A center-left divide is emerging among Democratic presidential candidates. During the first night of the second round of debates in Detroit, Democrats squabbled over healthcare and immigration. Here’s a rundown of highlights:
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar stressed that she has bold ideas that are grounded in reality. Former Maryland Congressman John Delaney said Democrats “need to present real solutions, not impossible promises.”
Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan stressed that it is possible to find solutions that are both bold and realistic. South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg said America is in a crisis and is running out of time. He said President Trump must not be re-elected.
The two “stars” of the night – Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren – defended their "Medicare-for-all" plans. Sanders called healthcare a human right, not a privilege. He said the health insurance companies are getting rich on the backs of average Americans.
While Warren said "Medicare-for-all" could be paid for by billionaires and wealthy corporations, Delaney said "Medicare-for-all" is bad policy. Montana Governor Steve Bullock called it "wish-list economics."
On immigration, Warren agreed on the need for strong border security but said the government should not criminalize families wishing to start a new life in America. Former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke said he would reserve the right to criminally prosecute those who illegally cross the border. Sanders argued that "a mother and child walking a dangerous path" to cross the border are not criminals. Klobuchar said immigrants do not diminish America and insisted that President Trump is using illegal immigrants as "pawns."
An “unlikely” star in the aftermath? While Warren was the most tweeted about last night, author and philanthropist Marianne Williamson is waking up this morning as the “most googled” candidate. As for what caused the spike, Google’s data says her comment about a “dark psychic force” in regards to the Flint, Michigan water crisis. “This is part of the dark underbelly of American society, the racism, the bigotry, and the entire conversation that we’re having here tonight,” she noted. “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.”
With night one of this round done, it’s onto the second group tonight. Former VP Joe Biden and California Senator Kamala Harris will take center stage...and be joined by by New Jersey Cory Booker, former Housing Secretary Julian Castro, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Washington state Governor Jay Inslee, Colorado Senator Michael Bennett, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and businessman Andrew Yang. Tonight’s debate begins at 9pm ET on CNN.