Democratic debates, Biden, Booker, Gabbard and the week in politics

Democratic debates, Biden, Booker, Gabbard and the week in politics

As the dust settled from this week’s (two-part!) Democratic debate, a few things remain clear: Policy wonks Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders had good nights. Fellow top-tier candidates Joe Biden and Kamala Harris had less good ones. And the Andrew Yang Gang™ gained a few members, judging by uproarious cheering for Yang inside Detroit’s Fox Theatre.

Night one’s debate felt like a battle for the Democratic Party’s future as moderates clashed with progressives. A frustrated Warren quipped: “I don’t know why somebody bothers to run for president of the United States just to talk about what we shouldn’t do and can’t fight for.” Sanders likewise said he was “a little tired of Democrats who are afraid of big ideas.” Meanwhile, moderates like John Delaney and John Hickenlooper pooh-poohed progressive notions like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal: “You might as well FedEx the election to Donald Trump,” Hickenlooper said.

Polling front-runner Biden took the most attacks at night two’s debate, fielding heat from Harris, Cory Booker, Bill de Blasio and more. “Everybody’s talking about how terrible I am on these issues,” Biden said. “Barack Obama knew exactly who I was.” And after Biden questioned his criminal justice bona fides, Booker blasted the ex-VP with an already iconic one-liner: “Mr. Vice President, there’s a saying in my community: You’re dipping into the Kool-Aid and you don’t even know the flavor.”

Now it’s back to the campaign trail for Dem candidates until September, when the next debates unfold in Houston. But expect a far smaller field at that point: Candidates will be required to be polling at 2% or above – a threshold only six candidates meet at present.

‘Better to have a few rats than to be one’

After a Twitter tirade from President Donald Trump labeled Baltimore a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess,” The Baltimore Sun issued an editorial in response: “Better to have a few rats than to be one.” Trump’s words on majority-black Baltimore also knocked Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Trump critic and Maryland congressman who is black. Democrats widely denounced the attack as racist, which Trump dismissed as a decision to “play the race card.” But the comments felt like “racist words” to one black American living in Cincinnati, the site of a Thursday Trump rally,  even as Greenville, N.C. — where Trump’s rally sparked “send her back” chants for a Muslim congresswoman — wrestled with the fallout of the racial tension following Trump’s visit.

This week in Trump

  • ‘I promise you, you’re wrong’: A Fox News host shut down the claim that Robert Mueller has vindicated Trump.
  • Trump nominated John Ratcliffe, a House Republican from Texas, to replace Dan Coats as Director of National Intelligence.
  • China received new tariffs from Trump, who says he still wants a trade deal.
  • Trump’s meeting with airline CEOs apparently involved “a lot of yelling,” a report says.

This week in 2020 Dems

  • Tulsi Gabbard was again the most-Googled candidate during the Democratic debate.
  • What is Joe30330? Biden misspoke while pitching his text number for voters, and a college student pounced.
  • ‘A bunch of crazy socialists’: At the debate, Pete Buttigieg said the GOP will label them that no matter what the policy.
  • Warren criticized attacks on Medicare for All as “Republican talking points.”
  • Biden and Harris got the most words in during Wednesday’s Dem debate.
  • Marianne Williamson’s ‘Seinfeld’ reference at the debate was ” bizarre,” Julia Louis-Dreyfus said.
  • Rosario Dawson missed boyfriend Cory Booker’s debate on Wednesday night. Here’s why.

Thanks, OnPolitics friends. Dip into your inner Kool-Aid this week. — Josh Hafner 

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