Democrats Hold Raucous Debate🇺🇸
By Steven R. Maher
The June 27, 2019, Democratic donnybrook revealed there are deep schisms not only in the country at large but in the Democratic party itself. We may have to await polling data in the next week or two to determine who really won the 2-night debate.
Particularly disastrous for former Vice President Joe Biden was a confrontation with California Senator Kamala Harris, who eloquently described incidents of racism she encountered growing up as an African American.
“As the only black person on this stage, I would like to speak on the issue of race,” said Harris, who then turned to Biden and said: “There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me. I do not believe you are a racist. And I agree with you, when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground.”
Biden’s response was to attack Harris for misquoting his position. But the person Biden should be angry at is the campaign adviser who advised him to double down. Biden would have been far better off to apologize prior to the debate for his mistake, fire whomever advised mulishly digging in his heels, and move on.
Harris also showed charisma when the other candidates were loudly bickering with each other: “”Hey guys, America does not want to witness a food fight. They want us to know how we’re going to put food on their table.” It was the best line of the evening.
Knives were out
The knives were clearly out during the debate, and not just for Biden. They were especially on display when South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg eloquently described the ramifications to his community of a police shooting of an African American. Buttigieg said that he had tried to improve relationships between the black community and law enforcement.
Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper asked Buttigieg why it’s taking “so long” to bridge the gap between the police and the African American community. Buttigieg responded by boasting he had “too much accountability” after the police shooting. But U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell jumped into the conversation. “If the camera wasn’t on and that was the policy, you should fire the chief [of police],” Swalwell told Buttigieg.
Senator Bernie Sanders major goal in the debate was to win back the left-wing vote he received in 2016, which has been hemorrhaging away to Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Sanders was passionate and eloquent. But the drama put on by Harris and Biden on the race question, and Buttigieg and Swallwell over the police shooting, probably detracted from Sanders’ efforts to stop the drain of support from his campaign to Warren’s.
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand set the bar for aggressiveness during the debate, repeatedly interrupting the other candidates to put in her two cents on a variety of subjects. Perhaps she was trying to show she could stand up to President Donald Trump. But this aggressiveness could be a red flag to voters; Gillibrand reminded this writer of the similarities between how Trump behaved in debates in 2016 and how Gillibrand conducted herself at the Miami debate. In both cases, Trump and Gillibrand ignored the rules and spoke over other candidates who had been given the floor by the debate moderators.
There were several candidates for whom the two June 2019 debates may be the swan song of their Presidential aspirations. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, with his wealth distribution program, will probably best be remembered for not wearing a tie to the debate; this will be noted in footnotes in future accounts of the campaign.
Providing some much-needed comic relief at the end of the debate, self-help guru Marianne Williamson addressed herself to Trump: “[I]f you’re listening you have harnessed fear for political purposes, and only love can cast that out. I am going to harness love for political purposes.” Except when it comes to pornography stars and Playboy Bunnies, love does not seem to be one of Donald Trump’s motivating emotions.
It should be noted that we are still 200 or so days away from the first caucuses. In the world of Presidential politics, that can be a lifetime. But as the June 27, 2019, Presidential debate showed, this is going to be a very tumultuous campaign season.
DID YOU KNOW …
Income Inequality in Mass:
The Top 1% of families take home 23% of all the income in Massachusetts
The Top 1% of families make roughly 30 times as much as the bottom 99%.
Massachusetts is as unequal now as it was at the height of the Roaring 1920’s.
10% Poverty Rate and 14% Child Poverty Rate in MA according to the Federal Poverty Line.
If you include those that are “near poor” (up to twice the Federal Poverty Rate): 22% “Near Poor” and 27% Children “Near Poor” in MA
Sources: Economic Policy Institute (The Unequal States of America)
Obstacles on the Road to Opportunity: Finding a Way Forward (MASSCAP Commissioned report published in May 2018)
The state support and funding for policies and programs that create opportunity is critical. We are advocating for policies that strengthen families, bridge the wage gap, create economic opportunity, and strengthen the human services infrastructure – all of which reduce inequality.
We thank both the House and the Senate for their hard work in the FY20 budget process and the inclusion of so many important resources. We hope to see the following essential line items in your final conference report.
Bridging the Wage Gap:
Increase Resources for Free Tax Prep for Low-Income Wage Earners through Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program Sites (1201-0100) – We thank the Senate for including $200,000 in 1201-0100.
Strengthening Families through Affordable & Accessible Early Education and Care
Increase Child Care Resource Referral Access Management in Early
Education Program (3000-2000) – We thank the Senate for including $10.1M.
Increase resources for Early Educators Salaries (3000-1042) – We thank the House of Representatives for including $20 M.
Increase resources for HeadStart (3000-5000) – We thank both House and Senate for including in budget. We ask for support of the Senate allocation of $12M.
Creating a Foundation for Economic Opportunity
Support Services for Unaccompanied Youth Housing and Wraparound Services (4000-0007) – We thank both House and Senate for including in budget. We ask for support of the Senate allocation of $5M.
Rose this afternoon: at her kitchen table learning all about BETO’S POLICIES. Many of them are “kitchen table” issues that appeal to working-class Rose and her world, such as Beto’s calling for a federal minimum wage that is raised to a $15/hour living wage💖!:
WE HAVE NOT GIVEN UP ON THE GOOD, SMART, ENERGETIC, COMPASSIONATE AND DETERMINED PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BETO O’ROURKE!
GO, BETO, GO!
CLICK HERE to learn more about Beto O’Rourke!