Winners and Losers of the Democratic Debate

Our columnists and contributors give their rankings.

Comments: 181

  1. Biden appeared more comfortable on stage than in any of his other performances. Two debaters only--his interlocutor a man his age--no audience, and the clear frontrunner again. Biden "won" the debate because the bar is set so low for him. Bernie "lost" the debate because his ideas are too far "left" and because of his personality. As Elizabeth, Jamelle, and Hector observe, Bernie was clearly more energetic and intellectually acute. Bernie's interpretation of this latest pandemic as an indictment of the current health care system was very persuasive. One cannot take these postmortems too seriously as the NYT has amply demonstrated a bias in favor of Biden, although the key culprits are not represented here. The fix is in: Bernie cannot win and Joe cannot lose. For Democrats to win, all that is left is for Joe to adopt Bernie's ideas and implement them through the force of his affability.

  2. Seems your reviewers watched a different debate than I. Per usual, Sanders sometimes came off at his curmudgeonly worst. Other times, he sounded the sincere prophet, not just the angry one. Biden, on the other hand, offered platitudes, not vision. His attacks on Sanders came off as shrill and rehearsed. The "Bernie is really a commie who loves Cuba and Russia" was beneath him and straight out of the Trump playbook. He had no defense of his ties to Wall St. and corporate money. Too often he seemed to be flailing rather than rebutting Sander's charges. Yeah, I suspect he'll be the nominee. Yes, I'll hold my nose and vote for him. But I will do so begrudgingly. Biden doesn't support the issues and ideas that matter to me and mine.

  3. One would expect that Biden and Sanders would act more Presidential not panicked. But this newest Democrat debate debacle revealed another chapter in disintegration in leadership within this quickly collapsing Party. Both Bernie and Biden matched premonitions of pandemonium fueled by blame shifting when leadership calls for calm and unity. With feral eyes projecting the contempt his words provided, Biden has now rubbed elbows with Sanders in his distrust of capitalism in America as providing solutions for any imagined illness or created contagion now or in the future. Announcing army barracks on every street and perhaps martial law right around the corner, Biden’s utter collapse of calmness provides direct evidence of this man’s complete lack of leadership and unfitness for high or any office of responsibility. This swift movement to the left has marched past reason into the abyss of fear wrapped in moral decay without a safety net when inevitable death arrives.

  4. I don't think the comments by Sanders about China's poverty reduction are the problem. I agree with him that history isn't always just black or white. Bad people aren't always completely evil. The Fidel Castro comments are more questionable, but it's the same idea. The real problem is that he never seems to make the same excuses for America which is objectively a better place than China or Cuba. It would be greatly reassuring if he said that America was a better place to live than literally every communist country.

  5. Bernie’s lack of specifics and refusal to answer direct questions is startling. Disappointed the moderators (and obviously NYT editorial board) didn’t call him on it. He has a seeming inability to answer any question without the stump speech siren of, “It’s a disaster! millionaires! billionaires! political revolution!” I still don’t understand what he will actually DO if elected and HOW he will do it. Apparently all he’s ever done is vote no on every major policy proposal of the last 30 years. Am I the only one that notices that? I mean good grief. Leadership is more than complaining and saying no to everything. It requires struggle, compromise, and fighting for a MORE perfect union. Biden is so much more competent, thoughtful, reasoned, and nuanced on every major issue facing this country and the world as a whole. The contrast with just the two of them on stage was stark. Can’t wait for Tuesday when the voters (aka rigged democratic establishment) put he final nail in Bernie’s political coffin and we can all get on with the real task at hand: handing trump a resounding and unequivocal defeat so that he and his disastrous presidency can be swept into the dustbin of history as a cautionary tale that we can’t take our democracy for granted. We must fight for it every day. Elections matter. Staying engaged matters. And apathy and false equivalency has disastrous consequences. I would encourage the NYT editorial board to do the same.

  6. The elephant in the room (the Republican elephant) is that if Biden is the nominee, he will have to respond again and again to their claims that he colluded with his son to do something illegal in Ukraine. When he was asked about this on the campaign trail, he was inappropriate, lost his temper, even got nasty. Why was it alright for a panel member to question Sanders about saying that Castro improved education in Cuba (which was hammered to death at the last debate), but Biden gets a free pass on his vulnerability? If he couldn't handle the issue tonight, how will he do when Trump throws it in his face? He should have been asked to explain his position on that. It isn't going away.

  7. @Linda This is just silly. The Trump team manufacture of a Biden controversy never had an ounce of traction except among Fox viewers.

  8. @Claire Green My point is that Hunter Biden's innocence or guilt is irrelevant to Trump and the Republicans. They'll hammer away at the issue, and Joe Biden needs to reply calmly and intelligently. He hasn't managed to do that yet. He becomes defensive, sarcastic, and even nasty, which makes it look as though he has something to hide. In general, he tends to resort to sarcasm and smirking when he feels challenged. He needs to replace those responses ASAP.

  9. Whew. Joe didn't stumble. Joe's a good guy, but he wasn't my 1st choice. Or my second, third, fourth or fifth. But I'll support him to the hilt because he's Jill's husband.:) And because he's not Donald Trump.

  10. The biggest takeaway: NO AUDIENCES is the way to go for all future election debates. No talk-show-style cheering from committed shill sections. Less pre-arranged one-liners and “zingers” designed to get a laugh. More focus on the ideas and words of the candidates. With no audience to “play” to, Donald Trump would not be President.

  11. The biggest takeaway: NO AUDIENCES is the way to go for all future election debates. No talk-show-style cheering from committed shill sections. Less pre-arranged one-liners and “zingers” designed to get a laugh. More focus on the ideas and words of the candidates. With no audience to “play” to, Donald Trump would not be President.

  12. It’s never “right now”. Next time, next time, next time. I get it now. Old people are feeling a fraction of the anxiety and uncertainty that young people have been feeling since 2008. Hope and change? Out the window. Biden is promising to let them die in peace, which is apparently the reason he’s running for President. Drag out the record player and play “happy times are here again” all night, while the world burns.

  13. @Seb Williams Seb, You make valid points. But reality is what it is. Unless and until our youth takes the time and energy to vote in massive numbers, (and I wish you and your peers would do just that), the old people, our most reliable voters, will determine who our leaders are, which will determine what our legislation is, which will determine the path our great country takes.

  14. “ when he helped create many of them as a leader in the Senate (even if they were the unintended side effects of well-intended legislation). ” If they were unintended side effect, then he didn’t ‘help’ create what you view as negatives. Words have meanings. Use them judiciously.

  15. Biden can wrap up the only segment of the Democratic Party that still is standing on the outside looking in - the progressives - by selecting Elizabeth Warren as his V.P.

  16. @tls I would love to see her appointed as the Head of Treasury.

  17. It seems almost absurd to point out that both of these men are flawed candidates, when the very unfunny joke in the White House makes either of them look like Abraham Lincoln. Biden illustrates the limits that our corrupt system places on honesty & integrity. Sanders’ presence on the national stage has little to do with his leadership skills and everything to do with the fact that we desperately need critics of a system that is remarkably efficient at excluding and silencing its critics. Generally, Sanders’ attacks on Biden did have more substance than Biden’s attacks on Sanders. Biden has consistently been willing to give away the bank for the sake of a compromise with Republicans who are ready to destroy the country for the sake of a political victory. Biden’s red-baiting Sanders is just sleazy. To say that it’s wrong to point out that the Chinese government, however authoritarian, has raised millions of people out of poverty, or that Castro’s health care system was admirable, is demagogic. It’s no different from saying that it’s wrong to point out the evil things (Iraq? Trump?) that democracies do. We are not Republicans. Every statement does not have to be a dishonest political manipulation. We should be able to make simple observations about what is right and what is wrong in the same country or person.

  18. I think Mr. Biden will be for the charismatic Mr. Obama what Mr.Johnson was to JFK, on extending the New Deal and civil rights. There are other likely similarities, long long tenure in the Senate. We should hope that Mr. Biden escapes the corruption that the Viet Nam war left in our politics.

  19. When I heard both men talking, I envisioned them in a debate with Trump. Joe Biden doesn't stand a chance in a debate with Trump. Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, would eat Trump alive. The passion, the experience, the anger he has right now, would all explode right there on stage, and Trump would finally become the target he should have been four years ago. Personally, I would love to see it!

  20. @Bri Bernie would be a better debater, but his ideology is what will be focused upon if he is nominated. And even some "progressives" would desert Bernie at that point. The Democrats have opportunities and time to plan a comprehensive campaign. Trump's failures of leadership now as well as his basic cruelty (see George Packer's article in the Atlantic) suggest that the Dems can win if they concentrate on their strengths and people come out to votes.

  21. @Bri Being a good debater and winning an election are not necessarily synonymous. Biden can pull the moderates who voted for but now regret Trump. Sanders cannot do that. Biden has a broader base than Sanders which will help him actually (hopefully) win the election.

  22. @Bri I hear you, but then you would just have two angry men fighting it out. I think that Biden v Trump would be a perfect contrast of rationality and decency vs empty rhetoric. Every time i see trump i'm reminded of that classic simpsons episode when homer gets to run the garbage men department, and then the old and tried guy comes back to fix it. To me that guy is Biden.

  23. Felt it was a wasted an opportunity to deliver a detailed plan for this crisis Now. People are suffering what can be done to relieve the financially strained, the unemployed, the homelessness Now. Bernie struck a chord this is systemic and political choice can change this but People need to hear what is going to be done today. A well thought out detailed plan on how to deal with this crisis presented by either Candidate would've made the presidential clear.

  24. Really? 7.6 for Joe Biden? What debate were you all watching? I thought this was a completely one-sided debate. Bernie stood his ground relatively well and kept reiterating his agenda coherently and cohesively. His brain is functioning. I found his closing statement compelling and well formed. I found Joe Biden completely incomprehensible. He could not present one coherent thought about any of his plans. He was just spewing out random sentences hoping that one of them would land. It was very difficult for me to watch and made me extremely uncomfortable. Obviously, he will be the democratic nominee. I am terrified for our country as we head into the general election having to pick between two dementia patients. Is this what the fall of democracy looks like in real time?

  25. @Maria One is honest and will select very competent advisers and then listen to them. The other is dishonest, surrounded himself with incompetent liars and does not listen to people who are experts in their fields. Big choice!

  26. @ExPatMX What does it say in an election when for the 'good' candidate we have we need to use the argument of 'his competent advisers will prop him up'? Hillary lost in 2016 because many voters in swing states were not motivated by the argument 'if you don't want Trump...'. Biden's campaign is heading for a repeat of this strategy hoping for different results; I don't think it will work. I also think Biden echoes too much of Trump's tendencies, calling people 'dog faced pony soldiers' or threatening to get in a fight with them if they even so much as speak up to challenge his positions or his record. He claims he is bringing us back to civil discourse ... but only if you all sit down and shut up and agree with him. It's really not a good look, and in my opinion, not a good option. So it's not a big choice, it's a losing choice either way.

  27. Funny how once the pendulum swung over to Biden he is now being given kudos instead of being dissed across the board as he was previously. Talk about jumping on the bandwagon. Perhaps he has resurfaced as the "best" candidate but this sure has shown what all the critics and analysts are made of. Politics, what a joke.

  28. Medicare for all who have Coronavirus . Private insurance for those who have cancer, heart disease, diabetes and everything else. There is a massive emergency. But I don't understand the complacency and desire of many these commentators for medicare for all to fail. If Bernie Sanders is right that we have 8 or 9 more years to put the breaks on global warming and start turning things around than global warming very likely was the winner of yesterday debate.

  29. Biden was reassuring and Sanders should have quit last night and endorsed him but his ego is too big. Tomorrow's likely crushing defeat should be enough for Bernie to concede. His supporters need to help defeat this "existential threat" and return Washington to some level of normality--as lame as that may be. I would not have believed this 2wks ago, but now it is possible with Biden to not only beat Trump , but also take the Senate. Biden swept every county in Missouri, Michigan, and Mississippi and with Sander's votes state wide victories are possible. How sweet it would be to stun Trump and the right wingers who were celebrating his reelection and his invincibility after he escaped impeachment. Wash your hands and vote Trump and his band of crooks out of power before it is too late!

  30. While someone's past voting record can be a window to how they will govern in the future, going back decades and without considering the political/social winds of that time is less relevant. Biden cannot explain away his entire voting record, but Bernie spends too much time treating treating it as gotchas.

  31. @Ben - agree, holding a 1990s vote to 2020 standards when we don't even hold the sitting President to any standards is shooting ourselves in the foot.

  32. Here is the deal; I hate having to vote against my interests. I despise having to accept once again that progressives ideas take a back seat to corporate interests. I am four square behind Bernie. I thought it was a very good debate. In the end it is probably Biden and he is going to need help getting across the finish line in November. Having Trump in the WH is not acceptable. When Biden gets into the WH, I expect and hope progressives to protest him as hard as they do Trump. This is the price of the presidency.

  33. @Mark You are chafing at the bit, but you must not identify Biden as Corporate Interest. That title goes to the people you will inadvertently reelect if you continue to overlook the virtues that Biden brings to the White House. I trust he will surround himself with the best and the brightest, he understands that concept, and at the very least you must admit Bernie would only accept yes men.

  34. I cannot believe these commentators ranked Sanders above a 5. Watching last night made my blood boil. We are in the midst of an international crises and Bernie is talking about Medicare for all, rather than how he would reduce the threat. For those of you who thought Biden fudged about certain past issues then you must live in Bernie's bubble. Government is compromise. You can't always get everything you want, probably one of the reasons Sanders has be ineffective in getting legislation passed. Circumstances of the time dictate actions, ideals strain to meet the need. That is democracy. Biden understands that. The country has a debt that is almost insurmountable and an immediate shift in Medicare, Free tuition, etc. will push the debt higher. Attacks on the establishment that are not graded will create a depression. Read how FDR solved the problem, even he had a challenge erasing the debt, the only thing that changed it was WWII. So work with what we have and tell Sanders to get behind Biden or we will have four more years of chaos.

  35. @Doug Horn I completely agree. We have put up with an aggressive tone from the top for 3 plus years. It's been the response to everything from T. Listening to Bernie's attitude and tone constantly reminded me of that tone. And the finger-pointing got old early. A previous commenter said it right, we like Bernie's ideas, but we want Biden to deliver on them.

  36. For everyone who is worried that Biden is not progressive enough, or won’t listen to good counsel, please remember he is the person who pushed Obama into marriage equality.

  37. After 2/3 of the way through I had heard enough. Bernie is same old same old. Joe save the world while VP. I was not aware of that. Both are rather tiresome with their old chestnuts. That's what happens when we pick two old fogies to run for president. We lost our big chance with any of the younger ones. Vote blue through and through.

  38. Compromise is how the country was meant to work, and shouldn’t be considered a negative automatically. A conservative is someone who conserves something, and considering the radical and reactionary deeds of the last four years, absolutely nothing is being conserved by Trump and trumpites, most especially the hard won fruits of compromise in a democratic republic. The only conservatives left are those that will strive to stop the utter ruination of the USA and the planet it sits on, and those are not the Republicans in power now. History will not be easily rewritten in this age of technology, and history will judge harshly.

  39. @Claire Green Exremely well said!

  40. Frankly, I am tired of Sanders accusing his competitors of not being "pure enough" based on previously held postions in Congress. I want to know my President and my political representatives are willing to change with the times. Sanders seems stuck in 1960's timewarp but I also welcome his and many others efforts to make our society more fair. In that he has done a service to our country. However, what he really needs to do right now is bring his loyal followers to defeating tRump.

  41. @V You are correct. I also believe this. But, I would like to add that changing one's mind over the years is often a (hopefully) a sign of personal growth.

  42. We need a nominee that wins the general election. That means winning all of America, including flippable Republicans and not just democrats. Sanders’ obligation last night was to challenge Biden into adopting, or accepting either parts of or whole portions of his policies—not to fantasize about the (zero) chance of becoming the nominee. Sanders’ second obligation was to firmly state that he will support the nominee without hesitation words like, “let’s see,” or “allow the democratic process.” The battle is, as Biden suggests, to oust Trump. Bernie, take the lead, do what is necessary to defeat Trump and steer your passionate supporters towards a victory against Trump, not against Biden. If you don’t, or hesitate, or grumble about the “political establishment,” (I hope I have that quoted correctly) then you’re keeping Trump in. I would’ve gladly and wholeheartedly have voted for you if you were the nominee. With the that thought, Please ask your supporters to do likewise and avoid a repeat of the last general election when Bernie or bust actually meant hooray Trump.

  43. I love Bernie Sanders. I'd love to see him as president and engaged with other world leaders in partnership for how to deal with climate change and current issues -- coronavirus, wildfires, and whatever else is coming our way. I see him as a compassionate visionary who keeps his eyes on the big picture that is partially responsible for our current crisis. I get that many people don't see him the way I do, and accept that. Biden is ok, but his constant referencing the past is like the proverbial chalk on the blackboard for me. If the past had been so good, we would be much better equipped for where we are now.

  44. I fail to understand why voters think Trump will agree to "debate" Joe Biden. Or why VP Biden will agree to "debate" Trump. The faux debate style used in the primary for the Democratic candidates does not show either candidate at his best. Trump is used to having questions shouted at him on the driveway of the White House as he leaves for another turn at his stand-up comedy routine at a rally. Biden is torn between answering the moderator's question and using it to make the canned response his advisors want. If Biden and Trump are to meet on one stage, there needs to be a better format. If the events are part of the presidential "job interview" then somehow the format needs to reveal the decision-making style of the two candidates.

  45. Vice-Pres. Biden has compassion and empathy, as does Pres. Obama. Two important traits and these two important traits are sadly lacking in that person currently in the Oval Office. These days when many people are afraid of Covid-19 and are looking for clear explanations and direction, what do we have? All we have is a person more interested in his ratings, which by now are in his famous swamp. What we do have are intelligent and knowledgeable doctors snd scientists who we shall listen to and forget that guy who won't take responsibility for his shortcomings.

  46. There is absolutely no real debate about who won the debate last night, and who lost. Joe Biden won, and Donald Trump lost without stepping foot on stage. Bernie was Bernie, god bless him, and I hope his followers follow their leader and support Biden for POTUS, because it would help the healing process our country needs, as well as help defeat the worst president in the history of our country. Vote Trump out, vote Biden in!

  47. Bernie is warming Joe up for the Trump debates and he did a great job.

  48. Whether anybody watched it or not, nobody cares. For better or worse, the democrat voters look like they chose Joe. It is democracies last best hope to get rid of the biggest threat to our democracy since the Civil War, Trump. Whether you are republican, democrat, liberal or conservative support him.

  49. Biden promised everything but a new car and dish washer for every voter. Given his awful record as lap dog to big corporations and big donors in politics, he is a sorry counterfeit when he mouths Progressive intentions. And, in the real world, there is no path to deliver on his cloned Bernie Convictions. His head is gassed up with recent success in the polls and his delusion that McConnell will be a willing dance partner in any legislation or judicial appointments. Oh, yeah. Note to the country: He will be a train wreck when debating Trump.

  50. @Michael McAllister He didn’t promise the car and dishwasher because there is no way to pay for it. Sound familiar?

  51. @Mike You mean he's never fleshed out a plan to pay for it because Biden made his promises up on the spot in order to compete with Bernie.

  52. I understand that in all likelihood Biden will be the Democratic nominee in November, but I will still vote for Sanders in the primary. It has been an extraordinary experience being a voter during Sanders's run, having a candidate who actually tells the truth about what needs to be done to make this country a fairer and healthier place. I wasn't born yet during FDR's New Deal, and was too young to vote in 1964, when LBJ was kicking off an era of wonderful civil rights and other social legislation (before he got bogged down in Viet Nam). Sanders actually represents me, the things I care about. For the life of me, I can't understand why his campaign has not vigorously highlighted his Civil Rights activism, there's an actual photo of him getting arrested at a protest in 1963. That's what I'm looking for in a leader, someone who would put his safety on the line for justice and decency. There are a lot of voters out there who wouldn't have gone for a Jewish guy who grew up poor--and that vulgar Brooklyn accent, that's the last straw in our very class-bound country. A lost opportunity for an overdue reset of America, nonetheless.

  53. Yes. Subdued, and a draw. I think it was Reagan who first began showcasing individual citizens' sad and happy stories. Television indeed has eventually swallowed our political systems in ways far beyond the Nixon/Kennedy debate. To our detriment, Hollywood and DC, those single-industry towns, have merged. And Republicans mock Hollywood while they elect Reagan, Schwartznegger, Trump. Showmen. Biden's story of the woman outside the nursing home window waving to her mother has pathos indeed. Except that Bernie is the candidate who has a path forward from her trauma. I've had enough of pols using people for props and mourning their wives and sons. We need to restructure. In energy. In income equality. In health. In banking. In infrastructure. This is so clear. We are in spectacular decline. We're broke. Yet Biden tells stories, and commenters like Wehner still call common sense "radicalizing." Bernie. Is a great man. A male Cassandra in this wilderness. His legacy will resonate.

  54. I can see it now . . . Biden vs. Trump in a debate that descends to long, rambling monologues from both and ends with an argument over who's spent more time in the situation room.

  55. @Eris There won't be a debate. Trump's handlers can't take the chance that Trump won't implode on the stage and conclusively demonstrate his unfitness for office.

  56. Biden should go further than vice-president and announce many of his choices for his cabinet after it’s clear he’ll be nominated, per Thomas Friedman’s op-Ed. If he selects a Team of Rivals, and convince Elizabeth Warren, and maybe even Sanders, along with Mayor Pete, Corey Booker, and the women he doesn’t choose for vp, it would go a long way to assure all stripes of Democrats and some independents, and the nation as a whole..except for The Trump Kool-Aid Klan who even think he’s handled the Coronavirus crisis well.....that there will be stability and solid leadership to lead us out of the Trump mess and the Virus emergency. Step aside, Bernie. Do it, Mr. Biden, once your nomination is assured. Have your entire cabinet campaigning. Let’s go for a landslide.

  57. @Grey ...The Senate is critical. He can't appoint Warren to anything because the Massachusetts Governor is a Republican.

  58. One thing that's clear as day is that none of the Times columnists are swing voters and only one or two might be capable of even imagining the mind of a swing voter. Both candidates last night shaded the truth, failed to answer questions directly and sincerely, and beat some dead horses. What a surprise! But one candidate was relatively calm, demonstrated both experience and knowledge about how to deal with a crisis, and professed a determination to mend what ails us, literally and figuratively. The other candidate waved his arms constantly while trying to fit every topic, including the current crisis, into his same old talking points and had to explain away his life-long affection for communist regimes. Oddly, he was unprepared to say that he'd name a woman as his VP pick, even though the most obvious and beloved choice for him would be Ms. Warren. Which candidate do you think swing voters would more easily vote for?

  59. @RBW Yeah, no swing voters here and no empathy for them either. That said, if you read the NYT you don't read it for anything but the Left's perspective and falling into line for daily groupthink. Nah, no Elizabeth Warren for Bernie. She wouldn't take the job, and, I believe, doesn't even like Bernie that much. She may like Biden less, but she's a self-aggrandizing pragmatist after it's all said and done. She might take it then, but I don't think she checks enough boxes. Kamala Harris, OMG. Stacy Abrams, OMG X's 2.

  60. Sanders easily won that debate last night. The NY Times and moderate democrats wont even tell the truth. Moderates have determined Biden is their candidate and refuse to admit he is wrong and has a terrible track record on most things. Biden is not a leader. There are not enough honest and good people to vote for Sanders. Sad country.

  61. I'd never vote for Joe Biden. DOMA, Anita Hill, Iraq War, Patriot Act, Bankruptcy Bills, NAFTA, Ukrainian corruption, the list goes on. And that's before we get to his bought and paid for status by Big Medical and Big Pharma and Big Banks, etc., and his mental decline. Thanks, but no thanks. It's Bernie or the Green Party nominee in November. Conservative Democrats have essentially voted to elect Trump for a second term, by pushing for yet another unelectable and patently corrupt Wall Street stooge.

  62. @Observer Yes, Trump WILL win reelection if people insist on voting for a 3rd party instead of Biden. I'm a Bernie supporter, too, and am disgusted and disappointed by the mainstream media's intense, unremitting criticism of him and his policies. Bernie is a true leader who has consistently supported what he considers best for all Americans. Fortunately, he and Warren have pushed the Democrats closer to the left during the campaign. Trump will make mincemeat out of Biden in any debates, I fear. BUT I intend to VOTE DEMOCRATIC in November, and you should, too.

  63. @Observer Hope you and Ralph and Jill have a nice time reassuring each other that Gore = Bush, Trump = Clinton and now Biden = Trump. Well here's some more math, your way or the highway = 4 more years of DJT and all that will bring. Cheers.

  64. @Observer It is Biden or Trump at this point and a third party vote is a vote for Trump just like 2016. That is how we got Trump in the first place. VOTE BLUE NO MATTER WHO

  65. Not all of us "subscribe" to CNN, for practical reasons. What parts of the debate I was able to stream, I must remark, where the commentators of the Times did not. Bernie Sanders made one clear point. Our hospital systems i(US) have no connectivity, operate independently and therefore put at us at risk during a pandemic. Biden had many plans but I was lost in his details. Where is the plan to have cross communication between private hospitals and public?

  66. Based on yesterday's debate, if we elect Biden we get a "number one - number two" president. Is that what the country needs?

  67. There was a debate last night?! Just kidding. But here in Portland, Maine, as an educational consultant and a counselor, we were trying to figure out how to best help our schools and students cope with this major disruption. I think Biden's dig about Italy's single-payer system failing might have scored a point with voters, but it isn't their health care plan but initial incompetence that has increased their infections and fatalities. However, any one of the dozen DNC candidates could have handled this better for one reason: sanity; they're not malignant narcissists. Vote Blue No Matter Who!!!

  68. The Pandemic is the featured topic and with good reason. Both men showed up well but all things considered, I am most happy that the field has cleared and the Democrats can get down to business. Trump's ineptitude and mis-statement-filled talks with the country give the candidates plenty of fodder. Now they must get the country to hear them.

  69. Oh am sorry. I forgot these two were still going on. Sorry but at this point we're not interested, thanks.

  70. The loser was moderator Ilia Calderon. Questions that should have been asked about immigration: How many immigrants per year is environmentally sustainable? How many people can the US support in an environmentally sustainable manner? But she was obviously supporting her on open borders agenda.

  71. If the goal is dumping Trump, and it should be for any sane person in this country, then Biden has to be the unanimous choice to be the candidate to take him down. The majority of this country is simply not ready for Bernie's ideas. Even in the midst of this health and financial crisis, it would be a mistake to think the election in the fall is not going to be a bitter and close contest. By then, the shocking impact of the virus and stock market fall will have recovered and Trump will take full credit with the help of his billion dollar war chest. Get out the vote, every single one.

  72. This :'Mimi Swartz (4/10) — The virus gave Sanders an opportunity to keep attacking the inequities in American life, and he took it and ran. But his arguments are sounding tired because he so rarely expands on them in fresh ways, or even in specific ways. It’s not a good time to be an ideologue." As a 72 yr. old progressive X 40 years I have realized since the Vietnam War it is never "a good time to be an ideologue". Bernie never stops playing gotcha. Biden should do a better job at admitting his major mistakes 20/30 years ago and also say he has moved on from those positions. Now is what is important. Bernie was/is the same old same old (and I mean old) "we must do this we must we must. Aghhhh I am sooo tired of his we musts. He is not gracious and wants to pick open well healed wounds, acts as if his self acclaimed purity on all things Bernie makes him perfect. Amy's answer to Mayor Pete would be just as applicable to Sander's: "I wish everybody was as perfect as you" Bernie.

  73. Barring catastrophy, this race is over. Biden is the nominee. If there was any doubt, COVID-19 sealed the deal. Democratic primary voters, like the country as a whole, crave a return to normalcy, not a revolution. Uncle Joe is comforting, projects competence, and if given the choice, almost everyone would choose to live in 2013 than 2020. When this debate is unearthed it will be memorable for one thing: Biden's promise to select a woman as his running mate. Bernie's attempted use of Biden's record on him stuck about as well as eggs on a Teflon pan. Biden will not select Elizabeth Warren, as he made clear by implication last night. I suspect it will be (in this order) MI Governor Gretchen Whitmer (age 48), NM Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (age 60), IL US Senator (former Army Lt. Col) Tammy Duckworth (Age 52), perhaps less likely NV US Senator Catherine Cortez Mateo (age 55)(because NV is so recently blue) and former GA State House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (age 46)(because she has never held state-wide office, albeit likely but for voter suppression). Time will tell. Were the election held today, Biden would probably take 331 Electoral Votes; and if the country is still virus-rocked on Nov. 3, perhaps 348, or 387. Turns out Biden, the liberal, is the 'small-c' conservative choice.

  74. I was just considering this morning the outrageous irony of asking young people for whom this virus is not a danger to stop their social activities in order to protect older people. Those same older people who deny climate change, the burden of college debt, oppose affordable, accessible health care at the expense of those same young people because none of it is, or will in the case of climate change affect them. By the way, I am closing in on 70, I will hold my nose and vote for Biden if I must, but if he starts in with the bipartisan garbage, particularly if we win the Senate, we're lost. Those days are gone and given the evidence of the Obama years he should know this. He is right about one thing, this campaign should be nothing more than a referendum on trump, policy can come later. Every campaign dollar should be spent in the swing states that matter and they should be hammered with ads exploiting trump and his family of enablers with the evidence of his corruption and ineptitude.

  75. Sanders answered almost every question with his favorite stump speech. He was hunched over, waving his arm pointing his finger, trying to cut in to deliver his message of Socialism. Take this med and it will solve all our problems. The revolution is the only way. Sanders looked older than his age and worn out. At times he looked apoplectic. He was lost in the here and now without his screaming minions. Bieden was the opposite, standing erect, looking younger than his age and said, without histrionics, plans to handle our severe crises. Did what every President should do, acted forceful, knowledgeable, truthful and soothing and not stuck in an ideologic quagmire. A calm hand in a raging storm. What a contrast between him and Sanders and Trump. Both of them came out the losers.

  76. Democratic establishment to Sanders: You may say anything you want, we can do anything we want.

  77. @Roland Berger he should run as an independent...done. If a person hates the democratic establishment so much, why be a part of it? He knows who butters his bread...that's why

  78. i don't think Biden can beat Trump....Bernie is the sharper candidate he is offering real change and relief for working people ... Biden is too lukewarm and he carries the disappointment the Obama administration was to working people ... I am afraid this is a repeat of Hillary vs. Trump....

  79. @plamb .... "he is offering real change and relief for working people"....Which is why he can't 40% of the vote in a Democratic primary? How does that work in a national election where Independents and Republicans can also vote?

  80. "But his [Sanders'] arguments are sounding tired because he so rarely expands on them in fresh ways, or even in specific ways." -M. Swartz I'm no longer surprised or amazed by the superficiality of the debate analysis of NYTimes columnists. Ms. Swartz doesn't address whether universal healthcare is necessary or will save lives - especially during this crisis! It's whether the arguments are tired. Good Lord! Please help us!

  81. Please stop using numerical scores for debates. This is not an Olympic gymnastic routine. It is supposed to a chance for the nation to see and hear the candidates talk so we can make an informed choice. What they say and how they handle themselves is important, but that is not captured in a "7/10."

  82. The debate stamped the stark difference between Senator Sanders & VP Biden. In a time of national calamity, Senator Sanders remains the perpetual Whiner & Blamer of repeat targets while VP Biden seeks to Engage & Act swiftly & boldly. The long line of distinguished US Presidents, from George Washington to Thomas Jefferson to Abraham Lincoln to Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Barack Obama does not include any Whiner & Blamer. Senator Sanders clearly is unfit to be President.

  83. If ever our nation required a steady hand at the helm, it is now. Clearly, Biden is the best choice. Spending four years watching Bernie’s rude dismissive grimaces and scowls would be too much!!!

  84. Promising to pick a female VP was a terrible unforced error on Biden's part. He is going to win the Democratic nomination either way, so there is little political benefit in pandering to left-wing identity politics. Meanwhile, he has now set up whoever he chooses to be perceived as an affirmative action candidate rather than someone who earned the position on her merits.

  85. Joe Biden looked and acted like a president. Bernie didn't. We need a president right now.

  86. Have we had enough Democratic debates yet? Is there any topic that hasn't been hashed and rehashed ad naseum? Please. Let's move on, choose our candidate and focus on sweeping the corrupt Republican Party out of government. November can't come fast enough.

  87. @CW As much as I share your fatigue with this process, I did feel a need to see Biden in a one-on-one debate with a legitimate opponent. Some are criticizing Bernie for obsessing over Biden's past but he did us a service by giving us a taste of what the former VP is going to face in the fall. Did Biden ease all my concerns?--far from it. But at least I saw that he's not as impaired as he often seemed in the multi-candidate debates.

  88. Biden has my vote. Bernie has my heart. That remark about Italy and their healthcare system was a low blow. I wonder how the other countries with universal healthcare are doing? More importantly, how is this country doing with the patchwork healthcare system?

  89. Bernie has no path to the nomination. I hope, given the coronavirus crisis, he drops out ASAP so Democratic do not have to risk their health going to the poles and the Party can pivot to focus on Trump's incompetence.

  90. Joe Bidens Reference to Italy’s state sponsored Healthcare isn’t taking into account It’s GDP or where it’s system is ranked worldwide. It also doesn’t take into consideration the citizens lack of economic anxiety over healthcare bankrupting them. C’mon man, do you really think we can put this country on lockdown with the financial concerns of our citizens like Italy has? C’mon man why didn’t you use South Korea as your example for state sponsored healthcare. I told my wife, “Don’t worry Wall Street always gets their man” and they will. One way or the other. No one ever really talks about the Gross domestic loss of wealth caused by healthcare. Nope, there’s no money in that but the losses are shared. And we constantly are having the dumbest part of any conversation, especially in debates. Although it was refreshing to not have the audience inserting themselves. Kinda gave it a little legitimacy. Now get rid of the game show lights and put the league of women voters and PBS in charge and we might get somewhere.

  91. Think Biden made the case for a transitional Presidential term (right the ship). Most people want someone younger in 2024.

  92. The market is down roughly 30% from its peak (as I write this). There is no question we are about to see massive layoffs. Yet Bernie has nothing to say about how this will affect his massive spending spree. If he had no idea where the tens of trillions were going to come a month ago, how about now? A more nimble politician would be able to address this. Bernie is pull-a-string and get a canned answer that hasn't changed in decades. He is not the man for this moment.

  93. @Sparky We're in the middle of a crisis and suddenly, leadership says, a "massive spending spree" is okay. Bernie's point was that our ongoing healthcare and environmental crises deserve the same funding commitment. The government is always able to pull out funds from somewhere; it is merely a matter of priority.

  94. Wow, it appears I watched a completely different debate than the commentators here. Yes, Biden didn't stumble and fall on his face like he has in the past, yet he look completely overpowered by Sanders' intelligence and quick articulation of why systemic change is necessary. Biden had no answer for the fact that he lied about his efforts to cut social security, his vote on the Iraq war, his participation in the 94 crime bill. More significantly, Sanders' argument about the need for universal health care sans insurance companies and Big Pharma is even more significant in light of the current crisis. As he points out, and recent history has shown, we don't have a unified single system like most other countries, which would have better enable us to be prepared for this crisis and others to follow. Sanders demolished Biden, and nobody seems to have noticed, including the NYT. Maybe they have other interests in mind, besides choosing the best candidate?

  95. @Richard btw, sanders supported the crime bill too...just saying

  96. While it may appear that Sanders has "lured Biden left on everything from immigration to college debt, a surprising win for the revolution" [Nicole Hemmer] — the problem is that Biden is the guy who early in his campaign promised rich donors that "nothing will fundamentally change". The truth of the matter is that he is the candidate most supported by the structural "larger dynamics that have produced the present crisis" [Jamelle Bouie]. Biden is an old school politician in the worst sense—one who will say what he thinks the people want to hear, pleasantly smiling, knowing he doesn't have to stick to any of the promises because his supporters won't hold him accountable. (Sound like someone currently in office?) His handlers currently have him giving lip devotion to the same things that Bernie Sanders (the source of most forward-thinking ideas in the Democratic Party) has been saying for years—but in that vague watered-down way which the moderate/centrists like, with no passion or commitment. A matchup of Trump and Biden will be a contest of which one call call out the other on more lies. The Debate of The Deceivers. The 1% neoliberal agenda can stay on its tracks —the rich getting richer, the working class getting crumbs. Meanwhile, the corporate media is in overdrive manufacturing consent by not looking too closely at what is inside that Biden suit.

  97. @T.Remington Theodore Sturgeon, “Brownshoes.” Go thou and read.

  98. I watched the debate, and shook my head that out of a country of over 300,000,000 people that are mostly literal, this is all we could come up with, sad, sad, sad.

  99. @Independent1776 Perhaps if they were ‘literate’ things would be better. Cast the first stone.....

  100. I don't see any reason why Biden needs to debate against Trump's insults and bad manners. He and all the democratic contenders will be able to campaign supporting a Democratic party platform that they will write, I imagine, together. We must get rid of Trump. And the Democrats must absolutely bolster the majority in the House and take over the Senate.

  101. @mmmlk Absolutely! Biden should demand trump release his tax returns before a debate. Biden does not need to debate. We know he is the smart and honest one.

  102. @Kathy White I don't agree that Biden Is the smart and honest one. He Will have to do in the present situation.

  103. No matter who wins the next elections, we need leaders who have the strength to rebuild this country world. Instead of bickering about the past. Who think about the future, because they half have of their lives ahead of them.

  104. @GH Unfortunately what one has done in the past could be an indication of what they might do in the future unless there has been a dramatic personality change.

  105. Compromise is not always the best option, especially when democracy and its vital institutions are not trusted and the private sector has been freed of a moderating government and the health system is number 37 in quality of health services in the world according to WHO. There is an old joke about Newfoundland joining Canada. Lots of debate over changing from driving on left side of the road to the right! So they took slowly....busses and trucks first! Sometimes the whole system needs a reset and Warren was capable of making that happen.

  106. By going along with, even championing, the policies that created the mess that we find ourselves in Joe Biden managed to be there to create cosmetic fixes. He was the leader in some of the worst cases including our ridiculously predatory credit card policies. Is that a record to be proud of? "Yes, I was in power during some of the most inadequate responses to the problems I helped create!" Very reassuring Joe.

  107. The debate confirmed that Bernie is ready to tackle the serious crises we face - rising inequality, unaffordable healthcare and climate change. He is a stronger leader than Biden, more inspiring, more principled and completely honest. Biden has a checkered voting history, no message to inspire and is too old to lead. The NYT will support Biden no matter how he performs. Will progressives and independents do the same? Can Biden stand up to Trump? I am not sure. My hope was to be motivated by an inspiring candidate as opposed to fear. How come we lost all of them and ended up with Biden!

  108. @Liba without seeming disrespectful (there has been too much disrespect from supporters of both of these candidates in this contest), the opposing view is that Bernie has nice promises but has not provided a convincing plan to enact them. i like some of his ideas, but not all. i like some of Biden's ideas, but not all. but Biden has gotten things done in the past, through compromise, and it appears to many of his supporters that Bernie has not - why will that change when he is president? also, i hear Bernie supporters repeatedly saying that Biden has no plan - he does, it's just not radical. you can see it here: https://joebiden.com/joes-vision/. Bernie's is here: https://berniesanders.com/issues//. both men have plans, some Dems just like Bernie's less, or don't believe he can make it happen based on past performance. finally - how is Biden too old to lead but Sanders not? Sanders is older!

  109. @jason As many progressive democrats, I am convinced that under Biden the changes this country needs will not take place. Bernie would do everything he could to fight inequality, climate change and for universal healthcare. He has the commitment, the passion and the experience and a large! share of the electorate stands with him. Yes, he is older than Biden but his mind is much sharper. I am afraid that Biden's frailty will become even more apparent once he faces Trump.

  110. I share the common consensus, Biden is the likely nominee, and while I was never burning for Bernie, true progressives may have lost the first real opportunity in decades to elect a genuine progressive with a mandate for more than incremental change. However, it is a difficult matter to asses relative risks. On the one hand we may be on the precipice of an environmental Armageddon whose threat cannot be countered without transforming the global economic model of ever-expanding markets and the rising flood of human population which is increasing at a rate of 200k per day. On the other hand, if the public thinks such claims are nothing more than Chicken Little exaggerations, incremental may be all we can do, and just hope that mother nature provides us with enough warning to turn this around before it's too late. Go Joe! But please look up, those are pieces of sky coming down.

  111. In looking at the general election, Biden wins. Biden will carry progressive states over Trump. That is a given. More critically is which candidate will carry the more moderate states; particularly emerging purple states like Arizona, North Carolina and possibly Texas. Yes, I said it. Bernie will have a much more difficult time carrying those states as witnessed by what has happened to him in the moderate states which have previously voted. Trump's political instincts informed him Biden was the candidate to be feared and he acted upon that and was impeached for those actions. Bernie will always push the party to the left. The question that will be answered in the final stages of the nomination process is just how far he can push the party until it says, "enough". That is how the nomination process should work. Joe Biden is going to be a true force against Trump. He is also going to give a huge boost the candidates like Mark Kelly in Arizona and Susan Gideon in Maine. These candidates need a more moderating candidate rather than a more revolutionary candidate to succeed in their elections. For Democrats, the flipping of the Senate in November remains their number two goal for the 2020 elections.

  112. @Bryan Biden will have to debate Trump-- he'll lose badly. He's washed up. Too bad Mayor Pete isn't a candidate.

  113. @Bryan Flipping the Senate might even be a number one goal, if we had to rank them. We could block any further ultra-right judicial appointments, we could impeach Barr, and maybe even Trump again, why not? I'd be for it! But both would be best.

  114. Despite all the hope for normalcy, I worry a Biden nomination is a repeat of 2016 (or 2004). What ever happened to Trump is a symptom and not the cause?

  115. The press framed this debate as a dual between the revolutionary and the pragmatist. We need both. Though Bernie uses the word "revolution" himself, I still think that Bernie's vision is not at all "revolutionary." I grew up in the 1950s, and GOP President Eisenhower worried about big wealth and the military-industrial complex, the state of the middle class, and foresaw the key role the federal government can play in boosting education, infrastructure, transportation.... Civil rights was left for another day. But in this radical conservative right-wing, hate-government era of surging economic inequality from Reagan to Trump, Bernie's ideas truly are "revolutionary." Bernie might have had a better chance if we were not in an era dominated and controlled by right-wing and libertarian-Republicans, big money and corporations, and the egotistical, maniacal Trump, who gave us the worst administration ever that upended the Constitution, foreign relations, and human decency. These are scary times that need stabilizing and Biden, who now looks like he can win a broader swath of voters than Bernie. Pushing democracy forward will be saved for another day; what we need now is simply to get back to democracy, human decency, and valuing truth. When are middle- and working-class Americans going to see the pattern? The GOP gets in office and wrecks the federal government, the economy, and society to make the rich richer. Then the Democrats are elected to clean up the mess.

  116. It is clear that Biden will be the nominee; he should stop running for it and start running for president. He will need the enthusiastic, rather than grudging, support of the progressive wing of the Democratic party, and the best way he can ensure that is by choosing Senator Warren as his running mate.

  117. @Paul S Green You had me for a recommend until your Warren suggestion—she is electoral poison. She couldn’t even win her own state’s primary.

  118. @Kally She lost it to Sanders, which is not surprising. The current situation is very different; to the voters who chose Sanders in the Massachusetts primary, she is now the nearest thing to Sanders, and will energize those voters.

  119. @Paul S Green I don't see Warren as a VP, I see her as a very effective Senator. What about Stacey Abrams? And Biden should gain the support of progressives by adopting more of our policies as his own. But yes, absolutely, the sooner he pivots to his presidential campaign the better.

  120. The same people who put Trump in office, put Biden in office. Nothing new. That's why there is this huge hurry to dismiss all the other states that haven't even had their primaries yet. Progressive states like the one I live in that has primaries later. Biden will not win those states. Sanders was an angel on stage talking truth to power. Biden was power's talking piece.

  121. @RCJCHC Biden won the primaries in the progressive state to your North. I know I switched my vote to Biden after Elizabeth Warren dropped out.

  122. We may not be ready to have Medicare for all. What about having medicare for those persons that make $50,000 or less a year. Those making above that figure probably have other insurances so the problem of depriving them of what they have doesn't arise. In any event, Sanders is right in pointing out the structural problems, the trouble is that fixing them all at once is not feasible. One thing we can be sure of, as long as the fat man is in charge, nothing will be done.

  123. @Frank Casa Just add a public option to the ACA, which would essentially be Medicare for all who want it, which is how the ACA was supposed to be in the first place.

  124. @Kally The problem with the ACA is that the insurance companies still profit from it. After all, they wrote the bill, and they still own Biden as they owned Obama and the Congress. Congress will never take any action that cuts into the insane profits of the medical insurance industry. Medicare is not free public health care like they have in Europe. It's 80/20 and that 20% is still enough to bankrupt anyone who has the misfortune to get sick. So, it's not Medicare for all who choose it, but Medicare for all who can afford it. The ACA is just a transfer of our tax dollars to the insurance industry, so they will offer affordable insurance policies to the working poor. The ACA or even allowing younger people to buy into Medicare is not national single payer healthcare system. The ACA could be ruled illegal by the SCOTUS before the end of Trump's term. Then what? National Health care cannot be an opt-in discounted yet subsidized private for-profit insurance program that doesn't cover everyone.

  125. @Kally There are some ways the for-profit insurance companies would exploit the system to cause problems with a public option, but it would be a good start.

  126. The political divides between these raters have never been clearer, for one thing. Their ratings were close, and in agreement generally—but especially those further Left seem just sour about the realities of the present situation. Fact is, Biden knocked it out of the park. Over and over, he simply insisted on getting actual stuff done, which—sorry—is what’s currently wanted. I get it, okay? Bernie’s not wrong—in general terms, he’s right about the economics—but ALL of his proposals are for deep, radical changes. Pretty sure that right now, we’re getting about all the deep, radical we can stand. And more is on the way.

  127. Sanders can't stop describing the problems. That's fine, except he offers few realistic solutions for the immediate future. Biden is more pragmatic, more focused on making things better now. If by some miracle, the House and Senate and federal courts align, then perhaps some of the more structural stuff Sanders identifies might be fixable. But personally, I want incremental improvement now more than I want current misery while waiting for a better day. And as a PS - I watched through the beginning on response to the pandemic, but when they started debating who was nastier on twitter feeds or who had which PACS, it was so irritating, I turned off the debate and went back to reading a novel.

  128. Why does the first male Democratic candidate who affirms this year that he will pick a woman to be his Vice President will assure that he should be the nominee? (Sanders was about half a minute later than Biden, and less emphatic.) It is not the gender of the prospective Vice President that matters most, it is the person's overall qualifications. One could just as well change the question to whether a candidate should pick the first black running mate, and thus force a false contest between the 2 leading Democratic candidates. Let us remember the famous quote of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Similarly, we should not judge whether a Vice President candidate should be a woman or a man but rather by the content of the candidate's character. Biden's affirming selecting a woman to be his running mate is a marketing ploy, not an affirmation that the person who should be selected will be best qualified to be one heartbeat away from assuming being the Chief Executive. One must recall that John McCain's disastrous selection of Governor Sarah Palin, and Walter Mondale's selection of Geraldine Ferraro, did not assure winning the election. I am not against favoring a candidate for selecting a woman to be his running mate, but I prefer the person's qualifications above all, whether woman or man.

  129. @Victor Mark I don't think they were saying that because Biden will choose a Woman VP, he will be the nominee. They were simply saying that was the most notable news. It is most notable because the debate on the issues is just background noise. The primary results so far have already made clear that democratic voters have made up their minds on the nominee. Since Biden was already the presumptive nominee before the debate even started, it is notable that he has committed to choosing a woman as his running mate. Who Bernie would choose is irrelevant regardless of the timing because he had already lost the race before he even stepped behind the podium.

  130. @Victor Mark Sure sure sure—but what, you don’t think there are any imminently qualified women who could be VP/President?

  131. Jamelle Bouie — The choice for Democrats is clear. Do they build on the legacy of Barack Obama or do they go beyond his presidency to forge a new kind of Democratic Party? Joe Biden did a strong job defending the Obama administration and making the case for a restoration. 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.

  132. I had no patience for Bernie and all his claims about leadership. Although I have enjoyed him for decades, until recently he never led anything, except, maybe, a small liberal city in remotest part of the nation (a city I happen to admire, btw). It's easy to take the ideologically pure position when you're irrelevant, which, sadly, Bernie has almost always been. It's dishonest to use that against someone who has been in the thick of things. Bernie Bros—before you insist on your right to a president, elect a few city council people, state assembly members, and federal legislators. I'd welcome it.

  133. @Robin The remotest part of the nation? It's right up there over the border! We're not talking about... well, I will say no more...

  134. @John Bergstrom Not sure I get your point, but out of respect want to reply: I love— LOVE—Vermont. It's just not very representative of the rest of the nation.

  135. I voted for Biden, but I’m having some doubts now. In attacking Sanders he implied that a universal health care system was the reason of Italy’s problems with the pandemic. As if the lack of free health care for all would have made things better. How obtuse (or dishonest)! And Gail Collins thought it was a clever retort!

  136. @Robert No, that wasn't the meaning of that at all. He was pointing out, rightly, that Italy's health care payment system hasn't prevented, or even slowed the epidemic. It's a good point: payment systems are vitally important, but they aren't the only important part of health care. Right now, in the time frame of days and weeks and months, we need to respond to this virus with emergency measures totally outside our existing health insurance systems, and that would probably be outside the rules of any universal healthcare bureaucracy, also.

  137. If the US constitution sets an age minimum to run for president, there should be an age maximum, 65? So if either of these guys win, they will be be starting their first term as old as Trump would be finishing a second! (av life expectancy in the US is 78!) That is the best the Dems can do, 77/78 years old? Both Biden and Bernie are prime candidates for Corona, and neither of them look great and both have medical histories. Was that some coughing I heard during the debate? Will one or both of these two guys never make it to the convention? What a joke! So the dark fantasy of some, Trump staying in office beyond his term could happen if the virus really takes off (think Contagion), and elections, primaries become impossible?

  138. I hope that Joe Biden chooses Elizabeth Warren to be his VP pick. I know that there will be a lot of pressure for a woman of color to be his choice, and Stacy Abrams and Kamala Harris would both be worthy choices, but Warren has earned the spot. She has the strength of character and acuity of vision to speak to a progressive agenda for those disappointed by the inability of Sanders to gain the nomination. In office she will prove herself to be worthy to take over the top office in four years after Biden has righted the ship of state that Trump has threatened to capsize. My only misgiving about her in the VP spot is that she would probably be better as Treasury Secretary or Attorney General.

  139. @Tim Nelson Harris and Warren are the top picks. Abrams, while impressive, has only ever served in the Georgia, House of Representatives and has no experience to suggest she could step into the Oval Office if something were to happen to a 77-year-old president. My preference would be Warren, ad I think she is the most competent and intelligent of all the possible choices. Harris impresses me and I think she would be a great vice-president as well. Abrams might make for a good candidate, but she would not be an effective Vice President, nor President.

  140. @Tim Nelson I agree that Elizabeth Warren deserves the spot, plus her nomination gives her cover to endorse Biden and abandon Bernie without walking away from his policies. Kamala Harris will be a fine Attorney General. And I can see Mike Bloomberg as Secretary of the Treasury if he's willing to take the job. Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer are also worthy of consideration for key leadership roles in a new administration. Amy Klobacher and Cory Booker need to stay in the Senate as the Democrats have a very good chance to take the majority there. I think Americans are now wise to how much damage the traitorous Mitch McConnell has done in putting his personal power ahead of the needs of the American people. He need not worry about being minority leader because he needs to be out of government entirely. Here's my wish. Although I think Biden's ego is too big to quit and his corporate handlers and donors too unwilling to relinquish control of Biden and their collective hold on power, Biden should resign within his first two years in office. He could say his work at stabilizing the ship of state is done and his health is becoming an issue. 80 is just too old to be president. That elevates Elizabeth Warren to be our first female president and run in 2024 as the incumbent. I feel badly for Bernie. He is right on almost every issue and yet will never be rewarded in his lifetime for his courage and intelligence. I hope he throws his entire organization behind Biden.

  141. Great, we'll have a choice between a Republicrat or a malevolent cartoon character. Easy choice there. Unfortunately, Biden will be another business-as-usual, attack-the-symptoms-du-jour guy who will do little to address our real problems.

  142. Biden’s worse answer was on climate change. How does a 1.7 trillion dollar plan address the existential threat of our times? Sander’s embrace of the Green New Deal estimated at $16.3 trillion will probably also be insufficient. Here’s what Biden should have said: Our concern for climate change continues to grow as new scientific information emerges. We are studying the various proposals in the Green New Deal with great interest. Many of the proposals are worth pursuing. While we can’t agree with all of them, it is an important starting point. Biden could even have used Sander’s example (putting people to work upgrading old buildings or schools) as something he could embrace. On the other hand, if Biden had said that, he would have just been giving lip service to the problem. We all know that his plan is stuck in the past and that he will do very little to address this problem.

  143. @JudyR If you believe Biden that the U.S. is only 15% of the global problem, the real question is what are we doing about addressing the remaining 85%? We can debate the U.S. plan all we want, but a global issue demands a global response. I didn't hear any discussion about that.

  144. In my imagination, Joe makes climate change his #1 issue, followed by #1A-- Get money out of politics, Elizabeth becomes Senate Majority Leader and sets the legislative agenda, and the youth that really care about digging deeply into policy and making it happen need first to vote, and second to run for office--emulate AOC and be part of making change within the system. The vast majority of people in this country are too comfortable to even bring their own reusable bag to a store, let alone advocate for revolution. The system is broken, it can be fixed. Let's pull together to make it happen!

  145. The Biden promise to put an African-American woman on the Supreme Court (it won't be Candace Owens or Carole Swain!) means that he will not pick Stacey Abrams or Kamala Harris as his vice-president. More likely Elizabeth Warrren or Gretchen Whitmer (the wise choice.)

  146. @Snowball This is a non-sequitur. Why does one exclude the other? Are you invoking a Biden quota?

  147. By far the biggest loser in this debate, America

  148. Biden's a tourniquet. We need an emergency surgeon - fast.

  149. @James F Traynor To follow that metaphor: we're lying on the ground beside the wreck. Right now we need a tourniquet. It would be nice if there was a surgeon available, who had access to a functional operating room and support staff... but right now, a tourniquet, please...

  150. @John Bergstrom Yes, in that situation, I would agree. Except we're lying next to the emergency room.

  151. Not bad for pundits, except for almost failing to note that Sanders would also choose a woman, if she were progressive (Warren or Stacey Abrams?). Just cause Biden said it first doesn't mean he won a huge victory with a BFO. You could slice it differently by saying both won, equally while behaving as losers on the same point, attacking each other for each and every mistake they made over the past 40 years. Back to the Future, Please. How did each win? Biden protected his lead, gracefully, by inspiring confidence (lacking in earlier appearances) that he is still able to lead effectively. Bernie clearly made the case that Biden has no program aside from a return to the quiet dogmas of the past, an Obama restoration, as it were. The discussion of health care, always important, now hugely so as a result of the corona virus, was a touch feckless. Biden hit Bernie on costs but made no sense by criticizing his four year timetable. Bernie. while correct that COVID 19 proves the need for universal health care, remained stuck in his I won't compromise posture. Where Bernie clearly has a policy advantage is on climate change. Time and Trump made the danger immediately existential; a return to Obama's once progressive policies is no longer adequate. This is not a tactical matter; my hope is that Barack Obama will persuade Biden that Sanders is correct, not in every detail but in the need for a Manhattan Project style approach.

  152. @Frank McNeil I agree. I'm a Biden supporter but he needs to be much more aggressive on climate change. I'm voting for him because I think he is a rational thinker and has the best chance of beating trump (doesn't matter if you have a great climate change policy if you don't win) but I also hope that, once in office, the smart people will convince him to be much bolder in his climate change actions.

  153. @ds Thanks. I got worried when I saw Biden would only agree to tuition free public college, a no brainer for anyone over 70, people who came of age in an almost tuition free world. Biden has not translated the climate handwriting on the wall. Maybe Barack Obama or John Kerry could persuade him it's a big expletive deal.

  154. This is interesting. The Washington Post's Karen Tumulty seems to have a different take on who won the debate. I guess it depends on your personal biases and where you stand on the political spectrum.

  155. Winners, corporate America Losers, the people. As it ever will be.

  156. Biden's weak and stumbling rebuttals to Sanders' principled plan reinforces my opinion of his oratorical and debate abilities. I'm not impressed.

  157. I am surprised to read that Bernie “ was the most cogent candidate on the stage” when he is unable to explain how he would actually pay for and pass his own signature proposals and when, faced with complicated foreign policy questions, he quickly pivoted to quasi-relevant passages from his stump speech. In addition, he kept repeating the same attack lines over and over and refused to accept Biden’s offers of agreement. If that’s cogent, give me incoherence. A number of the NYT commentators here tend, in my humble opinion, to focus too much on style over substance. They tend to focus too little on what it actually takes to be president rather than what sounds exciting on TV. Consider this question: What does it take to be a good president? Look away from the race for a minute and think about who is probably the most trusted man in America right now: Anthony Fauci. If the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases were selected by popular vote or by a poll of pundits, Fauci would lose. He is not an exciting speaker. He is not trying to revolutionize medical science but to advance it. He would not carry the youth vote. BUT, he knows what he is talking about and he knows how to get and communicate incremental but vital results. In other words, he is the Joe Biden of the otherwise overly corrupt and politicized Trump task force. Joe Biden is never going to be the darling of the pundits. But last night proved once and for all that he ought to be president.

  158. I knew that Biden's remark about Medicare for All not stopping the virus in Italy would resonate with idiots. The virus spread in Italy because they didn't apply proper protocol to begin with. Also what happens to the uninsured, or inadequately insured, after this crisis is over? What about other illnesses and accidents? American will continue to have the usual medical bankruptcies that NEVER happen in Italy. Biden kept the medical industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and the insurance companies happy with that slick, well-prepared, comeback.

  159. Sanders confirmed that he is a Marxist and Biden, on Social Security, proved he is a liar. Neither are fit to be President.

  160. DVR’d the debate and tried to watch after Homeland (a deal with the Taliban! the President’s a dope who’s easily played by dictators!) then tried to watch debate but fell asleep. OK, America wants Biden, who represents a step back from the edge. I get it. What we need, though, is Warren. Just sayin’...

  161. Guess y'all forget that thing called Sarah Palin? I thought the "woman VP thing" was silly and tacky.

  162. Bernie is the only one fighting for support. Biden thinks he's entitled to it. Welp, he won't get my vote until he works for it. Sorry, Jack!

  163. Dear GOP, Do you take Responsibility, for Him ??? NOVEMBER.

  164. Why am I not surprised that NYT columnists generally thought Biden won the debate? This paper has been doing everything in its power to make sure Sanders does not succeed.

  165. All I heard was: > Biden will choose a female as VP, and Bernie was non-committal > Bernie correctly pointd out the need to "Shut Donald Trump up!" > Biden shrewdly exhibited some Progressive flexibility by hugging Liz Warren a little more > Bernie has figured out a way to inject his 45-RPM record about MFA and demonizing the uber-rich into every possible question. Oy-vay! > Biden again showed empathy > Bernie cannot let the sins of the 1980's go...but only when it's his opponent's. > Biden needs to avoid taking the bait of ancient history Votes, plus brush up on his virus name memory, and begin to compliment Bernie to unify ALL Dems. Biden needs to prepare to tell trump, "If I had a dollar for every time you tweeted something hyper-critical every time Obama took a breadth, I could fund my entire campaign! So stop being a crybaby!"

  166. Biden promises to put a woman on the ticket. What if men are better at this than any woman currently. Oh, I know what this is-discrimination!!! Pandering. I will vote for Trump.

  167. Now the guessing game begins, which woman?

  168. Biden: We will give free treatment and testing to ALL during the corona crisis. And what about AFTER the crisis? Do people lives only matter during corona or a virus outbreak? Why not let people die just like they do without insurance. The stupidest logic ever. People's lives matter no matter if we are having a crisis or not.

  169. The chart on your polling scoring contrasted with voting results really highlights how clueless the pundit class is.

  170. In the list of potential VP picks for Biden there are some of the people sharing the stage with him in other debates as obvious choices: Harris, Warren, Klobuchar, Gilibrand.( He’s probably not selecting Tulsi Gabbard) But not to forget: Stacy Abrams, Gretchen Whitmer( MI Gov) Michelle Obama(a virtual lock if she would accept)

  171. Joe lying about his attempts to cut Social Security will be his downfall. Trump can say everyone lies and now they are both liars. Equal playing field. Trump will another four years.

  172. Yes Mr. Duran! Biden must stop taking the bait because Trump will zero in on this weak spot and savagely attack. Narcissists have lightening rod antenna for identifying weak spots.

  173. Two eighty year old has-been's with forty and fifty year careers in politics and enough baggage of their own to sink a battleship . . . and they are the saviors. They have been in politics all their lives and achieved nothing. Why, all of a sudden, are they going to make a difference now?

  174. Not the way I saw it. Biden lied and plagerized again. The money people love Biden. He lies naturally. Just like Trump.

  175. If you are anything other than a member of Trumps Cult, you must VOTE, and you must Vote for Joe Biden. This is no longer entertaining, fun, or cute. Drop Out, Bernie. Actually Work to Elect Joe. This Pandemic should be a tornado siren wake-up call : WE need a real Leader, not a Carnival Barker. NOVEMBER.

  176. Yeah...do whatever to make Joe Biden be the President of the United States. But please note that if NYT and other news outlets try to make Joe Biden compete against President Trump in November, the U.S. citizens are going to see the emperor of Trump world as a president of the U.S. for the next four years again.

  177. Seriously, can we bring back Elizabeth Warren?

  178. When two proven losers take the stage to debate, there ARE no winners.

  179. Finally, a reversal of what had appeared to be a consensus among NYT opinionators that Biden lacked what it took to beat Donald Trump and lead the country. It's about time. It was beginning to seem incontrovertible that the Times was essentially drumming to keep perceptions off-kilter, knowing that this would generate greater anxiety among reader-voters, and likely, therefore, more profits for the newspaper. This year has not marked a high point, overall, for Times columnists handicapping the Democratic primaries. It may be that there will be greater interest, now, in serious considerations of national health. We need relevant, reasoned observations and analysis, not a front-row seat at a tennis match.

  180. What a predictable snore, the debate and your summation. You found Joe can speak and breath at the same time and Bernie calmed down a degree. Joe "has"to pick a woman running mate since women were told by the democrats to "shut up" for 4 more years. As predictable as the loss in November!

  181. Seriously. Joe knew what day it was so he gets 7/10? These two geezer guys are perfect candidates for the Senate. In 1980. They loved debating those old-timey votes back in Teddy Kennedy's day. Joe made the huge news that he'd pick "a woman" for Veep. Wow. Such vision. These are the choices we have for our leaders of the future? Sad.