available to those without cable/CNN (let local stations broadcast them or at least make sure they can live stream them for free). While there was still some antagonism, it was so much better. It was easier to grasp what the candidates wanted to say without all the distraction. Also, seriously think about how this will hinder Trump at the debates. He feeds off of audiences and that surely played a part in him getting elected. Without them, he will implode
ElKay (NY)
Can't help but hope we're seeing the end of Donald Trump soon (not soon enough). Our country will be in such better hands with either of these candidates.
Truth (Brooklyn)
@ElKay unfortunately I do not see it playing out that way. Biden had a chance to extend the olive branch to Bernie supporters last night and completely blew it. Assuming Biden is the democratic nominee, and without the support of Bernie's base, he will lose to Trump in a landslide in the general election.
Greg (San Diego)
If young people don’t see the existential threat Trump poses, then they deserve a Supreme Court with 7 conservatives for the remaining time the earth remains inhabitable.
Jack Kinstlinger (Baltimore)
If Bernie fans fail to support candidate Biden they become as traitorous as Trump
Pat Choate (Tucson, Arizona)
Biden put to rest the GOP’s argument that he lacks the mental agility to debate Trump or be President. And he, unlike Trump, was Presidential in manner. Good enough for me.
Halboro (Earth)
@Pat Choate "Biden put to rest the GOP’s argument that he lacks the mental agility to debate Trump or be President" You cannot honestly believe that. Biden was more highly coached and armed with meaningless platitudes than W during his legendarily weak debate performances. No, Trump is not any sharper or more knowledgeable, but he is vicious, and he will devour Joe like the slower, more confused lamb to the slaughter that he is.
Kate (Columbus)
@Pat Choate How did he do that? I saw a slower, less coherent Biden (a man who wasn't a particularly good presidential candidate in his prime). The fact that this is the best candidate we could come up with is shameful. Let's not lie to ourselves. Is Biden better than Trump? Of course. But Trump and his merry band of cut throats will destroy him. I'm no Sanders supporter but I think he could have at least held his own against Trump's attacks.
Bac (Chicago)
I just dont know. His campaign floated cancelling the event so much. He never really does rallies or anything. Yesterday was a good day, but pretty clear to me that he was still forgetting things he said 15 seconds ago as well 15 years ago as on the senate floor (and then brazenly lying about it?!). I just dont know.
Greg (Lyon, France)
Biden was better than I expected, BUT it was disturbing to detect the old and tired ideology that the USA was going to control the world rather than be a leader of a co-operative world. This scary attitude showed up when Biden said that he as President would use US economic power to "punish" other countries not doing their part on fighting climate change. I would much rather of heard that he would work with other world leaders to establish strong economic incentives to bring ALL countries and corporations into line.
Cali Sol (Brunswick, Maine)
@Greg Biden is mired in the last century and in his mind the cold war is still going on and America is the strongest nation in the world. The echo chamber for this thinking is now filled with holes to view and hear the new voices from Asia. Has Biden ever been to China and met with their leadership to negotiate anything?
Liba (Madison, WI)
@Greg Great point, Greg. I felt exactly the same. Sanders, who is often accused of lacking a collaborative spirit, stated his willingness to work with other countries quite clearly while Biden advocated the "our way or we punish you" approach. We have enough of that going on as is. Our new president needs to rely on diplomacy not threats.
Jack Toner (Oakland, CA)
@Greg Is the glass half empty or half full? I heard Biden say he was eager to work with other countries, that he had lots of experience doing that and he really wanted to repair our relationships with our allies. And that he was prepared to use a stick if the carrot didn't get the job done. Did Obama ever pressure any of our allies? I'd bet the farm that he did. But he did it quietly because he was trying to get them on board with something important, not trying to score cheap political points. There isn't one single approach that's always the best one. Sometimes the carrot, sometimes the whip, with the carrot always being the preferred approach. But if it doesn't work...
Steve Siegel (Wilmington, DE)
Biden's snappy line about single-payer healthcare not looking so good in Italy just makes no sense. Which expert or scientist believes that their single-payer system has contributed to the problem? In all likelihood, they would be even worse off if they had a system like ours. According to the reporting in this paper, Italy has 3.2 hospital beds per 1000 people; the U.S. has 2.8. ( It remains to be seen which country fares better. Biden says this is not the time for pie-in-the-sky talk about Medicare-for-all; instead we need laws to address the crisis that will ensure everyone gets tested and treated at no cost. But his argument reveals the flaw: in the middle of a crisis, we are dependent on the good will and efficiency of Congress (!) and whoever happens to be President (!!) just to get the most basic components of a solution in place. We'll see how that works out. If we had a single-payer system, these provisions would already be in effect as a matter of course.
Curran (madison, Wis)
First of all, Biden isn't saying it's contributing to the problem, he's saying it's not solving it on its own. Secondly, if Medicare for all could've solved this issue, it doesn't matter now, because we don't have it. Biden is right, we need immediate government action, not pushing for a radical and controversial restructuring of our entire medical system during a crisis. Wait until the crisis is over, than you can make the case for implementing Medicare for All.
Virologist J (Albany, NY)
@Curran While it wasn't Biden who said it, Rahm Emmanuel, Obama's chief of staff, said "You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."
Doug Drake (Colorado)
@Curran It's always "wait wait wait". Politicians think in terms of election cycles (2 years for representatives and 4 for presidents) and corporations think in terms of quarterly reports. These pandemics and global crises will keep coming and they will keep exposing the flaws and weaknesses in systems in the USA and around the world. We need to address this current crisis while simultaneously planning for the future crises. Where are the long range thinkers and planners and why can't we as a society makes the necessary sacrifices to make changes now and in the future to a system that nearly no one believes is working?? A lot of those changes hinge on public health and these Band-Aid approaches only do so much. We need real change and status quo politics is not real change.
Wills (Michigan)
Sanders has the intellect and the direct way of communication that is needed. I cannot take Biden’s rambling any longer. Someone please tell him to stop numbering his comments like we’re in eight grade. He does not inspire me.
MM (The South)
@Wills Sanders just repeated the same talking points over and over again no matter what the question was. He barely answered half the questions he was asked and relentlessly pivoted back to income inequality and Medicare for All. He offered almost no new insights into our current situation. Biden answered the questions he was asked, was specific with details, and made clear that he understood and had experience with the executive functions required to handle current crisis. Why do you need to be "inspired" by a candidate? This isn't American Idol. This is the search for an effective executive.
N8t (Out Wes)
@Wills Should Sanders win the nomination we'll get four more years of trump. And if not, we'll get four more years of incompotence.
DataDrivenFP (California)
@Wills In two months, the US economy will be in free-fall. Voters will want a leader promising dramatic change. In 2016, faced with a choice between competent management and dramatic change, voter chose change even though most knew it would be chaotic. Obama won because he promised change. Clinton's main campaign point was, "I'm not Trump, and I represent stability." That's what Biden is saying now. It works for some Democrats, but not for Independents who haven't bought the DNC kool-aid. And Dems seem to think saying, "The ACA kept health care from getting too much worse," is a great argument. If we give voters the same choice this year, I'm terribly afraid voters will choose the candidate who's proven he can shake things up and make change over a candidate who says, "Nothing will fundamentally change." I hope I'm wrong if Biden gets the nod. But Democrats don't seem to hear the anger at the status quo.
Stu (Palm Beach, Florida)
Joe Biden and Bernie on Stopping Virus Both Joe and Bernie agreed last night on the need to fight the current pandemic by, in part, making tests and health care for te virus patients free. They both seemed to feel their version of health insurance was better able to address the immediate needs raised by this worldwide epidemic. They addressed only part of the problem. Under the Obama/Biden administration, the National Security Council added a Directorate tasked with preparing the country for the NEXT epidemic that while we didn't at that time know when, Obama felt it would come. Corona is here and the directorate was disbanded under Trump. The mission of the SSC Directorate for Global Health and Security and Bio-defense was to prepare plans for emergencies that could be predicted and procedures to adapt those plans to unpredictable Health Emergencies that could not, then, be predicted. Corona was impossible to exactly predict, but experts "knew" that eventually this type of emergency would arise. In addition to developing plans that were to be stockpiled for the emergency, the Directorate was charged with stockpiling initial response items, such as hand sanitizers, that they knew would be needed, just didn't know when.
Zoned (NC)
I thought the two candidates often did a good job on stating their positions on several matters. I did not like the gotchas about the past. It wasted time that could have been used to explore their present day handling of issues. I would have liked more detailed information on how and the issues about which Sanders and Biden planned to pull together and work with other countries in today's globalized world. I would have wanted more information about not only where the money for their plans would come from, but how they planned to get their plans through a Congress that may not be cooperative. The commentators afterward, who gave their opinions on the successes and failures by each candidate, what they read into the candidates' remarks and their ideas on what the candidates should have done, were the biggest disappointment of this debate. If they consider themselves journalists, they should be reporting, not opining.
Stu (Palm Beach, Florida)
I had hoped Biden would tell the world of the efforts to re-establish a National Security Council Directorate to prepare for the next emergency and fund that group to determine those emergency supplies that were likely to be needed and stockpile them and the emergency manufacturing capability to create those supplies at the high level required plus the capability to manufacture the pharmaceutical supplies needed for an emergency that are are only currently manufactured abroad.
Greg (Lyon, France)
Did the audience notice that whereas Sanders vociferously confirmed that he would ban the practice of "fracking" for natural gas altogether, Biden mumbled that he would ban "new fracking". This was a great example of the difference between the two.
Lilly (New Hampshire)
One is trying to save our lives, one does what the obscenely rich who isn’t him tell him to say. Guess which is which. Sanders is my president.
Ben Ross (Western, MA)
The first half of the debate was fabulous. Biden picked apart Trumps handling of the pandemic and put forth superlative strategies to deal with matters both scientific and economic. This indeed, I thought, was why I have stuck with the Democrats, despite being appalled as I have been by many of their positions. When he hit the second hour and stated he would definitely pick a woman for VP, that was when I went back to thinking I might have to lean on my sword and go with Trump. What has driven the country to despair, and fueled Trumps ascendancy was one thing 'identity politics'. It would make no difference to me whether he chose a black, a woman, an Asian so long as it was on the merits. Can you imagine if everyone thought the same about the candidate for president - its a woman's turn' then we'd be running with Warren or Clinton. I like Biden because of his ideas. He caved on this one to the quota driven system which has made it almost impossible for a young white straight male to run for president in the democratic party. And that is an awesome loss of talent. By ruling out merit as the primary basis for selection he dooms the party. So do I fall to coronavirus and all the horrors of trump, or to the long term harm of a rigidified dem party, straight jacketed by quotas.
czarnajama (Warsaw)
@Ben Ross Although I agree with you about identity politics in general, in this case it's not really a problem since a woman would very likely be the VP pick anyway as the best candidate. Biden is cleverly taking advantage of the situation to attract womens' votes, which were an important factor in the 2018 elections. So, don't assume this was just an "identity politics" choice. No need to rush to Trump.
CONSTANCE Quirk (Burlingame California)
Bad politicians are elected by good people who don’t vote.
MStuart (MA)
Great job guys. Let’s get behind Joe and get the rest of the job done - end the Dangerous Buffoon’s tenure, clean house in the Senate and get this marvelous country moving again!
John Fitzsimons (New York City)
Biden should go further than to just say he would choose a woman as his V.P. . Picking up on the idea suggested by Tom Freedman in one of his earlier columns, he should name the woman V.P., as well as name all of the people he would invite to serve in his cabinet. Let the voters know all who would serve in the key positions in the administration. As Freedman suggested it would result in an overwhelming victory for Biden. Who knows, with such a "public billboard," he may flip the Senate and increase the Democratic majority in the House. Such transparency would surely be welcomed by all voters. A balanced cabinet with an even mix of progressives and moderates would surely merge the two lanes of the party.
LonghornSF (Berkeley, CA)
@John Fitzsimons Judging by his answer last night, he already knows who he is going to pick for VP. I bet there will be an announcement soon.
Harvey Green (Santa Fe, NM)
@John Fitzsimons Friedman's op-ed was not all that swift. There were some non-sequiturs and strange suggestions for a cabinet. There was no mention of the Interior or EPA. And a "team of rivals" (a term borrowed from Doris K. Goodwin's book on Lincoln's cabinet) doesn't actually work all that well. Lincoln was assassinated before he could implement reconstruction and renewal. Rivals continue to fight with one another and the boss; it's different than a group with strong opinions on how to get a common agenda implemented.
Deborah Merrill (Bend, OR)
So disappointed in these two. Confirmed my misgivings about narrowing the field to two old white men living in the past. There they were, bickering like two year olds, when there was so much more to talk about. Trump was the clear winner in this debate. The only bright spot was Biden’s declaration that he would add a woman to the ticket. Otherwise a bust, and a lost opportunity to discuss the platform going forward and where Biden could advance the progressive cause in ways that would make it clear that he has been listening to the large constituency that Bernie represents. That, and a chance to bring a divided nation together to protect our vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 epidemic and to slow the spread of the disease #flattenthecurve so our healthcare workers on the front lines and our vital supply chains aren’t overwhelmed.
Jerry Engelbach (Mexico)
@Deborah, I’m interested in your explanation for why you think Sanders’ proposals are “living in the past.” I don’t see the need for them having either gone away or been implemented.
Hope (New England)
My interest was piqued when Biden said he would choose a woman as a running mate. I love Senator Harris,Senator Klobuchar, Representative Val Demmings and many more women that have been suggested and I hope they all have a place in Biden's administration. However, who would be better to be in a position of power than the person that helped pull us out of the 2008 recession, Senator Warren? It makes sense for her to be the VP. She has the knowledge and experience to help guide us out of this economic crisis. Also, her expansive healthcare plan is particularly relevent now. Also, it would be a nice olive branch Biden could extend to the liberal Democrats.
Bj (Washington,dc)
@Hope Reality dictates that he should choose a younger woman than Warren, who could then run in her own right in 4 or 8 years. We need to think long term. Warren should get an important cabinet post - if she wants it.
An informed reader (NYC)
Biden made a notable effort to unify the Democratic party during last night's debate, when he cited his support for Warren's policies, including bankruptcy reform, revealing the contents of his post primary meeting with Elizabeth Warren. Why did Sanders keep attacking him? If his motivation for staying in the race is to move the Democratic platform to the left, he should not let his ego stand in the way, simply because Warren was given credit for the progressive platform.
Jerry Engelbach (Mexico)
@Informed, When Sanders was promoting a progressive agenda in 2016, Warren was endorsing the moderate agenda of Clinton, Sanders has always been way ahead of the curve.
Cee (NYC)
In another example of manufactured consent, I found it fascinating that when Bernie was pressing the case about Biden's previous waffling on social security, Dana Perrino elected to chime in challenging Bernie on whether his statement about "we are going to have to look at making adjustments to Social Security" was equivalent to Biden's statement "on 4 occasions I've brought to the floor of the Senate the need to reduce entitlements, including social security and medicare". Suddenly, Biden is in the candidate protection program and needs shielding from Dana Perrino. SMH.
Seb (New York)
@Cee I think it's more rational to consider: Biden has repeatedly explained that he would not leave Social Security off the table for deficit cuts, while in a debate with Paul Ryan... He has never voted to cut SS. He hasn't supported them, while also saying that he wouldn't vote against it if needed. Bernie keeps twisting this up... It's pretty uncomplicated. It's also useless political hot air, as Bernie has continuously played off of throughout his campaign.
Thunder Road (Oakland)
The number one question looming over this debate was: Is Biden losing it, cognitively? His performance provided a reassuring answer: He's fine. He held up very well over the course of two intense hours. He was generally clear, coherent, specific, and presidential. Beyond that, this was by far the best debate. Both candidates did well in slugging it out in a respectful manner. The moderators did a good job as well, by asking sensible and important questions, giving Bernie and Biden time to get into some exchanges while also moving on when appropriate. And the no-audience format was fantastic!
Alan J. Shaw (Bayside, NY)
It's so tiring to hear Sanders talk about "taking on" corporate greed the pharmaceutical industry, and the "Establishment" without ever explaining how he intends to do that. The president can do little in this regard without legislation, and he has no plan or ability tto realize his goals without supporting Democrats in the Senate elections. We heard a great deal about the votes he has taken against most Congressiona bills to address these issues because they represent incremental changes and inevitable compromises that he will not accept. Increasingly, he seems intellectually limited.
Lost (in the USA)
We must have been watching completely different debates. Sanders wiped the floor with Biden. Biden will maintain the same status quo of winners and losers in this country as we descend into a society that has had our life spans DECREASE for three years running. The lack of a universal healthcare system will expose the (large) cracks in our society and our obliterated safety net in the coming months. Biden has nothing to offer this country and he has already been coronated by the corporate media as the nominee. Poll after poll shows that Sanders has a better chance at defeating Trump and he is a far better candidate for a very scary uncertain future than Biden.
Marian (Maryland)
I watched the debate and it was a good one. It seemed to me that Biden is now parroting Bernie which means that Bernie is winning the conversation and pushing Biden leftward on things like free college and health care. However Biden did vote for the Iraq War and the Hyde amendment ..... NOT GOOD. Biden did not tell the truth about his stance on Social Security and Medicare he wanted to cut those programs and that is a fact. By the way there are still 27 more primary States to go so the idea that we should shut this down is absurd. This is Democracy folks it is contentious and messy but at the end we get the best candidate possible. This IS the example we are supposed to be setting for would be Democracies around the world. Tomorrow there are several Primaries. Looking forward as an American to continuing this process and conversation.
Bj (Washington,dc)
@Marian The reality is that a Biden Administration would not cut social security or medicare/medicaid but a Trump Administration surely will should they be in the White House another 4 years.
Zoned (NC)
@Marian People change their stances as Biden did on gay marriage. Governing requires compromise. Often there are add-ons that may not be tour liking, but getting the major part of the bill through is more important. With Sanders, it's my way or the highway and that impedes progress because nothing gets done. We have to work in the system as it is and then move it forward to make changes. THat's how things will get done.
Seb (New York)
@Zoned Interestingly, Bernie also changed his stance on gay marriage. He was uncomfortable with it back in the day
carl bumba (mo-ozarks)
Great debate without the device of a studio audience that drives conformity. It was much easier this time to evaluate the two candidates independently. But afterwards, the CNN broadcast was just ridiculous. If I supported Joe Biden, I would be embarrassed to have that much "propping" by the hosting media platform. It seems to me that any self-respecting free thinker must recognize that the the media is artificially supporting one candidate at the expense of the other here. This debate was clearly a reasonable and balanced discussion of ideas and records. But when there are three or four pundits (out of four) and a moderator who clearly support one the two candidates - and then ANOTHER panel with similar numbers... it's getting pretty obscene, in terms of objectivity. So many one-sided interpretations and views masquerading as analysis. Some people seem to be OK with being brain-washed if it comes from 'their own side'. That's the trick of good propaganda; get the people to choose a side early on and they can be led anywhere, willingly.
rm (mn)
Thinking its time for the internecine warfare to stop.
Anne (CA)
There are no Republican primary debates. Ponder that.
Mor (California)
The remaining Bernie bros present their candidate as the choice of the People. But the actual people have spoken. Voters in the primaries have overwhelmingly voted for Biden. So who are those mythical People supporting Bernie? I guess those are the ideologically pure ones who dismiss the rest of us as stooges of the corporations. If we don’t toe the ideological line, our opinions don’t count. So much for the “democratic” part in “democratic socialism”!
Jerry Engelbach (Mexico)
@Mor, You’re forgetting that many people voted for Sanders. They were hardly “mythological.” You also forget that numbers in themselves are no indication of quality. I wish more voters were smart enough to not have picked Trump, and the same goes for Biden. Trump voters ignored his fatal flaws, and Biden voters ignored his.
Cynthia Stewart (Topeka, Kansas)
Let's end—right now—the unfounded, “Bernie never accomplished anything” personal assaults. There's so much to list. But let's quote from a recent of his candidacy—in the New York Times! “As a senator, he worked to move whatever legislation was in front of him to the left: expanding Social Security benefits, restricting loopholes for pharmaceutical companies, demanding that the bank-reform bill include an audit of the Federal Reserve. But he also voted reliably with the Democratic caucus. He worked successfully with some Republicans, including John McCain, on a 2014 bill to improve medical access for military veterans. In 2018, he worked with Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, on a war-powers resolution seeking to end America’s role in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen (which Trump subsequently vetoed)... And he could be diplomatic in his pursuit of his big-picture ambitions. When Reid asked for his support for the Affordable Care Act in late 2009, Sanders agreed in exchange for two concessions: a $10 billion addition in the bill for community health centers and a floor vote on Sanders’s preferred health care measure, a single-payer system. Reid agreed to both.” Read
Jerry Engelbach (Mexico)
@Cynthia, Thank you! Lies from the right about Sanders one can expect. But lies from the so-called left about him are unconscionable. This is especially true now, when one has only to compare Sanders’ record of fighting for the left against Biden’s record of selling out to the right.
J (The Great Flyover)
The issue is neither Biden nor Sanders, not the Gulf Stream, stock market, free college, Covid, or anything else...the issue is Trump! First, second, and’s Trump! All the rest can wait until we have a country again!
Lilly (New Hampshire)
There is no time for them rest’. We are in the middle of a mass extinction event. And we tried do nothing ‘moderation’ last time, remember? Can we please learn from our mistakes?
RR (Durham, NC)
Both candidates propose solar and wind and total abolition of carbon-based fuel (oil, coal, gas). Considering the limitations of solar and wind power generation (intermittent availability, lack of viable storage) and the proposed total substitution of current carbon-based vehicles and other machinery, which will demand an exponential increase of electricity demand, the question that was not asked by the panel is the position of the candidates about fission nuclear power generation -- the only "clean" viable option at this time until and if fusion works out. Lots of promises from both Sanders and Biden without substance.
Ra (Wa)
I love Bernie’s values and agree with his vision for America. But the debate laid bare my doubts about his ability to actually implement it. -How will Bernie galvanize votes in the senate when he has always been a loner, no-voter, seemingly without close friends and allies among his peers? -How will we pay for Medicare for all, free college, student debt relief, and a climate change package all at once? Why doesn’t Bernie talk about implementing programs in stages or prioritizing one measure first? Where are the realistic goals and benchmarks? -How are we going to reorganize our health care system in the midst of a pandemic? I would like to see Joe Biden, who has the relationships and the know-how to make ideas a reality, take up some of Bernie’s marvelous vision and make it his own.
April (SA, TX)
@Ra I think a lot of this is perception rather than reality. Sanders is known for negotiating amendments in the Senate, showing he can make deals. M4A phases in over 4 years. And how we'll pay for it? We are already paying *more* than the cost of M4A for health care.
Lilly (New Hampshire)
I pay $25,000/year to insurance for nothing covered but one fifteen minute consult, once a year. Please tax me even $5,000 a year for actual healthcare, please! Sanders plan is less than that by half even.
Jerry Engelbach (Mexico)
@Ra, With Biden’s kind of friends (Strom Thurmond — really?), who needs enemies? You’re talking about the Old Boys’ Network, whose primary interest is in their own pllitical fortunes. Sanders has worked with all sorts of people, in and out of government.
Birdygirl (CA)
Watching the debate, my impressions did not change; in fact, they solidified. Bernie has some good ideas, but Biden came off as more presidential and answered the questions (for the most part), while Sanders harped on his pet agendas. Neither were perfect, but for my money, I'm with Biden.
carl bumba (mo-ozarks)
@Birdygirl For the rest of us with less money to look after, Bernie is probably the wiser choice.
DM (Boston)
Sanders exposes structural flaws in US healthcare without proposing any pragmatic political way forward. 1, Massive top-down design is a political dead-end barring massive popular demand from voters in both parties. 2, Any such program will have a large number of problems that can only be fixed with buy-in for a decade at minimum. Biden is more conservative, and more of a pragmatist. I am happy with that. I also see Biden as a far superior choice to lead in the world, and, if the coronavirus hasn't this made crystal clear yet, we live in a connected world and what happens outside the US matters to what happens inside. I am happier with Biden on that, too. Reality check, the next president will have to deal with a health crisis, an economic crisis, and a government denuded of experts in many verticals and across many levels. We're at 2012 or worse with a collapsed federal government too.
David Godinez (Kansas City, MO)
I think it's a mistake politically for a candidate to specify at this point what gender or any other characteristics will be required for a running mate. I understand that the Vice President did put in some qualifications which would probably allow him to back out of his commitment if he had to, but that would cause an uproar that he wouldn't need. Politicians should never make a vow like that if they don't have to, and having been in the business for so long, Vice President Biden should know that.
Bj (Washington,dc)
@David Godinez I am thinking that Biden already has focused in on a few female prospects for a running mate. So probably not making a promise he will regret later on.
LonghornSF (Berkeley, CA)
First - this debate was far superior to any of the other dozen debates, with real policy discussion, serious questions instead of "gotchas" or show of hand type gimmicks from the moderators, and a lack of pandering to the audience. Why not do it this way every time? To me, the debate showed two stark choices: 1) an ideologue that has interesting ideas but no track record of getting anything done despite his decades of tenure 2) an experienced voice who has actual accomplishments and led us through a similar crisis in 2008-2009. The country tried the chaos candidate in 2016 and look where it got us. Biden has my vote in the primary and general.
Jerry Engelbach (Mexico)
@Longhorn, It’s a complete falsehoid that Sanders has not accomplished anything. Meanwhile, Biden’s accomplishments have mostly benefited the right. All the information is out there. One only has to look it up.
The best moment was when both men emphasized the need to defeat Trump. That goal needs to resonate with each of their supporters, come what may in the weeks ahead.
Scott (California)
Bernie is a bomb-thrower with a litany of derogatory accusations to Biden and anyone else. Meanwhile, Joe listed his accomplishments and leadership. Bernie is not forthright about whether he voted on, or was sponsoring a bill about the subject being discussed. It’s all an attempt to up his leadership profile, when in reality he has done very little in sponsoring bills that have been passed and become law.
Nolan (Portland, OR)
@Scott Biden lied multiple times when Bernie pushed him on his record. You really want to replace one liar with another?
Jerry Engelbach (Mexico)
@Scott, Sponsoring a bill is no more important than amending it. Sanders is “The Amendment King.” Very few in Congress have put forth bills that didn’t need amending.
Charles (New York)
At least it wasn't the Waldorf and Statler show. I think Mr. Biden helped spare us from that. It can't be denied, however, the topics were more serious and relevant than ever.
ann (Seattle)
Farmers used to legally bring in laborers from Mexico in the Bracero program. When the farm work was done for the season, the workers would return to their families in Mexico. This meant their families could remain in their own communities, speaking their own language. And, due to the exchange rate, the farm workers’ wages bought more in Mexico than they would have here. This saved American taxpayers from having to supplement the farmworkers’ low wages through various welfare programs, and from having to educate their many children. When the bracero program ended, the farmworkers crossed the border illegally and farmers continued to hire them. But, now that these activities were illegal, many farm workers grew afraid of crossing the border repeatedly. They decided to move their families here. In 1986, President Reagan signed a compromise bill that would offer the nearly 3 million undocumented a path to citizenship in exchange for ending illegal immigration. Rather than end illegal immigration, the amnesty inspired more people to move here without permission. The PEW Trust estimates that 11 million were living here, without permission, in 2016. Professors at Yale and MIT say the number, in 2016, was more than twice that. (And today, only a low percentage of the undocumented work on farms.) Biden and Sanders are trying to outdo each other on what each will offer to the undocumented. This is encouraging yet more people to move here without papers.
Bj (Washington,dc)
@ann this is not our biggest national problem at present. And will not be for some time now that we are likely headed into a recession. Remember how immigration levels sank during the last recession?
Jerry Engelbach (Mexico)
@ann, Alarmists have been threatening that for decades. Yet during all that time the population of undocumented immigrants has remained stable at a net of about 11 million.
ann (Seattle)
@Jerry Engelbach You could read about the Yale MIT study in numerous national publications, but a 10/9/18 article in the Yale Daily News explains it well. "SOM study estimates higher undocumented immigration numbers” says: Researchers at the Yale School of Management have estimated the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States to be nearly twice as large as the number widely accepted and extrapolated from the Census Bureau’s annual American Community Survey. The study, conducted by Yale professors Jonathan Feinstein and Edward Kaplan as well as MIT lecturer Mohammad Fazel-Zarandi, used demographic modeling data to produce a range of 16.2 million to 29.5 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S., with an average estimate of 22.1 million. The study was published on Sept. 21 in the journal PLOS One. The researchers began by producing a “conservative estimate,” meaning they deliberately tried to make their estimate as small as possible, Kaplan explained. The researchers did this by plugging into their data the lowest possible rate of undocumented immigrants entering the country and the highest possible rate exiting. This produced an estimate of 16.7 million — still nearly 50 percent higher than the previous figure of 11.3 million. This type of mathematical modeling has actually been used for years, Fazel-Zarandi said, to study numbers of drug users, tax evaders, homeless people and other groups that wouldn’t necessarily want to respond to surveys
Marc (Colorado)
Anyone but the incumbent. His denials will cost this country so much because of his arrogance and lack of support for science and facts. No more debates, please. Let's vote and unify around our choice.
Edwin (NY)
Biden seized on the first question posed to him, on the Corona virus, to recite a cheap, obviously well rehearsed line attacking Medicare for all. Coming on the heels of his asserting earlier in the week he would veto such a measure as president. These resolutely disdainful and gratuitous dismissals of his popular opponent's main issue ought to give us all pause. Certainly Sanders supporters in the fall.
Bj (Washington,dc)
@Edwin Sanders supporters have a choice in November, 4 more years of Trump or 4 years of Biden. It won't be Bernie as things appear now. So more Trump and his Supreme Court and Federal court appointees who will overturn any liberal or progressive legislation passed in this country for the next generation or more?
JT - John Tucker (Ridgway, CO)
Bernie should get out of the race and not give aid to Trump & McConnell in what is now a vanity tour. He is taking money for a lost campaign that might otherwise support Dems in senate and House races. All Dems know health care is broken, the poor & middle class abandoned, the environment in dire need and that the Republic is at risk. It is not necessary for Sanders to stay in the race to enlighten us. Please assume the people who do not support Sanders are not stupid. His continued presence is not necessary to make us aware that he believes we should have medicare for all. We heard. We may not believe proclaiming so or citing the immediate need to address other issues is actually a strategy to pass legislation in a senate that will include Republicans. Can we hold off on the policy debates and focus on doing everything to defeat Trump? Sanders is not helping.
Jerry Engelbach (Mexico)
@JT, If you know it why aren’t you voting for him? You sound like you’re voting because of the way other people are voting rather than on who can best fight for the issues.
Alice bradie (Colorado)
Am I the only one who found Sanders to be an interrupting, curmudgeonly Johnny 1-note? He has not given, or at least did not give, any details on steps he’d take to corral and limit the damage from the coronavirus. His underlying principles have been fixed for at least 50 of his 78 years — and some of them — like his description of democratic socialism in Denmark, are dead wrong. But that doesn’t stop Bernie. He mentioned addressing broad strokes he’d begin to employ on “day one”, which would make that day last about 3 years. He is belligerent, loud, aggressive, unsubtle. And I am amazed at how restrained Biden was! At least he could have pointed out how little Sanders accomplished in his 30 years on the public dollar. Or that saying no without a prayer of a chance of implementing any of his ideology just meant he has been staggeringly irrelevant. Naturally Sanders would want this Tuesday’s primaries postponed — they ought not be. If Sanders was half the statesman he claims, he’d concede the nomination to Biden and begin migrating his followers to the Democratic ticket today.
Dennis (Oregon)
Two questions emerged from the debate last night that might not be answered for a long time. First, Biden declared he would pick a woman to be his running mate on the ticket. Will that be Kamala Harris, Stacy Abrams, Amy Klobuchar, (all previously discussed,) or would it be someone else? I hope it will be Black Congresswoman Val Demings from Florida, who was a star performer on the House Impeachment Trial team and the former Orlando Police Chief. She could, at least, force Republicans to defend Florida this fall, because if Democrats added Florida to their column, it's pretty much lights out for Trump. Shifting resources to Florida makes it easier for Democrats to win elsewhere. Also, Demings' can prosecute the 19 Republican Senators up for re-election this year for their acquttal of Trump without calling a single witness. Deflating the Republican majority in the Senate puts McConnell on the sidelines and guarantees Biden passage of the House bills blocked by McConnell as well as new legislation. This is imperative this time. Perhaps the best qualification for VP Demings brings is her unparalleled experience in crisis management as a police chief and police woman for 27 years. Biden said he would also appoint a black woman to the Supreme Court. That he would choose anyone before Barak Obama (assuming Obama, who taught Constitutional Law, would want it) is somewhat of a surprise. Kamala Harris would be ideal as AG. Does he have her or someone else in mind?
Attorney Johnson (Berlin, WI)
@Dennis I like the idea of Demings too.
j. g. (grand marais mn)
538 predicting 98% chance Biden will receive enough delegates to earn nomination. Bernie could prevent millions of unnecessary interactions in the middle of a pandemic by withdrawing and supporting Biden. Where is his patriotism?...where is his humanity?...where is his honor?
Viv (.)
@j. g. If Biden cannot handle the kid glove treatment Sanders gave him, then he will be unable to beat Trump. From the beginning his team carefully minimized his appearances and rallies so that voters would not get a look at Biden's failings. Where is Biden's honor and patriotism? He has no platform and keeps yelling that he's electable because he stood by Obama for 8 years while the Republicans ran him over with a steamroller. That's not a recipe to beat Trump. That's just a recipe for the Resistance crowd to feel good about themselves for a while.
Nolan (Portland, OR)
@j. g. 538 predicted a 98% chance Hillary would win in 2016....
j. g. (grand marais mn)
@Viv Biden keeps yelling? LOL
Lynn in DC (Here, there, everywhere)
Meh. We now have two, make that three, ancient men in the presidential race. I am not moved by the vow to pick a woman for VP. If the nation wanted a woman on the ticket, one or more would still be in the race as a serious candidate (which Tulsi Gabbard is not). Obama ran on his own merits and attracted votes on his own to become president. He didn’t get where he did because someone vowed to put “a black” on the ticket. I am surprised that women find this pandering acceptable. We hear so often that affirmative action is bad and only merits the unqualified.
Deborah Merrill (Bend, OR)
It’s not that I find it acceptable, but that it is long overdue and that there are several very qualified candidates. Speaking for myself, I would have welcomed voting for one of the qualified women, but they are no longer in the race, and I may have likely gone in the other direction as a majority of democratic voters did, in picking the “safe” candidate who would appeal to independents and moderate Republicans, because of the experience in 2016 (HRC was not well-liked, but she was competent and less corrupt). So I don’t see it as pandering, but as acknowledging that a woman is capable of leading the country (Sara Palin excepted).
Jim Yulman (Philadelphia)
The vehement tilt in these comments in favor of Sanders suggests that Biden fans may not have even cared much about this debate. Perception obviously depended on who you supported going in. I'm good with Biden, mostly as a pragmatic choice. Sanders' goals are pretty noble, and quite unreachable. On health care, they're both right. Biden (Obama) actually got health care legislation enacted that, for a time, ensured universal coverage - albeit as a hodgepodge of regulations, subsidies and mandates. Going back to Truman, Democrats have been advocating national healthcare - and Obamacare (along with LBJ's Medicare) was the first concrete success. Sanders is right about the structural failures of our healthcare system - leaving anyone uninsured is unconscionable. Part of the cost difference between the US and other developed nations is that emergency rooms are the primary medical providers for millions of people. Whether though taxes or rising premiums for the insured, we're all paying for it anyway. Biden wants to put the Feds in the insurance business as an alternative to private insurance. Unless there's an effective mandate, many people who don't qualify for Medicaid will just try to save the money - and will be in dire straits when they need to access the medical system. The GOP has fought the mandate as an unconstitutional exercise of government power. Their clamor over Medicare for all will be 1,000 times nastier - but worse, will be tied up in courts for decades.
AW (California)
I only watched highlights, but those felt like I was just watching two elderly uncles arguing across the Thanksgiving table. Ugh.
Mike Waters (Brighton, MI)
Bernie is right. We have a patchwork of insurance coverage that even professional insurance people can't explain. The coverages are different in each locale and type of policy. A single standard and coverage is the way to go. The rich can still buy more if they want to. Having the government dictate fees and prices is much better than all the greed.
Suzanne (Denver)
Joe ate Bernie's lunch. Joe had command of specifics about dealing with the corona virus problem. Joe talked about bringing out the military to set up emergency hospitals, for example, demonstrating that he'd be a strong and effective leader. Bernie mostly talked in generalities about how we have to realize there is economic inequality in America. It wasn't clear how that will help, especially right now. Most significantly, Bernie did not give any detail about how he'd get his revolution through congress. There are many democrats who are not on board. And Joe demonstrated nuanced emotions, including believable empathy, where Bernie remained the same cranky uncle. Bernie supporters, you can help your country by thinking about how to get Joe to help you put progressive ideas into effect. Unless the Russians intervene, and you stay home on election day, he'll be our next president.
Deborah (Lebanon, PA)
@Suzanne Wow, and here I am preparing myself for another 4 years of Trump. I'm a 69-year-old Bernie supporter, not a "Bernie Bro" and, before last night, I was planning to bite the bullet to vote for Biden should he win the nomination. But, c'mon...he lied through his teeth over and over in last night's debate. Why kick one liar out of office to replace him with another? It would have been one thing if Biden had been truthful about his record and then explained how he had changed his mind. But to outright lie? I don't know what I'm going to do but, then again, I don't really think it will matter. The Republicans have so much ammunition to aim at Joe...most, if not all, of the policy stances he lied about are well-documented on YouTube and will make wonderful ad material...that Pennsylvania is all but a lost cause. Wake up Democratic establishment and stop treating us as if we don't have a brain or a place to put one. Why run the exact same game plan that lost us the White House in 2016? I, along with many, many others, will take an honest curmudgeon over a slick politician any day.
Bj (Washington,dc)
@Deborah If you do not vote for Biden that is tantamount to a vote for Trump. And that means more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court and lower Federal courts, such that any liberal or progressive legislation passed willl be overturned for a generation or more. Please look at the long-range implication of allowing Trump 4 more years.
Jerry Engelbach (Mexico)
@Bj, I don’t think scolding Deborah on a New York Times comment thread is going to win over millions of voters to Biden. He’s a flawed candidate who will fail to mobilize the independents whose support is crucial. Sanders has them. Clinton didn’t. I hope I’m wrong about the outcome. But just as in 2016, regardless of how Democrats vote in the primaries, Sanders is the better candidate.
Jim Meighan (PA)
It’s time to end the Democratic debates. How much more do we need to hear their differences? The two candidates “chirping” at one another does not help the party. If any of the networks want some time with the candidates a Town Hall meeting or two would suffice.
KK13 (Orlando, FL)
At this point and juncture of global urgency for human survival, I don't care which Democratic nominee gets the final nomination. I will vote for a Dem, because we need to take out the current one. What I do realize is there's no single formula for healthcare. US needs a huge jolt and completely reshape its civilian healthcare and make it affordable. That being said, looking at European nations like Italy, France, Spain etc. it seems even with 20-25% of the US populace, their healthcare system is facing a heavy toll and a test to survive! So for me it's clear, have the healthcare revamped, but think about how we'd address the 3rd highest population in the world. It has to be somewhere in between - and that Mr. Biden or Mr. Sanders has to figure out by re-examining their plans. If anything this virus taught us, it is how to combat emergency effectively in timely fashion. And no matter how many missiles, nuclear warheads, stocks, Fortune 500 companies, oil and gas, metals, tech companies, pharma companies we own, we need more money in research and education to fight back diseases, emergencies and contagion.
Jerry Engelbach (Mexico)
@KK13, I don’t know what you mean by “in between.” The US healthcare system is totally inadequate. The systems in Europe have done a far better job of testing and treating, and everyone is eligible, no one goes bankrupt.
Greg (Lyon, France)
Before the last Super Tuesday Biden was falling back in the pack and out of momentum. The Bloomberg team built and pre-loaded a Biden bandwagon which picked up Biden and took him to the front of the pack. An organized group of media pundits helped push the Biden bandwagon forward past Sanders. Now that bandwagon is losing momentum and the wheels are beginning to squeak. It's the age-old tortoise and hare story.
Audrey (Aurora, IL)
It was not a great debate, but Biden taking a woman as VP is a nice commitment and so is Bernie's statement of support "from day one". Biden's "first, second" answers to every question only look good compared to Trump's incoherent ramblings but do not inspire confidence, nor do his untruthful denials which Bernie exposed painfully. Bernie can never stop at just answering a question, always annoyingly tags on the same mini-speech.
M. J. Shepley (Sacramento)
The debate should have focused on who gets the bail out now, the rich or the workerbees. I suspect the Dems will given in and bail the top, by rubberstamping the "payroll" (SS & Medicare) cut. It will wipe out the remaining SS "lockbox" fund, become permanent & lead to cutting benefits possibly right after the election. But the 7plus% the Corps get will be so useful to prop up stock values, which their owners want. No haircut there. The stimulus should be targeted to maintain consumer spending, thus buoying businesses, keeping workers employed, mitigating long term losses. So YANG! A $2500 month income for everyone unemployed or laid off. Paid ONLY out of general fund/budget revenues. In short put it on the card with makeups TBA, or repeal Trump cuts (GOP will block, let em) or by temporary 3% surtax on all income (including cap gains) over 120,000. Or tell workerbees, sell yourself into slavery for crumbs (but maybe from cake!eh?), cuz we will both lose and pay for the bailout in full.
Observer (Washington, D.C.)
Biden is clearly unelectable. It will be 2016 all over again, but even worse. People are hurting. In a choice between two status quo, Wall Street representatives, they will choose the Wall Street representative who is already in the saddle (Trump). Give them a choice to vote for a People's representative instead: Bernie. Universal, non-profit healthcare, and humanitarian policies.
Bj (Washington,dc)
@Observer No, not status quo when you think about who you want making the next Supreme Court and lower court nominations? Do you want an even more conservative Court overturning any liberal or progressive legislation that may be enacted for a generation or more? That is how long the reach of a Supreme Court balance can reach. Take the long term view and get Trump out of office. Then let's make our case for more progressive action.
Socrates (Downtown Verona. NJ)
Biden has pronounced weaknesses that he needs coaching on: He is defensive and untruthful; he also needs work extending olive branches to the progressive voters he will need to win in November. Biden needs how to learn to fess up when he made a mistake and admit he learned from his mistakes. He also needs to tell the truth when he made mistakes without being defensive, e.g. his Iraq vote, his support for the Simpson-Bowles austerity catfood commission, and his unholy alliance with credit card companies. And Americans generally support progressive ideas as long as the messenger speaks moderately, so Joe should embrace the spirit - if not necessarily every policy - of the Sanders campaign. It's going to take focus, more polish and wit to defeat Frankenstein in November. Biden has work to do.
Anne (Chicago, IL)
@Socrates Biden has all but signaled Warren will be his running mate. That's a good start. She would be the workhorse and pull the administration left. I worry about Trump being re-elected though. Biden will not get any media time in anytime soon while Trump gets to look like the commander-in-chief every day.
Greg (Lyon, France)
@Anne The more Trump talks to the media, the less his stature gets.
Patrician (New York)
@Anne No, he’s not. Biden will not get Wall Street (or Bloomberg) support if Warren is on the ticket. Plus, Biden is getting enormous pressure from the man responsible for his good fortune, Jim Clyburn, to have an African American woman as VP. Don’t get me wrong. I am a Warren Democrat. I think Warren will benefit Biden the most and pull him left, but I doubt that Biden will put her on the ticket. Warren upset too many power players for them to allow this to happen (if you remember, her decline in polls started in the month when Pete (funded by healthcare and Pharma) attacked her from the right, Bloomberg and no-hopers like Patrick Duvall got in the race, billionaires started crying on TV, Wall Street started telling DNC no money for them ...) Warren is too much of a threat to them... despite all you hear from Sanders’ world. It’s a travesty of justice.
Darrel Lauren (Williamsburg)
There is no doubt that China has done more for her people than the US has done for her people over the last 20 years. If Biden doesn't know that by now, he's just lying to himself. In reality, Bernie has done How a great favor in making him address the hard questions before the donald asks them (if the donald will debate, that is). The pother reality is that every democrat will vote for Joe, no matter how poorly he does in these "for TV" debates, because the future of the US and large parts of the world depend on preventing the donald from having another term to wreck havoc.
IdoltrousInfidel (Texas)
Best debate so far. That's how decent, wise politicians debate.
macindigo (San Francisco Bay Area)
The debate revealed a stark contrast between the two. Bernie shows the vision and drive that a president needs to inspire and lead. He's able to see beyond the immediate near term; an ability that is critical to identifying and resolving issues. Biden just wants to keep slapping band-aids on everything that doesn't work. For example; the two responses to fracking. Bernie said no fracking. Biden said no new fracking. Bernie will stop the environmental damage caused by fracking and Biden will keep damaging the environment at the current rate. Bernie 2020
Bj (Washington,dc)
@macindigo Who do you want to make the next appointments to the Supreme Court? Trump or Biden. You have a binary choice. Any hope to have climate change legislation or progressive or liberal legislation upheld in the future depends on who is making the next Supreme Court appointments. It isn't just about policy positions for the near term.
Lilly (New Hampshire)
Exactly. Plus, the neoliberals like Biden have created the system where citizens are nothing but walking sources of money to extract at every phase of our lives for the American oligarchs. Does Canada have Canadian oligarchs, like they have in the corrupt, dictatorship Russia and the USA? No. You wouldn’t. Billionaires shouldn’t exist, as you all know.
@Bj Don't count your chickens before they hatch. Right now neither Trump nor Biden have secured the nomination. And given their advanced age and the current health scare... By the way, ask Mitch McConnell about those Supreme Court appointments, and how many he'd be willing to entertain under a Biden presidency. Fool me once, shame on you they say.
Jerry Davenport (New York)
Biden’s remedy for Coronavirus is to convene a meeting in the situation room and invite experts for discussion. Well what has our Coronavirus task team been doing? Hey Joe they are doing exactly that. Got any better ideas?
LonghornSF (Berkeley, CA)
@Jerry Davenport actually that is the problem, Trump hasn't been coordinating a response from the situation room and he sure isn't listening to experts. We need somebody that can LISTEN and LEAD, not conduct campaign rallies like Trump or go on ideological rants like Bernie.
Fred Unrau (Niagara, Canada)
So anyone who is uninsured or under insured, who has symptoms, goes in for testing, has to hope and pray that they have Covid 19 so it will be paid for? Otherwise, they are on their own? I like our system here in Canada.
Lilly (New Hampshire)
The neoliberals like Biden have created the system where citizens are nothing but walking sources of money to extract at every phase of our lives for the American oligarchs. Does Canada have Canadian oligarchs, like they have in the corrupt, dictatorship Russia and the USA? No. You wouldn’t. Billionaires shouldn’t exist, as you all know.
Lilly (New Hampshire)
I hope you will let me and my family come up as refugees if either Trump or Biden wins. If I get sick, my insurance has already refused a mammogram my doctor ordered because of a suspicious lump. Trump is a catastrophe in every way, but Biden means hundreds of millions of Americans will be living in tents if they get sick.
Fred Unrau (Niagara, Canada)
@Lilly Yes Lilly Canada has billionaires. There is nothing wrong with being a billionaire as long as you pay your fair share of taxes. No one is trying to bring them down to being mere millionaires,but they can pay their fair share and still have more than they will ever need to live their lavish lifestyles, and still remain billionaires
Tom Q (Minneapolis, MN)
According to Bernie, leadership means taking unpopular positions. Sorry, but anyone can do that. Effective leadership means getting something accomplished. I have yet to see any major legislative accomplishments from Bernie. So, if past performance is in any way indicative of future success, Bernie's is not looking good.
Norman (Dale)
You’ve a very constricted view of what leadership is. It is both (and much more) than getting things done or taking unpopular positions as needed. But the latter, seen in the midst of the Cuban missive crisis and in Johnson’s introduction of civil rights legislation, is critically important. To see a candidate willing to stick his neck out for the poor and the sick is a strong albeit not sole criterion for a good president.
@Tom Q Not seeing any major ones for Joe, either. Major accomplishments are few and far between. Notice nobody is over hear saying "what about Cory Booker" despite him actually getting something through a divided Congress
Guy Walker (New York City)
Team the two up and you'll have a winning combination. Bayam!
Lilly (New Hampshire)
That would assume that the DNC will allow Progressives, Millennials and Independents to have a say in government. You know what they say about assuming... We already see Warren was only running to try to beat Sanders, and not to support the policies the world needs to survive. Unless Sanders wins, we are done for. That’s very clear, if you are willing to look around and see.
Bj (Washington,dc)
@Lilly Do you want Trump to make the next Supreme Court nominations whose effect will last a generation or more? I don't think we can afford an even more conservative judiciary than we have now if there is any hope for progressive legislation to be upheld in the future.
baba (Ganoush)
I liked this show better by it's original title: "The Sunshine Boys"
George S. (NY & LA)
It's kind of surreal that these two gentlemen are still debating. The Nation is facing a potentially existential health crisis. Clearly the current Administration is floundering about having initially downplayed the threat; having slashed health and research budgets; having failed to appoint and consult qualified medical and scientific personnel to advise and recommend etc. But now, as we face a situation far more dire than ever faced by anyone alive today, we have two reasonable and qualified men debating the finer points of political ideology and policy. If the Democrats are to propose a realistic alternative to the egotistical incompetent who is presently occupying the Oval Office they need to agree to end this battle. Sanders, in particular, has to admit that he cannot command support from the moderate center and has a far less likelihood of convincing the electorate to chose him over the current White House occupant. Biden has to agree that the left wing of the Democratic Party has good policy proposals many of which will form the basis of his Administration -- particularly in the post-Covid-19 period. While it's good that Biden pledged to choose a woman running mate -- he needs to avoid now seeming to want to pander to various special interests. In reality, I think it's almost a given that any running mate will be a highly-qualified woman. So his current "concession" really isn't one at all. It's time gentlemen to end the debate and unite for the Nation.
GMT (Tampa)
@George S. You do realize that it's Joe Biden, who is on the right, not the center. His votes and all that he has fought for over the years have been to push this country to the right. I find it disgusting he is trying to make himself seem like he's "moderate" -- nothing moderate in throwing Anita Hill under the bus, something that Sanders failed to mention. I just listened today March 16 to an On Point radio show wbur Boston, and the corona virus experts there were advocating bold, extra ordinary action -- sort of like what Sanders was saying. Last, I was sick of Joe Biden's cheap shots while Sanders raised valid points. Yeah, I think they should stop the fighting and unite behind Sanders.
George S. (NY & LA)
@GMT In all frankness, I really don't have any time any longer to care about all this really petty ideological hair-splitting. I sometimes wonder if all of these Sanders supporters responding here are real or if they're Russian robots.
Bj (Washington,dc)
@GMT Our biggest threat is another 4 years of a Trump administration. I wanted another candidate to win, but at this point, I am wholeheartedly behind what you imply is a a center-right person. Biden is still a Democrat and he has shown an ability to modify his positions to change with the times (e.g. marriage equality). I am fearful of 4 more years of Trump and that is my motivation to vote for Biden in November. Biden will at least listen to science experts and take necessary action to keep us safe and not obsess over numbers and crowd sizes and headlines.
Sara (Oakland)
Sanders' fans miss the point. This is not a battle over ideological correctness anymore. As Bernie announced - there are 2 existential threats- climate & Trump. The latter has become a master of TV pitch, rally gusto, posturing and shmooze. While both HRC & Warren are obviously competent women who get stuff done- they could not overcome the fickle feelings of that sliver of 'undecideds' that decide elections. Bernie rants on one note, oblivious to the moment. His 'clarity' is essentially based on decades of repetition. He may think faster than Biden at times but he has a tin ear. The Donald has mastered the TV performance. Sanders is a relentless scold who no one wants to listen to for 4 years. His ideals are superb but his ability to implement them in a pragmatic politically savvy way are suspect. Biden- like the Queen- provides a calming tone- exactly the antidote to Trumpitis. The nation has suffered an inflamed infected state since 2016. We want relief.
ernieh1 (New York)
@Sara "Sanders is a relentless scold who no one wants to listen to for 4 years." In 2016, long before the primary ended, I could no longer listen to Bernie. And I count myself as a progressive. So it is not his progressivism that bothers me, it is the man himself. He is moral and ethical but not a real leader, more of a rabble-rouser. As a senator he never did any leading at all.
GMT (Tampa)
@Sara I didn't get any sort of a calming tone from Biden. I heard a rambling man who lied about his past record, and nothing will tell you more about a candidate than his past votes. Sanders delivery is rugged, but he's been consistent and way ahead of the curve. Yes he's repetitious -- look how long it's taken for people like Biden to catch on.
Bj (Washington,dc)
@GMT Biden will not put our country in danger as the current White House is doing. Do you want 4 more years of Trump? That is the question - not whether Biden was loose with facts about his previous positions. Besides what someone voted for or supported in the past is not especially relevant today where things have changed so dramatically under Trump. We need to re-establish an administration that will rely on experts and science and implement their advice without concern about the news headlines and "shaking things up" on a daily basis.
MEB (Los Angeles)
Biden has a chance to choose a woman Vice President who can help the ticket. Harris? Are moderates ready for another black President so soon after Obama? Kobachar? She would help him win her state and maybe another midwestern state. But she isn’t exciting. Warren is exciting and would reassure progressives that he has heard Sanders and progressives passionate about real change. Adams? Not qualified to step in as President if need be.
Gary Bischoff (Saugerties, NY)
@MEB There is a problem with our system of picking replacement Senators. Warren would make an excellent VP choice, but the Republican governor in Massachusetts would then appoint a Republican to replace her.
Hope (SoCal, CA)
@MEB Biden is afraid of Warren. Remember how he tried to thwart her formation Consumer Protection Bureau because it would threaten the status quo of his bank and credit card pals? Eventually, he was pressured by Obama to get on board.
lynchburglady (Oregon)
@Gary Bischoff Not so. Massachusetts holds a special election to replace a Senator. The Governor does not appoint anyone to replace a departing Senator. So, Ms. Warren can safely be named VP and I hope to all the Gods that she is.
Biden seemed reassuring that he knew how to pull us out of a nose dive. I believe him as he was vp during difficulties that were handled well. Sanders is a complainer and a fear monger. Nothing ever good enough unless he does it. Sounded too much like Trump for me. I believe Biden understands what needs to be done. We are in and will be in a deep crisis in many ways. We can survive with leadership.
Lilly (New Hampshire)
Leadership is exactly what the entire world needs. Sanders is that leader, like it or not.
Jerry Engelbach (Mexico)
@CG, Those difficulties were handled so “well” that the Democrats lost their progressive base, lost both House and Senate in two successive midterms, and lost the presidency to Donald Trump. The Obama administration was a disaster of broken promises, capitulations, and losing.
J (The Great Flyover)
And, I’ll contribute, work for, and vote for either of them!
Wilks (Rochester, NY)
So, to be clear, Biden has a propensity to lie, flip-flop, to mangle the truth. To make misstatements on camera, to lie in the face of the public, and to skate as (establishment) moderators fail to challenge his public record and claims. Absolutely 'bending the curve' for Biden, which is a sad state of affairs for the nation.
Kurfco (California)
Apparently, no one wants to enforce immigration law -- at the border, in the interior of the country, anywhere. But they are vehemently NOT in favor of open borders, though. Can anyone say "cognitive dissonance"?
W.A. Spitzer (Faywood, NM)
@Kurfco ....What I heard was that children should not be separated from their parents, and that there should be a sufficient number of immigration judges to handle refuge requests in an expeditious manner. The "cognitive dissonance" would seem to be created by selective hearing.
Kurfco (California)
@W.A. Spitzer Did you hear the part about disbanding ICE? Is there some other way to enforce immigration law in the interior of the country? Once in, all clear? Is that the plan?
Ladivina Garza (Arizona)
@Kurfco there is not such thing as open borders regardless of who occupies the Oval Office
Steve Beck (Middlebury, VT)
My TIOBernie tee-shirt arrived today just in time for a spate a warmer weather. Perfect.
King Philip, His majesty (N.H.)
No broadcast CNN in my area. The Democratic National Committee should not allow Stations who do not broadcast a signal, host a debate. Millions of Americans do not want to pay to watch fifty paid advertisements an hour.
Drew (Bay Area)
@King Philip, His majesty In the good old days, the League of Women Voters organized the debates. Commercial television is about amplifying low-level, personal controversy, to increase titillation and thus advertising revenue. We've come a long way...backward.
Paul Wortman (Providence)
Biden looked presidential, acted presidential, and held his own. The difference not only was the clear optics, but in their political philosophies. Sanders claims he won "the ideological argument." But, that is exactly the problem. America is a democracy not a rigid ideology where a consensus and compromise must result from the conflict of ideas. That, of course, left Biden open to criticism since, as a consummate and effective legislator, he has had to make compromises to get anything done. Nevertheless, he has gotten many good things done while Sanders record is meager at best. The peevishness of Sanders' relentless criticism of Biden's lack of support was an example. President Obama proposed a Grand Bargain with Paul Ryan that did have Social Security on the table. But, Ryan rejected it so it was a non-issue. The Iraq War authorization of military force bill came just before the 2002 mid-terms with the majority of Democrats fearful that a vote against it would be fatal for their re-election. It was a political calculation that misfired. The point is: politics is the art of compromise while ideology is not. And, that explains why Biden is a Democrat and Sanders is not.
I have to say -- I'm sorry it took Coronavirus to generate the audience-free format, but I liked it. I had started to find the presence of a debate audience very distracting back in 2016 and it was only getting worse this past year. I hope once the dust has settled on this pandemic, they will continue to let debates be an event between the debaters and moderators. Presidential debates do not need to be a WWF-style event with the audience registering their reactions and unduly influencing people at home. Let the people at home form their own opinions of what is being said.
Pat (Somewhere)
@BN Exactly correct, not to mention the time wasted waiting for applause to stop after each zinger or calculated applause line. Of course this assumes the primary intent of these "debates" is to inform voters instead of provide endless media coverage, sell advertising and provide endless fodder for the cable news networks.
George S. (NY & LA)
@BN I agree and would point out that this "scrum" format has existed since well before 2016. All too often the audience is packed with supporters of the several participants who then use cheers and groans to try an "influence" both the larger TV audience and the debaters themselves. Without a studio audience these "debates", which are really a series of policy soundbites, would be elevated to at least a reasonably adult-like performance.
Anne (CA)
@BN I also suspect that one-on-one debates are far better to clearly differentiate the candidates. Process of elimination.
Cali Sol (Brunswick, Maine)
The evidence from Europe is that their single source health care systems are overwhelmed with the pandemic and conventional patients are being under-served or postponed. This further strengthens the view that a single payer system would collapse and force draconian prioritization and emergency rooms as crowded as the airports are now. If the U.K. is now understaffed and over half of their providers are foreign born; where will the U.S. find people to staff a single payer system...Cuba? or ??
Mike R (Syracuse, NY)
Cuba is widely renowned for its export of quality medics service, so not a bad idea. It’s also worth noting that the NHS has not been a priority for the recent conservative administrations in the UK. Classic pro-business playbook: gut government, make it inefficient, and then point out how bad it is so your donors and friends can cash out and then hire you on as a consultant.
Bob (Oregon)
This is going to happen everywhere, regardless of their system. The difference is that many of those poorer US families will go into bankruptcy as a result.
Jonathan Janov (Nantucket, MA)
See, that’s not it at all. Saying that Italy’s system is overwhelmed because they’re a single payer system is disingenuous at best and insulting at worst. Have you ever been a beneficiary of the Italian healthcare system? Do you even know how it operates, where the money comes from or whatnot? Everything that you wrote is a lie. When Joe Biden said it onstage it was a lie. It’s pretty much the same thing Fox News said last week and if he’s using their talking points I wouldn’t want him for my president. Bernie can beat Trump, Joe can’t.
amf (maine)
Sanders should drop out today so there will be no need for people to go out to vote in the primaries tomorrow. Sanders would be doing the right thing for the country and be a hero for the country.
Halboro (Earth)
@amf I wonder how you would feel about Trump using a similar excuse to push back the election in November.
Lilly (New Hampshire)
You have that backward, in my opinion, and I’m not alone. Biden has nothing to offer anyone. It’s a miracle he got through the debate with any degree of lucidity, but that’s temporary and hardly the worst fact. Biden/Obama oversaw the rise of worst of this country. Now, like Russia, we have obscenely wealthy American Oligarchs. The world is burning because they only made moderate changes. Americans are spreading the virus and dying because they were too wimpy to enact universal healthcare. We must never have more of the same. We can’t survive it.
mpound (USA)
@amf What about down-ballot races? Are you saying people should refrain from voting on them also?
Pat (Somewhere)
When Trump became the GOP candidate many Republicans didn't want him, but they turned out and voted him into office because any Republican was preferable to HRC. I hope Democrats learned something from that.
Bob (Oregon)
They didn’t. This is why as sanders began to surge they had 3 stronger candidates drop out to choose the favorite of the establishment. Crossing fingers we aren’t snatching defeat from the jaws of victory again.
GMT (Tampa)
@Bob Already happened. Biden, the weakest candidate was inflated by the DNC -- worried about its oligarchs. Trump will be re-elected. The volatility in the market is temporary, the curve will flatten wit h corona virus, and Trump will be elected.
Margaret Gaston (Atlanta, Georgia)
@GMT Biden was picked by the VOTERS. Quit insulting the voters. ENOUGH!
Lawrence Chanin (Victoria, BC)
Mr. Sanders did an excellent job doing what he had to do - exposing the egregious flaws in the health care system and the economy holding up containment of the coronavirus and interfering with the protection of some 80 million uninsured and under insured citizens. Mr. Biden revealed himself to be a flip flopper beholden to corporate interests with a record of talking for working people but acting for the rich and powerful. Lying about his political record, Mr. Biden cannot be trusted to make the necessary changes to health care and the economy required to protect Americans from the current virus and future viruses.
RG (Massachusetts)
@Lawrence Chanin And how about Bernie’s voting record to protect gun manufacturers? Talk about a hypocrite.
Carolyn Egeli (Braintree Vt)
@RG Nope, not at all.."Sanders said that Vermont is a rural state, and in the past, he followed local sentiments. “Until the last — two years ago — we had virtually no gun control legislation at all, and I represented that perspective,” Sanders said. “The world has changed, and my views have changed. And my view is right now, we need universal background checks. We end the gun show loophole. We end the so-called strawman provision. We make certain that we end the sale and distribution of assault weapons in this country.”
Drew (Bay Area)
@RG Bernie has said that was wrong. Nothing hypocritical about it. Contrast that honesty with Biden's wiggling, wriggling, and dissimulating when it comes to his own votes, including for the war in Iraq (which he not only voted for but was one of the principal promoters of).
KDKulper (Morristown NJ)
As we recover from the gross incompetence, fear, mendacity and idiocy of the trump administration, Joe Biden will be able to present a more recognizable presidency to the American people, Congress and the world. It will be very, very welcome! It’s possible that some of the democratic presidential candidates will be invited to be part of his cabinet along with other well qualified professionals and policy makers. A woman VP in the form of Amy Kobluchar would be welcome; she is smart, experienced and very capable. We have some big hurdles ahead and very bright opportunities: the global environment that must be protected by definitive actions to rapidly bring down CO2 will trigger a fantastic economic response; post pandemic global recovery and prevention protocols that will require tough enforcement by China, in particular, to avoid future outbreaks; global agreements that promote fair trade, education, healthcare and immigration. Infrastructure rebuilding and reinvention that will positively change the way we transit our communities, cities and around the world. It won’t be perfect, but it will be demonstrably better, and that will be very good. America needs to lead all of this with confidence and optimism; we can and will.
mpound (USA)
@KDKulper "America needs to lead all of this with confidence and optimism; we can and will." Sorry, but voters investing in a 78 year old political hack who's been a Washington DC fixture since Richard Nixon's presidency doesn't strike most folks as showing "confidence and optimism".
Norma (Albuquerque, NM)
@mpound I thought bernie was older than 78.
Ed Grossman (Central Vermont)
After watching closely I saw a thoughtful person who responded eloquently to questions and former VP who has the hubris to think he could win against Trump. Joe has a good heart but he doesn't have the wits to debate Trump. How many minutes is would it be until DJT brings up Biden's deceased son and says something nuts like "show me the death certificate or tell me where he's hiding so we can lock him up with Hunter"? People will be outraged and Biden will cry and that's the end. How is it possible that after year's people still underestimate Trump? They know he will say anything and yet they think Biden can stand up to him? I know Bernie could stand his ground. Such a tragedy to watch this unfold and think of four more years of DJT.
Pat (Somewhere)
@Ed Grossman Many Democrats seem to still underestimate Trump and also underestimate what is needed to beat him: standing up to a bully. You can't respond to name-calling, outright lies, intimidation, etc. with a 30 point plan. Dukakis, Kerry, HRC and others failed to respond forcefully to right-wing smears and dirty tricks, and were left wondering what happened when they lost.
Lilly (New Hampshire)
Clinton doesn’t ‘wonder’. She just takes the self-centered path and appoints blame and makes excuses. The DNC follows suit.
JCB In DC (Washington, DC)
What could past Dems have done to combat the right wing smears which were hugely damaging? What have we learned?
Alice Broughton (Basehor, KS)
It is so important, the choice of a VP candidate in this particular election for obvious reasons. I’m hoping so much Biden (assuming he’s the nominee) chooses Klobuchar or Abrams. If he chooses Harris or Warren, we’re back to square one in asking for too much progressive influence.
RG (Massachusetts)
@Alice Broughton He should choose Rep. Katie Porter. She’s a sharpshooter and would mincemeat out of Trump.
@RG Having seen her on the talk show circuit a few time, I was more than impressed. 2020 may not be the year, but I definitely want to see her on the national stage sometime.
Jerry Engelbach (Mexico)
@RG, VP and presidential candidates don’t debate each other.
Saba (Albany)
The economic hardship resulting from the pandemic shows starkly the weakness of a system of governance built almost solely on business and profit. Sanders agrees and Biden may. I hope that other politicians will heed. This pandemic could be cyber war, an enemy attack, or the effects of climate change. A stronger base of support is needed.
Lawrence Chanin (Victoria, BC)
@Saba That's right. Furthermore, I don't believe it's wise to regard the containment of the coronavirus as a "war". The rich wage wars for profit, the poor die in them. The world needs the opposite of war in times of global crises. We need truth, compassion, co-operation, equality, and health care for all as a human right. Mr. Sanders has the right policies and attitudes. Mr Biden doesn't.
W.A. Spitzer (Faywood, NM)
@Saba ..."The economic hardship resulting from the pandemic shows starkly the weakness of a system of governance built almost solely on business and profit."...I don't see any connection. You need to elaborate to make your point.
Kerm (Wheatfields)
There are in reality two candidates in the Democratic primary debate. A third was was not included. Some feel there is only one candidate left, and only a matter of delegates to be had before the other leaves. Such as speculations go. So one has committed to having a woman as his running mate. Must be simpatico first. Other some stipulations as being younger and on board with his strategy(s) and must be qualified and willing to step up to run the country on the first day in office if necessary. I am not voting for Joe Biden's second in command to fill the shoes of the office in 2020. Am not backing a ticket for Harris or Abrams, (as they are not/were not my choice for president) but would back an Obama, for sure; a totally trustworthy,experienced and intelligent person. If this is the criteria the democratic party and Joe are looking for for the future, suggest Michelle Obama, and she should accept the role for the future also. This is a ticket one can vote for.
RCS (Stamford,CT)
Interesting debate. Before the next one, someone should see if either of them can draw the face of a clock. At 78 years old now and going to be 82 years old after four years we have to look at each candidates mental viability today.
MK (BRooklyn)
At 78 years of age, these candidates are mentally superior to our current child president. His honor trump found the debate boring. Of course he would because this was two candidates speaking about the future course of our country, not striving to entertain the audience. Trump could never stand up to such a debate. One line zingers do not make an adult president which is what we need now to guide us through this pandemic and financial catastrophe. Trumps efforts to corner vaccines to combat this virus is not in American or world interests.
RCS (Stamford,CT)
@MK It is going to be a long four years. I had high hopes for Bloomberg but when put in the spotlight he fell apart.
Lawrence Chanin (Victoria, BC)
@MK But don't blame Trump for the lack of preparedness. Blame the for-profit health care system which cannot mobilize and co-ordinate the necessary health authorities like a government-run health care system can.
Linda McKim-Bell (Portland, Oregon)
I would like to see these two candidates get together and hammer out a compromise platform of ideas that the could agree on and then work together to support whoever wins the next round of debates. They need to stop fighting each other and start winning against Trump. I want a woman for VP and please not Klobuchar. We need Warren, Stacy Abrams or Harris! This time the Democratic Party needs to pay serious attention to The Left or we are sunk!!
Irene Goodnight (Santa Barbara, CA)
@Linda McKim-Bell I think Amy would be a wonderful VP. She is practical, detail oriented and from the midwest (states we need to win). I want to repair our country not make radical promises that tear us apart.
Observer (Washington, D.C.)
@Linda McKim-Bell Biden is a bad candidate even if he had a good platform. He's corrupt flip-flopper only out for himself, and has no credibility with anyone outside of Wall Street and the DNC.
Jerry Engelbach (Mexico)
@Irene Goodnight, A win is needed in the swing states. Forget the hopelessly red ones.
Chris Anderson (Chicago)
Right now is the time to keep people apart and NOT bring them together. Too little time was spent on the Coronavirus issue. At this time no one cares about either one of them or any other political races.
Greg (Lyon, France)
Biden sounded like a politician. Sanders sounded like a human being.
Steve Beck (Middlebury, VT)
@Greg I can't watch this stuff anymore but what you wrote sounds true. And I will take your word for it
Brian K (Massachusetts)
@Greg Biden sounded like a leader. Bernie sounded like a broken record.
Lilly (New Hampshire)
Biden sounds great, when he’s still lucid, if you don’t realize almost everything he says is a lie. Biden sounds great if you are already part of the American Oligarchs, (we have them now, just like Russia). American Oligarchs are his biggest achievement, his biggest supporters and he’s made himself and his family wealthy by representing their interests, not ours.
Jbugko (Pittsburgh, pa)
Gee, thanks, Bernie, for dividing our electorate while Trump happily goes on with no real contestant in the Republican party and a bunch of Voter restrictions that inhibit our ability to even get out the vote. Thanks, showboater. I really "appreciate" your attempt to "help" me by fighting against Joe Biden more than you're fighting against Donald Trump. You want to improve my health as a Type 1 Diabetic with asthma at this point? If you were sincere about that, you would be bowing out of this race by now. We are in full crisis mode, and you just keep pretending that you are going to represent my best interests. I'm a REAL Democratic socialist, and I've looked at your voting record. You even voted against the Brady Bill - a bill written by a Republican that called for a a five-day waiting period and background checks. Tell them how you find Lockheed Martin to be "valuable" to the economy of Vermont... and your own pocket. You are not for my best interests. If you were, you would be endorsing the candidate you're fighting against more often than you fight against all the Republicans who run commercials for you.
Darrel Lauren (Williamsburg)
@Jbugko Afraid of debate are you, afraid your candidate can't answer the hard questions? Bernie staying in the race and asking the hard questions is just the right test for Biden if he hopes to beat the donald. You can't hide your head in the sand and be prepared for the future.
Norma (Albuquerque, NM)
@Jbugko Excellent! I agree completely with your post. bernie "I am not a Democrat! I am a socialist!" sanders is only interested in winning and not concerned about anyone or anything else. It will be a very sad day if he manages to convince enough Democrats to choose him as the party leader, when in fact he has never been a member of the party.
Jerry Engelbach (Mexico)
@Jbugko, Biden is not yet anointed and has no claim to the superior position. Perhaps he should step aside and make way for the real changes working people need.
Phyliss Dalmatian (Wichita, Kansas)
Do the honorable thing, Bernie. Drop out now, and pledge to actually Work to Elect Joe. It’s NOT all about you, it’s about US. Right ???
Lilly (New Hampshire)
Biden is about maintaining the Oligarchy he helped create. That doesn’t include you or me. Bernie is the only one for US.
Melani D (Maine)
I wish Biden would drop out of the race since he has no support from the young or those of us who are anti war and pro universal health care, equal rights for all, and environmental stewardship. Our nation is falling behind with our corporately funded leadership. When the bottom line is money - people lose. Biden is still in this race because he has political allies. What he doesn't have is a record of good judgment. He made a great VP setting no policy and just being a good politician. That will not do for a president - especially in these horribly skewed times where partisanship has taken the helm ( With corporate backing).
Brian K (Massachusetts)
@Melani D Bernie supporters aren't the only ones who care about equal rights for all, environmental stewardship, etc. Bernie supporters always claiming moral superiority has gotten old. Biden is still in this race because more people are voting for him. People of all social classes, colors, genders, sexual orientations... That's a fact.
Brent (Woodstock)
I don't know if I agree about "calling up the military," however, there are thousands of health care professional within the military who are not credentialed in the civilian world, even though their education, training and experience equals or exceeds their civilian counterparts, and therefore are not allowed to play their trade. Mobilizing them to assist could go a long ways towards what is already becoming a health professional shortage in response to the COVID-19 epidemic.
See also