When it came to the existential challenge facing our democracy, there was no debate at the debate.
Every candidate for the Democratic nomination for president agreed that the corrupt and criminal enterprise in charge of the executive branch—now being called out day-after-day by the testimony of real patriots—needs to be removed.
However, as you might expect, that wasn’t the surprise of last evening’s Democratic presidential debate, held in Atlanta.
I watched the entire 2 1/2 hours and was generally captivated from beginning to end. I say that knowing that the debate wasn’t perfect. Where was former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, for instance? He has a much better chance of being first or second on the Democratic ticket than does billionaire Tom Steyer or Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. But even with its missteps, the debate was highly engaging on several fronts. Certainly, some credit for the night’s conversation with American voters goes to the smart group of candidates, even those who aren’t going to win. (I’m looking at Andrew Yang.)
But I think a good deal of credit for the evening’s lively and informative conversation goes to the moderators. The all-women panel of moderators.
Here’s why it matters: The moderators asked smart questions on things people care about. We heard discussions on housing, paid family leave, child care, climate change, foreign affairs, equal pay, voting suppression, racism, abortion rights and social justice. And yes, there were also discussions around the impeachment inquiry and the criminal conduct taking place in our government at the moment. Health care had its time in the sun as well, but as part of an array of issues. As more than one candidate pointed out, many of the remedies discussed for a range of across-the-board issues are favored by two-thirds or more of the American public, yet these common sense solutions remain bottled up in the Senate, hostage to extreme ideology and power grabs.
Here’s what we didn’t see: a push to have the candidates fight with each other just to generate news clips and gotcha moments for cable TV and opposition political ads. We didn’t see a one-hour food fight around health care. There were some sharp exchanges, especially generated by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) who seems to want to run in the Republican primary or audition for FOX News rather than be a serious candidate for the Democratic ticket. But overall the tone was respectful, serious, thoughtful.
And, at times, funny. Senator Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota) had the best line of the night: “If you think a woman can’t beat Trump, Nancy Pelosi does it every day.”
I couldn’t agree more with Christina Reynolds, who tweeted during the debate: “Elect more women. Have more women as moderators. Make sure more women are at the table…wherever the table is.”
Here’s a shout out to the panel of moderators. Well done…and thank you!
More to come…