Things That Matter

From Gun Reform To Immigration, Here Are The Highlights Of Last Night’s #DemDebate

ABC News and Univision hosted the third Democratic debate last night in Houston. A lot of the discussion focused on the gun violence epidemic due to the recent shootings that impacted the Texas community. Immigration and healthcare were also major topics discussed among the top ten Democratic candidates. Here’s a quick recap so you know what went down.

Beto O’Rourke had the biggest moment when he declared that the U.S. government should take away assault rifles.

O’Rourke, who is from and represented El Paso, Texas, took on the gun debate in a way we haven’t seen. The Texas-native spoke about the guns that have been used to commit mass shooting across the country bringing unimaginable pain and death in minutes. He referred to the guns as weapons wit the intention of killing people and spoke on their purpose in war. He went further to say that weapons meant for war have no place on the streets of the U.S. citing mass deaths in El Paso and Odessa, Texas.

“Hell yes. We’re going to tek your AR-15 and your AK-47,” O’Rourke said. “We’re not going to allow them to be used against our fellow Americans anymore.”

His statement was met with a standing ovation and thunderous applause.

His statements caught the attention of Texas State Representative Briscoe Cain who represents District 128.

Credit: @BetoORourke / Twitter

The tweet, which many are calling a death threat on the presidential candidate, was deleted by Twitter. Cain represents a rural district of Texas just east of Houston. The O’Rourke campaign is reporting the tweet to the FBI.

Jorge Ramos, one of the moderators of the debate, asked Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to explain the difference between his views of Socialism and the governments of Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Cuba.

Ramos asked Sanders to explain why he won’t refer to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro as a dictator. He also asked just how Sanders’ view of Socialism is different than the governments in Latin America.

Sanders started his answer by calling Maduro a vicious tyrant and called on international and regional support to reinstate free and open elections. Sanders’ hope is that by placing pressure on Venezuela, the people will be able to create the government and future they seek.

“In terms of Democratic Socialism,” Sanders started. “To equate what goes on in Venezuela with what I believe is extremely unfair. I’ll tell you what I believe in terms of Democratic Socialism. I agree with what’s going on in Canada and Scandanavia guaranteeing healthcare to all people as a human right. I believe that the United States should not be the only major country on earth not to provide paid family and medical leave.”

Julián Castro, also from Texas, declared that his immigration plan will not use DACA as a bargaining chip and plans to keep the program in place.

First, Castro painted the picture that Obama and Trump are polar opposites when it comes to the treatment of the immigrant community. To Castro, Trump has a “dark heart” when it comes to immigrants and has spent his time as president to scapegoat and demonize the immigrant community.

Namely, Castro went after Biden for celebrating the victories of the Obama administration by inserting himself in those victories. Yet, Castro calls out what he sees as Biden separating himself from the harder moments of admitting to being part of the shortcomings.

“I was the first candidate in early April to put forward an immigration plan,” Castro said. “You know why? Because I’m not afraid of trump on this issue. I”m not going to backpedal. I’m not going to pretend like I don’t have my own vision for immigration. So, we’re not going to give up DACA. We’re not going to give up protections for anybody.”

Vice President Joe Biden and Castro had a moment of fierce disagreement on stage and it caused a discussion.

Castro went after Biden in what he heard to be a plan that would not allow for people to be automatically enrolled into the healthcare plan set forth by the former vice president. While it was not completely false, there was a nuance in the language that was omitted by Castro.

Biden’s plan does require people to opt into the healthcare system. However, while Biden’s plan does not rely on an automatic enrollment for healthcare recipients, it does enroll low-income families and communities. Biden does not support Medicare for All but says his plan would allow for Obamacare to include 97 percent of the population. Those omitted would be undocumented immigrants who are not eligible for federal subsidies and programs.

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker used some of his time to reframe the discussion around race and racism in the country.

He openly called President Trump a racist and acknowledged the rise and threat of racism. Booker also called out Trump for supporting white supremacy by his unwillingness to call it out. Yet, more than that, he called out the systemic racism that is truly crippling communities of color.

“We have a criminal justice system that is so racially biased [that] we have more African-Americans under criminal supervision today than all the slaves in 1850,” Booker told the audience. “We have to come at this issue attacking systemic racism, having the courage to call it out, and having a plan to do something about it.”

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang did something never before seen at a presidential debate.

Yang is a candidate running on a platform that includes a universal basic income. The universal basic income would guarantee $1,000 a month for every citizen. In his opening statement, Yang decided to take his plan to the next level before even making it through the primary. Yang offered to start the universal basic income now with 10 American families. In order to be one of the families, Yang called on people to go to his website and tell him how the universal basic income could change their lives.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar also took on the gun debate and addressed a gridlock she is seeing in the Senate.

Klobuchar agreed that something needs to happen with guns and that eliminating assault rifles is a way to start. However, she framed the argument in a different way. Instead of placing the responsibility on the president or the future president, Klobuchar called out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for stalling all the bills passed through the House of Representatives that would address the most supported gun reform measures, like universal background checks and a registry and licensing program for gun owners.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren also took aim at McConnell and his successful attempts to block popular gun reform legislation.

Nearly 90 percent of American agree with universal background checks before people are allowed to purchase guns. More than 80 percent of American agree with licensing and registries for gun owners. However, as Warren points out, the NRA lobby has successfully killed bills targeting these issues in the Senate.

Warren posed the question asking how it is possible that such popular legislation dies in the Senate. Her answer, “Corruption. Pure and simple.”

California Senator Kamala Harris directly addressed Trump for his use of hate and division to keep the country at a stalemate.

“President Trump. You spent the last two and a half years, full-time, trying to sow hate and division among us and that is why we’ve gotten nothing done,” Harris said. “You have used hate, intimidation, fear, and over 12,000 lives as a way to distract from your failed policies and your broken promises. The only reason you’ve not been indicted is because there was a memo in the department of justice that says a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime.”

Harris then spoke on how the American people are better than him and his fearmongering. She spoke on how the American people and their values are stronger than Trump and his campaign against decency.

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg used his final answer about a professional setback to talk about his journey coming out.

Buttigieg was a military officer serving during the time of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” when it was forbidden for openly LGBTQ+ to serve in the military. He then became a mayor of a town in Mike Pence’s conservative Indiana. Yet, at a certain point, Buttigieg had enough of living in the closet and decided it was time for him to be honest with himself and others.

“At a certain point, when it came to professional setbacks, I had to wonder if just acknowledging who I was was going to be the ultimate career-ending professional setback,” Buttigieg said. “I came back from the deployment and realized that you only get to live one life and I was not interested in not knowing what it was like to be in love any longer. So, I just came out. I had no idea what kind of professional setback it would be, especially because, inconveniently, it was an election year in my socially conservative community. What happened was that when I trusted voters to judge me based on the job that I did for them, they decided to trust me and reelected me with 80 percent of the vote.”

What was your favorite moment from the third Democratic Presidential Debate?

READ: Julián Castro Is Rolling Out A $10 Trillion Plan To Fight Climate Change

CNN Is The Big Loser Of Last Night’s Democratic Debate After All Hell Breaks Loose Between Bernie And Warren

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CNN Is The Big Loser Of Last Night’s Democratic Debate After All Hell Breaks Loose Between Bernie And Warren

CNN / YouTube

If you were watching the Democratic Debates live last night you may have noticed one trending hashtag #CNNisTrash. Many Twitter users felt that CNN flubbed the debate asking leading questions to each candidate, particularly progressives like Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren, and barely touching subjects like climate change, gun control, police brutality, and reproductive rights. 

The crassest part of the evening was the CNN moderator stoking the media-incited rivalry between allied progressives Sanders and Warren. The two appeared to have entered frenemy territory this week when it was revealed Sanders’ volunteers were using negative talking points about Warren while canvassing. Then four sources leaked to CNN that Sanders told Warren a woman couldn’t win the presidency in 2018. 

CNN asked both senators about the former incident, which many felt was an attempt to pit progressive candidates against each other and distract from real issues. 

Democratic debate so white.

With Senator Cory Booker dropping out of the race, Andrew Yang and Deval Patrick are the only non-white candidates in the running but they did not qualify for the debate.  While the primary started out with its most diverse set of candidates, only the whitest and wealthiest have been able to garner enough support to stick out the excruciatingly long election season.

Time and time again, experts have pointed out that the primary process too often favors wealthy white males over women and non-white candidates. 

Sanders and Warren refused to take CNN’s bait last night.

Moderator Abby Phillip first asked Sanders about the sexist comment. Sanders denied ever making it. Rather than attacking Warren, he pivoted to the fact that Hillary Clinton won the nomination (over him no less) and that she won the popular vote. 

“Well, as a matter of fact, I didn’t say it. And I don’t want to waste a whole lot of time on this, because this is what Donald Trump and maybe some of the media want. Anybody who knows me knows that it’s incomprehensible that I would think that a woman cannot be President of the United States,” Sanders said. 

Warren maintained her account of events without attacking Sanders.

“I disagreed,” she said. “Bernie is my friend, and I am not here to try to fight with Bernie. But, look, this question about whether or not a woman can be president has been raised, and it’s time for us to attack it head-on.” 

Warren made a salient point about women’s ability to win elections when they choose to run. 

“Look at the men on the stage – collectively they’ve lost 10 elections,” Warren said. “The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they’ve been in are the women. Amy and me.” 

She also noted that she and Senator Amy Klobuchar are the only candidates to beat republican incumbents in roughly 30 years.

#NeverWarren is the number one trend in the U.S.

Some Sanders supporters appear unable to take the lead from their candidate of choice. A behind the scenes moment where Warren and Sanders have a tense conversation has caused many followers to speculate about what was said. Some Sanders supporters say Warren refused to shake his hand.

Twitter has since been flooded with accusations that Warren lied about Sanders’ 2018 comment (with little evidence) and #NeverWarren is now trending. Sanders’ more reasonable followers have chalked things up to a misunderstanding between two friends.

Could all of this anti-Warren drama be due to Russian influence?

Either way, Warren is on the receiving end of a great deal of vitriol which many believe is a coordinated effort by Russian bots to stoke division since neither progressive can win the nomination without the support of the other. A Warren or Sanders presidency will mean bad news for Russia. 

CNN’s questions made them the big losers of the night.

There is much criticism of how political pundits cover elections like a horse race or a soap opera, looking for soundbites, drama, and conflict rather than covering policy and the real stakes for American people. Twitter users seemed to agree that CNN’s democratic debate was by far the worst yet. 

CNN did not address the conservative court-packing of federal judges who are often rated as not qualified for their lifetime appointments. 

CNN did not talk about the president’s unsettling behavior which many believe to be is Trump’s mental unraveling

Why is everyone so intent on not mentioning the obvious dangers that the current president and his administration pose to the country and the world?

Many question the entire debate process after it’s quite obvious the media doesn’t treat progressive politicians and policies in the same way it does long standing traditional ones.

But perhaps the biggest cause of ire was the constant questions about how Democrats will pay for basic entitlements like universal healthcare, childcare, and college with little interrogation about how the government always manages to allocate billions for endless wars and walls. 

Many felt that rather than using the debate as a tool to inform the American people, the moderators were instead reinforcing conservative talking points. 

The general reception of the debate was that the candidates kept their cool and were cordial to one another, despite CNN’s repeated attempts to court drama. 

The candidates won the debate by dodging leading questions and centering their policies and vision for America. 

Apparently Bernie Sanders Told Elizabeth Warren That Women Can’t Win The Presidency And Here’s Why He’s Wrong

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Apparently Bernie Sanders Told Elizabeth Warren That Women Can’t Win The Presidency And Here’s Why He’s Wrong

CNN Town Hall / YouTube

Identity politics have taken center stage in progressive politics once again. This time CNN is reporting that four sources say Bernie Sanders told Elizabeth Warren in a private meeting that a woman cannot win the presidency. Bernie directly spoke to CNN to refute the allegation. However, CNN claims their four sources are credible — two spoke to Warren directly after the meeting and the other two were “familiar” with the meeting. 

Warren and Sanders met in December 2018 to talk about the 2020 election. It was at this meeting that Warren revealed she would run. The two progressives have been allies for years, but with only one able to score the nomination supporters and pundits have attempted to pit them against each other. The two senators have largely resisted and have been supportive on the campaign trail.

CNN sources allege Sanders doesn’t think a woman candidate could earn the presidency.

According to CNN, the two future candidates discussed how they should remain civil to one another, the best strategy to unseat Donald Trump, and Warren told him she felt she would be a compelling candidate because she could build a coalition amongst female voters and could make convincing arguments about the economy. 

This is when Sanders allegedly told her a woman couldn’t win. Sanders has resisted identity politics and takes a broad approach to solving all inequalities which has been both a source of criticism and celebration. Warren tends to take things on an intersectional level.

For example, where Bernie believes Medicare For All will enrich black women who face disproportionately high maternal mortality rates, Warren supports Medicare For All but in addition to it, she lays out a plan to specifically correct the high mortality rates for black women by penalizing hospitals that fail black mothers

“One of the struggles that you’re going to be seeing in the Democratic Party is whether we go beyond identity politics,” Sanders said in 2016. 

His comments about doing away with identity politics have been a source of ire for those who need identity politics to obtain civil rights. 

“Sanders’s comments represent a flank of the Democratic party that partly blames Clinton’s loss on her strong embrace of race and gender issues, which could have turned off white male voters in particular,” according to Vox. “Meanwhile, the marginalized groups who overwhelmingly vote for Democrats fear being thrown under the bus, as they have many times before, so that the party can curry more favor with white Americans.”

Bernie denies claims that he doesn’t believe a woman president could win.

“It is ludicrous to believe that at the same meeting where Elizabeth Warren told me she was going to run for president, I would tell her that a woman couldn’t win,” Sanders said. “It’s sad that, three weeks before the Iowa caucus and a year after that private conversation, staff who weren’t in the room are lying about what happened. What I did say that night was that Donald Trump is a sexist, a racist and a liar who would weaponize whatever he could. Do I believe a woman can win in 2020? Of course! After all, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 3 million votes in 2016.”

Kristen Orthman, Warren’s communications director declined to comment. The CNN exposè comes in the wake of reports that Sanders’ campaign had started taking a more offensive approach regarding Warren despite previous efforts to be cordial. Politico reported that Sanders’ canvassers were given a script to undermine Warren. 

The script says that  “people who support her are highly-educated, more affluent people who are going to show up and vote Democratic no matter what” and that “she’s bringing no new bases into the Democratic Party.”

The script also featured attacks on Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg, the two other frontrunners.

Many agree sexism is an important factor in this presidential election.

“Bernie knows me, and has known me for a long time,” Warren said, expressing disappointment in the script. “He knows who I am, where I come from, what I have worked on and fought for, and the coalition and grassroots movement we’re trying to build.”

Warren is the only woman left in the race and has moved up and down first and third place for the bulk of campaign season. Sexism has been accepted as playing a significant factor in the 2016 and 2020 elections.

“The Barbara Lee Family Foundation research shows female candidates pay a higher price than men if they are seen as learning on the job. It’s likely not a coincidence, then, that Warren and other female candidates for president have detailed policy proposals on everything from student-loan debt forgiveness to affordable housing,” the Washington Post noted last May. “By contrast, Buttigieg and O’Rourke — two men with relatively thin résumés running for president — have been piecing together their platforms as they run.”