March 16, 2020
Last night Bernie Sanders scored a decisive victory over Joe Biden at the 11th Democratic presidential primary debate, before a no-audience studio in Washington D.C.
Sanders, trailing Biden in the delegate count prior to Tuesday’s critical quartet of state primaries in Florida, Arizona, Illinois and Ohio (the latter is now cancelled until June), went after Biden’s record early and often, culminating in the former vice president getting caught in a lie about not advocating cuts for Social Security on the Senate floor, when he in fact did so in 1995.
Joe Biden had started well for the first ten minutes or so before lying about parts of his record, which had previously undergone mild scrutiny in the corporate news media. One of the moments the media earmarked for Biden was his pledge to pick a woman as his running mate, something that had previously been done in 2008 (Sarah Palin) and 1984 (Geraldine Ferraro). Biden said he would nominate a Black woman on the Supreme Court if he became president.
By contrast, Bernie Sanders said he would lean in the direction of choosing a woman, but a woman with Progressive values. Sanders shone a light on Biden’s questionable record (voting for the bankruptcy bill, the Iraq war, the Hyde Amendment, the Wall Street bailout) while countering his record of voting against each of the heretofore mentioned variables.
In a solemn night marked by the specter of the coronavirus pandemic both Biden and Sanders remarked about the situation at some length. Biden challenged Sanders on the need for a “revolution” at the time of a global emergency, while the Vermont senator reiterated his call for Medicare For All at a time that it was no more urgent a need for those who face mounting medical bills.
The debate was a spirited and refreshing departure from the “food fight” debates of the last month or two. Viewers got to see two contrasting styles and political views, though many of the positions Sanders expressed were agreed to by Biden, repeatedly expressing an accord. One of the more amusing exchanges was when both candidates asked the other to “join me”.
“I don’t wanna join you. Why don’t you join me?” Sanders asked Biden.
Biden had also said something that appeared to race-bait, and in an odd way. Of the Latinx community, Biden said: “Because if we do not invest, everything that the very wealthy are concerned about and the xenophobes are concerned about will in fact get worse, not better.”
Erika Andiola, who in South Carolina protested Biden and the deportation of more undocumented immigrants (under the Obama Administration he was part of) than any other president, asked Biden on Twitter what the xenophobes and very rich were concerned about. Biden mentioning “xenophobes” and “the very rich” invited a question: was Biden tipping a racist dog whistle hat to white voters in the upcoming primaries in various places, including Arizona, which has an anti-immigration law?
Biden also spoke about an “undocumented alien” before correcting himself, saying “an undocumented person”. His remark was criticized by the political group Jewish Action, who on Twitter said that the term “has no place in our political discourse.”
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Episode 3 is right here:
March 16, 2020