Winners and Losers of the Democratic Debate

Our columnists and contributors give their rankings.

Comments: 285

  1. I think Democrats are going to regret this rush to nail down a nominee. I don't know about other folks, but either the sound system was not functioning well or these two old gentlemen were speaking as if at a bridge playing club. Especially, Bernie was hard to hear some time. Also, these 2 old political war horses kept referring to the old battles for votes in the Senate that in today's emergency had almost no meaning and more importantly, no relevance. And of course, Joe made some exaggerated claims on Ebola which will come back to haunt him as they are so easy to fact check. I am 72 and remember Ebola - but nothing stand out like today's emergency. Finally, both letting the cat out - so to speak - about their number 2 - now, all attention shifts to ”who is she?” If I were a betting man - Amy will be Joe's number 2. And Bernie might make history with AOC as his number 2 since she is - next to Warren who cannot be his pick - the only progressive woman strongly supporting him.

  2. @Neil I remember Ebola as well, and it was horrible. Just because it wasn't in our space, doesn't mean it wasn't horrible - and it was contained.

  3. @Neil AOC isn't old enough to be the Vice President. She won't be eligible until 2024. I think she'll be president some day, though.

  4. @Neil AOC can't be his VP. At age 30 she is not old enough to take over as president, minimum age 35, if something were to happen to Sanders. Are we truly this ignorant of basic Constitutional rules?

  5. I think Democrats are going to regret this rush to nail down a nominee. I don't know about other folks, but either the sound system was not functioning well or these two old gentlemen were speaking as if at a bridge playing club. Especially, Bernie was hard to hear some time. Also, these 2 old political war horses kept referring to the old battles for votes in the Senate that in today's emergency had almost no meaning and more importantly, no relevance. And of course, Joe made some exaggerated claims on Ebola which will come back to haunt him as they are so easy to fact check. I am 72 and remember Ebola - but nothing stand out like today's emergency. Finally, both letting the cat out - so to speak - about their number 2 - now, all attention shifts to ”who is she?” If I were a betting man - Amy will be Joe's number 2. And Bernie might make history with AOC as his number 2 since she is - next to Warren who cannot be his pick - the only progressive woman strongly supporting him.

  6. @Neil As much as I wanna see AOC run for president some day, she can't be the vice-president; the same age qualifications--35 years of age--apply to that position too. It's hard to believe, I know--seemingly so much more intelligence in her 28(?) years than the majority of old men in Congress.

  7. @Neil Actually, you have that backwards, Neil. AOC can't be Bernie's pick, but Warren can. Though I would love to be 29 again, sometimes being at least 35 has its advantages.

  8. @Neil ... AOC is too young.

  9. Biden's debate score tend is the opposite of the stock market. I missed an upward trend...

  10. The "get rid of Donald Trump" mantra is off target, in my opinion. Trump is the symptom, not the disease. If we hope to rehabilitate our country, we need to do more than replace its nominal figurehead. The decline of the planet has been accelerating for decades now and only significant, structural change to our economic and political structures will be capable of changing that trajectory.

  11. @Matt Fever and chills are symptoms that can be miserable and are worthy of treatment. We are better able to treat the underlying disease at 98.6/37.

  12. @Matt Matt, your're correct that trump is a symptom. However, removing him must be the first step in addressing any other issue we have... it is far from "off target." Structural, economic and political change are complex and will not be corrected with, as Bernie says "Revolution." Don't get me wrong, his heart is in the right place... it's just that we can't get their with revolution.

  13. @Matt I agree with your Trump is a symptom, not the disease comment. I'm not sure we'd agree on the disease or the cure. To me, the disease is a very partisan and divided America both our people and our legislators. The solution has to start with leadership that can inspire more of us to believe in and trust each other. That most certainly isn't Trump. Nor is it Sanders.

  14. So Joe Biden has persevered. People might think he has found his footing. Perhaps, at long last, Joe is the candidate we hoped he would be. I think he picked up a thing or two from Bernie. Bernie came across with a bit more compassion and a little less edginess. Maybe Bernie was sounding a bit more like Joe. Last night's debate will not change the outcome of the Democratic primary. I do hope it helps the Democratic consolidate their support for Joe Biden. Bernie Sanders has run an honorable campaign. I suspect that he will end his campaign shortly after tomorrow's primaries. Bernie is a good man, and I'm sure his conduct his withdrawal with dignity, grace, and a bit of grit. The time for the Democrats to pivot to the November 3, 2020 presidential election is upon us.

  15. @Brian Bernie developed the edginess over the past four years in response to his shabby treatment by the Democratic Party establishment and Trump in the Oval Office. Bernie is same Bernie I saw for the first time on January 31, 2016 in Waterloo, IA. He was more mellow then. Bernie was superb when he answered questions. It was nice to get a glimpse of the old Bernie. Life has taken its toll on all of us.

  16. @OldBoatMan - Most of us change given time and information. In 2016 I voted for Bernie in the Primary, but this time around I just couldn't get up any enthusiasm for his revolution. For me, Trump has so polluted the Oval Office, and destroyed whatever respect most of our allies might have had for us, and now what I want the most is a calm, dignified, quiet leader behind the Resolute Desk, and I just can't picture Bernie there.

  17. @Brian Amazing how far Biden has come since he entered the race bragging about his chummy relationships with the old Dixiecrats and segregationists. Bernie and Warren have shown him the way to America's promised land. Now he must remain faithful to that vision and not, upon becoming president, meander back into the Senate chambers to reminisce and cavort among the Lost Cause's fossilized remnants.

  18. Look, here's the deal. Number 1. I'll take Joe, and know we'll be hearing a lot of the above over the next four years. But it will be a blessing compared to the pathological liar that currently occupies the White House. Bernie has his heart in the right place but as Joe stated, we don't need a political revolution now, we need stability and a healing process for the nation.

  19. @cherrylog754 When Sanders challenged Biden over the fact that he hadn't supported an increase of the minimum wage to $15 an hour, Biden answered: "I went to Jeff Bezos to get his approval but he wants to build a floating city in the sky, and can't do so if forced to give workers a decent wage. . . . Everyone told Bezos the idea is unworkable but he's gotten hold of this notion . . . He has promised me an apartment in he new city, so win-win."

  20. @cherrylog754 But whoever is president in 2021, the virus will be mostly behind us by then, and what we will need is a leader helping us to bring about the change that will make sure we have a more democratic government, willing and able to serve us all; not one controlled by those who hire lobbyists (who then write the legislation favorable to their employers) and support candidates who will lower their taxes and remove necessary regulations. Sanders has been willing to stick with his fight, and it has been a needed one -- he needs out support to now go further and legislate the needed policies. If we are stuck with Biden, we need to get him to see this -- and not think that where Obama went is the beginning and end of good policy.

  21. @cherrylog754 What Biden presented was that we don't really to change things so that the next time we hit a crisis we'll address that at the time but not make changes that might help to mitigate its consequences. It's like a kid not doing a term paper until the last minute and needs his parent's help to finish it and takes the view why change my work habits because I'll simply depend upon their help again the next time I need to do a term paper.

  22. When I saw Peter Wehner's comment about Sanders having "radicalized" the Democratic Party, I had to re-read the sentence. If presenting FDR-style capitalism with a human face is radical, then sign me up. The status quo has got to go.

  23. @een Wehner is a right wing "conservative". per WIKI- "Peter Wehner is a veteran of three administrations (Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush) and the author of The Death of Politics. He is an American writer and Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC), a conservative think tank. He is also a fellow at the Trinity Forum." He more than likely will not be voting for either candidate. I would take his conservative opinion for what it's worth. Not much.

  24. @sharon FDR was a Democrat. Democrats are the only reason we have any of the social welfare programs and workers rights we have today. So, I find it odd that while he trashes the Democrats, Bernie selectively tries to associate himself with the Democrat's heroes like FDR and Obama (even to the point of selectively editing videos to make it appear Obama was praising him). Interestingly Politico did a story on how FDR hated the use of such labels like socialism and fought against it. The Democrats have accomplished a lot for the people of this nation and would do a lot more if not for the GOP.

  25. @een Sanders is a kind of faded throwback. His statement of, quote, “a government of the working people, by the working people and for the working people”; what does that really mean? How do we get there? Based on election experience, European socialists have learned not to say this slogan anymore. Union-wise, Sanders campaign does not have the member majority of support anyway.

  26. This debate highlighted the futility of a Trump-Biden general election. It will be an election about nothing. The result will be a strengthening of the far right.

  27. @John I hear you, but ousting a potential totalitarian while we still can is very far from "nothing." The movement Sanders has been building is still growing right now. The next generation will be able to develop that further and sooner if they don't have to work against the additional reactionary bulwarks Trump & Co could put in place with four more years to do it. Much as with fighting the pandemic, flattening the curve offers time and hope.

  28. @Keith " The next generation will be able to develop that further . . ." If only we had the time. Sadly we do not. The expanding reality of climate collapse are and will have far greater impact than the coronavirus. We are not doing what we must to mitigate or adapt. A Biden nomination seals our fate.

  29. @John Check the stock market today. Markets in Europe are tanking. Our markets will follow. Italy is seeing a fatality rate of around 8%. The US is caught flat footed to handle this crisis. We have a "president' who rage tweets about Obama and Hillary's emails. He is not well, living in some alternate world instead of the escalating dangerous reality that the real world is facing. There are NO TESTS, the response so far has been horrendous and grossly inept, governors mock one day and the next are declaring states of emergency. Travelers panicked, log jamming airports where they were crushed against each other like sardines for hours on end. It was the same in foreign airports ill prepared to deal with the onslaught of travelers returning home to the USA before his negligent and clueless "mispeaking" that our borders would be closed to US citizens wanting to return home. Not one of the foreign countries affected by this travel ban had any inkling that this was coming and were caught completely unprepared to handle it. In the US we have countless travelers saying no temps. were taken. TSA was more concerned with custom declarations instead of the actual health of the travelers returning home. Do you honestly think people who lose loved ones and friends to this inept administration will not remember in Nov? True, some won't care. They are empty vessels with no soul, no moral compass. They only care for money. Take a look at the stock market. Even their "God" money is dying.

  30. Bernie Sanders can't win the Democratic nomination. The numbers are not there. But he could show real leadership by stepping down now, I mean today. He could allow four states to shut down their primaries, and in the process, prevent thousands of people from being exposed to COVID-19. Bernie Sanders - if you really care about the health and welfare of the American people, and the rest of us that are residents of this share continent, then end the primaries now.

  31. @JK Joe Biden can't win the General Election. The numbers are not there. But he could show real leadership by stepping down now, I mean today. Joe Biden - if you really care about the health and welfare of the American people, and the rest of us that are residents of this share continent, then end the primaries now and stand aside for Senator Sanders, someone whom poll after poll shows could win in November.

  32. @Atlant Schmidt According to research, it was Sanders' supporters in 2016 who handed Trump the margin of victory he needed in key electoral college states. Biden will be the Democratic nominee in 2020, and what remains to be seen is whether Sanders' supporters will deliver another election to Trump either by opting out or by casting a protest vote.

  33. @Sean Reynolds Nice cherry-picking the data to suit your needs. The supporters who defected to Trump were Republicans, first-time voters and Independents who wouldn't have voted for a Democrat anyway. You can't be presumptuous that every single person who supports Bernie will immediately fall in line behind a party they don't support. Why are you considering those as "your" votes that are Sanders' fault for losing? If you can find a way to make Republicans vote for Democrats, hey, I'm all ears. But so far the only person who has figured out how to do that is Bernie Sanders, so if he is not nominated, those votes are gone, plain and simple.

  34. Joe was on a roll promising working people they would get money and not lose homes from layoffs and work slowdowns but he didn't say how he would do that -- just empty competitive campaign rhetoric. Sanders has worked it out. Even before the Covid pandemic this country has been in crisis with half of us close to the poverty line and a paycheck or illness away from disaster. Our water is toxic, our infrastructure in decay and corporate influence and corruption run amok. The climate crises remains an existential challenge. Biden held his own but he is unable to deal with the challenges we face that he helped create. Sanders remains our last chance for the competent, insightful leadership we desperately need.

  35. @Al M Gee, I heard several answers to how either Biden or Sanders would get this done. Did we watch different debates?

  36. @Al M And as others have said numerous time, how could he possibly get congress, both houses, to go along with his revolution?

  37. Quick Take-aways: 1. No audience is good. It felt like an exchange of ideas and philosophies not a campaign for the popular vote. 2. Fewer people on stage is better. I liked having 20+ candidates to choose from and was okay with the DNC dropping this or that person (miss you, though, Marianne!). Perhaps if South Carolina was first who was left standing would have changed slightly. 3. This was a clear choice of underlying philosophies. Biden is about tweaking what we have, Bernie for overhauling it all. Both have their arguments. I'm glad I have an honest choice.

  38. @Tom Triumph Agree. It was the only debate I could watch without wincing. Too bad my cable went all funky and the debate wouldn't play anymore. I saw about half. But it was a marked improvement over previous free-for-all Jerry Springer style prior debates.

  39. @Tom Triumph I agree with all you wrote except the sense that Bernie would need to change everything. Not so. His point is that finalizing M4A and student debt and immigration and unfair taxation would leave a New Greening as a fine national occupation, as a substitute for our rather stupid military preoccupation.

  40. Sanders chose to pull out the nuclear option against Biden, by bringing up past video evidence that Biden had supported freezing social security, Medicare and veterans benefits. I regret seeing him do this. He has no chance of defeating Biden for the nomination, and all this did was possibly weaken Biden in the general. A very poor decision, Bernie!

  41. @Barry Bernie is fighting to save the 68,000 Americans who needlessly lose their lives annually due to lack of healthcare (cf. recent Yale study estimate). If Bernie throws in the towel, he is simultaneously throwing them under the bus.

  42. @Barry The truth hurts. Biden also supported the Hyde Amendment and is weak on women's choice. If you really wanted to secure your Social Security and support women's rights, civil rights and the strongest candidate to defeat Trump, you should be supporting Sanders.

  43. @Barry "all this did was possibly weaken Biden in the general" He was just pointing out what we would be getting, which is irritating a lot of people because they are pretending to deny that that's basically who they are and what they want. Trump supporters are proud of his positions, Biden's supporters want to pretend he is a different guy. They want the money part and the pretend to care about the needy part as a package.

  44. Once again, moderators let Bernie run them right over . He gets to decide when and where to answer whatever he wants. His need to control the whole is consistent with Berns Knows Best, always. The incredible shrinking candidate will rail on until the sun sets on his campaign.

  45. @WIS Gal It's good to know that no other candidates do anything like that. And perhaps I missed his insightful answer when Biden was asked about his lack of support among Latino voters and didn't even say anything at all that in any way related to the issue.

  46. @WIS Gal I thought the exact same thing and wished they would shut him down.

  47. @Steve Actually, Biden graciously followed the moderators' lead. Pointing to a singular issues of your concern is a strawman unrelated to my major claim. Bernie does what Bernie does beyond reproach. That inability to listen, reflect, give away structurally to the venue's constraints is dangerous and actually very Trumpian.

  48. This debate was virtually the swan song for Bernie and he did well to highlight that has long held positions, even while unpopular in the past are becoming a reality now. He thinks that leadership is about taking such lead positions. Bernie is a thought leader who appeals to those who can discern truth and those whose shoes pinch. Biden stressed that they both share the end goals of reducing inequality, affordable healthcare for all and making college education accessible. Biden pointed out that Italy has single payer insurance, clearly implying that definition of a solution is by itself solves nothing. He seeks the glide-path to consolidate the gains already made and focus on the road map to reach outcomes that Bernie and he seek. Biden is a pragmatic leader with a common sense approach towards getting things done.

  49. Gail Collins writes: "But one has already been vice president. So that’s a huge win for Biden." And that's a huge loss for America. Biden is harkening back just as much to the past as is Trump. Yes, his is to the more recent past of the 2010's v Trump's of the big 80's. But, Biden and his wing of the Democratic Party are holding on to tried but no longer true solutions. Biden's ideas are as old as him. We need a new playbook for the 2020's and they aren't coming from Sleepy Joe.

  50. @Common Sense - Blame the voters. The best candidates, IMO, dropped out because they didn't get the votes. Now we're left with the two septuagenarians, both of whom should have retired already. After suffering for 3 years with a loud-mouth dotard as President, and a pandemic to boot, the choice between a revolution or status quo is easy: Biden.

  51. Joe Biden said Sunday the struggles that Italy has had combating the coronavirus epidemic exposes the shortcomings of a single-payer health care system. Isn't it also true the struggles of the United States has exposed the shortcomings of an insurance-based health care system?

  52. @Mike No it hasn't. Please show us where, at this moment, the shortcomings of our private insurance based healthcare system. The system has nothing to do with testing, and please let us know when you read about the insurance industry denying coverage for a person with coronavirus.

  53. @Mike Italy and Great Britain both have a severe shortage of hospital beds, which made it difficult for either to treat emergency patients, even before this Coronavirus crisis.

  54. @philly When it comes to getting infected with a virus the type of health care system is irrelevant (although of course having people with no access to healthcare or paid sick leave would make things worse). The point is that Biden's argument was absurd. Having said that, how the US responds to this crisis remains to be seen (so far it's not impressive, but arguably not related to the health care system yet), but you could look at South Korea to see both an effective response facilitated by a single-payer system and what such a system can enable you to do.

  55. Bernie lost all credibility when at the beginning his response to how he would attack the Coronavirus was to tax the rich and essentially destroy the pharmaceutical companies, the same companies that we are now depending upon to come up with a cure and vaccine to save us all. He showed that he is tone deaf and totally separated from reality.

  56. @philly The pharmaceutical industry is not going to have a vaccine in time to make a meaningful impact. Even if one of the ones already developed (e.g., Moderna) is indeed effective, it will be at least 12 months until it can be cleared for widespread use. The best case is that we have a vaccine to prevent downstream epidemics, but the worst of this current phase will be past. This is coming from someone who works in the pharmaceutical industry.

  57. @philly Something you forget about. Those company are in business to make money, not for the public good which is secondary. Thus they invest a great deal of money in new drugs for the management of chronic diseases for which their drugs need to be taken for years guaranteeing a continuing flow of income. But when it comes to vaccines or antibiotics or antivirals which are one or two time things for most people, they have much less interest in them.

  58. @Steve All businesses are in the business of making money. Right now there are 9 pharmaceutical companies trying to find a cure and/or a vaccine for the virus. Fortunately all of them have the money and resources to invest in the development of the potential cures, because they have been in business to make money in the past. I would suggest that these companies are doing the Coronavirus development for the public good if your statement that there is no money in vaccines and or antivirals is correct.

  59. Biden was never voted to cut Social Security and Bernie's persistent claim that Biden has made a career out of this is just plain false. This false claim of Bernie's has been pointed out on Politifact, WaPo and Fact Check. There were a couple of times in our history where we were in a crisis where the GOP threaded to shut down government and default on our debt, largely due to the high deficits from lost revenues due to collapse of the economy. In such an instance, Biden said he was open to considering a 1 year freeze (for the entire budget) in order to come to a solution and break a stalemate. But for Bernie Sanders to say that Biden has ever been for cutting Social Security, well that is false, and Bernie knows this Earlier in the primary season Bernie got caught with the edited video trying to claim Biden was praising the Ryan Plan's cuts. The media called him out on it and he pretended to not know who had put it out there. However, it now seems clear that these distortions were where Bernie had intended to go all along. There are now prime time TV ads running in my retiree swing state claiming Biden has always been for cutting Social Security and nothing could be further from the truth. Bernie could cost us this election and a Senate seat here in AZ with his dishonesty. Then there is the matter of the 3 Super PACs supporting Bernie and the 6 501(c)(4)s - better known as Dark Money.

  60. @Meg Biden has more than once advocated cuts to Social Security and Medicare -- the congressional record exists. Sanders has more than once advocated raising the cap on deductions by the wealthiest to secure and expand S0ocial Security and of course to open up Medicare to all of us.

  61. @Al M ....As Senators, one of the candidates has engaged in the give and take necessary to get legislation passed, and the other has opted for ideological purity. Leadership and governance in a democracy requires negotiation and compromise.

  62. @Al M Actually the fact check sites say this claim of Bernie's is downright false. I am also now a senior and I have always paid close attention to politics. Bernie is being very dishonest,

  63. Biden spent the evening pretending he was currently President and telling us what "he" was going to do to solve the crisis we face. That is nice, but it won't matter in 10 months when he is (hopefully) sworn in as President. Bernie, on the other hand, continues to be critical of the processes and decisions that have been made by our leadership (both Republican and Democratic) which have critically injured the American public by handing victory after victory to corporate money and power. Personally, I am glad Bernie stood up for the American people... someone need to.

  64. I watched about one hour of the debate, VP Joe Biden surprised me, he looked trim, focussed and smiled under attacks from Senator Bernie Sanders. While Biden was speaking Sanders was having odd facial expressions as if He was going to pass out. Mr Sanders was going way back when and was focussed on attacking Biden and Biden flashed a smile and denied all. Then he said if you must focus on past, aboud Sanders passing on gun and what not. Time has come for Mr. Sanders to concede and mathematically he can not win enough delegates to be the nominee. Time to support Mr. Joe Biden for President. Our vote is tomorrow and I am planning to go to vote for Mr. Joe Biden.

  65. @B Sharp Best to look at candidate records instead of TV in deciding who and what you are voting for. Our future depends on it -- especially right now.

  66. @Al M I've looked at their records and current proposals. The overwhelming choice is Joe Biden. Common sense, workable solutions.

  67. @B Sharp Biden did stumble when he couldn't remember the word "Ebola." At first, he said coronavirus, then corrected himself and said that wasn't it but he still couldn't find the correct word so just said it was the Africa thing. I didn't hear Sanders similarly stumble.

  68. I like Biden, but I think Sanders is MORE electable in November against Trump. Why ? Trade, Social Security and Healthcare. We care in a populist era and the REAL populist will defeat a fake populist every time. Sanders is FDR 2.0.

  69. @Tom I would say Sanders would have proven to be George McGovern 2.0. That said, it doesn't look like we'll find out, unless something weird happens and Sanders is nominated.

  70. @Andrew Hirsch 1. 1972 was a very different time. A time when high healthcare costs, job outsourcing, and endless Middle East intervention wasn't a problem. 2. If you want to make comparisons to previous elections, then Biden is Hillary 2.0. The dynamics of this election is the same as 2016 with one of the main differences is that Trump is an incumbent. Trump can just use the same playbook back then by targeting Biden's voting record and Hunter Biden's dealings in foreign companies. Whether you believe it's fine or not, you can't deny the appearance of corruption in Hunter's dealings with Ukraine and China.

  71. @Tom Absolutely correct. Bernie is very real, very intelligent. Trump is a disgusting con-man fake. A weak commercial media ham.

  72. The US has always been a terribly flawed country measured by its self-proclaimed image, but it used to be able to embrace major structural change (albeit kicking and screaming) when that was existentially necessary. Today, America is as self-absorbed as Trump and the GOP and as sclerotic as the Democratic mainstream and its candidate. That does not bode well for the future.

  73. Irenic? I love the word, though I have never seen it in print before. May the universe see the future as powered by the energy of irenic boldness. To unify differing sects in the land of peace and rationalism... Hugh

  74. @Hugh Massengill Me too! I had to look it up, it's a perfect word for these times and the coming election.

  75. So this what it has come to? Joe Biden just has to prove that he can put words together to make a coherent sentence, doesn’t drool on himself, and isn’t Donald Trump, and that qualifies him as presidential? Look, I get that we need to replace Trump and most importantly return stability to the country, but we can do that and vigorously address climate change, make healthcare a right, reduce income and wealth inequality, and solve the college unaffordability crisis at the same time. There is nothing incompatible with a progressive agenda and a functional, stable, intelligent, and caring government and society. Americans can reach a little higher than what Biden is proposing!

  76. @Ockham9 Have you even been to Biden's website? Bernie keeps pretending this is all new to him because he has been lying to his base that Biden (and all the other candidates) are for the status quo. But their agendas have been very progressive. Bernie seems to think his only way he can win is to lie and pretend he is the only option. Maybe he is afraid if his base goes to Biden's website they will see that Biden is the better option, so he pretends there is nothing there.

  77. @Meg I have been to Biden’s website, and while there are some good proposals there, it could go much farther. His higher ed plan focuses heavily on community college (as did Obama’s); it would be much better to attack the fundamental reason why college costs too much, the decision over the past 40 years to reduce state support for HE. His healthcare plan focuses heavily on a public option, and negotiating prices and deductibles down. We saw that in Obama’s 2008 campaign pledge, and at the first opposition from insurance and healthcare corporations, those pledges were scrapped. I have seen nothing on the Biden website to indicate the tax side of government: how will he reduce income and wealth inequality without a significant increase in marginal rates and a wealth tax that recaptures accrued wealth of 40 years of unjust tax policy? And as far as climate change is concerned, a plan for 2050 is not sufficient: most climate scientists urge a much more ambitious reduction than a 30-year plan. That said, I am not a Sanders acolyte. He clearly has one club in his bag. But reading the NYT pundits’ comments about Biden leaves me underwhelmed: “his performance should reassure Democrats who worried about his mental acuity”; “The huge question was whether Biden would stumble, fall into one of those oh-whoops-sorry moments. And he didn’t!” That’s a pretty low bar. I am disappointed that Democrats can’t seem to support a strong, visionary progressive that also restores stability.

  78. @Ockham9.... "There is nothing incompatible with a progressive agenda and a functional, stable, intelligent, and caring government".....Nothing except a Republican Senate and the possibility of losing the House with Sanders at the head of the ticket.

  79. I respect Bernie for his contribution to the progressive agenda. In the long run it will help us all. And the clear respect that both of these men have for each other is refreshing and heartening. But I've been a fan of Joe for years and I thought he had a strong performance here....when it really mattered. That's the thing about Joe that I have always noticed: he really does rise to the occasion when it truly matters. I know some progressives are worried about he'll deal with Trump in a debate. But I'm not worried. Even under mild pressure, Trump gets flustered, flat-footed and off-balance, even when he gets a moderately challenging press question. And even when he has assembled his usual cadre of "yes-men" in the background. When Yamiche Alcindor asked him why he didn't take any responsibility for the failed response to the COVID-19 outbreak, all he could say was that her question was "nasty". He won't be able to do that in a presidential debate. Biden is a nice guy who can cheerfully use facts and figures as his lethal weapon. He'll eviscerate Trump in a debate.

  80. @Nial McCabe There will be no debate. trump's handlers know it would be an unmitigated disaster to spend three to four hours off script. he can't put a cohesive sentence together let alone 4 hours worth. Sanders or Biden, whoever wins, should debate an empty chair or better yet and empty suit. Both represent trump to a T. It boggles the mind that voters will support trump, a candidate whose team is too frightened to allow him to debate! For many Americans the ability to think rationally has left the building.

  81. @Nial McCabe There will be no debate. Trump is unhinged and his handlers can't take the chance that he will say or do something way beyond outrageous, especially if we are still dealing with effects from corona virus, falling stock market, economic recession. Or some other disaster which Trump might use under the national emergency declaration to further expand his powers, maybe even martial law. There is an amazing and somewhat frightening article in the January 2019 issue of the Atlantic Monthly magazine which deals with precisely what the president can do with emergency powers. www.theatlantic.com.magazine.2019/01.presidential emergency

  82. Through out the two highest and two lowest scores for each candidate (because the scoring is so subjective and easily subject to attempted manipulation of the outcome) and Sanders's score is 7+ and Biden's score is 7-; Sanders wins the debate.

  83. Bernie Sander dominated the debate and Biden showed how easily he could be addled by a candidate with a different message than that of the plutocracy. If Bernie can rattle Biden like that can you imagine what Trump the mendacious will do to him. It's time to Nominate Bernie Sanders and institute Medicare for All. If this pandemic proves nothing else it proves that we need single payer universal health care like all the other Western Democracies have. It is also the time for democratic socialism in the American Republic. As far as I am concerned it is still "Never Trump" "Never Biden" "Reign In Capitalism &break The Plutocracy"

  84. @Richard From Massachusetts Italy has single payer...and what about Sanders’ illogical vote against Russian sanctions in 2015?

  85. If Bernie Sanders is the voice in the wilderness crying out for justice for so many years, Biden is not the one for whom he has prepared the path. Bernie may never be president but it is not Biden is going to save us. Is it AOC in four or eight years? And with climate change bearing down hard and real action demanded, will that be soon enough to finally get the leader we need?

  86. @Leabharlannai We'll worry about that in 4, 8, 12 , or 16 tears from now. First things first. GET RID OF TRUMP.

  87. I missed Elizabeth Warren in this debate. Sanders is so strong on what the issues are, but Warren could always be counted on having a plan to address them. Together on the stage they paint a true picture of what is facing this nation. A vision a country that serves only a handful of people at the top, at the expense of the rest of us. Biden was Biden. Trust me, it'll be fine, he implied. Jim Clyburn was trying to cancel the debate, which does not say much about his faith in Biden's abilities. So it was reassuring that Biden was able to finally complete sentences and rise to the occasion of two hours under the spotlight. I guess this is the most we have come to expect in a president.

  88. @avrds It's more than we have now in a President. Trump can't even coherently follow a teleprompter. He's back to blaming Hillary again for dome bizarre reason. I guess his 35% cult followers eat it up when he rants against her. Either that or he's forgotten she's not running against him in 2020. My guess is both reasons are tied.

  89. We'll learn a lot about Bernie Sanders over the next 48 hours. He will almost certainly lose in Tuesday's primary elections in critically important states. He should swallow his pride and make the difficult decision to stand down at that point - he'll have no realistic path, and it will take the need for more primaries, more uncertainty and more drama off the table. I like Bernie - he's thoughtful and sincere and he's certainly a strong campaigner; if it were 2008 I think he'd have a real good chance to be President. In the strong recovery from 2010-2019, his candidacy did not make as much sense; in the current crisis of 2020, I can't see enough voters supporting massive change when we are already facing such uncertainty. Bernie has added much to the national debate and I hope he will continue to make himself an important voice by supporting Joe Biden and the Democratic ticket. Doing anything else from this point forward really only helps Trump.

  90. @Frank Roseavelt The problem is that each time Biden is asked how he will gain the support of Sanders' supporters, his only answer is that they have to unite to defeat Trump. That message didn't work in 2016 and it's questionable that it will work now. At the least he should have said that he'd have a female Sanders supporter as his VP nominee. If he chooses an a Klobuchar or a Harris, does anybody think Sanders supporters are going to rush to support the ticket.

  91. @Steve every voter who fails to support the nominee of the Democratic party is a voter who will aid and abet the second term for Trump. That's it.

  92. @Steve Joe talks about uniting the country, crossing the aisle to get things done. The first uniting he should do is uniting the Democratic Party. If he is willing to cross the aisle to Republicans he must be willing to cross the divide of our party. If he shows himself capable of embracing a broad coalition of Democratic thinking he will be capable of winning. A lot of polls( I know, polls) show a high percentage of Democratic voters support the message of Bernie/Warren they just don't like the messengers. So Joe embrace all of US only then can you win.

  93. Considering Trump's recent public performances, e.g. 3/13 press conference, I think Biden will be the picture of articulate lucidity in comparison.

  94. @Daphne That's quite the low bar to set. Where do you suppose Joe was going with his Jack the Ripper analogy last night? Lol...lucidity? That isn't Joe's strong point is it.

  95. This debate and who won it is meaningless. Biden will be the nominee! All that the debate and this subsequent coverage and comments here do is undercut his strength in the general election. It does not matter how great Sanders was or is or how he beat Biden senseless in the debate.

  96. @John It will matter if Biden loses. I suppose the media will find a way to blame that on Bernie too.

  97. Biden does best in a quiet environment when he's not surrounded by young people speaking quickly. Even then, he kept mixing up the virus names and clearly has difficulty with word recall.

  98. @AACNY Have you confused Sanders with Biden? It was Sanders who repeatedly referred to the coronavirus as Ebola. Did you miss that or choosing to blame Biden for Sanders mistakes? Both Trump and Putin want Sanders to be the nominee. Why do you think that is?

  99. Winners? The people of the United States are winners with both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. These men are both determined to get Donald Trump out of the White House! Of course Biden and Sanders have their differences. But what did we see on the stage last night? Care, intelligence, hard workers, trust, leadership qualities, service to their country, loyalty to the integrity of the United States. We’re ready to go to the polls and make Biden and Sanders’ pleas come true. Get Donald Trump out of the White House.

  100. @MIMA The Bernie Sanders that I saw last night wasn't the angry, finger-pointing screamer lecturing the "unwoke" as if they were miscreants. Bernie's ideas aren't politically feasible because they are aspirational & not presented as relevant to those "ordinary" Americans. Example: people are afraid of Medicare for All because they don't want to lose their private insurance. It is not made clear to the "unwoke" that health insurance is not health care , that health insurance, with high premiums, high deductibles, high copays, is a barrier to healthcare. If I were Bernie, or even Joe Biden I would focus on a few things which are easily understandable and would have widespread appeal to most Americans. Like Medicare negotiation for prescription drug prices as VA does (with much lower prices than on-VA). Focus on insulin. Millions of Americans are diabetics and more will become so as our population ages. Everybody knows that the price of insulin, which diabetics literally need to stay alive, has skyrocketed in recent years due to the greed of the drug companies. When drug companies talk about their R& D costs, remind people that most of the startup costs come from government sponsored research at agencies like National Institutes of Health. If an amateur like me can think of this I'm sure the professionals can as well. In fact I read that Trump wants to focus on insulin as part of his supposed efforts to lower the price of prescription drugs.

  101. I'm with Nicole Hemmer when she writes, "The smartest move Biden made in the debate — other than committing to a female running mate — was tying revolution to disruption." While I'm sure he had a lot of practice sessions with his new team (new campaign manager, new people, etc., it's amazing what the infusion of new money can do), he pulled off what he had to. I've noticed that Biden tends to get rattled on a debate stage of many people--likely due to a lifelong battle with stuttering. Last night's performance, less a debate than a political argument between two old friends, seemed better suited to allowing Biden to feel more relaxed. Bernie was, well Bernie, and often that worked but in the end, he wasn't able to tailor his arguments to the specific unparalled crisis facing our nation.

  102. @ChristineMcM Sanders has one debate in him. That is not a formula for a successful presidency. Remember “the wall”, a campaign strategy that led to a huge failed presidency. Of course Sanders is an intelligent, qualified man and trump is not. But I still do not want a one-note candidate as my president.

  103. I started watching the debate and noticed Biden with low energy. He followed the time limit to the point of stopping talking in the middle of a sentence. But then he caught up being more assertive and projecting his lead. Sanders did not commit to run with a woman and did not make the case for his healthcare proposal. He does not have its numbers aligned. At the end of the debate, Biden was ahead and Sanders will follow up on campaigning for Biden. Which does not guarantee voters transfer.

  104. @Aurace Rengifo Sanders has already committed to a female running mate. The emphasis here is misplaced.

  105. Unlike the columnists, I thought Bernie was the one off last night. He called the current pandemic "Ebola" repeatedly, and claimed that Bush '43 bailed out GM when it was Obama. Factually, Bernie is RIGHT about progress made in China and in Cuba. Under the (pseudo)-Communist regime, just 25 years ago "Made in China" was exotic, now it's ubiquitous and China is now the 3rd largest economic power on Earth after the EU and the US (with a lot of help from Reagan's destruction of manufacturing to destroy the unions which he hated). Cuba's strides in literacy and health care are impressive for what is still essentially a 3rd world nation. Infant mortality is the same or better than the US. But, tactically, Bernie's harping on this is a calamitous disaster and Joe is right to distance himself from it. It alone, fair or unfair, makes it nearly impossible for Bernie to beat Trump. Bernie's main point that income inequality is a key to problems isn't wrong, but where Bernie is wrong is that it is not the only key. Like Republicans for whom corporate tax cuts and subsidies, deregulation, and radical reactionary anti-Constitutionalist judges are the answer to EVERYTHING, Bernie's only got one tool in his tool box. Sure, his hammer can hammer down a lot of nails, but not every problem we face is a nail. But "Angry Bernie" isn't angry, he's just a typically passionate transplanted New Yorker, familiar to everyone from this area. Still, it was Joe's night and Bernie knew it.

  106. @Dadof2 Bush ‘43 signed the GM bailout in December 2008, one month before Obama was sworn into office. Obama oversaw the implementation of the bailout after he took office, but it was GW who signed the legislation to bail out GM.

  107. @Dadof2 Biden couldn't even remember the word "Ebola"

  108. @Dadof2 Thank you. I completely agree.

  109. I’ve supported Bernie, but the fact is that voters are selecting Biden. Since both candidates did reasonably well in their debate, it looks like Biden will continue to win on electibility, while Bernie’s door prize will be winning on ideology. Ideology matters, and Bernie has pushed Biden further left on several issues. If Biden beats Trump, my hope is that he can be effective at healing at least some of the bitterness dividing the country. He and his team will also need to rebuild government agencies hollowed out and demoralized by 4 years of ineptitude, rebuild alliances with our allies, restore faith in government competence, not to mention begin to take on the great challenges of our time. Biden could serve as a valuable, transitional figure for our Republic. Not the great, transformative leader Bernie could have been, but one who sets the stage for such a leader in years to come.

  110. @MIchael S. I have never seen Sanders as a leader. I do not think I am alone.

  111. What a wide variety of political statements, perhaps to gain the upper hand, but also depicting the inadequacies, inequalities and injustices in this capitalistic system. We already saw what drives the stock market (fear and greed), and even more so with the current coronavirus crisis. Shouldn't we find strength in unity, by amalgamating some of these ideas, make it a needed front to stop a lying demagogue from perpetuating himself in the presidency, and go on destroying what we value most, 'trust' in our democratic institutions?

  112. What the democrats don't seem to understand is the average person voting in the general election is entirely different from the average democratic primary voter. The perceived qualities of a candidate (wit, charisma, confidence) matter far more to the general election voter than to the average democratic primary voter. But most important in today's America, is a candidate's perceived level of intimacy with institutions that the average American sees as corrupt and/or incompetent. This is going to do determine how honest a candidate will seem to the average general election voter and that perceived level of honesty will, more than any other factor, determine who they will vote for.

  113. Besides the "show" we might look at the content of the debate. Biden was misleading at best about Italy and its health care system. Italy does have a M4A type system, but under funds it. We would do much better. And its system is working. Italy's problems with the coronavirus include: 1) Italy’s current national health service remains under-funded. 2) Italy has an exceptional old population. 3) The virus was probably spreading in Italy long before it was detected. And it is now doing the best that can be expected under the circumstances. Sander's point about his consistency in supporting progressive positions is important. We do need a leader, not for a few months, but for years. And we hope the Coronavirus problem will be mostly behind us before a new president is sworn in in early 2021. We need someone leading us beyond our inequalities, beyond the power of the wealthy to control government levers, and beyond complacent actions on global warming. Biden is a get-along guy -- he's nice at a time when we need someone firm in their understanding and willing to stand up for what is right; not someone willing to compromise away in order to get along.

  114. @Just Thinkin’ Compromise is how things get done in Washington, isn’t it? Perhaps Sanders and Warren need to understand that. I don’t enjoy people who command me to do something. I work much better when I am offered honey instead of flies.

  115. @MLE53 That's not how Republicans operate. They ram through every bill they put forward. And how did compromise work for the Democrats with the ACA? They compromised the bill down to too small subsidies which left too many in the middle class vulnerable to big increases in premiums and rising deductibles. And what did the Democrats get for their "compromise"? Not a single Republican vote. Bernie Sanders understands that you fight for what is right, and you don't compromise/abandon away your principles. You fight for them, and for the American people.

  116. @Sean True, the watering down of the bill failed to get a single Republican vote, but it did get the votes of conservative Democrats that were needed to get it passed. The ACA as it was enacted is infinitely preferable to the nothing that we would otherwise have instead.

  117. Both Biden and Sanders failed on the question asked by Dana Bash early in last night's debate: do you support a national quarantine? Both candidates ducked the question and pivoted to other coronavirus policy prescriptions. We know that the single most effective thing we as individuals can do to slow the spread of coronavirus is to isolate ourselves from social contact (as my family, friends and I are doing). Each day this urgent step is delayed allows the exponential curve of disease spread to steepen, bringing us closer to the hellish situation in Italy. Both candidates had a teachable moment last night and they flubbed it. Were they afraid that the American public would not be able to handle an uncomfortable truth?

  118. By any measure (number of beds ,number of respirators, number of physicians),the medical system in northern Italy is better than in the States ,on average.The number of cases in the States is totally unknown until a program of extensive testing is up and running (probably not this month).The States are a few weeks behind Italy, but there is a strong possibility that the situation will become much ,much worse than in Italy in the near future. Biden cheap shot will be forgotten then .

  119. @Vercingetorix Actually it's not. The US system is outstanding in terms of its ACTUAL resources. It should be because we're spending twice as much on it as everyone else! The problem is access to it and its cost, not size and resources. And it was a very effective rejoinder.

  120. @Vercingetorix I think the point was that having single payer does not help in a crisis like this one. The important point is whether we will have more or fewer hospitals beds, doctors, nurses, ventilators under single payer. Some of these countries have had underfunded health care systems that are not in great shape under conservative leadership, like the UK. The point about putting systems in place that are more or less "permanent" was a good one.

  121. @John According to the World Bank: Italy has 4.1 physician per 1000 United States: 2.6 physician According to the OECD: Italy has 3.2 hospital beds per 1000 United States:2.8 France has 6 and it is not nearly enough ,South Korea has 12.3 Cost is not the same as quality and quantity.On average Europeans are much healthier and live longer.

  122. While I agree with most of what Bernie wants to do, he’s not inspired faith in his ability to accomplish his agenda at all, much less without causing chaos. Biden coherently represented the old guard Democratic Party which has been a self-serving neo-liberal disaster, but I’ll take them any day over what we have now. I just hope the woman Biden chooses will be the very competent and experienced Elizabeth Warren, and that Bernie will give his full and enthusiastic blessing in the hopes of seeing some of his and Warren’s mutual policy plans incorporated in Biden’s agenda. While she tanked in the primaries, I believe there were some exit polls that showed her to be the most popular second choice. With Bernie’s help she could get out progressives.

  123. @Maggie States around the country have now implemented a minimum wage of $15 per hour. That is entirely due to Senator Sanders' fighting like heck for that. States around the country are beginning to implement zero-tuition plans for public universities. That is entirely due to Senator Sanders' fighting like heck for it. Sometimes one has to fight and fight and fight. That's what Senator Sanders does. And that is something that Biden never has and never wil.

  124. @Maggie Warren for VP? insane idea! if she gives up her senate seat the republican Governor in Massachusetts will appoint a republican senator: Bye Bye to Democratic chance to regain control of the senate. THINK you all who favors Warren for VP

  125. @Sean ..."Sometimes one has to fight and fight and fight."...But that doesn't make someone Presidential material. To successfully govern in a democracy you have to know how to negotiate and compromise. My way or the highway only works in authoritarian countries.

  126. Halfway through the debate I decided to put my hearing aids in so I could actually follow what they were saying. Not sure it made much difference, but it made me feel a tighter bond with the candidates.

  127. Sanders attempted to play the "leadership" card on several occasions, based solely on his years of radical ideas, and Biden missed the opportunity to hit that softball out of the park. Leadership is not simply about having different or radical ideas, but also about achieving results, and the Sanders record in Congress falls far short of Biden in that category.

  128. @JustinC There is absolutely nothing "radical" about implementing single-payer healthcare, the type of healthcare that provides far better outcomes for far more people at far lower cost for virtually every developed nation on earth compared with our obscene and ruinous for-profit healthcare system. It is a proposal that would bring America into the present-day developed world. Absolutely nothing "radical" about that.

  129. @JustinC Bernie Sanders is very proud of the fact that he has voted "against" almost every piece of legislation he mentions. It's easy to be against everything and to vote "No". Leadership requires "Yes" votes to get things done even though it requires a compromise. Bernie has let perfect be the enemy of progress. That's why he's got no record of accomplishment.

  130. @DLH Not true. Read the article in today’s Times about whether America was ready for Bernie. It presents a man who compromises when he needs to.

  131. The Bernie Sanders I saw last night is the same Bernie I saw for the first time at Waterloo, Iowa on January 31, 2016, asking the same questions. Hillary Clinton did not have the answers in 2016 and Joe Biden does not the answers in 2020. I'm a Democrat, a Bernie Sanders Democrat. I voted for my party's nominee in 2016. I'll vote for my party's nominee in 2020. I'm still hoping for answers to Bernie's persistent questions.

  132. @OldBoatMan ....Sanders questions can only be addressed if the Democrats win lots of down ballot races. That means numbers of moderate Democrats need to win in many of the more conservative districts. Sanders and his supporters never seem to acknowledge this fact. It is one thing to rigidly cling to an ideology and quite another to understand what needs to be done to actually accomplish those goals.

  133. @W.A. Spitzer Except most of those people would not vote for the necessary measures--because of their ideology. Look how Rahm Emmanuel's choices to run conservative Dems hobbled the ACA.

  134. @Max Robe ....You make a point. But if you can't get elected in the first place it doesn't matter how you vote. I would prefer some progress now and more progress later to no progress at all.

  135. As all the pundits here agree (even the Biden antis) Biden won hands down. Sanders did his usual telling us what we all know act (but without the usual shouting) but he didn't lay a glove on Biden basically. Biden was selling competence, experience and rationality and he was successful. It's over.

  136. @John Biden was selling a return to the band aid economy—and in the sense that the pundits paint that as “normal” and “competence” then yes he won. But in the world in which you are looking for someone to fight the disease and help cure the society, Sanders won hands down. I suppose it’s all relative to what you are looking for.

  137. @John Biden's bar was set down at his laces. It's the first debate since he became the frontrunner and his only job was to prove to people that he's not senile. Bernie, having not made people doubt his mind for the last several weeks, was being judged in an entirely different way.

  138. The tit-for-tat accusations about votes that occurred decades ago marred what otherwise was a spirited and civil debate. Though not a big fan of "Uncle Joe" and a former supporter of "Tio Bernie" what distinguished last night's debate was the focus on how things need to get done in the current environment and how to get both Independent and "never-Trumpers" to the voting booth. As time wears on, it's clear that the Democratic Party is the only choice for combating the reactionary and destructive path that 45 has initiated and implemented over the past 3 years. It matters not how one or the other voted on the Iraq War. The only thing that was proven during that debacle was that belief in the propaganda leading to it was the real issue. Railing against the past is not the key to where our democracy must head to be preserved. Likely, the electorate must be convinced that an immediate overhaul of our institutions must be done a step at a time. For that reason, the experience Biden has had with both domestic policy and foreign relations in his role in the Obama administration will probably be the linchpin to his ultimate success in November. With 45 being underwater in terms of his approval rating throughout his tenure, it is clear that massive turnout (despite suppression attempts and gerrymandering by the GOP) will be key for overturning the catastrophe of the past 3+ years of 45 and his toadies in the Senate. VOTE BLUE up and down the ballot on November 3rd!

  139. @wysiwyg Thanks. This is my sentiment exactly.

  140. @wysiwyg VERY nice the way you have already started making excuses for the inevitable reelection of the POTUS.

  141. My thoughts this morning are on the unfolding heath crisis and on the possible destruction of our economy. Therefore, I'm looking for leadership rather than structural change. As I watched the debate last night, I saw Biden as the only choice.

  142. @Henry Dickerson The present pandemic is a dry run for the disasters we will face over the next decade. Many of us will die and many more will be hard hit economically. We are unprepared for any of it and without the structural changes Sanders is calling for, we will remain so at our peril.

  143. I thought Biden did a good job in the debate. He came across presidential. Sanders did okay to me, but he seems to be a one-note candidate. He may have some good points, but he never seems presidential to me. Of course, for least presidential trump, is hands down the winner. I sense Biden is choosing a woman to appeal to certain voters. As a woman, I was not overwhelmed by any of the woman on the stage. Klobuchar was the woman I would most likely support for VP. I think Warren would serve us better as a senator or in a Cabinet post. All the candidates, the women and the men, offer more, individually, than any of trump’s “chosen”. I think Cory Booker would have been my first choice for VP. Biden, with all his faults, is what we need right now. I am comforted by his ability to convey understanding of what we all are going through right now. I believe he will choose extremely qualified people to help restore our institutions and set us on the right course for a strong future.

  144. @MLE53 I concur with you that the women on the stage were underwhelming--for me, also, since Tulsi Gabbard was booted off the stage by rule changing against her, etc. Like you, found Cory Booker a viable choice, as well as Mayor Pete. Biden should leave much needed senators in their place. He should look further afield--perhaps Sally Yates?

  145. No one will remember this debate. In fact, very few people even watched it including my husband and I who are political junkies. Tomorrow Biden will win the majority of delegates. He will go on to win the nomination. Our job now is to help him defeat Trump and take back the Congress.

  146. @Simon Sez If you didn’t watch the debate, how can you say it wasn’t memorable? This was a rare opportunity to see the top two candidates communicate in a well-moderated discussion without the noise and distraction of an audience and a big group of candidates shouting to be heard. One can hardly be a “political junkie” and have consciously chosen to skip this last chance to see the front-runners thoroughly state their opinions and point out their differences. But if you have already decided Biden’s nomination is a done deal and Bernie cannot even influence the party’s platform, I guess your time was better spent elsewhere. Oh well.

  147. Mr. McCarthy is wrong. It isn't that the Biden of 20-30 years ago didn't live up to progressive standards of today; it's that he didn't even live up to progressive standards of 20-30 years ago. Many people at that time felt he didn't give Anita Hill's accusations against Clarence Thomas a fair hearing and he voted for an Iraq war that many people who weren't even progressives were skeptical about the reasons for fighting for it. I thought that Biden's answer that what's happening in Italy proves a Medicare for All plan doesn't help is akin to saying that Israel has now gone through 3 elections in the past year and still doesn't yet have a government shows that democracy doesn't work.

  148. During this very long campaign, people have had a chance to zoom in on the qualities of each candidate. You can find fault with everyone of them, I certainly did. A one-man-show is not for me, but that is the nature of a presidential system. Once in power though, much depends on the qualities of the secretaries of state and of the kind of people elected to Congress. So the sooner this one-man show ends, the better for the Democrats who by nature are team-players and prefer co-operation to a volatile leadership (of the Fidel Castro/Donald Trump type). The sooner they display all of their talents, the better.

  149. Mimi Swartz claims that Bernie Sanders' "arguments are sounding tired because he so rarely expands on them in fresh ways..." Perhaps that's because his arguments are founded on basic truths that our nation has yet to acknowledge, let alone solve. It might sound repetitive to state that Americans working a 40-hour work week deserve to receive a living wage; but to low-income Americans, it's a basic truth. It may seem "tired" to point out that our for-profit healthcare system is immoral, unfair, and ruinous to most American families; but that is a basic inequality that needs to be fixed, and Sanders won't rest until he does. Senator Sanders' attacks on the inequities of American life my seem "tired" to those who don't care about them, but for those who want to reform America and aid poor families, they are not tired.

  150. @Sean I deeply care about the same things you do. And I find Bernie extremely tiresome. Why? Because he is more concerned about being right than he is about getting things done. Also, a person whose ideas do not evolve are just believers. The truth is always more grey than people of faith would have it. And that is true whether your religion is based on the supernatural or a secular ideology.

  151. @Sean You are right. Your comment should be a Times pick.

  152. @Sean I'm an old "lefty" same age as Bernie. Objectively, I favor almost all of of Bernie's proposals; however, whenever I've seen him in debates and on the news I feel like I'm being lectured to by an angry finger-pointing man addressing me as an "unwoke" miscreant. I was a union leader in a public agency for 17 years. During that time I attended our major convention n Vice President as the keynote speaker. His speech was what you would expect addressing a union activist audience, and it was a good one. However, what came across to me was a real person who could relate personally to this audience, a person who is basically decent, even if his politics were less progressive than I would have liked. It wasn't until yesterday that I got so see a somewhat similar person coming from Bernie Sanders. However, the fact that he is not a registered Democrat, the fact that his democratic socialism will be confounding and confusing to the average voter (and Trump will make sure that Bernie is characterized as a wild-eyed communist agitator) and the fact that his astoundingly costly proposals make it more difficult for the average voter to support them will make it very difficult to defeat Trump, My heart may belong to Bernie but my head tells me to vote for Biden, faults and all, if he becomes the nominee. Four more years of Trump will be the end of the United States as a constitutional democratic republic.

  153. You can see how backwards are so many here in Texas when you look at Mimi Swartz' comment. Bernie was not "ideological" when he discussed the reasons why we have so much inequality and such an ill-prepared medical system. He was being analytical, and he was pointing to the needed recourse. Texas has among the worst public education and health care in the US. Mimi should reflect on what that means for so many of our fellow Texas -- and then present the solution and scream until you are heard and listened to.

  154. @Just Thinkin’ Well, you may be right about the poor state of Texas education. But Bernie is nothing but an ideologue. Every ideology is just that, an analysis and a proposed solution Just because one happens to agree with it, does not make it any less an ideology. What we need now is a politician. Someone who can build coalitions and get things done.

  155. @Andrew You say, "Every ideology is just that, an analysis and a proposed solution." I'm not sure what you are getting at. But before we build a coalition and get things done, you need an analysis and a proposed solution. And that is what Sanders is proposing, as opposed to waiting for a crisis and then groping to end the crisis and not preparing for, and hopefully preventing, the next one. By understanding how we got into the mess we are in we might best be able to figure out what needs change. Then you need to spread that understanding, and with many in agreement create that coalition you speak of and get the legislation passed. Biden just says we need to get back to where we were before Trump. But that left us vulnerable, and was not even what Obama had hoped for. If Obama were running again I doubt that he would say everything was just fine when he left office. He would say we need to continue the work, and some of that requires structural change -- of the tax system, of money in politics, of complacency about global warming.

  156. @Andrew The Almanac of American Politics called Sen. Bernie Sanders a “practical” and “successful legislator.” In the House, he was dubbed the “amendment king” for passing more roll-call amendments than any other member. “He accomplishes this on the one hand by being relentlessly active and on the other by using his status as an independent to form left-right coalitions,” The above is from the senate.gov website. Sounds like someone who is passionate yet pragmatic. Or a politician who knows how to build coalitions and get things done.

  157. Bernie wanted to talk about votes taken 20-30 years ago. Until Biden reminded everyone of Bernie's dismal record on gun control. Bernie's all-or-nothing attitude also came through, between the lines. He's spent decades in Congress and still doesn't know how the legislative progress. Nor does he realize that politics is the art of the possible, that compromises are made of power relationships between the parties (you accept half measures until you can circle back and improve). In sum, he doesn't know how to get things done.

  158. @Joe That's the story-- but Sanders has gotten plenty done. He's done it with amendments and other ways minority voices get things done. The question is not what got done but was it the right thing to get done? Biden's record matters very much-- many of the things he got done-- such as the Iraq war and the 1994 crime bill which he authored-- have caused harm.

  159. @Joe Well stated! Thanks. Bernie is lambasting the obvious, but has achieved zero compared to his fervor to disrupt and revolutionize.

  160. @bu Let's stop spewing blatantly false talking points. This one about Bernie “achieved zero” has long been discredited. It's a fiction. The overhaul of the VA system, giving veterans more rights, limiting Trump's war-making powers, etc. He's also co-sponsored lots of bills and added scores of amendments to legislation. He's also voted the right way, time after time. That matters!

  161. Can we agree that it was WAY better without the audience? Without the Roman gladiator blood sport nonsense, which televised debates have become? Can we please, please keep it that way, so we don’t rely on the applause-o-meter to decide who makes the better policy points?

  162. Thank God for a debate/Q&A that wasn't a sound bite/food fight! It was refreshing to hear coherent discussion. The viewers won. It helped to have only two and no audience. I'm wondering if Trump will pass on the debates given that there is no audience. From his recent performances at the CDC, the oval office, and even the presser, it's clear that when he's not doing a rally he is pretty much incoherent. He goes off track and interjects weird bits like "two big words". Not that he's coherent in his rallies, but that's not the purpose. Wonder if he'll have Nikki Haley as his VP. My only complaint about the debate was that it could have been more about Trump.

  163. @Kathleen There is nothing to debate about Trump, and it would be wrong to give him any attention at all. We needed to hear the 2 candidates left in the race for the Democratic nomination discuss their proposals and policies rather than listen to them beat down Trump one more time.

  164. @Kathleen He would definitely do better with the feisty but superficially charming Nikki Haley, than the unlikable, threatening Liz Cheney.

  165. It's clear that Biden will be the nominee. That is what both the party establishment and primary voters have wanted from the start of this campaign. He has been seen as the candidate best able to beat Trump. His lackluster campaign just delayed the inevitable. In the debate, Biden took credit for the surge in primary voter turnout that favored him, but I think Trump should be given more credit. It is the same anti-Trump surge that occurred in 2018, when Biden wasn't on the ballot. Even though Biden's performance was solid, to me he looked really uncomfortable. He has never held an executive position with the weight of responsibility on him. In his decades in the Senate, his fellow Democratic senators never chose him as majority or minority leader. It is so much easier to lay out what you would do in a crisis on a debate stage than to be president with the heavy burden of handling it, knowing that whatever the president does, people will die and life will be disrupted. I think Bernie would be able to put his emotions aside to handle the COVID-19 outbreak, and our systemic problems, better than Biden. But, either would do far better than Trump has done.

  166. The only benefit from this debate was a boost in confidence that Biden is the right choice - at least compared to Bernie. Biden came across as calm and presidential, with better leadership qualities. I can see him - and his wife - in the White House. Bernie has changed the conversation in America regarding health care, inequality, poverty, and he gets credit for that. However, he doesn't have the qualities to be President. He's much better at making his case for change. Since Biden has pledged to choose a woman for VP I hope he doesn't choose a Senator. We can't lose any Senators. There are plenty of talented, capable women to choose from.

  167. @Pat Boice I dare say we will gain Democratic senators in the election. Nothing much has changed from 2018 except that Trump has been further exposed as a dangerous, ineffective leader, who is now endangering people's lives. Biden needs Elizabeth Warren, and I, for one, am willing to give up my senator, of whom I am very I'm proud, to see her ascend to the White House. Enough sacrifices.

  168. @Pat Boice Although if he chooses Harris, there will certainly be another democrat in California.

  169. @Barb Crook - Elizabeth Warren would be great, but if we lose her Senate seat wouldn't she be equally as good, maybe better, as Secy of Treasury? I really hope he doesn't pick Klobuchar.

  170. Please correct me if I am wrong. Bernie brushed aside the opening question about his recent heart attack; and he still hasn't come forward with his health records. He seemed surprised by the VP question: it looked like he hadn't begun to consider who might play second fiddle to the Bernie show. Certainly not someone who might balance the ticket, but instead an echo chamber, someone who will guarantee he loses in November. And he looked really surprised when Biden let it be known that he had discussed the bankruptcy bill with Elizabeth Warren. Warren, like Biden, and NOT like Bernie, knows how to get things done.

  171. @Joe Bernie has made it clear that he does not bow to "identity" politics, as Warren has pushed since the alleged conversation she had with Bernie behind closed doors. (Unsurprising since she pushed identity politics for gain when she claimed to be American Indian) Neither does Maj. Tulsi Gabbard push identity politics, or used her status for any kind of leverage: in fact, she has been punished by the DNC, media and moderators for her principled stance. Incidentally, the media has "vanished" her now albeit she's not yet vanquished, a woman of color, the first combat veteran to ever run, still standing (invisibly) in the race. I am not interested in electing a person who looks like me; rather, I will vote for the person who thinks more like me. I was turned off by Biden's pandering to his public, assuring them that he will bring in a woman as his V.P. rather than the best candidate, who may or may not be a woman, or who might have been a gay man.

  172. I'm a Bernie supporter but can everyone relax about how Biden is not progressive? Warren definitely has his ear and the party instead of sharply turning progressive is more steadily moving there. I suspect by 2024 or 2028 the progressive candidate the Democrats put up will be president. I'll take Biden and work towards the progressive ideals in the long-term

  173. @V. Sharma, MD AOC will become of age to run for president in 2024. That should be an interesting race if she pits herself against Warren. I suspect that AOC will be the progressive candidate, and Warren will position herself to be the Biden like alternative.

  174. @V. Sharma, MD Really? If that's the case, then why hasn't she endorsed him? Then why hasn't Biden adopted her policies? No way that Biden is an Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders progressive. He's been a conservative "friend of the GOP" for decades. If elected, he won't do squat!

  175. For once, I would like to see moderators ask small, specific questions throughout the debate. Let debaters go from micro to macro. Rather than these large vague macro questions (that completely depend on a cooperative Senate). Will you reinstate weekly press conferences and how? How will You rebuild infrastructure, which Trump said he would do and has not. How will you reverse the hollowing out of health and environmental regulations? etc. Then let them work UP to what they would do on a national level. I am beyond sick of these moderators. Except for the PBS debate, debates have been reduced to a ratings-driven sideshow.

  176. @Almost Can’t Take It Anymore The problem with small questions is that the answers are pretty obvious for both Biden and Sanders... "Will you reinstate weekly press conferences and how?" --> Yes, by having a press secretary who is willing to answer questions truthfully. "How will You rebuild infrastructure, which Trump said he would do and has not." --> Easy. By using the national emergency that Trump declared (and the GOP senate ratified) to divert money from the wall to actual infrastructure projects. "How will you reverse the hollowing out of health and environmental regulations?" --> By hiring back the professionals that the Trump administration fired back to their old positions. If the GOP congress gives any pushback then simply use the national emergency declaration that Trump made to build his wall (which, once again was approved by the GOP Senate) to divert money from all the military bases in Red states to pay for these experts (throwing Trump back in their faces really is the gift that keeps on giving). etc...

  177. Donald J. Trump was clearly the loser of last night's Democratic debate. Both Bernie and Biden proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that they would make a better president than he does. In my view, Joe fared slightly better than Bernie did. Worried Democrats should be very relieved. Joe was poised, calm, clear headed and self confident. Bernie kept falling back on his greatest hits. Yes Bernie, we know we have to have "the guts" to take on the pharmaceutical industry but what does that look like exactly? The devil is in the details and Bernie doesn't seem like a detail guy. That said, he has some great ideas and Joe should make sure to include the progressive wing of the party going forward, not revert to Bill Clinton's old GOP lite formula which only pushes the party inexorably to the right. Americans are exhausted and scared after living through four years of a Trumpian nightmare. COVID-19 has only underscored those fears by displaying how completely incompetent the current administration is. Americans want a restoration not a revolution at this point, and Joe Biden seems like the man to give them what they want. Still, we must keep our eyes on the ball. Biden may the man of the moment, but Bernie still wins on ideas.

  178. Ms. Collins, Biden's "comeback" about Italy's single-payer healthcare system - to which Bernie didn't respond - was a perfect example of what's wrong with our sound-bite politics and the usual debate format. Sure, it sounded really clever to anyone who knows next to nothing about what is actually happening here in Italy, but I would expect any NYT columnist to give a little context. The fact that over 20,000 Italians have contracted the corona virus and about 2,000 have already died is not remotely attributable to single-payer healthcare except in the sense that without this system here, the totals would be far worse, more in line with what is likely to happen in the USA shortly if Trump and his toadies can't get their act together. The problem here is that the government waited about 2 weeks too long before shutting the country down and that people were in denial, unaccustomed to problems of this magnitude. But now that this horror is here, the Italians at all levels, healthcare workers and ordinary citizens, are doing their jobs and making sacrifices, as if they held their lives in each others' hands. I hope Americans will do as well over the coming weeks and months.

  179. @David in Le Marche I doubt he meant the problem in Italy was attributable to single-payer health care. On the contrary, he pointed out that Medicare For All would not fix issues of this nature as Bernie claimed. Get real please!

  180. @David in Le Marche I had wished Sanders had responded to that as well. My understanding of the Italian health care system is that its regarded as one of the best in Europe and I read they have twice as many ICU beds as we do. Those in glass houses should not throw stones.

  181. @Jay I think he meant that single-payer healthcare was no better for confronting a pandemic than the USA's absurd mishmash of employer-provided private insurance, Obamacare, Medicaid, Medicare, the VET, and uninsured people flooding emergency rooms or avoiding testing for fear of missing work and losing salary. It may be that no healthcare systems are really able to easily defeat this sort of pandemic without serious and costly advance planning. That said, Biden's quip was gratuitous and insulting to Italians, who are proud to be covered by one of the world's best healthcare systems. In Italy, the idea that any citizen might need to forgo healthcare for lack of money is unknown, and most people I know here agree that profit-driven healthcare is barbaric. In fact, Medicare-for-all as proposed by Bernie Sanders would be great for the USA if Americans could just get over feeling superior to the rest of the world.

  182. "People want results, not a revolution." With that, Biden managed to capture exactly the reason why Bernie Sanders is the wrong person for this time. Bernie Sanders needs to drop out, right now. I only wish we could hold the general election tomorrow and rid ourselves right now of that abomination currently occupying the White House. People kept saying early on in this primary process that Joe Biden's time had passed, but you know what? Turns out, and his debate performance last night only made this even more clear, he is exactly the right person to lead this country through a crisis of a magnitude that many never imagined they would see in their lifetime.

  183. @Kristin I wish Biden had asked Bernie why most of what he proposes is not law now, despite Sanders being a senator all this time! Anyone can peddle great proposals but details on how he/she will make that into legislation that becomes law is where Bernie has been allowed to escape scrutiny. I know all the he voted against but I want to know how many important issues close to his heart has he managed to successfully find into solutions for during his years in the senate. Yes, results, not grand proposals, constant pointing out of structural problems with no concrete plan to fix them and revolution that sounds great on paper are not what the country needs right now. I do like Bernie's passion though.

  184. @Kristin I realize we have the country we deserve. No leadership in the midst of a pandemic. And the worst is yet to come. That people don't realize that DJT is just a symptom of all that is wrong with this country is baffling. The coronavirus is one of the existential threats we face; that are more to come, the most significant being climate change. People like mediocre leaders so they get what they deserve. They are in denial that they can go back to the Obama years and still keep making the same mistakes.

  185. Fairly early in the debate, Biden said (not an exact quote) "They have a single-payer system in Italy, and look how it's failing them in the coronavirus pandemic." I wish Bernie had, at that moment, said, "Joe, the World Health Organization ranks Italy as #2 among all nations in delivering health care to its citizens. The U.S. is ranked #37." Of course, that would never happen, because Bernie doesn't really respond, he just repeats. (Not a specific criticism of either one, because Biden's not light on is feet either.) But bashing Italy was a cheap shot, and one that I'll remember when, in a few weeks, things are worse here. Italy has more doctors and hospital beds per capita than we do. No Italian is afraid of bankruptcy right now. Meanwhile, no matter what anyone tells us, millions of Americans won't believe they can afford to see a doctor, and millions of Americans know that no one will take care of us if we stop working. Sanders should have said, "Joe, before bashing Italy's response to this pandemic, you should really wait to see how we're handling it in two or three weeks."

  186. @Mark Gardiner Before praising Italian medicine, I recommend you read the memoir published last year by an American doctor who has practiced in Rome since 1978: "Dottoressa" by Susan Levenstein (Paul Dry Books). The Italian system has many flaws, which Levenstein describes with wit and wisdom. My conclusion after reading was that Italians score well on so many health indicators mainly because of diet, culture, and lifestyle, rather than the superiority of medical care. The author also contrasts the US and Italian systems, highlighting strengths and weaknesses of each. Living in Canada, I have seen yet another proof that no system is perfect, and we should learn from the virtues and vices of each.

  187. @Mark Gardiner RE: "Meanwhile, no matter what anyone tells us, millions of Americans won't believe they can afford to see a doctor..." I have personally witnessed the health decline and death through neglect of 64 year olds, unable to work because of ailing health, who have that old fashioned American mentality that you don't go to the doctor or show up at an emergency room unless you have the money to pay for it. They persist in that mentality even here in Miami, where emergency rooms are flooded with those who show up for free care for minor ailments because they have no health insurance so don't make an appointment with a doctor. I am disappointed that Biden is not more open to more radical health options, because the dire situation on the ground for Americans living sick in the shadows of their home, or on the street, homeless, requires a more radical solution. Obamacare is not enough. The radical first step should be to expand medicare to everyone 60 to 64, whom I would bet are among the sickest of the uninsured; and also extend medicare to those younger persons with health threatening ailments, like a defective heart or cystic fibrosis, etc. Then, afterwards, medicare could be expanded downwards encompassing all, until it becomes the human right it always has been, a view any truly civilized nation would recognize and adopt.

  188. @Mark Gardiner Was an extremely insensitive remark about Italy.

  189. “His problem, as always, is a career that includes four decades of Democratic retreats and Democratic compromises.” With a little luck...and help from a health crisis and the financial slap that it triggers, we will get a Democratic Congress, one that presents President Joe with laws to sign that take us back toward our “better angels” as a democracy. A woman as VP is a good decision, not pandering, at this point in time. Val Demings would be an excellent choice, a career police officer who rose through the ranks to the top where she demonstrated competence as a leader/manager. She and her husband are both respected in their field and well-liked at home. During Trump's impeachment she showed she is in her league in Washington.

  190. @wmferree Although disappointed in Biden's "bow" to the pressure of "identity politics" rather than the best candidate, in contrast to Sanders who does not "bow"(Mayor Pete would have been an excellent choice to debate V.P. Pence--especially on faith and moral values), suggest taking a look again at Sally Yates. Perhaps with this bow, he will be Trumped by his choice facing a feisty and sharp tongued Nikki Haley. Kamala Harris would be an awful choice after Haley dissects her hypocritical and racist prosecutorial record.

  191. If the last few weeks have taught us anything, it is the importance of competent leadership. While I like some of Sanders's ideas, his apparent inflexibility is not what many people are looking for right now. Americans need health insurance, but those with insurance are not going to vote for massive change in the midst of a healthcare crisis. We need a reset: back to stability, sanity, and truth. Biden may not be as progressive as many Democrats would like, but he'll get us back to what used to be considered normal, which is what so many people are craving right now.

  192. @Dee I wonder how all those people who have insurance and likes their plan will feel if/when they get sick and then will be stuck with big out of pocket costs. Or the hikes in premiums ALL of us will have next year when insurance companies will try to recoup the added expenses from this year and the factoring of future outbreaks of contagions by the actuaries.

  193. Sanders missed the opportunity to challenge directly Biden's almost funny rush leftward toward "democratic socialism" to address the Corona virus: "So, what I'm hearing is that you want basically single-payer Medicare for All, now, and to address economic inequality with direct assistance to working Americans, now, but, afterwards, you want everything to go back to "normal" with vague promises of incremental change. If my policies are right for American now, why are they not right for America then?"

  194. There is much more to criticize about Biden because he has an actual record. And as a physician, I found Sanders’ answers about COVID to be vapid and lacking in any details for action. Instead he just engaged his media training and pivoted to his mantra for revolution. And Sanders had no answer about Italy, where older patients are sent home to basically pray. Sanders is an agitator, Biden a leader - that’s what the debates taught us.

  195. @LTJ His answer to Italy should have been the success of S. Korea and their National health care system.

  196. I was underwhelmed by both candidates' performance. I noticed Wajahat Ali's comment that Americans like Bernie's plan, but "Want Biden to shepherd them." Bernie had ideas, but the ideas candidate was without a doubt Elizabeth Warren, who actually had a plan for executing her ideas. Biden's reference to his conversation with her is not receiving the attention it should. Stacey Abrams should be his VP choice.

  197. These are two bad candidates but Bernie really made the case for why the left is shrinking even among democrats. He keeps attacking and saying he will get rid of or disrupt major industries because they are corrupt and evil. The carbon industry employees a huge amount of blue collar workers. Drug and insurance companies employ a lot of scientists and middle class workers. There will be massive disruption in those jobs if we close down fracking and drive out all profits. Those employees need to be brought along compassionately. Calling them corporate tools is a losing argument. Making the argument for China development because it's a communist regime, ignores the major pivot made by Deng Xio Ping to open up the Chinese economy to capitalism. It was capitalism not the communist revolution that moved China forward. The Communist Party in China murdered millions of Chinese and kept them in abject poverty for a very long time. They are still an authoritarian country but it is capitalism that has moved them out of poverty. Bernie has lost and his minority from 2016 is shrinking. Joe Biden isn't great but he isn't hated either. He will put together a strong administration serve 1 term and move along.

  198. @HL Did you ever drive through the great wind powered electrical generation fields between Chicago and Indianapolis? Lots of roughness looking guys working there.

  199. Not just six feet apart on the stage, Joe also did a pretty good job of "socialist distancing." His performance made me feel better about my reluctant mail-in primary vote. As to the VP choice, I think Harris is too "coastal." So is Warren, and probably too politically distant--great to have in cabinet or Senate though. Abrams lacks experience and hasn't been tested in the primary process. That leaves Klobuchar, and that's fine with me. She and Warren switched places several times as my favorites throughout the race, and like the NY Times editorial endorsement, I am happy with either one.

  200. The strongest moment in the debate for me was when Sanders pressed Biden on his history of vocal support for austerity measures, including cuts to social security and medicare. Sanders did not let him off the hook and asked him to be honest and Biden continued to deny his own history. (Which anyone can view on Youtube, or if you feel skeptical about the number of videos that show Biden supporting these cuts on the senate floor, you can also check the congressional record). Sanders also successfully made the point that leadership is about making the right decisions-- even when they are unpopular decisions. This for me is the strongest argument in favor of Sanders and against Biden. Biden didn't blow it-- he was energetic and focused (which is not always the case). His movement left on education funding was welcome-- but I still do not trust him to make the right decisions. Better than Trump? Of course. But we are in crisis and need someone who is not afraid to make bigger moves to secure our health, environment, and economy.

  201. @Mel Stop looking at past times without context. The discussions at that time made sense. The same for Bernie on gun control in Vermont, which he seems to have changed now. People evolve, especially the smart ones.

  202. @Mel ...What did Sanders accomplish in 30 years in Congress. What matters is here the rubber meets the road.

  203. @W.A. Spitzer He accomplished to not vote for an illegal war of aggression against Iraq. That alone makes Sanders the better candidate, among a long list of reasons.

  204. Bernie is the ideological leader OF A WING OF THE PARTY. He is not the ideological leader of the entire Democratic Party. anyway, the Primary actually ended in South Carolina. everything since has been confirmation.

  205. @Lefthalfbach Let me try your argument out but in reverse. Biden is the ideological leader OF THE “CENTRIST” WING OF THE PARTY. He is not the ideological leader of the entire party. Bernie not only has more passionate supporters in his “wing” of the party, he has more support from the 1/3 of the country who identify as independent. His policies of Medicare for all, college education, et al, are widely popular for the majority of Americans.

  206. I think Elizabeth Warren had as good or better of a night on the stage as either of these guys. Seems like her ideas were everywhere.

  207. I was reassured by Biden’s performance. It’s a low bar, but he was the most articulate he’s been in any of the debates. I feel confident Biden, if elected, will follow the advice of experts, whether it’s confronting COVID-19 or climate change or any other issue. I am less sure he is sincere in his significant leftward move (thanks to Bernie) and his willingness or ability to fight for the progressive agenda he claims to support now. It is essential Sanders, Warren and even Buttigieg and Klobuchar and other “moderates” (who are still progressive) make him stick to his promises. Biden really could be the bridge to a new, more leftward leaning, Democratic Party.

  208. @Eric - did you witness any of Biden's performance during the Anita Hill hearings ? Probably not with this comment above. Biden is a slender reed that bends in the direction of the current wind. He is not strong and declarative - he'll say and do anything to satisfy his "important" associates.

  209. Trump's bungled coronavirus response may give Biden a fair shot in November. Before this pandemic began, polling in MI and WI showed Biden behind Trump, whereas Bernie was ahead in both states. I'm interested in seeing more recent polls. The problem with Joe Biden is that if nothing fundamentally changes under his presidency, as he famously promised donors last year, we risk electing a more competent Trump next time. That's my biggest fear of a Biden presidency, along with the fact that his climate plan is anemic.

  210. @Ted B If Biden does NOTHING you wish for during his presidency, you still have nothing to ‘fear’. Trump is proactive meanness (not to mention incuriously ignorant) and there is no comparison.

  211. @Ted B With all respect for your comment..competent trump?

  212. Biden missed an early opportunity in one of the first questions to refute the claim by Trump that the response to the Coronavirus was hamstrung by disease control regulations imposed by the Obama administration. He should have anticipated that question and had a clear and accurate response that would have once and for all dismissed that claim. He is after all going to run against Trump and he was in the Obama administration. Instead he had a meandering response that clarified little.

  213. What inspires me most about a Biden presidency is the likely the brilliance of his cabinet. With a female VP, excellent Secretaries, and a restored foreign service department (which was wantonly torn apart by the current administration), he’ll be ushering in a new age for the Democratic Party with the leaders he’ll choose to give voices. I see a bright future that will usher in change from the inside, not through a “revolution.” And even as a very young American in Bernie’s target group. I like this better.

  214. @Mandy Feuerman Exactly!

  215. There are bits of each commentary that are true. The only thing that wasn't said was that the debate was too long by about an hour. That didn't have to be the case, there's surely enough to talk about, but the constant re-hash of old votes and who said what once was extremely tiresome and irritating. I don't like Bernie and have never liked Bernie but I'll give him this - his major accomplishment after 30 or so years in government seems to be bringing progressive ideas into mainstream Democratic policy. Good for you Bernie and thank you. Please go home now. Perhaps what is said about making assumptions is true, but when Biden falters, as he did over the climate crisis, there is still confidence that he will draw an effective team around him. I'm not convinced that Bernie has it.

  216. It's going to take constant pressure to make Joe Biden a progressive, but Liz Warren has proven it can be done by getting him to adopt a couple of her policies already. One of the best arguments for her as VP is that she'd be there to whisper in his ear. Biden is definitely my settle-for-third-best candidate, but if he can reassure Americans and do the best job of driving Donald Trump out of the White House, I'm with him. In the end, Bernie's ideas will long outlive his candidacy, whether he's the nominee or not.

  217. Sanders and his surrogates often tout his "consistency" over thirty years in politics. At 73, I am not much younger than Bernie, but he seems to me to be "doctrinaire." believing that his positions and proposals are THE only approaches that will correct our most pressing national problems. His inability to change his positions over his career, and as the country and world have changed is not encouraging to me. Consistency may be a desirable human trait in may situations, but politics requires an ability to compromise and find those small doable steps that can be built on to achieve the desired ends. Joe Biden isn't saying that we need to return to some halcyon day in the past, he is saying that we need to get back to some state of normalcy and build on that for the future.

  218. @Rick Green Biden is running on "I'm not Trump" and "I'll be polite in the oval office." Enough for many. Maybe best we can expect in these times, but sad nonetheless. The so-called "progressive" issues are real!

  219. @Rick Green I agree. Biden recently said, "I am a bridge, and nothing more." Though I was supporting Pete, I am satisfied by Biden's improved debates, his recent endorsement acceptance speech to Pete and on Covid-19, his multiple endorsements from past competitors in this race, and his ringing endorsement by voters. I believe we'll get bold action on climate change, healthcare, and immigration with Biden as President -- despite what Sanders would have us believe. He is actively adopting and carrying forward some of the the best ideas on these topics. He points out the things he has worked to achieve in the past, but does not claim to be the originator of the ideas we must pursue now. Less ego, more teamwork mentality is what we need now.

  220. @Brown Of course progressive issues are important. Its not the issues I take exception to -- its the scorched earth. "my way or get out of the way" approach requiring legislation that will never even pass a Democratic controlled legislature -- both Houses -- that concern me.

  221. Exactly when did proposals to reduce the rate of projected growth in a particular government program -- e.g. Social Security -- become universally characterized by journalists (including those at the New York Times" as a "cut?" You say "cut" to most Americans -- as in a "cut in pay" - and they rightly view it as actually getting a smaller paycheck next week.So forgive the 50 million Social Security retirees, many primarily reliant on their relatively small checks, for thinking they'll be getting less money -- as opposed to not seeing as large an annual increase as might otherwise occur. This is not a defense of Joe Biden's position on this issue - but a call for far more precision in the language used by Times' reporters and other respected journalists. The right words matter -- or should -- as this President's legion of lies and dissemblings remind us on a daily basis. Long before Trump was even a reality TV star, these kinds of insidious and inaccurate characterization of legitimate policy proposals -- not just for entitlements, but for things like Pentagon funding requests -- had become commonplace. The Times should do its part to hold all politicians to higher standards..

  222. @Phil Keisling As a social security recipient, I must say you are correct. Slowing growth is not a cut. Its responsibility.

  223. Sanders kept describing all of his protest votes in Congress as examples of "leadership." They're the opposite. He had no say in the outcome. Biden used a more strategic approach when he was in Congress and got to improve legislation that he didn't agree with. That's real leadership.

  224. @Polaris The outcomes were disasters. Thank goodness for Bernie's votes.

  225. @Polaris Biden’s “strategic” vote for the Iraq War , by itself, is a disqualifier.

  226. I think we should remember that it's not just the promises and reassurances we hear each man give in debate and campaign. What's really important is how he would handle crises in office, whether he can remain calm and apply reason and intelligence in all instances, and could offer compassion as Obama did.

  227. Sanders is like the original Xerox, Biden is the company trying to ride the idea. I'd rather have the person who has been initiating and driving for addressing the basic concerns facing the country, on income inequality, healthcare, climate change, etc. That's Bernie, who would provide the kind of leadership we will need, vs. Biden, who will still be more of the same than a vibrant leader.

  228. @Robert - your comment is true blue and correct, in my view. The country needs a shock and a huge change and Bernie is the catalyst of progress toward "good" outcomes. Most of the citizenry, it seems, want more of the same (Biden).

  229. @willw They've been frightened by the reality of Trump, but also the corporate media and Dem establishment that wants no attack on the current economic system. They all know which side the bread is buttered on.

  230. @Robert You can thank Haloid for that. Xerox managed to lose the fax, mouse, personal computer, windows equivalent, cloud computing, etc. Execution matters, and that’s where Biden matters.

  231. The Tuesday primary elections could settle the issue. Unless Sanders achieves some massive 10 to 20 point victories the delegate math will virtually eliminate him. 50-50 splits will do him no good. This isn't a partisan opinion, it is simple math. If he turns it around Tuesday then he should fight on. If he doesn't he needs to do the responsible thing and back out and unite with Biden to do the one thing that is critical for our countries survival. Get Trump out of the White House.

  232. The only way Biden will implement serious reforms is if Congress and the Senate are controlled by the Democrats. So please lets all focus on that...

  233. @pm That could be said for both candidates. However Sanders would struggle to convince a (even) Dem Congress to move forward with his proposed revolution.

  234. Thank you, Michelle Goldberg, for being the one and only participant here to point out that: 1) Joe Biden was flat out dishonest in denying that he in fact entertained cuts to Social Security. Sanders brought up Bowles Simpson by name and still Biden denied the easily checked record. 2) Biden's attack on Sanders for pointing out that China has in fact raised millions out of abject poverty was indeed sleazy. Cheap attack tactics. This is why I don't trust Biden. He tends to go with the prevailing winds. I will of course vote for him if he is what we get. It will be easier if Elizabeth Warren is the Veep,

  235. Bouie: "His problem, as always, is a career that includes four decades of Democratic retreats and Democratic compromises. And he still can’t quite answer for it." Well said. But I do not see Sanders as the guy with the temperament to bring the party to where it has to go; he strikes me as rigid, self-righteous, not particularly curious, and not at all skilled at cultivating relationships. That said, we all owe Bernie a massive debt of gratitude for moving the whole conversation to the left, for putting issues on the table that hitherto nobody dared talk about. It reminds me of the old joke about somebody getting lost on a back country road, ask asking an old farmer for directions. He is told, "If that is where I was going, I wouldn't have started from here." Biden is at heart a pragmatist, albeit with good political instincts. Like most politicians, his first loyalty is to his own ambition. But the political moment may have come where the pragmatic thing to do is to set out decidedly to the left. Biden may be the guy who can do it.

  236. I disagree with Gail Collins (I rarely do). On the green economy Bernie is light years ahead of Biden, who is stuck in a dark cave wearing blinders. Biden's remark about Italy's universal health system shows the depth of his ignorance and his willingness to hit below the belt. He lied about the $15 minimum wage and flipped on free college tuition but still basically backs Petulant Pete's plan to exclude the rich (the rich already send their kids to private college or to major universities out of state.) Biden is perfectly comfortable with the Delaware's business model, the state where most large corporations are registered in order to enjoy legal advantages not provided to Bernie-six-pack.

  237. @College Prof What debate did you watch? Clearly it was not the one I watched.

  238. My overall impressions - Biden is acceptably sharp, and will utilize other strong minds with appropriate expertise to govern, with more fairness than we've seen in too long now. Sanders answered many questions well, and I respect his determination to reform government so that it provides for all of our people. I thought thathis comments about CUba and other dictatorships made sense: acknowledging that sometimes, an inhumane regime can still do some things right , w should not be considered an outrageous stance. Biden obfuscates when his answers might tend to incriminate him - - and some answers sound like obfuscation, but I'm not sure they are not just fuzzy. Some of that is undoubtedly necessary, but it irked me. Biden's "win" is not about his actual performance in the debate but about preconceived ideas of what is going to be necessary to pull voters out to defeat Trump.

  239. Bernie was true to form, that is to say, deeper than Biden, but unable to pivot even when Biden committed a remarkable hypocrisy. Two commentators here noted it, in muted tones. Biden's attack on Sanders for saying something good about China's poverty alleviation, hundreds of millions of peasants moved from rural subsistence to working class status in cities is a fact touted by conservative capitalists, professional economists and anyone who has eyes. Biden's own votes for trade deals, and Bill Clinton's efforts along with the corporate powers inside the democratic party pushed the WTO and entry for China at every point. No great superpower in history has ever laid out the red carpet for its demise the way we have for China, which has always been a dictatorship, Joe Biden, of the Communist Party of China, allowing capitalist initiative but no political dissent or challenge, parties or independent trade union. The hope of Western Neoliberals was that going the capitalist route (with lots of qualifiers, because it is not Western style capitalism, it is managed and planned still to a good degree) would usher in more freedom and the beginnings of democracy. It has for private entrepreneurs, not citizens. So the whole center of American capitalism sings the praises of capitalism's achievement in cutting poverty in China, but Biden attacks Sanders for citing it now. An intellectual low point for American politics. And Sanders couldn't score effectively off of it.

  240. @William Neil Biden's "Bernie is a commie" smear was very Trump-like and very un-Presidential.

  241. @William Neil Anyone with a brain knows that China's big economic move came from their embrace of Capitalism under Deng Xio Ping. The Communist Chinese Party before capital reforms was a murderous failure that is reminiscent of Stalin's Russia.

  242. I personally thought it was significant that Bernie "sorta" said he'd support Joe if Joe's the nominee, but he declined to say that he'd also encourage his supporters to do so.

  243. @Faye No, he said that he would support him and would campaign for him.

  244. Neither Biden nor Sanders addressedan enormously important matter confronting a newly-elected Democratic president; how to respond to the numerous apparent violations of of the law and federal ethics codes by Donald Trump, members of his family, and others in his administration. I am not referring to the numerous examples of dubious judgment but to clear abuses of power and self-dealing . There is no little irony in Trump's allegations of corruption against the Bidens in Ukraine given his extraordinary displays during his term to date. Now I understand the desire to avoid inflaming Trump supporters by fanning Trump's capacity to summon grievance and martyrdom to rally support but I fear either Biden or Sanders will replicate the Obama failure in 2009, shying away from prosecution of those prompting or profiting from the collapse of the financial system.That failure contributed to the return of plunder and pillage as mainstays of Republican politics over the last decade as Republicans learned they had nothing to fear from abusing authority. Fail again and a more odious and competent version of Trump will end our democracy.

  245. @usa999 I don't disagree those issues need to be pursued, but it's not a top priority in times of crisis. You have to put out the fire before you can hunt down the arsonist. And chanting "Lock them up" at this point isn't going to win over any voters, which is priority No. 1. Win the thing in November, then let the justice system take care of prior abuses of power.

  246. @StuAtl Although I agree with you, my concern is that just as a decade ago the rationale of first things first was a convenient segway into putting off pursuit of sanctions, essentially messaging that those responsible enjoy a kind of immunity. If you are successfull you win and if unsuccessful it is no gain, no harm, no foul. Burning at the stake would discourage the more fastidious, slow submersion in acid might deter the rest. A stern rebuke is ineffective.

  247. Ah, Gail, the government run health care system isn't what failed in Italy. The government run health care system in South Korea nailed it. So, what's your point? The problem in Italy was that they didn't shut things down in time with too many people arriving with the virus. They, the government, didn't move quickly enough at the outset. That's not a choice of the health care system, that's a choice of the politicians who dictate to the health care system.

  248. @Magan Agree with your assessment. Was tasteless of Biden to besmirch Italy when they are going through so much.

  249. It seems inevitable that Joe will be our nominee. And his debate performance last night made me feel better about that prospect. But Bernie's message is where my heart will always be. Sometimes he reminds me of an old testament prophet that no one is listening to, so no wonder he looks a little wild and angry. In the greatest country on earth, why don't we have a health care system that takes care of everyone. By the way, I don't know about Italy, but South Korea has universal health care, and by all accounts they are way ahead of us in tackling the corona virus.

  250. If Sanders' intention was to move Biden to the left he failed. Biden not only stood his ground but put Bernie in his place by placing him in an indefensible position regarding Medicare for All. Sanders simply cannot supply the numbers to demonstrate MFA will ever become legislation.

  251. @nzierler My great concern is that no one in the Democratic Party will pay for what they've done to the working people of this country.

  252. The optics of the Biden-Sanders debate couldn't have been more striking. Not since the Kennedy-Nixon debate have they sent such a strong, unmistakable message. Joe Biden looked so much younger than his 77 years standing up straight and looking so trim and healthy. Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders looked every bit his 78 year slouching, scowling, and scornful. Biden looked and acted presidential; Sanders seemed a cranky and crotchety old man. As to the actual content of the debate. Biden more than held his own returning Sanders' scornful repetitive critique of his past stance on social security, trade and the Iraq War with his pointing out Sanders position on the TARP bailout, gun regulation and supportive comments about Fidel Castro and other dictators. But, in the end "the medium was the message" and it was a clear K.O. for Biden that should become clear after tomorrow's primaries.

  253. @Paul Wortman I think that's a little extreme. Sanders tried his best and I think he projected a certain kindness, despite his idealistic stances. But I'm a Biden supporter.

  254. @Paul Wortman Ah yes, that classic American fallacy of making a political choice as though one is shopping: led almost entirely by the look of the thing. It's the same error that drives the pundits to declare that "Biden won the night by announcing that he’ll pick a woman as vice president."

  255. Interesting that Sanders gets criticized for demonstrating characteristics that normally gain praise for other politicians: consistency and clarity. And now that the commentators are all breathing easy about his not being the nominee, they’ve decided to allow what they previously denied: that his progressive ideas are popular with Americans and his ‘revolution” has productively reshaped the values and perspectives of the Democratic Party, as much as it might have hoped otherwise. Thank you, Bernie Sanders.

  256. Both Biden and Sanders were asked how they would respond to the crisis. In January they will be faced not with this crisis but the catastrophic results that have transpired between now and then.

  257. Sanders lost the debate before it started. In this perilous time people are interested not in far left ideology but in practical solutions to a national crisis. Biden is the far better choice.

  258. Sanders has no idea how to implement any of his policies, particularly without any party base in Congress. This happens when you spend your entire career attacking everybody as the enemy of the people.

  259. @Gene Eplee Not everybody! What nonsense. Sanders rightfully criticized the billionaire class and their control over our government, democracy, and society. If you don't understand that, read William Domhoff's Who Rules America? and, in educational policy, Diane Ravitch's The Death and Life of the Great American School System.

  260. What a sad looking stage: two old, White guys yammering about their 40 year old votes and positions. Biden was Biden: Boring and teetering on the edge of forgetting what he was talking about. But Bernie- for the first time in any debate- had me thinking that while he is not the best messenger, his message is not as crazy as I thought. I don't think either can beat Trump. But I do think Bernie's positions will be the clear winner in the next decade- regardless of who is President because they make sense.

  261. Bernie cannot win. Biden was not my first, second, or third choice, but he is going to be the Democratic nominee. If Bernie wants to move Biden (further) left, then get a commitment to work on the Democratic platform and drop out. It is incredibly irresponsible to make people come out to vote tomorrow. But the Bernie people seem to know that, and they want to manipulate that to their advantage. Bernie surrogate Briahna Joy Gray is on Twitter saying that old people shouldn't come to vote on Tuesday to suppress the Biden vote. This is reprehensible.

  262. During Sunday’s debate, Joe Biden accused Republicans of lying when they say he favors open borders. But he also said: “Number two, the first 100 days of my administration, no one will be deported at all. From that point on, the only deportations that will take place are commissions of felonies in the United States of America.”  How could this be described as anything other than an open border policy? It means that no one who steps onto U.S. territory could be removed unless they commit a felony. This means anyone who sets foot on U.S. soil could be required to leave unless they are arrested and convicted of committing a felony. . This would include any of the 79.62 million international visitors who disembark each year at international airports as well as the hundreds of thousands who cross the border illegally each year.

  263. @William Case pretty sure he is talking about those already here but I could be wrong...

  264. When I turned off the debate last night, I thought: "Wow, tomorrow everybody will be talking about the fact that Joe Biden repeatedly lied about his time as a Senator and Vice President. Surely, this will be *the* topic discussed by the media." But then I read this analysis and am still wondering whether I saw a different event. Perhaps I am crazy. Or gaslighting does work.

  265. Please, Sanders case of tying Medicare for All to better fighting the Coronavirus is laughable. Most of Europe, including Italy are already on this type of system. I wonder how they’re fairing. You can’t fight a virus with better insurance. You need better leadership and Biden won there.

  266. @David Gifford No, single payer won't stop viruses, but it does ensure that *everyone* gets health care without burdensome costs! That peace of mind and knowing you'll be well taken care of are important. So, Sanders highlighting the importance of Medicare for All in light of pandemics is right on target and shows leadership. Glib dismissals, such as saying they have the virus in Italy, misses the point entirely. While the pandemic spreads in the U.S., Trump and the Republicans balked at expanding Medicaid to help the poor and working class cope with the spreading epidemic. That right there shows the difference.

  267. @David Gifford Yet no one in Europe files for bankruptcy due to medical expenses. Bernie wins this argument.

  268. It doesn't matter whether Biden won the debate. All that millions of voters want is a return to to the Obama years. Biden is the only candidate who offers that.

  269. All Joe had to do to "win" the debate in the eyes of the ruling class was to show up and not say anything inappropriate.

  270. I love Joe, but Bernie is the clear winner. He wants to get things done for those who are less fortunate than most of us here on the NYTimes comment section. I'd give up 2-4% income for a safer world for everyone.

  271. While I have no doubt that Biden will be the candidate Sanders is right about Medicare for All and quite a lot of other things. I hope the progressive agenda stays with us and is implemented at some point but right now we need to get rid of Donald Trump and his conservative allies. Cleaning up their mess will take a long time and the revolution can wait.

  272. I couldn’t watch the debate, but it seems from these reviews that Sanders didn’t approach the subject of the coronavirus pandemic in a different way than Biden; he pivoted away from it to talk about the things that are his stock in trade. That’s a breathtaking example of an ivory-tower mentality. The very people who would benefit most from structural change can least afford to have political leaders ruminating about it just now. In the midst of a worsening crisis, focusing on crisis management as Biden did shows a mind better conditioned for actual leadership.

  273. @Longestaffe So a Biden supporter who didn't even watch the debate think Biden won. What a shocking revelation. I'm sure Deplorables also think Trump beat them both. By the way, Bernie addressed the pandemic far better than Big Pharma Biden did.

  274. Joe Biden is way more defensive (and dishonest) than he needs to be....and he has trouble admitting the truth sometimes, e.g., regarding his SuperPac and his support of freezing Social Security and Medicare and austerity budgets. https://www.newsweek.com/biden-denies-advocating-social-security-cuts-democratic-debate-1492428 It's fine if Trump and the GOP serially lie, but fairly or unfairly, Democrats prefer a higher standard of behavior. Obviously Biden is head and shoulders above Trump on human decency, but he really needs to work on his defensiveness and dishonesty flaws that make him look (and act) unPresidential. D to go forward; R for reverse.

  275. I frequently tried to imagine Trump on the stage with either of the two Democratic candidates. It goes without saying that he would be utterly incapable of engaging on the issues with any degree of competence or knowledge of policy details. Of course, he would demonstrate his shallow, crude personality without a hint of self-awareness or class. What the Democratic nominee (presumably Biden) will have to be prepared to do is persistently demonstrate the differences in personality and seriousness, and parry his low brow debate schtick with a mixture of disdain for Trump’s behavior and elevation of the terms of debate. Don’t get into the gutter with Trump; that’s his playing field- leave him to it.

  276. There's already a revolution in this country, and it's coming from the far right. Trump isn't the cause of this revolution; he's a malignant narcissist who has no idea what he's doing but just knows he deserves adulation for just being there. That makes him easily lead by people who do have ideas. He's not the leader; he's the weapon being wielded by some very dark people. The issue is not which Democrat is best at bringing reform. The issue is which one can best fight against the people who would take away everything truly worth having. Biden at least will have the institutional loyalty of whatever part of the government that hasn't been corrupted yet. I just hope it is enough.

  277. @newsmaned Biden follows orders just like Trump, and from the same people. He's a non-starter. Plus unelectable.

  278. I had high hopes that Bernie Sanders would be a statesman last night, closing ranks with Joe Biden to begin a unified Democratic campaign to decisively defeat Trump and Trumpism in November. Sadly, he opted instead to attack Biden (and in so doing served up more ammo for the GOP hate/propaganda machine). Trump will predictably weaponize the accusation that "Biden tried to take away your Social Security and then lied about it...just ask Bernie Sanders." Far more troubling is the prospect that Sanders' followers will hand another election to Trump, either by opting out, or worse, voting for Trump in protest as so many did in 2016. Bernie, be a statesman and do the right thing! End your campaign, throw your unbridled support and full energies behind Joe Biden, and summon your supporters to do the same!

  279. @Sean Reynolds He did not attack him at all. Biden is establishment-only at this point. He is leaving tons of people and interests out. And he is so snarky and mean and attacked that union member. Bernie is doing his job because with the DNC pushing Bernie out, Bernie must ensure, for the good of all of us, that Biden makes commitments to doing the right thing. Bernie was actually very soft-handed with him. He did not let him get away with the lies on Social Security but how could he? Biden has to know he won't get away with that stuff and he'd better learn now before he is in the real lion's den with Trump. Bernie is doing him a favor.

  280. From a pragmatic view, Biden has experience with total meltdown crises. He knows everyone, and can put good teams in place quickly, fill the vacuum created by the small government zealots. He is right that we have enough disruption. I am bummed that in most ways Sanders is the better campaigner and Biden the better prospect. Both men are old enough that they should be looking for a very experienced running mate, who has a good reputation for actual management. I am delighted they are looking at women; I hope neither chooses solely for gender. But first and foremost, the job of every American who thinks that this Presidency has been a total goat rodeo, is to support whomever the Democrat is who wins the nomination.

  281. @Cathy There are so many good female candidates there is no reason not to chose solely for gender. It's time for a female on the ticket and a black female on SCOTUS.

  282. Last night’s debate made clear that Bernie is the “anti” candidate. Was striking how he has seemingly voted “no” on every major piece of legislation in the past 30 years. He’s great at pointing out problems, but doesn’t seem interested in explaining how to fix them in any realistic sense. Defaulting to, “everything is a disaster. Millionaires. Billionaires. Political revolution,” is not leadership. Leadership requires compromise, an appreciation of the makeup of the Congress, and a realistic assessment of what can get passed in the present. Moral battles don’t change lives, legislation does. Joe Biden understands the nuance, complexity, and dogged determination it takes to fight to pursue a more perfect union. Which is why he is the best candidate for POTUS. Bernie is incapable of leading this country because he does not appreciate the aforementioned nuance, complexity, and compromise strong leadership entails to make substantive change in the lives of citizens. I found his responses last night (responses, not answers) to specific questions woefully inadequate and downright insulting to the American people who are craving leadership and tangible change in a time of crisis. I continue to be disappointed at the NYT editorial board’s apparent unwillingness to challenge Bernie on, let alone acknowledge, these fundamental issues. They certainly have enjoyed repeated character assassinations on Biden for the better part of the last year. As “Fair and balanced” as Fox imo. Shame.

  283. I'm with Gail and Nicole. I gave Joe Biden a 9. I second Gail's comments. Bernie Sanders I gave a 4. He is so negative, and kept throwing rocks, over and over, which kept making me think, stop it, that makes you look small, and Biden as if he has invisible armour. I keep hearing, and believe, that Bernie got less done in Congress than almost any other congressman. It's not enough to be right, you have to listen, be respectful, have a sense of humor, and get along. His social skills are as bad as his ideas are good. Futhermore, every Republican former Trump supporter I've interviewed, which is only four, have said that if Sanders or Warren were the nominee, they would stick with Trump. David blogs at InconvenientNews.Net

  284. "Americans need Bernie’s plans, but unfortunately they want Biden to shepherd them." I see a strong parallel between Sanders and Moses. Moses too tried to "work the system", rising up in Egyptian governance, but saw his people continue to suffer and ultimately he led them out of Egypt. Bernie chose to try and remake the Democratic Party rather than launch a new one, but the party leadership was never going to let that happen. They are as unmovable as Pharoah. But Bernie has motivated millions of Americans and gotten them to see that neither party is working for them, and they're willing and eager to be led to some new paradigm. The problem however is that in these terrifying times, many are too afraid to let go of the old ways completely. Bernie has shown them his vision, which is compelling, but in the end, when he himself had to choose to leave the party, he decided to stay. At this point I doubt that he'll choose to split off to challenge Biden and Trump as a third party candidate. Ironically, what has beaten him is the fear of taking that huge "leap of faith" that kept him married to the Democratic Party, a fear that kept millions of non-Sanders voters from supporting him. But the vision he had is indelible, and will be carried forward, if not by the Democrats, then by a new party that springs up to support it. In all likelihood it won't come true in Bernie's lifetime, but will still be his legacy. In the end, he was too much of a Democrat for the Democratic Party.

  285. Sanders made a point of bragging that over the course of his career he has never wavered in his voting record, his ideology, or his beliefs. Which, in most cases is a good thing, but in this case came across as strident and inflexible. Most people know that in politics refusing to compromise is not a pathway to success or getting anything done. In Bernie's case, for all his ideological purity, he cannot point to a single social democratic policy he has advocated for over the years which has made it into law. He would say this is because the system is rigged and owned by billionaires, but it's also possible that his unwillingness to compromise, ever, marginalizes his ability to get anything done. His single greatest liability in this campaign has been his absolute refusal to compromise on Medicare For All (Whether You Want It Or Not), even though the majority of Democratic voters disagree with this extreme, and prefer Medicare For All (Who Want It). He scored points by pointing out how Biden had changed his vote and position on various things over the years, and claimed that this showed a deficiency of leadership compared to his intractable consistency. I'm not sure I agree that rigid inflexibility is the best mark of a leader.