Solidarity begins at home. So why watch this week’s Democratic presidential debate by yourself, when you can watch it with The Nation? Join our commentators as they trade insights, quips, and factual corrections as part of our live debate commentary.

National affairs correspondents Jeet Heer, John Nichols, and Joan Walsh will be joined by Nation contributing writer Elie Mystal (who’s also the executive editor of Above the Law) and Nation editor in chief D.D. Guttenplan to provide insights on the Democratic presidential debate.

LIVE CHAT

12:49 am
Oct 16, 2019
john nichols: My take from tonight's debate: Bernie Is Back
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12:45 am
Oct 16, 2019
d.d. guttenplan: And with that we bid you good night!  Thanks for joining us--and an extra special thanks to those of you who stayed to the end!
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12:44 am
Oct 16, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:
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12:25 am
Oct 16, 2019
jeet heer:
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11:46 pm
Oct 15, 2019
d.d. guttenplan: But also interesting to note that no one is reporting  Ayanna Presley will join her squad sisters.  Might be a political difference (she wasn't for Sanders in 2016).  Might just be because Warren is her senator, so endorsing someone else could be costly for her.
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11:42 pm
Oct 15, 2019
d.d. guttenplan: Brilliant timing by Sanders campaign in leaking AOC endorsement news tonight, along  with Tlaib  and Omar endorsements.  Not just because it was a heck of a comeback move.  Or because it reminds everyone how adored he is by young progressives.  But also because while it helps Bernie pivot forcefully away from the health news that has dominated coverage of his campaign, it doesn't actually hurt anyone else.  No one really expected AOC  or the squad to endorse Warren.  And not being endorsed by them won't hurt Warren if she ends up being the nominee.
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11:25 pm
Oct 15, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:
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11:06 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal:
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11:01 pm
Oct 15, 2019
d.d. guttenplan: Not all of Bernie's friends are surprising--or new: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/democratic-presidential-hopeful-bernie-sanders-to-be-endorsed-by-alexandria-ocasio-cortez/2019/10/15/b2958f64-ef84-11e9-b648-76bcf86eb67e_story.html
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11:01 pm
Oct 15, 2019
jeet heer: Bernie Sanders promised a special guest, and it turns out to be Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The Washington Post is reporting that the New York congresswomen will be speaking at Sanders' rally in Queens and is likely to endorse him.  
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10:59 pm
Oct 15, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:
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10:58 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: Andrew Yang; I'll give you a thousand dollars a week. Trucker: For real? Yang: Yeah Trucker: Yo, you want a ride in my truck? Yang: Sure. [later, at the debate] So now I'm friends with a trucker. I don't remember his name, which is why I'm calling him "friend," but yeah, he moved from Trump to me. Made me very happy!
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10:51 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: One of my very best friends from college turned Trump. We haven't spoken in three years. The last time he reached out, I asked if he was still supporting Trump. He said yes. I said "when you decide to stop being racist, you can try calling me again."
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10:49 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal:
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10:46 pm
Oct 15, 2019
d.d. guttenplan: Agree.  I'm old enough to remember when the NY Times was a serious newspaper.
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10:45 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: CNN's last question is about... Ellen.. and being friends with evil people? Wut? Really? I hate these "say something nice about the evil people trying to ruin the country" questions.
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10:36 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal:
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10:33 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: Warren and Sanders are fitting to take Biden out, oh what's his phrase? "Out behind the woodshed"?
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10:32 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: So, to recap the Supreme Court discussion. Biden doesn't want to pack the court but does want to protect abortion (with a law, that the court could rule unconstitutional, but pay no attention to these details). Castro doesn't want court packing. But does want term limits. Which is an untenable position. Warren is open to court packing, but thinks there are a lot of options. Pete is PRO court packing, but favors a plan that is at best, questionably constitutional. The easiest, CONSTITUTIONAL thing, is just to ADD JUSTICES to make up for the illegitimate one, and the alleged attempted rapist one.
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10:28 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: He can't Don. He can't.
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10:27 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal:
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10:26 pm
Oct 15, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:
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10:25 pm
Oct 15, 2019
john nichols: Tulsi Gabbard is running to the right of the abortion debate, renewing Bill Clinton's 1992 mantra -- "safe, legal and rare" -- and endorsing "some restrictions on abortion rights.  
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10:24 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: "Codifying" Roe v Wade, unless they're talking about a Constitutional Amendment. DOES NOTHING
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10:24 pm
Oct 15, 2019
d.d. guttenplan: Elie they're playing your song!
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10:24 pm
Oct 15, 2019
jeet heer: Kamala Harris's fixation on Trump's twitter account is not helping her. Harris got into an extended spat with Elizabeth Warren, who quite rightly said the focus should be on kicking Trump out of the White House rather than Twitter. The exchange underscored the lack of big policy goals in Harris' campaign. As former Obama advisor Tommy Vietor noted:  
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10:23 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: Oh christ... Tulsi with the "safe legal and rare" line. We're traingulating again.
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10:22 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: This women's choice issue is a super important time to talk about packing the court, or impeaching Kavanaugh, or doing SOMETHING about the conservative majority that is there until the DIE.
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10:20 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal:
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10:19 pm
Oct 15, 2019
d.d. guttenplan: Top 10 contributors to Kamala Harris include Google, 20th Century Fox, Amazon and Akin Gump. There was an icepick inside Warren's reply to Harris when she talked about who takes corporate money: https://www.opensecrets.org/members-of-congress/contributors?cid=N00036915&cycle=2018
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10:18 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: I don't know if I agree that that exchange made Harris looks small. I think she has a clear, and reasonable point. And Warren has a slightly larger point, but isn't as clear. I kind of agree with them both. Trump should be off Twitter (harris) Twitter should be less powerful (Warren). I think HArris's point tingles my 1st A spidey sense a little bit more (government telling private company who gets speech), but I like both ideas.
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10:16 pm
Oct 15, 2019
d.d. guttenplan: Sen Warren: "We've already agreed--Bernie and I...."  Harris is looking smaller and smaller begging for Warren to pay attention to her
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10:15 pm
Oct 15, 2019
john nichols: "I don't just want to push Donald Trump off Twitter. I want to push him out of the White House." -- Elizabeth Warren
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10:11 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal:
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10:11 pm
Oct 15, 2019
john nichols: "We know that the most unhealthy person running for the presidency in 2020 is Donald Trump." -- Cory Booker
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10:10 pm
Oct 15, 2019
d.d. guttenplan: Sorry Elie but I really disagree.  You may not like Gabbard's foreign policy. I'm not wild about her appearances with Modi.  But Assad doesn't have the money to buy and pay for any American politician--and I don't think we ought to be giving currency to militarist smears like the POS the NY Times ran  on Gabbard this week.
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10:07 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: Sorry, no. Andrew Yang says "Warren has diagnosed the problem" [with big tech] "but we have to focus on the solutions." Okay, I'm listening. But THEN, his answer was just putting more problems on the table, answering a solution for nothing. Sorry, "Objection, non-responsive."
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10:05 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: So, Don, to answer your Tulsi question: I don't think her foreign policy is treated like a leper, it's that she's treated like a leper. And she's treated like a leper because her foreign policy *feels* bought and paid for by Assad. And the dem base is VERY sensitive to the appearance of undue foreign influence. Her position isn't all that different from Warren/Sanders. But *where* those views come from, worries people.
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09:57 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: Warren "I will outlast Donald Trump, Mike Pence or whoever else the Republicans get stuck with." All the old folks are READY to defend being old!
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09:57 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: Biden making the age = experience thing is, so far, his best answer for why he's even running that he's made on a debate stage.
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09:55 pm
Oct 15, 2019
john nichols: Bernie Sanders calling out unfettered capitalism is a beautiful thing.
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09:55 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: Bernie's preparation for the heart attack question > Biden's preparation for the Hunter question.
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09:54 pm
Oct 15, 2019
d.d. guttenplan: Really struck by split between domestic and foreign policy.  On economics this is the most radical debate most of America has ever seen.  Leave out Bernie and Warren.  Tom Steyer says corporations own the government.  Andrew Yang says opioid epidemic is "captialism run amok." But on foreign policy Gabbard dares to question the wisdom of bi-partisan regime change wars and she's treated like a leper.  
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09:52 pm
Oct 15, 2019
jeet heer: Buttigieg is the candidate who is most appealing to Republicans. He's constantly criticizing other Democrats for moving too far to the left. The praise of National Review editor Rich Lowry is not an accident:  
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09:50 pm
Oct 15, 2019
john nichols: Andrew Yang portrays opioid crisis as "capitalism run amuck" and delivers a savvy assessment of the need for drug decriminalization and savvy criminal justice reform.
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09:49 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: And, as if just to emphasize the point: CNN immediately pivots to the opioid crisis. So, instead of having a real conversation about the epidemic of armed state agents killing black people, we want to go back to a crisis white people just noticed after they were happy to put black people in jail for the same thing for a generation.
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09:45 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal:
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09:44 pm
Oct 15, 2019
john nichols: This truly is an awful #DemocraticDebate. Incoherent, directionless. The candidates are doing well at many turns, but the questions are poor, the interruptions are too frequent and the there just doesn’t seem to be a there there. Whenever the debate seems like it's taking off, the moderators leap in to prevent things from getting interesting--unless it is a Beto-Buttigieg sneerfest that will not be remembered after the next round of commercials. 
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09:42 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: So, a key distinguishing between the moderates and the progressives is developing again. The moderates are telling us we're SO CLOSE, let's just DO SOMETHING. The progressives are saying We're in CRISIS, we need to FIX IT. My view is simply this: All these people who keep telling me we're "so close" need to tell me their plan for dealing with MITCH MCCCONNELL. Like, HE does not think we are "close" and, unless the plan is to punt him into the SUN, we are not *close* to jack squat.
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09:37 pm
Oct 15, 2019
john nichols: Pete Buttigieg says in the gun debate: "We cannot wait for purity tests. We just have to get something done." But he leaves no real sense of what he wants to do or how he wants to lead. Buttigieg is coming off as nasty, bitter, self-absorbed. Truly disappointing. And Beto O'Rourke is right to push back against him.
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09:37 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: This entire exchange between Beto and Buttigieg is a good example of how Buttigieg's presence is frustrating Beto's candidacy.
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09:34 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: Beto is being pushed on his likely unconstitutional gun suggestion from the last debate. This sounds like a good time to mention that if you want to do what Beto suggests, you're probably going to have to repeal the Republican interpretation of the Second Amendment. I wrote about that here: https://www.thenation.com/article/repeal-second-amendment-gun-control/
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09:32 pm
Oct 15, 2019
jeet heer: The Democrats are having a real debate on foreign policy thanks to Tulsi Gabbard and Pete Buttigieg. Many pundits have questioned the need for having so many candidates on the debate stage. But on foreign policy, we got to see the full range of opinions, going from Gabbard's skepticism of regime change to the militant interventionism of Pete Buttigieg. But one candidate was largely absent: Elizabeth Warren. She's more eager to talk about domestic policy than foreign policy  
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09:32 pm
Oct 15, 2019
john nichols: Well, @TomSteyer was going fine until he referred to “frenemies.”
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09:31 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: Yang and Klobuchar lead the charge from foreign policy to talking about technological threats, and Facebook. Freaking Facebook.
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09:29 pm
Oct 15, 2019
john nichols: Every time this #DemocraticDebate goes to @KamalaHarris she delivers a strikingly effective answer.
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09:28 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal:
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09:25 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: I am very impressed by the people who have stayed laser focused on DONALD TRUMP during this foreign policy section.
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09:21 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: Don, I think Beto getting chesty with Warren as opposed to [checks notes] any other person he's ever run against, has to do with the fact that he wants her college educated voters. He's not getting them. But, he's got to try.
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09:19 pm
Oct 15, 2019
d.d. guttenplan: So why do we think Beto, who drove cross country with Republican Congressman Will Hurd, and struggled to raise his voice running against Ted Cruz, suddenly discovers his inner Biff against Elizabeth Warren?  Is it because she's a woman?  
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09:17 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: My mother is asking "why is she [Tulsi] being allowed to speak without having to answer for her communications with Assad." My mom is up on world events, y'all.
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09:10 pm
Oct 15, 2019
d.d. guttenplan: So why do we think Beto, who drove cross country with Republican Congressman Will Hurd, and struggled to raise his voice running against Ted Cruz, suddenly discovers his inner Biff against Elizabeth Warren?  Is it because she's a woman?  
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09:08 pm
Oct 15, 2019
d.d. guttenplan: So why do we think Beto, who drove cross country with Republican Congressman Will Hurd, and struggled to raise his voice running against Ted Cruz, suddenly discovers his inner Biff against Elizabeth Warren?  Is it because she's a woman?  
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09:04 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: Beto calls Warren "punitive." Everybody who wanted to see Warren "take a punch" is getting to see it. Cory Booker is the one who says he will not take the bait.
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09:01 pm
Oct 15, 2019
john nichols: High marks to Elizabeth Warren for intervening in the New York Times guy's interruption fest. "Let me finish..." was exactly the right thing to say. I wish more candidates would say that. The constant interruptions undermine the quality of the debate. So keep talking Senator Warren. Finish your point.
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08:55 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar both wave away the wealth tax as "yeah I'm open" but then want to give us "reality checks" about how it sounds to the industrial midwest. Because, if there's one thing industrial midwesterners care about... it's a billionaire tax. Sure.
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08:51 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: Bernie AND Tom Steyer both agreed that billionaires needed to eat it. Was CNN satisfied? No no, now they're asking BIden if he believes in "demonizing the rich." WE'VE SPENT MORE TIME TALKING ABOUT BILLIONAIRES THAN THE STRIKING GM WORKERS!
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08:47 pm
Oct 15, 2019
jeet heer: Bernie is still Bernie, heart attack or no. One of the inevitable questions that anyone watching the debate has is whether Sanders' recent heart attack is going to limit him as a candidate. The answer is clearly no. He's the same robust and vocal Sanders he has always been. 
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08:46 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: By my count it was 44 minutes before CNN asked about the GM STRIKE! That's *after* they asked old questions about healthcare taxes, and *after* they created a false choice between UBI and federal jobs guarantee. I mean literally, there are workers, on strike, RIGHT NOW, 44 minutes before we got to them.
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08:44 pm
Oct 15, 2019
john nichols: I am going to invite a citizen intervention here from Mr. Alan Herrera of Issaquah, Washington: "The line of questioning from CNN on healthcare is just awful in general"  
 
 
 
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08:41 pm
Oct 15, 2019
jeet heer: Bernie is still Bernie, heart attack or no. One of the inevitable questions that anyone watching the debate has is whether Sanders' recent heart attack is going to limit him as a candidate. The answer is clearly no. He's the same robust and vocal Sanders he has always been. 
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08:35 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal:
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08:34 pm
Oct 15, 2019
joan walsh: Thank you KamalaHarris for bringing up the attacks on reproductive rights. Shocking it's taken so long...in all these debates.
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08:33 pm
Oct 15, 2019
d.d. guttenplan: "Here's the deal"  Drink!
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08:32 pm
Oct 15, 2019
john nichols: Awful awful awful line from @PeteButtigieg. He is too smart to be making the claims he is making about #Medicare4All — and to suggest that it is “divisive” to fight for real healthcare reform is an indefensible surrender. Everyone says Buttigieg is so smart. Well, right now, he is dumbing down this debate.    
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08:31 pm
Oct 15, 2019
d.d. guttenplan: "Here's the deal"  Drink!
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08:30 pm
Oct 15, 2019
john nichols: Awful awful awful line from @PeteButtigieg. He is too smart to be making the claims he is making about #Medicare4All — and to suggest that it is “divisive” to fight for real healthcare reform is an indefensible surrender. Everyone says Buttigieg is so smart. Well, right now, he is dumbing down this debate.    
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08:30 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal:
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08:28 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: Pete Buttigieg argues that beating Trump will be so divisive that Medicare for all is going to be... too much strife for a divided nation? I'm a little confused about that answer. Like Trump people will be really pissed so... let's *not* given them health care that they don't want?
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08:26 pm
Oct 15, 2019
d.d. guttenplan: Here's why "Medicare for all who want it" is bullshit: The ‘Public Option’ on Health Care Is a Poison Pill
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08:26 pm
Oct 15, 2019
joan walsh: So he did it: Mayor Pete went after Elizabeth Warren on Medicare for All, and she's handling it, and he is dying to jump in here but: How will he explain what Medicare for All really is? "We make sure the subsidies are in place." Interesting. How.
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08:26 pm
Oct 15, 2019
joan walsh: So he did it: Mayor Pete went after Elizabeth Warren on Medicare for All, and she's handling it, and he is dying to jump in here but: How will he explain what Medicare for All really is? "We make sure the subsidies are in place." Interesting. How.
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08:25 pm
Oct 15, 2019
john nichols: Gonna call foul! New York Times guy pivots out of an impeachment discussion that was getting interesting to ask the same "how ya gonna pay for Medicare for All" question that we heard in the previous debates. This is what wrecks debates.
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08:23 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: Oh, here we freaking go again. We're sick of talking about the most corrupt president in American history so... now we're going to try to make Elizabeth Warren say she's going to raise taxes on the middle class. And she won't say that and we'll go round and round again and again. You know who is trying to kill healthcare? The COURTS! Let's talk about that maybe, I don't know, once?
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08:23 pm
Oct 15, 2019
jeet heer: Biden's praise of his son Hunter's "judgement" is an unforced error. It will come back to haunt Biden.   
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08:23 pm
Oct 15, 2019
d.d. guttenplan: Warren: "I will not sign a bill into law that does not cut costs on the middle class."
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08:22 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: Oh, here we freaking go again. We're sick of talking about the most corrupt president in American history so... now we're going to try to make Elizabeth Warren say she's going to raise taxes on the middle class. And she won't say that and we'll go round and round again and again. You know who is trying to kill healthcare? The COURTS! Let's talk about that maybe, I don't know, once?
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08:20 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal:
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08:17 pm
Oct 15, 2019
d.d. guttenplan: My guess is that in most of Ohio Yang's pivot resonated more than impeachment answers.
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08:17 pm
Oct 15, 2019
jeet heer: All the Democrats on the debate stage support impeachment but in a different ways. Gabbard was a latecomer to impeachment and warns about how it shouldn't be done for partisan motive. Buttigieg and Yang also caution about the dangers that the process will be decisive. Beneath the surface uniformity, there's some real divides. 
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08:17 pm
Oct 15, 2019
jeet heer: All the Democrats on the debate stage support impeachment but in a different ways. Gabbard was a latecomer to impeachment and warns about how it shouldn't be done for partisan motive. Buttigieg and Yang also caution about the dangers that the process will be decisive. Beneath the surface uniformity, there's some real divides. 
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08:15 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: Andrew Yang says he supports impeachment, and then pivots back to Ohio and manufacturing jobs. I also think that holding the most corrupt President in American history is important but... Amazon man. What are we going to do about THAT?
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08:15 pm
Oct 15, 2019
d.d. guttenplan: Only Andrew Yang manages to pivot from impeachment to his issues.  Deft!
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08:15 pm
Oct 15, 2019
john nichols: C'mon Tulsi Gabbard, don't take the fun out of impeachment!
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08:14 pm
Oct 15, 2019
joan walsh: While I'm on that theme: So disappointed in Tom Steyer: He could do so much with his money to advance his causes. Why didn't he run for president when he was about to in January? This is just too late.
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08:13 pm
Oct 15, 2019
joan walsh: So disappointed in Tulsi Gabbard. Please look at the evidence, on Ukraine -- and in the Mueller report.
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08:13 pm
Oct 15, 2019
joan walsh: So disappointed in Tulsi Gabbard. Please look at the evidence, on Ukraine -- and in the Mueller report.
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08:11 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: one of the problem with having 12 people is that having 12 different versions of how why the President should be impeached is a bit muddled. Like, Kamala had the best answer so far (prosecutor, ya know), saying "I know a confession when I see it." That's the right answer. And the clearest one. But now we gotta get 12 different versions of "Mueller report" "walk and chew gum" "KURDS" "CORRUPTION." Like, nobody is *wrong*, but this messaging is, by design, unclear.
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08:10 pm
Oct 15, 2019
joan walsh: Thanks Julian Castro: There were 10 possible obstruction findings in the Mueller Report.
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08:09 pm
Oct 15, 2019
john nichols: Impeachment is winning the #DemocraticDebate so far. Warren is strong; she knows the issue and has been out front. Sanders and Biden both embrace "most corrupt" language. But Kamala Harris nails it! "Our framers imagined this moment..." "As a former prosecutor, I know a confession when I see it..." AND she quotes Maya Angelou! https://www.thenation.com/article/trump-impeachment-history/
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08:07 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal:
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08:05 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: John, nobody is meeting your winning impeachment criteria.
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08:02 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: No opening statement is a subtle: "Half of you don't even belong here" from CNN.
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08:02 pm
Oct 15, 2019
john nichols: Debates matter. So do conversations about healthcare with @AdyBarkan.
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08:01 pm
Oct 15, 2019
joan walsh: A record number of candidates tonight, just in case you didn't know that...
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08:00 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: I like your plan, Joan.
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07:58 pm
Oct 15, 2019
john nichols: Candidates take the stage for the CNN/NYT debate. Pretty even applause for all the candidates as they take the stage, though I detected a little something extra for Elizabeth Warren tonight. Also notable, Cory Booker goes all in for greeting everyone else on the stage: "Senator!" "Senator!" "Mayor." "Mr. Vice President..."
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07:57 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: Don. IF I drank at every "But here's the thing" I would need to be hospitalized before its over.
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07:57 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: Wife: Did Tom Steyer literally just spend enough to be here? Me: Pretty much. Wife: It's amazing Bloomberg didn't do the same. Me: Don't remind him, please.
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07:54 pm
Oct 15, 2019
joan walsh: I'm running for 2021 DNC chair and I'll make everyone reach 5% in credible polls by mid-October. You're welcome.  
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07:53 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: All right, let me get my biases out of the way, for people who are following. I hate your candidate. When I'm talking about them, or not talking about them, and you think I'm talking or not talking about them because I secretly hate them, you're right. I hate your choice. But only yours. And only you can see it, and only you know why. Well, you and me.
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07:50 pm
Oct 15, 2019
d.d. guttenplan: Meanwhile let's get to the important question: Which candidate catch phrases are you using for your drinking game? Biden: "Here's the deal." Bernie: "Millionaires and billionaires." What else?
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07:49 pm
Oct 15, 2019
d.d. guttenplan: Harris-Brown might be a strong ticket. But I don't think an all-male ticket is gonna fly.
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07:46 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: Do we really think Brown could have won Ohio in the general though? Like, do we *really* think Ohio is in play? Or do we just need to pretend Ohio is in play because we can't completely abandon workers who have decided to vote against their own interests because Trump excites them by blaming brown people for all their problems? I still think Brown is in the mix for VP if a non-white man wins the nomination.
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07:43 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: 7yo: Is that man talking about the mean president? Me: Yes. How did you know? 7yo: He's very angry.
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07:40 pm
Oct 15, 2019
d.d. guttenplan: Agree with you Elie. Only I think Sherrod Brown could reach voters other Dems can't.
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07:37 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: I think Sherrod Brown deserves big ups for not taking an ego run at President and instead holding a *critical* Senate seat Dems need if we are going to re-take the Senate and have a chance to pass, you know, anything.
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07:35 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: "Now that Tim Ryan is gone, the Democrats probably won't even remember where Ohio is on the map" -- Tim Ryan, probably, watching the debate in Ohio.
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07:33 pm
Oct 15, 2019
joan walsh: Senator Sherrod Brown, indeed.
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07:26 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: But, whatever "My prediction is that Liz Warren will float like a butterfly and sting like a bee while she rope-a-dopes the opposition with a combination of stinging jabs and body punches." Is everybody happy now? Good. Let's never speak of this again.
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07:24 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: Listening to the pre-show, the mainstream consensus seems to be that people have to punch Warren and Bernie needs to show he's healthy by punching Warren and people aren't sure if she can take a punch and Biden finally has to punch her. I find it annoying that the media can only understand political debates in boxing analogies. Like, the future of our polity is being discussed here and all the metaphors are evocative of half-naked men trying to concuss each other for the amusement of bettors.
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07:15 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: I don't know why the debates have to start like a football game. Or, I don't know why football games have to start like Presidential debates. But, in both situations, I find myself hoping that a bald eagle swoops down and pecks at one of the competitors. Seems only fair, to me.
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07:13 pm
Oct 15, 2019
joan walsh: OK the debate is 48 minutes away, but that National Anthem just got my dog out of bed.
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02:33 pm
Oct 15, 2019
john nichols: Mayor Pete Buttigieg's pre-debate swipe at candidates (like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren) who propose to rely on small-dollar donors to fund the November 2020 race against Trump did not sit well with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York. Here's AOC's take:
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02:05 pm
Oct 15, 2019
john nichols: As the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates prepared for tonight’s debate in Ohio, Pete Buttigieg began airing a digital ad that takes swipes at Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders for supporting a robust "Medicare for All" healthcare reform. Buttigieg’s "Makes More Sense" talks up a more modest public option proposal and recycles criticisms of “Medicare for All” proposals. It surfaced after Buttigieg started the week by taking a thinly-veiled shot at rivals who are committed to relying on small donations rather than big money. That did not go down well with progressive activists, who wondered aloud about whether the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was preparing to use Tuesday night’s CNN/New York Times debate to suggest that he would be a stronger (or, at the least, better-funded) nominee against Donald Trump than Warren, Sanders, and other candidates who plan to rely on grassroots funding.

Buttigieg claimed in a conversation on the Snapchat show "Good Luck America" that: “My competitors can go with whatever strategy they like, but we're going to make sure that we have the resources to compete because we are going up against the sitting president of the United States.”

Arguing that Trump “has tremendous amounts of support and allies at his back,” the mayor said, “we're not going to beat him with pocket change.”

Democratic strategist Rebecca Katz warned that Buttigieg’s message could hurt with grassroots activists who have kept Warren and Sanders at the top of the fundraising competition in recent months. "This is legit insulting to the millions of folks who are participating in the process and giving what they can.” Noting that Sanders raised $25.3 million and Warren $24.6 million in the third quarter of 2019, while Buttigieg took just $19.1 million during the same period, Katz pointed out that “small dollar donors powered the two candidates who out raised Pete last quarter.”
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01:54 pm
Oct 15, 2019
d.d. guttenplan: Of course I'm going to be watching (and hoping) that Bernie and Warren continue their love feast.

But I'm also going to be paying closer attention this time to Booker and Julian Castro.
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01:48 pm
Oct 15, 2019
elie mystal: Here's what I'm looking forward to tonight. At some point, these candidates are going to have to start talking about the *other* two branches of government. You know, the ones that Republicans also control and will stymie their entire agendas if given a chance.

I'm looking for Dems to talk about the courts. And, failing that, I'm looking for them to talk about nuking the filibuster. And, failing that, I'm looking for them to talk about trapping Mitch McConnell in the Phantom Zone like he's General Zod. And, failing all that, I guess I just want to see them all dunk on Tulsi Gabbard. 
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01:27 pm
Oct 15, 2019
jeet heer: The most recent polls show that Elizabeth Warren is either the front runner or on the cusp of being the front runner. As such, she'll have a big target on her back in the debates tonight. It's very likely that the other candidates, particularly the ones struggling with single digit support, will go after Warren to stand out. One clue as to what to expect is this Pete Buttigieg ad going after both Warren and Sanders on Medicare for All.   
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12:58 pm
Oct 15, 2019
joan walsh: This October debate represents a failure by the DNC, which had consistently raised its thresholds (for polling support and fundraising) for its first three gatherings -- but weirdly not its fourth: This one. That let Tulsi Gabbard and Tom Steyer work the margins to get back in, and make it an unwieldy 12 person clash, as opposed to the unwieldy 10 from last month.

So let’s start with Gabbard and Steyer: Is Gabbard gonna go all out against Senator Kamala Harris again, to have more claims debunked by fact-checkers but go viral and disable a woman rival? Or is she gunning for another middle-tier candidate this time? Most important: How will she talk about what’s happening to the Kurds at the hands of Syrian and Turkish leaders right now?

Can Tom Steyer do more for his impeachment crusade than he could have done with well-conceived commercials produced by his organization “Need to Impeach”? This feels like vanity; he will not be the nominee. Can he convince us otherwise?

Now back to the candidates who (clearly) matter? Will Joe Biden and/or Bernie Sanders go after Elizabeth Warren, who is eating their lunch lately and rising steadily in the polls (she's ahead of both men in recent days). And can Kamala Harris do something—with policy or with ferocity—that vaults her back into the top tier?
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12:28 pm
Oct 15, 2019
d.d. guttenplan: Welcome to The Nation's debate live chat! I'll be joining National Affairs correspondents Jeet Heer, John Nichols and Joan Walsh and Contributing Writer Elie Mystal to comment, pontificate and hopefully amuse and edify you in real time once the debate begins tonight at 8 PM EST. Meanwhile here's what each of us is looking for going in.
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