Top moments from a contentious Democratic debate

Democrats took the stage in the first night of the second primary debate on Thursday, highlighting many of the key ideological differences between centrists and progressives within the party


Moderates like former Rep. John DelaneyJohn DelaneyThe Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas says country needs to rethink what ‘policing’ means; US cases surpass 2 million with no end to pandemic in sight Minnesota AG Keith Ellison says racism is a bigger problem than police behavior; 21 states see uptick in cases amid efforts to reopen The Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan says there will be consequences from fraying US-China relations; WHO walks back claims on asymptomatic spread of virus MORE (D-Md.) came out swinging against progressive Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (D-Mass.), while candidates like Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockKoch-backed group launches ad campaign to support four vulnerable GOP senators Overnight Energy: US Park Police say ‘tear gas’ statements were ‘mistake’ | Trump to reopen area off New England coast for fishing | Vulnerable Republicans embrace green issues Vulnerable Republicans embrace green issues in battle to save seats MORE (D) sought a breakout moment. 

Here are the top moments from Tuesday’s Democratic primary debate: 


Warren calls out candidates who say progressive policies can’t get done

Warren drew one of the loudest applause lines of the night when she hit Democratic presidential candidates who say progressive policies cannot be achieved. 

“I don’t understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for,” the senator said. 

The comments were a response to Delaney, who said he was not running on “fairy tale” policies. 

Delaney hit Sanders and Warren throughout the debate, causing Warren to accuse him of touting Republican talking points. 

“We are the Democrats. We are not about taking health care from anyone. That’s what the Republicans are trying to do, and we should stop using Republican talking points,” she said.


Williamson hits Trump’s ‘dark psychic force’

Author Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonMarianne Williamson touts endorsements for progressive congressional candidates The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Warren becomes latest 2020 rival to back Biden The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden looks to stretch lead in Tuesday contests MORE took aim at President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE’s administration, saying there was a “dark psychic force” coming from the White House. 

“If you think any of this wonkiness is going to deal with this dark psychic force of the collectivized hatred that this president is bringing up in this country, then I’m afraid that the Democrats are going to see some very dark days,” Williamson said.

“It’s bigger than Flint,” she continued, referring to the Michigan town that is dealing with a water crisis. “It’s particularly people of color. It’s particularly people who do not have the money to fight back, and if the Democrats don’t start saying it, why would those people feel they’re there for us?”

The phrase quickly gained traction on social media and surged in Google Trends during the debate.

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Sanders to Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanMinnesota AG Keith Ellison says racism is a bigger problem than police behavior; 21 states see uptick in cases amid efforts to reopen Congress must fill the leadership void Pelosi pushes to unite party on coronavirus bill despite grumbling from left MORE on ‘Medicare for All’: ‘I wrote the damn bill’

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) openly questioned how comprehensive Sanders’s “Medicare for All” platform actually is, causing the progressive to defend his authorship of the legislation.

Sanders originally said his Medicare for All plan would give comprehensive health care coverage to people who would lose their health care plans under the new proposal. 

“You don’t know that, Bernie,” Ryan said. 

“I do know that, I wrote the damn bill,” Sanders hit back, referencing the Medicare for All bill he’s introduced in the Senate.


Tim Ryan tells Sanders he doesn’t have to yell during the debate 

Sanders and Ryan also clashed over the role of cars and fossil fuels in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, leading to Ryan to tell Sanders to keep his voice down. 

“I get a little tired of Democrats afraid of big ideas,” Sanders said. “Please don’t tell me that we cannot take on the fossil fuel industry. Nothing happens unless we do that. … What do you do with an industry that knowingly, for billions of dollars in short-term profits, is destroying this planet?”  

“I didn’t say we couldn’t get there til 2040, Bernie. You don’t have to yell,” Ryan responded. “All I’m saying is we have to invent our way out of this thing. And if we’re waiting for 2040 for a ban to come in on gasoline vehicles we’re screwed.”


Bullock tells Warren she’s ‘playing into Donald Trump’s hands’ 

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) issued a stark warning to Warren over immigration policy, telling her she was playing directly into Trump’s hands on the issue. 

Warren said that the law criminalizing border crossings permitted Trump to separate families and jail children.

“We need to fix the crisis at the border, and a big part of how we do that is we do not play into Donald Trump’s hands, but he wants to stir up the crisis at the border, because that’s his overall message,” Warren said.

“But you are playing into Donald Trump’s hands,” Bullock responded. “The challenge isn’t that it’s a criminal offense to cross the border. The challenge is that Donald Trump is president and using this to rip families apart.” 

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