Solidarity begins at home. But solidarity also takes practice. During the last Democratic Presidential Debate some of you joined us for a live chat and watched in real-time as our commentators traded insights, quips, hot-and-cold takes, and factual corrections. We had a few technical glitches—which we’ve hopefully solved.

So this time we’re back with a bigger, better lineup. More bandwidth, so the watch should be more fun for all of us. And in addition our national affairs correspondents Jeet Heer, John Nichols, and Joan Walsh, and Nation contributing writer Elie Mystal (who’s also the executive editor of Above the Law), columnist Katha Pollitt joins the fray. Nation editor D.D. Guttenplan will moderate. And viewers will have a chance to register their reactions to each comment in real-time.

LIVE CHAT

11:35 pm
Nov 20, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:

That’s all folks! Thanks so much for sticking with this. And thanks to Jeet Heer, Elie Mystal, John Nichols, Katha Pollitt, and Joan Walsh. We’ll have fresh takes from Jeet Heer and John Nichols up soon–and a piping hot serving of insight from Joan Walsh tomorrow morning on www.thenation.com. See you again here on `December 19!

Like (4)
11:28 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

I’m leaving tonight feeling sadness that Cory Booker isn’t doing better. This guy is inspirational, polished, has legislative and executive experience, and is fantastic on criminal justice reform, which is my most important issue.

He doesn’t seem to get anywhere. I feel like his manner, which is an Obama-style “bringing us together” aspect, just isn’t where people are. Donald Trump has razed the country, and people want somebody who is going to FIGHT him, not placate Republicans.

It’s too bad, maybe some other cycle for Booker.

Like (14)
11:25 pm
Nov 20, 2019
katha pollitt:

I agree, Elie. My “winners” were Klobuchar and Booker. Warren and Sanders were also excellent, but more predictably so. Klobuchar and Booker were surprises. Maybe they should join forces! Black man from urban Northeast east, white woman from the Midwest — both really smart, experienced, likeable.  

I really think I’m on to something here.  Booker and Klobuchar/Klobuchar and Booker: they’ll bring people together (drink) and get things done (drink!).

Like (6)
11:25 pm
Nov 20, 2019
joan walsh:

I didn’t think anyone disqualified themselves unless they were already disqualified — talk amongst yourselves!

Like (2)
11:16 pm
Nov 20, 2019
katha pollitt:

Joan, I think Amy K was looking ahead to  running in the general election. She will appeal to moderate republicans, who are needed to win, so vote for her.

Like (2)
11:16 pm
Nov 20, 2019
joan walsh:

Go to “PeteforAmerica.com” sounds too thirsty for a frontrunner tbh…

Like (3)
11:15 pm
Nov 20, 2019
jeet heer:

Cory Booker gave a strong closing statement, an eloquent and heartfelt speech about the legacy of the civil rights movement. The statement raised again the question of why Booker hasn’t taken off as a candidate. He had other good moments, as when he spoke about the need for marijuana legalization. It could be that Democratic voters, traumatized by Trump’s 2016 victory, are wary of going with anyone other than a white man. This might be especially true of the centrist voters Booker is courting. Be that as it may, he remains an astonishing political talent, one whose day might yet come. 

Like (13)
11:12 pm
Nov 20, 2019
joan walsh:

Amy Klobuchar makes a last pitch for “moderate Republicans.” They don’t vote in the Democratic primary, but her hunch is that primary voters will be swayed by that?

Like (5)
11:12 pm
Nov 20, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:

Katha I admire your willingness to work with what is–and to fight for what should be.

Like (4)
11:10 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

Well, I think the media will declare Klobuchar the “winner” (because he was good) and Buttigieg the “winner” (because they always declare Pete the winner) and Biden the “winner” (because they’re desperate for Biden).

My “winners” were Klobuchar and Booker. Both needed to make cases that they still had a chance. Both did. Booker especially made me constantly think that he should be doing MUCH better.

Like (11)
11:09 pm
Nov 20, 2019
katha pollitt:

Hi Don, about John Bel Edwards and other anti-choice Dems, what could they say? They are not going to say, no, we have to kick these people out of the party. How would they even do that? I suppose they could say, when I’m president and head of the party we won’t offer  any support to any anti-choice pol, even if the voters choose them. But whygo there?

I should confess I wrote postcards to voters for Edwards.  And then I felt guilty. it was only ten postcards. But still.

Like (6)
11:03 pm
Nov 20, 2019
joan walsh:

Hey @TomSteyer, I love your work with @NextGenAmerica. Please return to it. And stop the term limit crap, which advantages lobbyists over legislators.

Like (23)
11:02 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

Oh, I forgot Steyer was on this stage. Hello? Can somebody calculate how many dollars he’s spent per minute of talking time?

Like (7)
11:02 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

Military FIGHT! Tulsi comes for Pete over sending troops to Mexico (which I *think* is a mischaracterization of what Pete said, but I’m not sure how deeply) and Pete comes over the top with Tulsi’s, Assad relationship.

I *feel* like Pete is winning this exchange, but, Pete usually gets out of fights by saying “gosh and golly, people don’t like fighting” and Tulsi just made him fight.

Like (6)
11:01 pm
Nov 20, 2019
joan walsh:

Why doesn’t anyone ask Gabbard what she learned from meeting with Assad? I’d like to know.

Like (16)
11:00 pm
Nov 20, 2019
joan walsh:

First Tulsi came for Kamala…and now for Pete.

Like (4)
10:59 pm
Nov 20, 2019
katha pollitt:

Now Pete is defending his lack of experience because “Washington.”  Also he was in the army.

He has experience bringing people together (drink) and getting things done (drink). 

but Tulsi gets in a good one: she was in the army too! 

Like (7)
10:58 pm
Nov 20, 2019
jeet heer:

Joe Biden is the master of embarrassing moments, but perhaps the most cringe-inducing was when he said  he had the support of “the only African American woman ever to be elected to the Senate.” Kamala Harris of course begged to differ:


 

 

Like (9)
10:57 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

Klobuchar: “This is another example where [Pete Buttigieg] has the right words, but I have the experience.”

I really do believe that Buttigieg’s votes would be Klobuchar’s votes if their genders were reversed.

Like (12)
10:56 pm
Nov 20, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:

Thanks Katha! But are you satisfied with Warren’s non-answer on anti-choice Dems. Which Sanders, though his call for male support is welcome, didn’t answer either.

Like (2)
10:56 pm
Nov 20, 2019
katha pollitt:

Joan is right: the tenor of the whole debate is different because of the women moderators. Not just the direct questions about child care and abortion, but the way the candidates bring women into the discussion. It’s as if having the women monitors automatically gives permission to talk about “women’s issues” as if they are normal subjects of concern.

 

Like (15)
10:53 pm
Nov 20, 2019
katha pollitt:

Wow, finally, Rachel asks about abortion: would you intervene as Pres to preserve access? yes, says Amy. “We have to remember that the people are with us. Over 70% suppport Roe v Wade. over 90% support funding for Planned Parenthood.” 

Rachel asks Warren: is there a place in the Dem party in red states for an abortion opponent like John Bel Edwards?

Warren defends abortion eloquently, but doesn’t really answer the question about anti-choice Dems.

Sanders: if there’s every a time when men needs to stand with women this is it!

Like (15)
10:51 pm
Nov 20, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:

Katha if you don’t jump in on this I’m going to explode.

Like (1)
10:50 pm
Nov 20, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:

Just a reminder to readers: If you like something one of our commenters says feel free to give it a thumps up. Or tweet it out. We want to hear from you.

Like (13)
10:50 pm
Nov 20, 2019
joan walsh:

Woo-hoo, an abortion question! Drink! 

No, don’t drink, listen to the answer. But so proud of our women moderators.

Like (19)
10:48 pm
Nov 20, 2019
katha pollitt:

Elie, I ask the same question: Why isn’t Booker doing better? He’s experienced, smart, liberal but not out there like Warren and Sanders– also good-looking and tall!  He should have the Pete B slot. 

Like (15)
10:47 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

Like (19)
10:47 pm
Nov 20, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:

In case you forgot what Joe Biden was doing back when he was practically a dues paying African-American: Joe Biden called busing a ‘liberal train wreck.’ Now his stance on school integration is an issue. Washington Post.

 

Like (9)
10:45 pm
Nov 20, 2019
jeet heer:

I was wrong in thinking that Pete Buttigieg would be under fire tonight. It turned out the other candidates don’t regard him as much of a threat or perhaps see a downside in going on the attack. Here’s a good theory as to what happened:

 


 

Like (6)
10:44 pm
Nov 20, 2019
katha pollitt:

Warren is great on the border, the cages of men, women, and children.  So full of feeling.

Cory Booker brilliant on connecting with black voters by speaking to their issues.  On Biden not wanting to legalize pot: I thought you were high when you said it! 

But wait, now Biden says he supports decriminalization. “Everyone gets out, record expunged.” It’s hard to keep up.

Like (13)
10:43 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

Booker: “Nobody on this stage should need a focus group to hear black voters.”

Very good shade at Pete Buttigieg.

Then saves some for Biden: “I heard [Biden] say that you don’t think we should legalize marijuana. I thought you might have been high when you said it. Because marijuana is already legal for white people.”

WHY ISN’T HE DOING BETTER???

Like (20)
10:43 pm
Nov 20, 2019
john nichols:

“I have a lifetime of experience with black voters. I’ve been one since I was 18.”

— Cory Booker

Like (16)
10:43 pm
Nov 20, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:

Cory Booker is on fire!

Like (6)
10:41 pm
Nov 20, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:

Love the way Warren gets “Amazon Warehouse” into her image of prison and children in cages.

Like (10)
10:40 pm
Nov 20, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:

Is Harris’s plea to rebuild the Obama coalition her amend to taking on Joe Biden in first debate? Because that argument probably helps him more than her.

Like (3)
10:39 pm
Nov 20, 2019
katha pollitt:

Harris talks about black women: maternal mortality, low pay. Taken for granted as reliable Dem voters. She is so concrete.

Pete: I agree! And I welcome the challenge bla bla. Pivots to his “faith,” Christianity. Hey, if  Christianity could solve racism, it would have done so long ago.

Like (16)
10:38 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

Pete Buttigieg: I welcome the challenge of connecting with black voters who don’t yet know me.

Then he talks about what’s “in my heart” and starts talking about faith. And then he says he has the experience of “being a stranger in my own country.”

It’s not the worse answer. Pete always answers these questions well. It’s just that he only answers them when he’s in “black voter mode” and not when he’s in “regular campaign” mode, which black people notice.

Like (13)
10:38 pm
Nov 20, 2019
joan walsh:

I don’t think Mayor Pete helped himself by turning a question about black women to LGBTQ rights.

Like (10)
10:36 pm
Nov 20, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:

Harris pivots effectively and takes the high ground.

Like (4)
10:35 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

Like (11)
10:35 pm
Nov 20, 2019
joan walsh:

Cheap shot by Kristen Welker — making Kamala Harris explain the problem of Mayor Pete’s Kenya photo mess. Lay out the problem yourself.

Like (11)
10:34 pm
Nov 20, 2019
joan walsh:

Ah, Joe…change the culture of male violence by “keep punching at it and punching at it and punching at it.” Sigh.

Like (19)
10:33 pm
Nov 20, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:

Is Biden unable to complete a sentence because he’s trying so hard not to say “Anita Hill I’m so sorry!”?

Like (13)
10:33 pm
Nov 20, 2019
katha pollitt:

Maybe it is time to thank Andrew Yang for his service and say goodbye.

Oh no: Biden gets a #metoo question! What would you do as president? Oh, I would definitely stop smelling women’s hair he didn’t say.

Like (13)
10:32 pm
Nov 20, 2019
joan walsh:

So only Gabbard and Yang get the question on race. Hmmm…ok.

Like (7)
10:30 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

The first question on race goes to TULSI GABBARD??? WHY???? WAS WOODROW WILSON NOT AVAILABLE? 

Like (19)
10:29 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

This guy tho…

Like (5)
10:29 pm
Nov 20, 2019
joan walsh:

Oooh, the issue of race in America — and the first question goes to Gabbard.

Like (2)
10:28 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

For what it’s worth, I also think that Bernie’s answer on Israel/Palestine is the best I’ve heard from a major Presidential candidate… in my entire lifetime.

Like (26)
10:27 pm
Nov 20, 2019
john nichols:

Senator Bernie Sanders just gave the best Israel-Palestine answer ever delivered by a serious contender in an American presidential debate.

 

Like (24)
10:26 pm
Nov 20, 2019
john nichols:

“First, I’d say, ‘I’m sorry I beat your guy.”

— Andrew Yang on his initial call, as president, to Putin 

Like (6)
10:25 pm
Nov 20, 2019
10:24 pm
Nov 20, 2019
katha pollitt:

Should more Americans serve in the military?

Yes, says Warren. Oh come on! there are plenty of ways to bring people together (drink!) besides training them to kill. Well, she talks about public service too. 

Like (10)
10:22 pm
Nov 20, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:

Sanders showing real moral leadership on Israel/Palestine. But howcome only the Jewish candidate goes there?

Like (26)
10:20 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

So far, the story of this debate is: LOOK AT HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN BEAT ON JOE BIDEN WITHOUT SOLICITING A BRIBE FROM A FOREIGN GOVERNMENT!

Like (12)
10:20 pm
Nov 20, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:

Welcome back Katha!

Like (0)
10:18 pm
Nov 20, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:

Also John don’t you think Booker is wasting his question?

Like (0)
10:17 pm
Nov 20, 2019
katha pollitt:

Andrea M asks Bernie: Cut deal with Taliban even if that means the end of the Afghan govt?

Bernie: yes, it’s time to bring our troops home.

I’d like to hear the other candidates on this.

Like (8)
10:16 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

John, by my count, it’s been longer since Warren got a question than Booker. Though she did literally raise her hand once to get in on something.

Like (5)
10:16 pm
Nov 20, 2019
john nichols:

“First, I’d say, ‘I’m sorry I beat your guy.”

— Andrew Yang on his initial call, as president, to Putin 

Like (16)
10:15 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

Right now everything I like about these people is on display and I’m feeling very good about beating Donald Trump… or Mike Pence.

Like (16)
10:15 pm
Nov 20, 2019
john nichols:

Would someone PLEASE ask Cory Booker a question?

I hate the inequality of questioning in these debates. If a candidate makes it onto the stage, they should be asked questions.

Like (9)
10:14 pm
Nov 20, 2019
jeet heer:

Democrats are finally having a debate about climate. One big problem in previous debates is that the moderators didn’t ask about climate. To her credit, Rachel Maddow broke with that and inspired an important conflict between Steyer, Biden and Sanders. Steyer challenged his opponents for not making climate the number one priority. Biden snapped back by mentioning Steyer’s history of owning coal mines. But Sanders unexpectedly dominated by naming the villain that others didn’t. While Steyer claimed we were all responsible for climate change, Sanders was more focused on the fossil fuel companies: “Their short term profits are not more important than the future of this planet.”

Like (15)
10:14 pm
Nov 20, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:

Sanders calls out Biden on warmongering. (Opens a new bottle)

Like (8)
10:13 pm
Nov 20, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:

Steyer had a chance to take the fight to Biden and blew it.

Like (0)
10:12 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

Bernie says that Big Energy might be criminally responsible for climate change.

The heart agrees… but three years of law school says “LOL, WUT?”

Like (5)
10:11 pm
Nov 20, 2019
john nichols:

“Donald Trump got punked.”

— Kamala Harris on the president’s bizarro relationship with Kim Jong-un

Like (11)
10:07 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

Like (4)
10:07 pm
Nov 20, 2019
john nichols:

Joe Biden finally goes on the attack, and his target is… Tom Steyer.

Seriously?

Like (4)
10:01 pm
Nov 20, 2019
john nichols:

Bernie Sanders is right: no one is above the law, not even the president.

That should not be a hard position for a Democratic candidate to take in a Democratic debate or as the nominee of a party that must hold Donald Trump to account.

Like (6)
9:58 pm
Nov 20, 2019
katha pollitt:

I missed the whole child-care discussion because of a technical snafu. But now: housing! Thank you Elizabeth Warren!  This is crucial and dropped off the political front burner years ago.  Everyone should read Matthew Desmond’s Evicted to find out how precarious housing affects everything for low-income families. 

Like (13)
9:56 pm
Nov 20, 2019
john nichols:

Amy Klobuchar is getting off the best lines in this debate.

She delivered a great critique of a broken campaign finance and election system that ended with her saying—correctly—that in a fair system Stacey Abrams would be governor of Georgia.

And she nailed it with her line: “If you think a woman can’t beat Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi does it every single day.”

Like (11)
9:54 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

Kamala Harris is killing the paid family leave discussion, and she also has really good plans on this.

My wife and I both had decent (for America) leave plans for our two kids. And it was less than six months and we both felt awful that we didn’t live in Germany. This is a huge issue.

Like (8)
9:53 pm
Nov 20, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:

Elie I think this is where you say something nice about the billionaire

Like (2)
9:47 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

So far, I’ve had positive things to say about Amy Klobucahr and Joe Biden and I want something else to happen now because I thought I left this centrist BS behind me once I started reading Twitter.

Like (11)
9:46 pm
Nov 20, 2019
joan walsh:

Great points Andrew Yang but paid leave is not just for “new moms.” Can every Dem get this right please?

Like (13)
9:45 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

Like (10)
9:45 pm
Nov 20, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:

Wondering what Cory Booker–the other Rhodes scholar ex-mayor–is doing up there? Read this.

Like (2)
9:44 pm
Nov 20, 2019
katha pollitt:

I want to go back a bit and say Amy Klobuchar brings the fire and the funny. She stood by her earlier remark that a woman with Mayor Pete’s lack of experience would not be on the platform, which is obviously true, and she did it gracefully and without coming across as making a personal attack. She also spoke up for women candidates, and noted we’ve never had a woman president.   

 

Like (10)
9:41 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

I was actually interested in the question about whether the candidates would use Twitter like Trump does.

Unfortunately, *Rhodes Scholar* Cory Booker didn’t really answer it, and they didn’t ask it of anybody else.

Like (6)
9:41 pm
Nov 20, 2019
jeet heer:

Klobuchar has an effective moment:

 

Like (5)
9:38 pm
Nov 20, 2019
jeet heer:

All the drama on the stage is coming from the second-tier candidates. The top tier candidates (Biden, Warren, Sanders) are simply rehearsing boilerplate we’ve heard in previous debates. But among the second tier, there have been some moments of real clarity on key issues. Tulsi Gabbard attacked the foreign policy consensus and was attacked in turn by Kamala Harris, who pointed out Gabbard’s affinity for Steve Bannon’s America First. Amy Klobuchar went after Tom Steyer’s financing his own campaign but Steyer found an unlikely ally in Andrew Yang. All of which illustrates the continued value of these voices, who bring out debates that are otherwise not being had. 

Like (7)
9:37 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

I think Klobuchar is doing very well. She’s funny, she’s passionate, and she just wrapped herself up in the flag of Nancy Pelosi, which is a good idea for her lane.

Like (8)
9:35 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

Okay, while we’ve been away:
Amy Klobuchar says she’d try to pass an Amendment overruling Citizens United
Various people fought about how poor they are.
Except Yang and Steyer who agreed that being rich was cool if you use your money to help.

Like (7)
9:34 pm
Nov 20, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:

Klobuchar gets in her ex-boyfriend joke (No drink)

Like (5)
9:26 pm
Nov 20, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:

Bernie and Warren double teaming on Medicare for All.

Like (8)
9:24 pm
Nov 20, 2019
joan walsh:

So Warren is describing her path to Medicare for All the way she did on the stump in May when she was first surging — fold in folks under 18, over 50, voluntarily, “give people a taste of it,” make people want it. This is a message people resonated with — although the rest is necessary, and complicated.

Like (8)
9:22 pm
Nov 20, 2019
katha pollitt:

I’m sorry, maybe I’m being unfair, but every word Pete B says seems focus-grouped and practiced to death. it’s just a string of bombastic vapid cliches. 

 

Like (18)
9:19 pm
Nov 20, 2019
katha pollitt:

Warren mentions child care workers! 

Like (13)
9:16 pm
Nov 20, 2019
john nichols:

As always, I promise to write a warm and appreciative political obituary for any candidate who uses this debate as an opportunity to withdraw. As a special added bonus—tonight only!—any candidate who uses their closing statement to withdraw will get a pre-Iowa Caucus article encouraging their re-entry into a race that has been diminished by their absence.

Like (4)
9:15 pm
Nov 20, 2019
katha pollitt:

I can’t believe Warren’s wealth tax is controversial. It’s way too mild!

Like (12)
9:15 pm
Nov 20, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:

Harris finds a populist groove on impeachment. Impressive!

Like (6)
9:12 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

Joe Biden is arguing that he has coattails. I actually this is a good argument, though I don’t know that it’s proven that he has better coattails than a candidate who can motivate the base.

Then he says that Trump and Putin don’t want him to be President. I think this is a bad argument.

Like (8)
9:11 pm
Nov 20, 2019
john nichols:

The round goes to Amy Klobuchar for the Walter Mondale reference!

Like (3)
9:10 pm
Nov 20, 2019
joan walsh:

OK, credit where it’s due: Buttigieg says Trump already should have left office because he had to confess to diverting charitable funds from his foundation. But now he’s going down a laundry list of his anodyne priorities.

Like (5)
9:10 pm
Nov 20, 2019
katha pollitt:

Mayor Pete makes me love Bernie.

Like (16)
9:08 pm
Nov 20, 2019
john nichols:

Perfect start from Elizabeth Warren! She owns the #impeachment question at the #DemocraticDebate by connecting it to ending the bartering off of ambassadorships to billionaire-class donors!

She actually has a plan for THAT!

Like (12)
9:05 pm
Nov 20, 2019
katha pollitt:

Warren: smart segue from today’s impeachment hearings to Sondland getting to be ambassador because he was a big donor to Trump and that is not the way these posts should be filled.

Like (9)
9:05 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

Warren: “Anyone who gives me a big donation, don’t ask me to be an ambassador, because that is not going to happen.”

Me: [rips check] Guess I’ll have to find some other way to finally see Cape Town.

Like (16)
9:05 pm
Nov 20, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:

Did Warren just open the door to taking big donations?

Like (3)
9:03 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

Looking at the crowd shot, it looks more like “Georgia” than “Atlanta,” but it was hard to count.

Like (7)
9:02 pm
Nov 20, 2019
john nichols:

Super total highest marks to Cory Booker for checking out the crowd, looking around and NOT MAKING NOTES as he waits for the debate to start. I know candidates think they need to download things they might forget. But what in Walter Mondale’s name do you have to remember after you’ve spent the last week preparing for this debate?

Booker is cool.

Like (10)
9:02 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

I’d drink everytime for “Let’s be clear” but I don’t want to go to the hospital.

Like (12)
9:02 pm
Nov 20, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:

Here’s a guide from our friends at Rolling Stone.

Like (1)
9:01 pm
Nov 20, 2019
joan walsh:

I am here for all women moderators. That is all.

Like (7)
9:01 pm
Nov 20, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:

Okay panel: what’s the drinking game?

Like (1)
9:00 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

Pre-debate spin from CNN and MSNBC: The key thing is for Democrats to appeal to moderates.

Pre-debate counter from me: There’s an extremist, bigoted, sexist criminal in the White House, but please, tell me more about how “moderates” are put off by helping get babies out of cages.

Like (25)
9:00 pm
Nov 20, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:

Elie I agree. That’s a tough hair to split. But unless Democrats want to drift into a military confrontation on arguably the most dangerous border in the world–a confrontation President Obama was smart enough to avoid–they’re going to have to figure out a way to split it. Indeed you might argue that ability to do so is a good test of presidential leadership.

Like (1)
8:58 pm
Nov 20, 2019
katha pollitt:

Hello, everyone. Don’t forget, the plural of podium is podia. 

Also—said whoever was just talking on MSNBC: a sociopath will beat a socialist seven days a week.  

Drink!

Like (10)
8:55 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

See, I think that Tulsi’s main problem tonight is that support for Ukraine and support for non-bribery related foreign policy has become indistinguishable.

She can argue that we *shouldn’t* support Ukraine, I guess. But she can’t argue that we shouldn’t support them unless Ukraine investigates Trump’s political rivals. And doing one without sounding like she’s doing the other will be tough.

Like (9)
8:53 pm
Nov 20, 2019
john nichols:

As always, I promise to write a warm and appreciative political obituary for any candidate who uses this debate as an opportunity to withdraw. As a special added bonus—tonight only!—any candidate who uses their closing statement to withdraw will get a pre-Iowa Caucus article encouraging their re-entry into a race that has been diminished by their absence.

Like (7)
8:49 pm
Nov 20, 2019
d.d. guttenplan:

Here’s the three things I’m looking for tonight:

1. Will anyone else besides Tulsi Gabbard dare to dissent from the foreign policy establishment’s attempt to enforce the view that support for military aid to Ukraine is a test of patriotism.

2. In the wake of Ady Barkan’s endorsement of Warren this morning and AOC’s endorsement of Sanders a few weeks ago, will the two progressive standard-bearers still have one another’s backs?

3. Will Biden’s cookie continue to crumble? And if it does, who besides Buttigieg will scoop up the crumbs

Like (3)
8:44 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

LOL @ Joan 🙂

Like (3)
8:42 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

I second Nichols’ savagery.

Like (1)
8:42 pm
Nov 20, 2019
joan walsh:

I don’t think anyone wishes Deval Patrick was in Atlanta — because he was, and this was the result.

Like (7)
8:41 pm
Nov 20, 2019
john nichols:

Nothing like another Tom Perez speech to suck the last bit of vital energy out of a debate night that was already on life support.

Like (13)
8:39 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

I can’t believe that Deval Patrick and Mike Bloomberg thinks that there are actual humans who wish they were also here tonight.

Like (11)
8:36 pm
Nov 20, 2019
john nichols:

Bet Eric Swalwell wishes he was still running for president tonight. “Sorry, I’m late,” he said, running onto the debate stage. “I was just IMPEACHING THE PRESIDENT!”

Like (7)
8:33 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

You’re right, Joan. I suppose they have to try.

Like (2)
8:29 pm
Nov 20, 2019
joan walsh:

Elie, I can’t agree that the Democrats should have cancelled this debate; that gives Trump too much control over the narrative. They have a worthy battle on their hands. Let’s see if they can make their skirmishing relevant to the exhausted TV-viewing audience (us included!)

Like (6)
8:12 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

Even though I don’t much like his movies, having a Democratic debate coming to you from the “Tyler Perry studios,” moderated by four women, feels like progress.

Like (12)
7:41 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

One of the underrated best things about these impeachment hearings is that I haven’t had to think about Tulsi Gabbard for two weeks.

Like (13)
7:08 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

You know, not for nothing, but I’d be much more inclined to give Eric Swalwell a second look as a Presidential candidate *after* seeing his totally on-point questioning during these impeachment hearings, than I was before all this.

I point this out as a reminder that if Harris, Klobuchar, and Booker can hang in there until this gets to the Senate trial… it might be fire.

Like (6)
6:20 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

So, do we think that all of the candidates will defend Joe Biden from the baseless attacks made on him by Republicans during the impeachment hearings? Or do we think they’ll just let Biden defend himself and spend all that time doing another hour on health care?

Like (4)
4:01 pm
Nov 20, 2019
katha pollitt:

Can this really be the first presidential primary debate in which all the questioners will be women? Yes. Hello, 2019! I’m looking forward to tonight if only for that.

So far the debates are babble and zzz, with the occasional promise of someone stabbing someone and everyone else looking kind of embarrassed.  Like Joan, I’m a little puzzled that Mayor Pete is getting massive kudos for accomplishments other candidates possess. Kamala H and Cory B are way more qualified, but somehow Pete B has been anointed as the brilliant boy wonder who will bring us all together and save us all.

As Amy K said, if people want a Midwestern centrist, why not me? Someone who has actually won many statewide elections?

Clearly I understand nothing, so I hope tonight will enlighten me.

Like (10)
2:39 pm
Nov 20, 2019
elie mystal:

Sometimes, you just don’t play the game. In the wake of a tragedy or a natural disaster, you cancel the football game, or the high school track meet. You don’t play, when larger matters are shattering your community.

In a reasonable world, the Democrats would cancel tonight’s debate and keep the coverage and their fire solely focused on the impeachment of President Trump. Important and impactfull testimony has been given this week and today, detailing the President’s corrupt scheme to solicit a bribe from Ukraine. That’s what we should be talking about.

Instead, we’ll play this game. We’ll see if Pete Buttigieg can spike the football or if Kamala Harris can hit another home run. But the whole exercise is a fumble, an error. The only people who will “win” tonight are the people who keep their focus on Donald Trump, the most corrupt President in the history of the United States. 

Like (9)
2:35 pm
Nov 20, 2019
john nichols:

Usually, on the night of a presidential debate, the networks that are not carrying the debate are in a bind. If they talk too much about the debate, they encourage people to flip channels and watch the real thing. If they pretend that what they are covering is a bigger story than the debate, they sound silly.

But tonight will be different. While the fifth round of Democratic debating will feature 10 candidates going at one another at a critical stage in the race for the party’s nomination, the other networks will be able to discuss an impeachment inquiry that is getting more compelling by the moment.

Indeed, impeachment is such a hot topic at this point that commentators of CNN, Fox and cable news networks might be inclined to say, “Good on ya, MSNBC, you have fun with that little debate of yours.”

If the MSNBC moderators are smart—and they are—they will ask questions that incorporate elements of the impeachment story into the debate. For instance, to the senators who are running: Have you thought about how to integrate your responsibilities as a juror in a possible Senate trial of Donald Trump with the responsibilities of campaigning for the Democratic nomination to challenge him? Which is the higher duty? How do these duties relate to one another?

And here’s the fun one for all the candidates: What are the odds that you will face a Republican other than Donald Trump?

Like (8)
12:07 pm
Nov 20, 2019
joan walsh:

Like my colleague Jeet Heer, I’m looking to see who’s coming for Mayor Pete tonight.

First, put aside the gossipy coverage of Buttigieg’s rivals being “annoyed” by him. That’s silly. What’s substantive is the sense that he’s getting massively positive coverage that plays up credentials other candidates have—and some have more of.

Senator Cory Booker is also a Rhodes scholar; that almost never comes up when it’s front and center in the legend of Mayor Pete. Booker is the former major of a big, complex, troubled city, Newark, dwarfing Buttigieg’s 100,000 population of South Bend. Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro likewise ran the major city of San Antonio and a huge Cabinet-level federal agency. Former District Attorney, Attorney General, and Senator Kamala Harris wonders what’s missing on her resume, as does former prosecutor and Senator Amy Klobuchar.

Obviously, all those campaigns are responsible for their own issues, but there’s something about Mayor Pete. He’s also, belatedly, getting hit for some of his issues with African Americans—from botching the rollout of a plan to appeal to black South Carolinians, to recent news that black South Bend residents only received 3 percent of city contracts since he’s been mayor. Can the Mayor Pete bubble continue to rise? We’ll know more on Thursday.

Like (12)
11:58 am
Nov 20, 2019
jeet heer:

Pete Buttigieg is likely to be wearing a big target on his back tonight, since his rivals have an incentive to go after him. The general rule is that whoever is on top or surging gets the brunt of attack. We’ve already seen that happen to Biden, Harris and Warren. Recent polls in Iowa and New Hampshire show Buttigieg is enjoying a surge of support. Although these polls are not always of the highest quality, there’s no question he’s the candidate who has momentum right now. 

Like (5)