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Post-Debate Shade Showcases Serious Policy Rifts Among 2020 Democratic Candidates

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What are the Democratic candidates saying about each other after last night's debate? Their responses reveal substantive policy differences while also featuring a high degree of bloviation and whining.

As you probably know, Wednesday night marked the first debate of the 2020 campaign season, with 10 Democratic hopefuls taking to MSNBC's televised stage. (Another 10 take their turn tonight.) The candidates included Democratic frontrunners like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.), and former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, as well as underdogs like Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and former housing secretary Julian Castro—plus an assortment of "who?" candidates like Reps. Tim Ryan (Ohio) and John Delaney (Md.) and Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee. In a fast-paced and occasionally chaotic two-hour debacle, they discussed everything from "Medicare for All" to immigration policy, "equal pay," abortion, college loans, the Mueller report, terrorism, troops in Afghanistan, and much more. 

Some of the most contentious debate moments were between Gabbard—an army veteran and staunch opponent of overly interventionist policy—and Ryan, who weirdly chose to use one of the rare times he was called on to take us back to the George W. Bush years and suggest that folks from Afghanistan did 9/11.

"When we weren't there they were flying planes into our buildings," Ryan said—though no Afghans were among the attackers—as a reason why, after 18 years, we still need to stay the course in Afghanistan. Here's Gabbard's response.

After the debate, Ryan—a virtual unknown, even among many residents of his home state—complained that Gabbard "was trying to make it look like I didn't understand what I'm talking about" because she told him that the Taliban did not, in fact, cause the 9/11 attacks. He told reporters: "I personally don't need to be lectured by somebody who's dining with a dictator who gassed kids. I know what I'm talking about. I'm right, and we can't let these areas be wide open."

A post-debate statement from the Ryan campaign complained further that Gabbard had "contorted" his point "about the Taliban being complicit in the 9/11 attacks" and said that Ryan rejects "Gabbard's isolationism."

The exchange seems to have worked out well for Gabbard, who—like Ryan—is not well known on the national stage. Ahead of the debate, the only state where she led Google searches was in her native Hawaii; afterward, she dominated Google searches in states across the U.S. Ryan, for his part, saw no such search surge post-debate.

Booker and Warren were also among the top Google searches, both before and after last night's debate, and both have received good report cards from pundits. Both also received a backhanded compliment from Castro, who commented: "I find it very ironic that a senator from Massachusetts and a senator from New Jersey are the ones who understand this border policy and this law better than Congressman O'Rourke."

O'Rourke also received some shade from de Blasio (who seemed by far the most shouty and red-faced candidate on stage last night), who in between rambling about his black son and the glory of the NYPD tried to position himself as The True Progressive and slammed O'Rourke for not supporting the total elimination of all private health insurance. (Yes, that's where the Dems are now, folks.) Afterward, de Blasio told reporters that some of the candidates he had shared the stage with do not "fit the values of the party." 

Inslee also slammed opponents for supposedly failing to have "advanced the ball" on socializing health care as much as he has.

Meanwhile, Klobuchar—who neither made any major gaffes last night nor stood out in the slightest with her cheerful Midwestern moderate schtick—had her biggest moment of the debate after Inslee suggested he was the most notable champion of reproductive freedom. Klobuchar objected to that on the grounds that she, Gabbard, and Warren were women and had also worked to defend "a woman's right to choose." But Klobuchar offered no further details about what she had done on that front, imploring voters to just believe she's better here by virtue of Inslee being a man. 

For more Reason debate coverage, see:



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  1. Their responses reveal substantive policy differences while also featuring a high degree of bloviation and whining.

    And none of them said that they wanted to make America great again. Why should i waste my vote?

    1. Hello.

      From the premier psych ward in America here are your Democrats taking the stage!

    2. Not only do they want to not make America great, they want to bankrupt the country and enslave everyone.

  2. …afterward, she dominated Google searches across the U.S.

    That may not work out so well for her.

    1. Roughly 50% included the term “nude”

      1. Glad I wasn’t the only one doing that.

      2. You can just use the DeepNude app.

      3. Soon to be criminalized as a #metoo assault.

      4. Pro tip; do a search of her or anyone else at nudogrpahy.com. A database of known nudity of many entertainers and public figures.

  3. O’Rourke also received some shade from de Blasio (who seemed by far the most shouty and red-faced candidate on stage last night)…

    Must be a NYC presidential candidate thing.

    1. We’ve got one NYC dude in the White House, why would we want another?

  4. What, praytell, is a “Policy Riff”? Is this a jazz reference?

    1. Socialist guitar solo

      1. Is that where you use other people’s fingers?

        1. It’s sort of like Hendrix at Woodstock, only playing The Internationale instead.

        2. It’s where you use someone else’s guitar, break it, then complain when they don’t fix it as fast as you want them to. Then complain that the repair job wasn’t ‘free’.

    2. Yes, but it’s not as cool.

  5. More evidence Democrats are moving toward the Koch / Reason open borders position. Here’s Cory Booker:

    There’s nothing criminal about seeking a better life for your family. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again now—we have to do the right thing and decriminalize border crossing.

    #AbolishConcentrationCamps
    #VoteDemocratForOpenBorders

    1. LOL, so when somebody steals Booker’s car he won’t have that person arrested so long as the thief wanted to “seek a better life for his family”.

      1. Forget the car, I want to live in his house and use his pool.

        1. Analogy failure. Analogy failure. Beep. Beeep.

          1. I wasn’t making an analogy.

        2. Forget the car. Progressives are an existential threat to humanity. So if I have them all put down, then that’s cool too, right?

          Awesome.

  6. Klobuchar objected to that on the grounds that she, Gabbard, and Warren were women and had also worked to defend “a woman’s right to choose.” But Klobuchar offered no further details about what she had done on that front, imploring voters to just believe she’s better here by virtue of Inslee being a man.

    Did you not see that iconic scene during the final battle in Avengers: Endgame?

    1. It was almost enough to ruin the movie.

  7. “This debate was the best argument for President Trump’s re-election and should really be counted as an in-kind contribution to the president’s campaign.” — Trump campaign press secretary @kayleighmcenany

    Someone’s bringing her A game.

  8. Eric Swalwell should be polling so much higher than 0%.

    I would ban and buy back every single assault weapon in America. Period.

    As longtime libertarian activist Michael Hihn has noted, this policy is defensible on libertarian grounds and totally Constitutional.

    #BanAssaultWeapons
    #UnbanMichaelHihn

    1. How can one “buy back” something they never owned in the first place?

      1. Everything belongs to the state!

  9. A pregnant woman lost her baby after being shot by someone else.

    Did it just get up and walk away?

    1. Fleeing the scene implies the baby was the shooter.

    2. Getting shot is no excuse for losing track of your baby.

    3. And on top of that, the fetus died.

    4. MAYBE THE DINGO ATE HER BABY!

  10. A pregnant woman lost her baby after being shot by someone else. Now she’s being prosecuted for the child’s death.

    If authorities are to be believed, and it was self defense, it seems like she does have some culpability.

    And “child”? Interesting.

    1. Yes, child. Despite proggies’ whining to the contrary, it was a child. Legally. Attack a pregnant woman and kill her fetus, and you get tried for murder even though she lived.

  11. So Kim Kardashian selling kimonos is the dreded “cultural aprobation” but some white guy calling himself “Beto” and answering questions in Spanish for no appearent reason is totally okay. Wow.

    1. Someone should tell them that their dastardly “Indie Rock” is also cultural appropriation. I mean, all rock stems from blues and jazz, both black art forms.

      How fucking dare they?

    2. I think the appropriation part is Kim trying to trademark the word “kimono”.

    3. I haven’t yet heard anyone claim that speaking Spanish is cultural appropriation. But I guess it wouldn’t surprise me.
      And isn’t Spanish the language of white colonialists and conquistadors?

      1. Shhhhhh!

        We’re *supposed* to forget that the Spanish once colonized about 1/2 the world, were heavily involved in the slave trade, killed off Indians at an alarming clip, then raped and/or otherwise subdued those they didn’t kill.

        1. Careful now, next thing you will be telling than Spanish people are white.

          1. My cousin, who is Spanish but lives in CA now, has been told that she’s too white to be a native Spanish speaker. And that she talks funny.

          2. I once had a colleague (fellow grad student) from SPAIN, call herself a minority “Woman of Color.”

            My Brazilian wife laughed heartily. Right to her face. And then explained just exactly why she’s an idiot.

            1. Is this pre or post The Moor invasion of Spain?

            2. I once had a colleague (fellow grad student) from SPAIN, call herself a minority “Woman of Color.”

              I saw Antonio Banderas make that claim about himself, once, too, while leading a protest in Spain about the international oppression of People of Color.

              I almost spit my drink.

        2. killed off Indians at an alarming clip

          And did so as part of a quite deliberate program of imperial conquest that lasted centuries and involved the, again, deliberate and carefully planned erasure of local cultures (via the Mission system).

      2. No they have not Zeb. But if wearing the garb is appropriation, isn’t speaking the language and calling yourself by their names also? That is my point.

        1. Yes, I get it. It’s just so goddamn stupid that I don’t want to even think that way. It might damage my brain.

  12. “Post-Debate Shade Showcases Serious Policy Riffs Among 2020 Democratic Candidates”

    Some want to give away 100% of my money and the others only 85% or so?

    1. Crazy how seriously Reason is handling coverage of this clown show. I never get tired of railing on assholes that want to take my money and bribe others with it to vote for them. But that can’t go on too much around here or Vox won’t invite everyone to the next cocktail party.

      1. They really should be abhorred.

  13. So she met with a ME dictator. So you pretty much admit that she has more foreign policy experience than you do.

    1. Syrian collusion for the win. She is Assad’s puppet!!

      1. Can you imagine if the allies refused to talk to Stalin during WWII? Its not exactly the same, but I hate the idea that we can’t talk to people we are at odds with or disagree with. That’s what politics is.

        1. Unless Trump does it.

  14. http://nypost.com/2019/06/25/lgbtq-acceptance-in-toxic-decline-among-young-americans-study/

    Acceptance of guys susignificant decline among young Americans. What is most interesting about this survey is the biggest decline was among women. I think the likely explanation for that is gays associating themselves with transgender. Thanks to the gay left “gay”, has now become sononomous with pervermen wanting to shower with women. Unsurprisingly, this isn’t making gays very popular among women and especially young women who seem to feel the brunt of this nonsense.

    1. There is absolutely nothing wrong with women who happen to have beards and penises and testicles showering in the same locker room as cisgender women. You would understand this if you paid more attention to Scott Shackford’s work.

      #TransWomenAreWomen
      #ILoveScience

    2. It probably has something to do with the LGBTQUIA+ movement going from “hey, let us live our lives without beating the shit out of us” to “totally-not-men should be able to compete all women’s sports” to “you must use my preferred pronouns, you Nazi fascist bigot”.

      Young people don’t like being told what to do or how to think when it comes t basic socializing (the economy is a different can of worms). Once the QWERTY crowd went from expanding social freedom to restricting social freedom, they really dimmed their chances of earning support of the youngest members of the nation.

      1. It would be nice if the fags and dykes would just shut up. Then I can go back to being indifferent to their proclivities.

    3. The essential problem thee alphabets+ community has is that they aligned all of their interests together as if they were one and the same.

      The average gay man has nothing in common with a woman with balls hanging lower than mine competing in woman’s high school races. The average gay man has nothing in common with Dildo Man. Yet they been conflated by the alphabets+.

      Separate those groups, and I’d bet you’ll find that the majority of people have no problem with Uncle Joe and his boyfriend living their lives together, while they have a huge problem with Dildo Man’s display and Jennifer the new Women’s State Track Record Holder who has a hairy sack that sways in “her” running shorts.

      But the alphabets+ won’t make that distinction, because they know that.

      1. And transgender has absolutely nothing to do with sexual orientation. As you point out, the average gay guy or gal has absolutely nothing in common with some loser wanting to win girls’ track meets. Why gays have allowed themselves to be associated with transgender is beyond me.

        1. It made some sense when both groups were socially shunned and generally seen as deviants. But now it doesn’t the interests of the two groups are very different. And gays pretty much have all the legal rights and privileges and social acceptance that can reasonably be expected.
          It’s just some asshole activists who need something to activist about.

          1. This echoes almost exactly what a gay friend of mine (who I was imagining with my average gay man in my original comment) said when I texted him my response (along with some context).

            Basically, he said he understands why the groups became aligned in the 60s and 70s when police raids on gay bars were commonplace, and victims of said oppression were from both groups (gays and trans). But he also agreed that he and the current Alaska HS Woman’s State Track Champion have nothing in common, and that the only interest he has in their cause is that they not be actively oppressed (as he has an interest that no one be oppressed, particularly by government). That trans, etc. groups should leave gays out of their fight because it isn’t their fight. He can do whatever he pleases as a gay man, except that it doesn’t satisfy THEIR needs. He can be conservative (though he’s closer to libertarian than anything else), support the 2A, etc, but that he is then ostracized by the very group (the alphabets+) that says they fight for his rights (but really don’t so long as every one of their goal doesn’t align with his).

    4. It really was a bad move for the gay rights movement. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a lot of gay people getting sick of all of this preoccupation with trans issues.
      I wish nothing but the best for people with actual gender dysphoria problems. But it’s just not the same as being gay and shouldn’t be treated as such politically. It’s a problem in a way that being gay just isn’t. Tacking it onto the gay rights movement to keep it rolling after they got pretty much everything they could want in terms of legal and social acceptance is just foolish. But activists never want to declare victory and go home because then they would have to figure out how to do something productive with their lives.

      1. But activists never want to declare victory and go home because then they would have to figure out how to do something productive with their lives.

        Add in the fact that everything they’re raging about fits the definition of first world problems, it’s ridiculous.

  15. So Julian Castro said “trans women have a right to an abortion”. The party that loves science sexually speaks again.

    I am not sure what is more terrifying, that a candidate for a major party nomination actually believes that or that a significant number of Democartic voters do.

    1. It’s like the Ron White bit. They have the right, they just don’t have the ability.

      1. Kind of like John having the right to ask skinny women out on a date?

      2. Monty Python did it first.

    2. He should be ridiculed into last week for saying that.

      But he won’t be.

  16. Best post debate line I have seen was asking if someone could start a kickstarter campaign to give Cory Boothe money to move to a better neighborhood.

    1. Corey Booker

      1. Don’t worry John, everyone else has already forgotten his name too.

        1. One of those kids from the Lost Boys?

  17. I didn’t watch the debates last night, but I heard that they all stayed pretty quiet on Trump during the show. That’s smart. Democrats will need to focus on policy if they hope to have a chance against Trump in the general.

    1. They have no shot unless the economy tanks. Their wealth redistribution schemes, caring more about non- citizens than citizens, and plans to strip freedoms left and right, are their policy plans.

      1. I agree that they have many bad policy positions, but its still smart from a politics standpoint. I am willing to bet that about 50% of the country is on board with the redistribution schemes. The illegal immigration issue is a little more complicated… I think that democrats in general are little less interested in open border policy than the candidates realize — its mostly progressives that are huge on abolishing ICE and all that, and they are a very vocal but small group.

        1. I think you’re right that it’s smart for them to not talk about Trump because no matter what they say it will turn out great for him. Happens every time.

          “I am willing to bet that about 50% of the country is on board with the redistribution schemes.”

          I agree. Good thing most of them don’t vote.

        2. its mostly progressives that are huge on abolishing ICE and all that, and they are a very vocal but small group

          They’re going to have to do the “we’re international-socialists” dance up until one of them wins the primary, at which point they’re going to have to pivot to “people were really misrepresenting my socialist leanings – I’m a died-in-the-wool Capitalist” for the general. The far left will be pissed, but as we learned with HRC, they will vote for whomever the Democrats nominate, anyway.

      2. They have no shot unless the economy tanks.

        I think this is close to 100% of it right there. If the economy doesn’t crash before November 2020, Trump will be re-elected. If it does and doesn’t start showing clear signs of recovery before November 2020, he won’t be.

    2. Too bad none of them have a policy proposal worth a damn.

  18. “(Another 10 take their turn tonight.)”

    Come ’24 we’ll have 30 people on both sides running for President.

  19. Policy riffs?

    “I can give more ‘free’ stuff away!”
    “You’re nuts, I CAN GIVE MORE ‘FREE’ STUFF AWAY!”
    “You say you’re giving away ‘free’ stuff? Hold my beer!”

  20. Appeal to authority is the fallacy to which libertarians should be least susceptible–and being a veteran leaves Gabbard’s opinions on foreign policy as subject to the facts and rules of logic as anyone else’s. Because she’s a veteran, she deserves my respect for her service. She won’t be the first or last veteran I’ve met who’s wrong about foreign policy–which isn’t to say that she’s wrong about this, exactly.

    Meanwhile, if the debate between those who think we shouldn’t be in Afghanistan anymore and those who think we shouldn’t have invaded at all is somehow representative of the sharp policy divide between the Democrat candidates, then there isn’t much of a policy divide or a selection at all.

    “They discussed everything from “Medicare for All” to immigration policy, “equal pay,” abortion, college loans, the Mueller report, terrorism, troops in Afghanistan, and much more.”

    Add their support for 50 shades of the Green New Deal to their agreement on all of these issues, and whatever distinction there is between two of them on Afghanistan pales to meaninglessness.

    Does the candidate in question support some form of Medicare for All?

    Does the candidate in question support some form of the Green New Deal?

    If the answer to either or both of that question is “yes” and that covers all of them, then fuck them all.

    1. But they aren’t rude like Trump. And that is all that matters.

      That Libertarian talk is just poppycock from the Reason writers. They are very much of the “Well, he’s not our kind” variety.

  21. Post-Debate Shade Showcases Serious Policy Riffs dumbfuckery Among 2020 Democratic Candidates

    FTFY

  22. Twenty turds running for the Democratic nomination. And a turd sitting in the White House. Come on douchebags, 2020 needs you! Don’t let the turds win!

    1. Dumbass/Shithead 2020!

      1. There’s an urban legend about Muslim parents with a kid named Shithead but pronounced differently. Like the twins named Lemonjello and Orangejello…

  23. Checking in with John Mcafee in Cuba.

    Bay of cigs.

    1. Soviet destroyer in Havana. Russian meddling.

  24. After the debate, Ryan—a virtual unknown, even among many residents of his home state—complained that Gabbard “was trying to make it look like I didn’t understand what I’m talking about”

    Probably because you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.

    1. Probably because you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.

      That’s not the point!

  25. Wait, I thought we weren’t supposed to watch these things? What is the point of discussing the goings on afterward if we didn’t actually see the goings on to be begin with?

    1. It was a test. You aren’t supposed to just do what people tell you.

  26. Google employees ask SF to kick Google out of their “Pride” parade because Google ain’t woke enough.

    Investors, might be time to reconsider investments in a company that employs such utter imbeciles.

    Bring on the government control of Google. God knows those morons cannot be trusted to manage themselves.

    1. I thought Google is evil now. Wouldn’t it be better if the company went belly up?

      1. I could care less if Google ceases to exist. I love free markets, not big business. If Google is impeding free markets, which it is, let it cease to be.

  27. I notice Reason is far more upset over tariff policy than the assorted idiotic policies discussed at the debate.

    Yeah, serious group ya gots here. Kochs, don’t you have a better way to waste your money? Bonfires or something?

    1. Tariffs = happening right now. Idiotic democratic policies discussed at debate = not happening right now

      1. Ding ding ding!

        I feel like many of the Reason writers do suffer from a bad case of TDS, but let’s not pretend like bad policies being enacted and affecting Americans negatively RIGHT NOW is the same as a bunch of shit spewed by people who will never be president.

  28. >>>imploring voters to just believe she’s better here by virtue of Inslee being a man.

    which chick candidate’s platform is “Not a Man” not point #1?

    1. Tulsi Gabbard seems to put that point way lower on her list. Her point #1 seems to be “end the forever war” which I love, she also seems to be good on free speech and expression. Everything else is kind of garbage based on what I’ve seen of her website.

  29. From the SCOTUS decision in Department of Commerce v. New York:
    The Enumeration Clause permits Congress, and by extension the Secretary, to inquire about citizenship on the census question-naire. That conclusion follows from Congress’s broad authority over the census, as informed by long and consistent historical practice that “has been open, widespread, and unchallenged since the early days of the Republic.” (Page 3)

    The SCOTUS majority considers the question of citizenship on the Census perfectly fine but this case is remanded back to the Dept. of Commerce which likely means that the question will not make it on the 2020 Census as it starts being printed July 1.

    Hopefully Trump pushes to have followup Census questions include citizenship.

    I would rather have all illegals deported, a simple count of every American inside the USA, and all Census’ focus on getting that count correct. With correct counts of visiting non-Americans on visas, Americans could have a more accurate tally of how many illegals and visitors overstaying visas that are inside the USA.

  30. Mitchell v. Wisconsin vacates a drunk driving conviction based on warrantless blood test while the guy was unconscious is also a fabulous 4th Amendment supporting decision.

    1. Does it? I thought that decision went the other way… they said it is A-OK for the police to take your blood if you’re unconscious and in the driver’s seat.

      They didn’t rule on the constitutionality of whether a state can say that you’ve given implied consent by obtaining a drivers license.

      1. On remand, Mitchell may attempt to show that his was an unu-sual case, in which his blood would not have been drawn had police not been seeking BAC information and police could not have reason-ably judged that a warrant application would interfere with other pressing needs or duties. Pp. 16–17.

        This is NOT a slam dunk for cops.

  31. Rucho v. Common Cause is yet another great SCOTUS decision where partisan gerrymandering does not violate the US Constitution.

    The Lefties think that they won this one but actually, this helps the GOP more than Democrats. It also helps future national political parties like the Libertarian Party.

    The Lefties are bleeding residents from their Blue states and those people are moving to Red states. Because of this ruling, Red states will now be able to determine Congressional Districts based on their majority rule of the Red states.

    Georgia will be picking up House seats based on the 2020 Census and Georgia’s GOP controlled government at nearly every level will be able to minimize the damage Lefties do to Georgia as a state because they live in Atlanta.

    While this will also affect Blue states and the few non-Democrat districts left, the Blue states have been attacking non-Blue voters in those states for years trying to minimize their vote impact.

    The 2020 Census will set a new tone in the USA for undermining Socialism from Lefties and this is another weapon that can be used.

  32. Hmm, Bank of America is going to end its association with companies that provide prisoner and immigration detention centers at state and federal levels.

    Yeah, market is working GREAT guys. Really. You know, we — as a country — gave them $20B back in 2009. Might be time to remove their access to the banking system that is supported by ALL citizens, not just the ones woke enough to satisfy them.

    No access to any credit systems. No Federal Reserve access. No FDIC. Nothing. Shut them the fuck down.

    1. But they’re private, we should let them do whatever they want to us.

      1. If they were truly private, they would be allowed to fail.

    2. Yeah, market is working GREAT guys.

      What market? These are banks you’re talking about. If they’re going to be sucking up federal funds then they should get fucked.

  33. A post-debate statement from the Ryan campaign complained further that Gabbard had “contorted” his point “about the Taliban being complicit in the 9/11 attacks” and said that Ryan rejects “Gabbard’s isolationism.”

    That’s cool, Tim Ryan, because the U.S. rejects you! 🙂

    1. it’s cute when they don’t know when to just shut up.

    2. Who the fuck is Tim Ryan?

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