Winners and Losers of the Democratic Debate

Our columnists and contributors give their rankings.

Comments: 125

  1. Why isn't anyone commenting on how Biden told blatant lies on stage and wasn't fact-checked at all by anyone? Surely if we want to engage in proper journalism this needs to be covered.

  2. This debate revealed what America needs now and in the four years to come. When our house is burning, we need a fire-chief who has done it before to direct our fire fighters to rescue the inhabitants and to douse the flames.

  3. I truly believe Warren and Klobuchar would be the best combo in the WH for this time and place. Unfortunately that's not to be. Yes partly because the D Party doesn't know what foot it wants to put forward and that is a problem for us as they must lead the charge to a better modern USA based on rational fair Secular Liberal Democracy; it is they that must vigorously fight the Theocratic Authoritarian Plutocracy the GOP WILL impose! And yes because our fear of Trump winning and worse our losing seats in Congress makes our right, just, and possible Progress go to the back of bus for now. "Don't scare anyone away" is the D political watch words now and that is a theoretical problem for us. But yeah the latter (losing 2020) concerns me more than the former now-a-days. I take the temperature of the water and must adjust to it - the voting physics of today just doesn't allow for big adjustment this election. I know we are sub-optimizing but we cannot lose the War for want of a battle. Not happy that that is political life today but I am a pragmatic. I'll happily take a Biden-Klobuchar to win now and avoid the abyss that the GOP with 4 more years of almost absolute power will plunge us in. We may not reach the shore as fast but we'll still be swimming toward it and not be just food for bottom feeders.

  4. Gathering of 250 people or more are now banned. This will not affect Biden's rallies. Funny but it just sounds so familiar.

  5. @gene rally attendance does not guarantee voter turn out. Just ask Bernie

  6. Both men are heads and shoulders better than the buffoon now in the WH. I believe Biden has the better edge to beat 45 with disaffected independents and even some republicans. I like that he's leaning more progressive, as well.

  7. Susan Rice would be a brilliant choice.

  8. @Paul F. COLE Excellent!!

  9. Joe Biden entire career he has been trying to cut Social Security Medicare and Medicaid. He bragged that he is the most conservative Democrat in Congress. He lied last night over and over. You can see Bernie just baffled at a person that would do that on TV. He lied about the Iraq war. Nearly everything he claimed last night was a lie. You think Trump will just let that pass? Now Trump and Biden are both liars. There goes the biggest offence we had against Trump.

  10. As an independent why vote for the one who helped vote in Trump in the first place? Will not vote and let's brace for another four years of Twitter!!!

  11. @ilias the only people that helped vote in Trump was Trump voters. That plus Hillary had the least inspiring candidacy in modern history.

  12. NYT fact-checking showed that Biden lied repeatedly about his past positions and votes in the Senate. He took these positions to retain support of banks and insurance companies based in his home state of Delaware. No-one blames him for that. He did what he needed to do to keep his Senate seat. But he could have admitted that and apologized during Sunday's debate. Instead He lied. Now Biden says that he supports the progressive agenda. Now do we know he is not lying to us to become president? Character is important.

  13. I just want to memorialize it here and now: Biden has no possible path to a victory in the general election against Trump. The best Trump can do against Sanders is "Communist." And that makes Trump sound like everyone's senile grandfather. But against Biden? Trump has his pick of scandals and pseudo-scandals: Anita Hill, the Student Loan Bankruptcy Bill, all the videos of Biden touching/kissing women questionably, Hunter Biden, and on and on. When Biden loses on Nov. 3, 2020, it's Biden who lost. It wasn't those mean ol' Bernie Bros. (many of whom are not men). It was the wholly inadequate candidate that the democratic party (and its watercarriers at the New York Times and the rest of the mainstream media) propped up (no fair analysis of the media coverage around Sen. Sanders could be called neutral; the bias was subtle and gross and started all the way back in 2016). You. You are the reason we're going to have a second Trump term. And that will be your burden and your shame for the rest of your life.

  14. @Alex I think some, like the NYT, would like another four years as their financial fortunes have improved during Trump's term. That plus they too have benefited financially from the Trump Tax give-away.

  15. "Daniel McCarthy (6/10) — As Sanders himself noted, he’s the ideological leader of his party, especially of its youth." Mr. McCarthy -- which party? Sanders is not a Democrat!

  16. Joe flat out lied through his very expensive teeth. Suddenly he supports every program Bernie is suggesting. Do you believe it? I dont.

  17. Biden was Presidential: very clear and concise on what actions he would immediately take on the virus and economy, as well as practical and re-assuring to Americans and the world. Bernie was acting just like Trump: dogmatic, all about him and what he wants and like an attack animal, really disgusting. We need President Biden now. Trump should resign or be taken out of the White House in a strait-jacket.

  18. @Gary you saw a different debate. I saw Biden as barely adequate in his presentation and command of facts. Bernie was knowledgeable and inspiring.

  19. Sorry but I found Biden's promise to have a female VP extremely demeaning to women. How about choosing the best VP based on qualities instead of making sex the primary criteria.

  20. So, Biden was o.k. That is not going to do it against Trump. Just wait until he brings up Hunter...

  21. @raymond jolicoeur Seems to me the Hunter issue is a dead horse by now. In no way is it related to the real issues facing the country this year.

  22. @raymond jolicoeur Just wait until we bring up Jared and Ivanka...

  23. @Helen Guerrant Toy but the Hunter issue will hurt him among independents. The optics of his son getting a high paid job because of his dad runs contrary to the anti- nepotism message we need to highlight. Biden can't say anything about Ivanka, Don Jr, nor Jared.

  24. I am a subscriber to the Times' print edition which includes the digital one and have been for years now. So reading this summary of opinion on the Sunday night debate by Times' opinion writers had numerous surprises: half of those who commented I've never heard of nor read anything written by. Are they included only in certain regional editions of print and digital?

  25. Bernie is the "ideas candidate"? What?!!! I grew up in Venezuela and my mind is blown that so many Americans seem so enthralled with rhetoric that is verbatim, lifted from old lefty university professors I had in Caracas in the 80's. And honestly, those ideas already seemed dated in 1989!

  26. @midwestcentrist that is hogwash. Socialism is not dated, the distortions about it are, like yours.

  27. Two old dinosaurs, looking to battle another dinosaur. I guess dinosaurs are not yet extinct.

  28. The Statler and Waldorf throw down. The only problem was I couldn’t tell which was which. These are the two old codgers the Democrats get to choose from. As if they have any chance at all. Wow.

  29. @Ken yes, because the GOP candidate is so young.

  30. Michelle Goldberg (8/10) — "Biden’s insistence that he was never open to cutting Social Security was dishonest." So was Bernie's comparison of Canada's healthcare system to his proposal. 'Canadians can purchase supplemental private coverage for services that are not covered by the public plan, but cannot purchase private insurance for basic services. As CBC News points out, private health insurance is “a crucial part of the system,” and Canadians spent about $43.2 billion on private coverage in 2005.' - Think Progress Aug. 11, 2009 According to the Lancet report "Measuring performance on the Healthcare Access and Quality Index for 195 countries and territories and selected subnational locations: a systematic analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016," among the top-rated healthcare systems in Europe (which Bernie frequently touts), none has followed Bernie's prescription of completely eliminating private insurance: 'Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, late Tuesday reiterated his call for the elimination of private health insurance companies and moving to a single-payer, "Medicare for all" system of health care. ... 'In that MSNBC interview, Sanders said the "current system is incredibly dysfunctional and wasteful" and said universal health care can't be achieved "unless you get rid of the insurance companies."' - The Hill, 3/27/2019 I think dishonesty about a current policy matters more, don't you?

  31. @GFE your comment does not reflect what Bernie said, just your need to take a shot at him.

  32. My heart is with Bernie because he speaks justice to power, but my head is Biden because he is essentially decent and has much more chance of getting rid of the evil monstrosity, Trump.

  33. @Alexander, the only reason Biden is doing better is the massive anti-Bernie campaign by MCNBC, the NYT and others. The DNC also bribed moderates Klobichar and Buddagieg (both better candidates) to clear the path in exchange for future campaign cash. That cash likely will come from the insurance and pharma companies that the DNC saved. Bernie would have cleared house at the DNC and their meal ticket would have been lost so they colluded with the enemy.

  34. A minor point...Biden often criticized for malapropisms was pretty much on target in this debate performance, in contrast to Sanders who repeatedly, at the start of an answer, called the coronavirus SARS !

  35. Biden should not debate Trump. Trump does not know how to debate. All Trump knows is how to boast and lie. Forever Trumpers will shout about how Biden fears Trump but Biden has nothing to be gained by taking Trump on.

  36. @B. Miller He won't have to. Trump's handlers will not allow him to debate. They can't take the risk that Trump will implode on stage and conclusively demonstrate to a nationwide audience his unfitness for office.

  37. Bernie dominated the debate throughout. Questions to him we're turned aside and Bernie placed his emphasis where he wanted it and then the new paradigm was put as a challenge to Joe. This was not an isolated skirmish of whining, shrugs, or bombast, but a full campaign of rhetorical leadership. This does not make for a win however, but that admission at least allows for a clear view of what happened last night in spite of the the scene shifting and mood lighting introduced by the mystical Cardinals of the NYT.

  38. @Adam I agree. Bernie had the rhetorical edge the entire debate (and by that I mean he made the most compelling case for his position). Reading the analysis of the NYT contributors was depressing. Joe rates 9/10 because he didn't make a gaffe? I'm no Bernie Bro, but listening to him talk (not rant) for the first time I really wanted to see our nation shake off the shackles of corporate interests and shift the power (back?) to the people. We are better than the system we are living under. I voted for Elizabeth Warren. I'm praying she is the woman nominee for VP both Joe and Bernie have in mind.

  39. I can breathe a sigh of relief. Joe did well, not that I think he is incapable. On the contrary, I think for right now in time he is the ideal fit to begin undoing 3 plus years of an egregious, unstable, lying, manipulative, corrupt, and frankly insane Trump-"led" administration. Biden is known for his gaffes, for at times allowing his mouth to run faster than his brain. That is okay by me. He has proven he knows how to manage complex national and global paradigms. I like Sanders, and he is to be commended that the Democratic Party is trending back to the way it should be, it must be. The Party is about us, and from FDR onward its presidents have tried and more often than not succeeded in its efforts to bring government back to the people where it belongs. VP Biden will do that. Not as quickly as Sanders aspires. Yet we will not only get ourselves out of this mess we are in, but we will also progress toward 21st Century expectations and needs. And, alleluia, if we are not getting her as president, we will have a woman, finally, in at least the second highest office in the land. I know who I want, but for now I will keep that a secret...

  40. @Kathy Lollock how can you possibly know what Biden will do as President. His history is mixed and he has done many anti-progressive things such as the crime and bankruptcy bills. I expect he will trod the same middle approach and we will have lost 4 years of progress .

  41. Yes, let's get rid of the frequently incoherent, "let's get back to 2013!!!" moderate that helped us get Trump in the first place. Such a winning strategy. Trump has built his entire presidency out of trashing Obama at every turn, even blaming Obama for the CDC's handling of COVID-19. How do you people think that nominating someone who can't go 2 minutes without mentioning his relationship with Obama will ultimately fare against Trump? COVID-19 will hopefully rip off this sneering facade of banding together for the most 'electable' candidate. As our hospitals are overwhelmed and people are dying needlessly all over the country because they couldn't get the help they needed, I hope we remember we had a chance to vote in an FDR-style Democrat who would heal the country with a politics of compassion, not a politics of equivocation and manipulated nostalgia.

  42. @Sarah Trump didn't win by trashing Obama. He won by trashing Hillary Clinton, and lost the popular vote. And he's never reached majority support while trashing Obama when in office. This situation, and this candidate, are totally different. So saying the party is doing the same thing it did in 2016 is, on its face, absurd.

  43. @Sarah It's obscene for you to hope anything except the end of the coronavirus. And if you think Bernie or Biden would have handed this better than Trump, I've got a bridge to sell you. This is a global pandemic that started in China. If our health care system can't handle this it isn't Trump's fault. Our capacity is what it has been since the Obama admin and before.

  44. I wonder how many viewers had the thought -'If only Warren was up there with Biden'. Then, when Biden made his comment regarding Medicare for all and its failure in Italy, we might have heard a reply that no, it didn't fail, any Italian who fell ill with coronavirus would not have to worry about the medical bills, or go bankrupt because of it. Yes, Italy has a shortage of respirators'. Here in Michigan this morning's radio brought the news that the Michigan Dept. of Health has the capacity to do about 150 tests/day for Covid-19 and they are already receiving many more requests from providers, so our fragmented 'system' has already 'failed' in one sense and that's before it's really tested, a situation we all hope it never comes to. Regarding Biden's Medicare-like option, we already have Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Administration Health, and who knows how many different private insurance plans, each with its own bureaucracy and different rules. Lord knows we don't need one more program patch after 40 years of failed patchwork attempts to provide proper health care for all. We've already tried to patch this tire too many times.

  45. I voted for Biden, but only because Warren dropped out.

  46. @Dave, so you voted for a moderate because your progressive candidate backed out? That does not speak much for your commitment to progressive issues.

  47. @Ted However, it does speak to his desire to rid us of the plague in the White House, which will do more to ensure the possibility of progressive issues being viable in the future.

  48. I still miss Warren. Love Bernie. But will have to settle for Biden.

  49. Sanders stressing the need for structural change is correct. Trying to fix years of damage to our democracy piecemeal would be comparable to untangling Gordian's knot. I like Sander's approach, because when everything is interconnected it is near impossible to make needed corrections. Biden is a nice guy, but a nice guy is not what America needs. He is flat, unexciting, and without an agenda for real change. Sanders, on the other hand, has done his homework. His delivery may be a bit off-setting at times, but I feel his frustration with getting people to see what is needed when it is so clear to him.

  50. @Angry Until Sanders speaks truth to paying for his pie in the sky ideas he’s got zero credibility.

  51. It's bizarre that some of the pro-Bernie writers still seemed to think that Sanders looked better, more energetic, even more "limber." To me, Bernie looked as if he might collapse at any moment. Biden may be 77 but he's the picture of good health and fitness. Bernie, not so much.

  52. @John Burke so you had a different take than me. Biden looked ill prepared and stumbled in his answers. He needs to sharpen up or Trump will beat him. The DNC will not be able to protect their chosen candidate, Biden again by having Trump hold back.

  53. Sanders tries hard to say that Biden has advocated for Social Security cuts. That would be the Republican policy: they dislike Social Security on principle, and will advocate for cuts at every opportunity. Biden has expressed willingness to consider Social Security cuts, reluctantly, as part of negotiations about supposedly serious budget problems, under serious political constraints. But it has always been clear that as a good Democrat, he would prefer more generous Social Security benefits if at all possible. Reluctantly accepting a possibility isn't the same as advocating for cuts, and it's deceptive of Sanders to put it that way. (Plus, the Sanders campaign put out one deceptively edited video, where the meaning of Biden's words about Social Security were actually reversed, by being taken out of context.) Sanders has some very good ideas, and it's great that he is moving the party to the left, but he is falling short in the honesty department, as exemplified in this recent debate, and that is too bad. He will have to walk that back and tell the truth, if he wants to support Biden in the upcoming campaign.

  54. @John Bergstrom Bernie told the truth. And Biden will need to explain those statements about Social Security during the campaign and if/when he debates Trump. Bernie did Biden another favor and hopefully his campaign staff understand the damage that could occur if Biden does not sharpen up his performance.

  55. Biden didn't lose the debate last night, But Bernie surely was the winner. What consists of a win depends on what you are trying to win, and Bernie had near perfect debate last night in terms of what he wanted to achieve from the debate. What is obvious is Bernie has lost the primary. He knew that after the Super Tuesday, he accepted that after last Tuesday. His tone in this messaging in the past week is an indication that he has accepted defeat in the primary, but he wanted to make one last pitch to the american people that his messages shouldn't be forgotten. And he succeeded last night to make that case. He showed compassion last night. He didn't try to portray Biden as some devil like he did to Clinton in 2016. By focusing on his compassionate message of inequalities in the american communities from healthcare to housing to income, Bernie is concluding his national politics as people's advocate. He also stressed the importance of defeating Trump this year, and I hope the debate last night will help consolidate democratic party behind Biden. Bernie is right, another 4 years of Trump will make America unrecognizable to the progressives around the country. I hope all Sanders supporters will also understand the importance of defeating Trump and support Biden. Biden presidency is a trillion times more likely to act on progressive ideas including Climate change & universal healthcare than Trump. I hope the progressive sees it as a step forward, and not a step backward.

  56. Biden didn't lose the debate last night, But Bernie surely was the winner. What consists of a win depends on what you are trying to win, and Bernie had near perfect debate last night in terms of what he wanted to achieve from the debate. What is obvious is Bernie has lost the primary. He knew that after the Super Tuesday, he accepted that after last Tuesday. His tone in this messaging in the past week is an indication that he has accepted defeat in the primary, but he wanted to make one last pitch to the american people that his messages shouldn't be forgotten. And he succeeded last night to make that case. He showed compassion last night. He didn't try to portray Biden as some devil like he did to Clinton in 2016. By focusing on his compassionate message of inequalities in the american communities from healthcare to housing to income, Bernie is concluding his national politics as people's advocate. He also stressed the importance of defeating Trump this year, and I hope the debate last night will help consolidate democratic party behind Biden. Bernie is right, another 4 years of Trump will make America unrecognizable to the progressives around the country. I hope all Sanders supporters will also understand the importance of defeating Trump and support Biden. Biden presidency is a trillion times more likely to act on progressive ideas including Climate change & universal healthcare than Trump. I hope the progressive sees it as a step forward, and not a step backward.

  57. A comment on methodology. As average can be skewed by commentator's judging one candidate as a 6 and the other as a 9. It would be helpful if there was a better, even, worse tally next to the candidates. Or even just the number of better voites, with each of the commentators being required to pick the better performance.

  58. until i got to mimi swartz i thought i was watching a different debate. i found bernie annoying beyond belief -- and i'm very sympathetic to his views. he is a johnny-one-note. i realize that's what a lot of folks like about him, but he doesn't seem capable of singing any variations on the theme in different contexts, especially how he would actually address specific issues. so you're going to take on (fill in the blank) -- how? to what end? at what cost/benefit to whom? add to that his constant interruptions, hand-waving, angry demeanor, and he just isn't someone i want to listen to for 4 years.

  59. Meaningless debate. It has already been decided. Biden will be the nominee. For better or worse.

  60. @JRC It will. probably be for worse.

  61. Biden and Bernie often talk at cross-purposes because Biden is used to the way Presidents think, and Bernie still thinks like an outsider. Bernie is factually correct that sometimes horrible dictators do positive things for their people. But Biden understands that everything a President says signals U.S. policy and intentions. The subtext can have enormous consequences. Bernie has often voted in protest on imperfect legislation, knowing that it will pass without his vote. Biden knows a President can't do that. A President often has to make the best decision possible under the current circumstances. Bernie plays an important role in the Senate and in the party, pulling it to the left. Biden is better suited to the Presidency.

  62. No one is admitting that Bernie very purposefully gave the sometimes deer in the headlights candidate every question that Bernie would ask days before the debate? Bernie is a very good human. I wish we could elect him.

  63. @DesmoHead Me too. People like him come around so infrequently and I was hoping to see him lead in my lifetime? Unfortunately it doesn't look good.

  64. @DesmoHead The only thing that will make him president is your vote, not wishing. Give him a landslide and he cannot be denied.

  65. Again, I will comment on the inappropriate nature of a pack of columnists rating the debaters. The debaters were more accurate than the reviewers on this page. As a healthcare provider caring for the immunosuppressed, , my one review point is that neither Biden or Sanders seemed to be able to describe in a clear manner how they would deal effectively with the Coronavirus crisis. Neither emphasized how important social distancing should be(leaders do that). Frankly, Biden seemed completely clueless. The "I would gather all the worlds experts in a room" and "Id order a surge "approach is a sign of ignorance on this dominant issue. He should have been able to express an understanding of the risks and emphasized specific interventions. He will be a ghost president .

  66. Biden did what he needed to. He showed that he is the adult in the room that can get things done and move the needle. Sanders proved once again that he is an idealist who cares more for ideas than process or reality. Biden will bring people together. Sanders will always be the guy that can’t take no for an answer.

  67. @John The fact that he can lie constantly and coherently is just a bonus.

  68. @Chris The fact our media will let Joe get away with repeatedly lying and making incoherent phrases is the bonus. Just not for most Americans.

  69. The difference between Biden and Sanders is... who's better positioned to persuade Congress to embrace their ideas and policies. Sanders claims leadership is about ideas and vision-- which he has given us. But they are only as good as they can be adopted and put in to action by the Congress. Over the years Sanders has shown little ability to accomplish anything significant in Congress. Biden, on the other hand, has been successful with Congress. The ability to get things done is what really matters. Biden has been able to get bills passed; Sanders simply has not. Ideas that have little, if any chance of passing Congress, are not what we need over the next 4-5 years. We first need pragmatic successes before taking on worthy, though controversial, policies and programs. Biden is best positioned to get us concrete gains soon; Sanders is likely to accomplish little as president if he holds fast to his rigid positions.

  70. Is it true that Biden vehemently disapproved of Trump's banning of the Chinese from the USA back in February due to the Corona virus? If true, this sort of thinking would make me hesitant to vote for him.

  71. Mimi Swartz -- your bias and scorn towards Bernie, who is a very decent human being-- doesn't help anything.

  72. Irenic: tending to promote peace or reconciliation; peaceful or conciliatory. Dictionary.com (Peter Whener on Sanders)

  73. My heart is with Bernie and Warren. But Biden's broad appeal will win my vote because defeating Trump is the only thing that matters. Trump has proved himself to be profoundly dishonest and dangerously incompetent and maliciously divisive. Our nation deserves much, much much better. As a life-long Democrat, I never thought I would wax nostalgic about G.W. Bush, who was merely incompetent and intermittently dishonest (Iraq, WMD) but essentially patriotic and empathetic. Four more years of Trump? Unthinkable.

  74. "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." This is the basic problem for the democrats. How did we let this happen and what were the dynamics the republicans used? The republicans played the bully on the playground-- using arguments that the deficit shouldn't be raised by any programs the democrats wanted. Now we can clearly see how serious the republicans are about the deficit arguments. What a joke. We've been had. Next, the republicans used the cudgel of the "socialist" label. They criticized every progressive program as "socialist" and by doing so scared the democratic lawmakers that they would be painted by that brush. What a joke. Trump uses every lie he can muster and has been criticized for holding values of the white supremacist movement. Nothing scares him. He just plows on. We need to develop this perseverance for our ideals. What has been standing in our way? LOBBYISTS. When these lobbyists wave all this money under the noses of lawmakers, they create a tsunami of democratic and republican power for their position and that is very formidable. They are in essence a third party-- a shadow government. Somehow, we've got to neutralize their power. We've got an evil crook in office now who uses every trick in his nefarious book to turn us into a white supremacist banana republic. We're at a fork in the road.

  75. Clearly, Joe Biden as our President will be a major embarrassment. His garrulous, loquacious, inept hubris will at first amuse, and later annoy all of us. His policy decisions will be more of the same, and "no malarkey" will be the hallmark of his circa 1980's administration. We don't need another buffoon, we need a capable energetic visionary. This guy comes to us from the same insular Democratic Party that brought us our prior failed candidate, Hillary. Anyone (literally) will be superior to the Donald, but, that's a pretty low bar....and Joe barely gets over it. What kind of nation have we become?

  76. I don't understand why anyone would expect that Sanders was in the position to create a coalition within the Democratic Party for politically inconvenient, progressive ideas as an Independent and use this as an argument against his candidacy. Progressive Democrats in State Legislatures can barely do it and usually give up after a few years and go back to their previous life. That would totally change if has the bully pulpit of the Presidency. That said, Sanders chances for winning the Nomination are all but nil at this time and Biden and Sanders need to stay focused on Trump while freely debating what is best for the country beyond that without sniping at each other.

  77. "Overall, Bernie Sanders had the most consistent performance, according to our columnists and contributors, winning one contest and scoring 7 out of 10 overall. Joe Biden fared worse than Mr. Sanders in most debates, but he finally placed first in our rankings with Sunday’s debate." First: If Bernie scored 7 out of 10, how could Biden place first? Second: No president can straighten out the mess Trump has created without control of BOTH the House and the Senate. Already Mitch McConnell is urging moderate Federal judges to retire from the bench so that he can pack the court with arch conservatives in case trump loses.

  78. @Anita I believe they are just saying that Biden ranked first in this one debate, not across all debates. Bernie scored a 7/10 on average through all debates.

  79. It's ridiculous to think either won the debate. Neither appear capable of handling the presidency.

  80. Don't blame Bernie supporters for the viscous posts against Biden, almost all of them calling him a liar, as if on cue. I think the bots are back, and have a meme. But it's so hard to detect them.

  81. @brian Calling someone out on blatant lies is not "vicious." Stop it with the bot nonsense. Even if some of the negative posts are bots, many are also from humans making perfectly valid points. Democrats are total hypocrites. Biden embodies the very things Democrats claim to hate most about Trump. Trump lies, so does Biden. Trump is a racist, so is Biden. Trump is a sexist, so is Biden. Trump is corrupt/ beholden to corporate interests, so is Biden. We cannot ignore Biden's problematic past and consistent political gaffes merely because it suits "our side" at the moment. This is exactly why Democrats will lose in 2020. And even if they "win" with Biden, I suspect they will lose much of their base -- multiracial, young, working class folks -- who are more than ready to dissociate from this hypocritical, failed democratic party that insists time and time again that they should shut their mouths and vote for the guy who is responsible for many of their problems. It's time to wake up, people. DemExit is real.

  82. @brian I'm most certainly not a bot. I just watched Biden's blatant lying on stage last night go unchecked by moderators and continue to go unchecked by the media. Regardless of who you support, if anyone, honesty and transparency are things that the American people need in a president, and Biden is continuing to show that he cannot deliver that. Lying is not presidential. The example of this that is perhaps the most blatant and the most telling was when Biden falsely stated that Sanders has nine Super Pacs supporting his campaign. Sanders asked Biden to name some of them, then, and Biden responded by asking Bernie to "give [him] a break". Sanders caught Biden in a blatant lie and it recieved no media coverage. If Biden wins the nomination and goes up against Trump in a debate, everyone knows that if Biden tells a lie, Fox News and other conservative outlets will call him out on it. Media outlets need to call Biden out so that he can learn to hold himself to a higher standard. But they aren't. This is because they would rather have a 2nd Trump term than a Sanders Presidency. The "Never Bernie" crowd is for some reason stronger than the "Never Trump" crowd. Clearly there are major issues with that.

  83. @Michael I just checked, and Sen. Sanders does get Super PAC support. The main difference seems to be who is donating to the PAC.

  84. Biden lied repeatedly on the debate stage about his record and not a single notable mention of this fact appears here or seems to be factored in your analysis.

  85. The bottom line for me is that I simply do not share or frankly believe a word of Sander's negative opinion of American business. I believe Sanders is being honest about what he believes. That is the problem. He is a twisted zealot who might as well be arguing that earth is flat. His proposals, if anyone was crazy enough to enact them, would do far more damage than good. Sanders, not Trump, is the greatest danger facing America. Trump is a blow hard and will always cave, if just for self preservation, in the end. Sanders is on a mission from God and will never see reason or admit any fact that challenges his fundamental ideology. Trump has no ideology. Perhaps that is his saving grace. Biden is not my first pick, not by a long shot, but between the two of them there is no contest. Same was true for me in 2016.

  86. I am a strong Bernie Sanders supporter. I believe a Green New Deal is the only way to ensure a habitable planet. I believe health care is a human right. I believe education should be accessible only to those who can afford it. I feel there is no place for me in the Democratic Party. If Biden is the nominee, I will sit this one out.

  87. @Max I hope you don't really mean it when you say: "I believe education should be accessible only to those who can afford it." Do you? Max, If Bernie will support the Democratic nominee, now is not the time to "sit this one out". There's too much at stake. Bernie has successfully shifted the conversation so that a Green New Deal and other ideas are now heard. OAC and others will continue the fight. We need you, too. All down ballot candidates need your vote, too. Yes, we're a diverse and messy bunch. Just like any family. And we need each other.

  88. @E. Sol Biden has always been for the Green New Deal - Bernie has pushed no one. If Bernie's supporters had gone to the other candidates websites they would see that Bernie was misleading them about the other candidates being for the status quo - their proposals were actually very progressive. Bernie wanted to paint the picture that he was the only game in town and was very dishonest about the other candidates. We can't afford to wait 4 more years to address climate change and only the Democrats will aggressively combat it. Please do not miss the opportunity to vote to tackle this problem just because Bernie intentionally mislead his followers as a strategy to drum up support for himself - it simply was never true. Biden has always been for combating climate change and even took measures as VP.

  89. @Max -- if for nothing else, think of the Supreme Court.

  90. Statement and Question? Biden claims Obama's actions rescue the Banks saved the country from a depression. True, taxpayers' money did save the Banks, Wall Street and they're CEOs and wealthy investors/owners all in the first year of the financial crisis – but not the Taxpayers! There was no quid pro quo/help in return for the rest of America. - millions lost their homes - millions lost their jobs - millions saw losses in their retirement or future retirement income potential - millions lost healthcare access due to loss of job and/or home - millions of people with student loans were required to continue to pay Banks 8% or more on their loans. While the banks continued to receive nearly interest-free taxpayer money from the feds. Meanwhile, if you lost your job the Banks added fees compounded the interest driving up the total cost of your student loans encumbering a whole generation with heavy debt. This is the fundamental problem with Biden and the rest of the so-called "moderate" Democrats, the status-quo (that got us trump) and earned over the past thirty years these "moderate" Democrats the nick-name Corporate or Wall Street Democrats. Prediction: Biden, last night had the option to "invite/include" Progressive Democrats wing into his campaign – he didn't, he failed an important opportunity. Biden must pick a progressive as Vice President, the best choice a woman who could unite the party Elizabeth Warren with knowledge, ideas, and plans to move America forward.

  91. @Karl S Biden's claim was rated as true on the fact check sites regarding the bank bailout. The banks did pay interest and they paid all the money back ahead of schedule. The payback amounts can even be found on the CBO reports and yes, it helped save us from a Great Depression. The fact that Bernie voted against it is rather scary. Bernie tends to be full of misleading information (understatement) like his claims about Biden and Social Security. Go to Politifact to see the debate factcheck.

  92. This was a good performance on both sides. The debate showed two strong candidates with their different short-term and long-term vision, where Biden emphasized the short-term and Sanders the long-term.

  93. We've become so used to Trump and his lies that we are willing to ignore Biden when he does it. 1) Biden DID advocate for SS cuts his entire career. 2) Biden was never arrested in South Africa on his way to see Mandela. 3) Biden supported the Iraq war for years, until it was no longer popular. We hold Senator Sanders to really high standards, waiting for the smallest mistake to pile on criticism, as evident of the comments he made praising Cuba's illiteracy program even though we praised President Obama for re opening diplomatic relations with Cuba during his administration. These facts help highlight the double standards that the media engage in, they are so evident and in plain sight, the fact that CNN moderators at times seemed to be there to defend Joe Biden and attack Bernie Sanders. Numbers don't lie, yes Biden is winning with conservative and suburban voters, yet he is loosing in key demographics that will be needed to beat Donald Trump. Medicare for all for example, did win on all exit polls, even in states where Bernie lost for 50 points, meaning that voters might be scared of Bernie due to all the negative press he gets, but do actually like the policies that he is advocating for, and if Biden doesn't broaden his base and unite the party by embracing a progressive agenda, Trump will be guaranteed to win in November.

  94. @Radha Biden never once voted to cut Social Security. Was it part of the discussion and horse trading on the floor of the 'world's greatest deliberative body'? Yes. And much of the time, he was negotiating on behalf of the minority party. But no cut, no cap, no law ever got a yes vote from Joe Biden. That's what counts.

  95. @Kilgore Trout Yes this and many other claims by Bernie have been rated false on Poilitfact and other fact check sites.

  96. @Kilgore Trout Negotiating a "freeze" and raising the age requirement...is making cuts. Those are NOT increases, much less even staying even. Being willing to bargain upon actual cuts is just as bad. The attempts were made. Thanks to the gods patriots such as Bernie were their to fight such foolishness on our behalf. THAT'S what counts.

  97. Bernie had an unenviable task: Make the case for broad, systemic reform in the face of a crisis that has everyone frightened and looking for relief that will come sooner rather than later. It's a tough sell, and I say this as someone who voted for Bernie (after Warren departed the race). But Bernie makes a good point, even if it does sound a bit "water over the dam"-ish right now: If we had universal health care, child care, and other economic guarantees for workers, our response to COVID-19 would have been quicker, smoother - and would be generating a little less anxiety. It' certainly better than what Trump is doing to mount an aggressive crisis-targeted response to meet workers' and families' needs. But I'd be happier if we'd put the pieces of a robust health care and social safety net in place long ago so we wouldn't be creating it on the fly.

  98. The winner last night was the format. Please, may all future debates be without audiences.

  99. The upcoming primaries are going to be a challenge to the safety of voters and poll workers. Bernie needs to concede now. It's over. It's not worth the life of a single voter.

  100. @Kilgore Trout Sanders should not concede. This pandemic highlights the obscene, colossal and growing inequality in America where the richest .1 percent take in 196 times as much as the bottom ninety percent. https://inequality.org/facts/income-inequality/ Sanders is the President America needs now, to lead the way to medicare for all, as this pandemic will be showing the insanity of the current health care systems. And, as this pandemic will exacerbate the already grotesque inequality, America needs Sanders to lead the way in restoring equality of opportunity for all. President Sanders 2020! A Future To Believe In!

  101. I found Biden's "Italy single payer" rebuttal weak and disingenuous. National health care does not keep the coronavirus -- or any contagious disease -- away. It was lack of national leadership and preventative behavior early on that made COVID-19 such a disaster in Italy. Now, all EU countries are heading towards lockdown. If anything, the national health service EU countries helps in getting much needed care to all citizens and coordinating across regional hospitals. National healthcare is the artery for information and treatment -- unlike the US -- which is a hodge podge of different systems, care groups, insurance groups etc.

  102. Why it was a great night for Joe [Biden]: 1. He remembered he was NOT running for the Senate; 2. He remembered the difference between his wife and his sister 3. He remembered NOT to recite the Declaration of Independence; 4. He remembered to FORGET his voting record in the U.S. Senate; 5. He remembered the women's vote a la V.P. choice; Sanders lost last night because: 1. He refused to keep pushing Joe to remember BAD votes; 2. He refused to expand on basic 'Medicare for All' idea; 3. He refused to remind Joe that 'children in cages' occurred under his and Obama's watch; 4. He refused to force Joe to admit that Obama is still the 'deportation king' of American history; 5. He refused to say "Obama 2.0" isn't a plan to win!

  103. @Mike Please go to Politifact and fact check Bernie Sanders and the debate. I find it odd that Bernie supporters don't seem to care to do this. However, I suspect as more have chosen to do so, this has caused Biden to gain an enormous lead while Bernie now trails by double digits in all the states scheduled to vote tomorrow and by 40 pts in Florida. So, please do yourself a favor and go to the reputable fact check sites. Don't you think it was odd that Biden encouraged people during the debate to got to fact check and Politifact and reputable sites while Bernie wanted people to go to youtube? Bernie might as well have said read the news on facebook. Bernie has already been called out on more than one occasion for heavily edited videos that remove so much context as to create a misleading impression like for his Obama/Bernie commercial and his Biden and SS video -to me this is more than a red flag. It shows he is willing to intentionally mislead the public and those who support him. We do not need more of this.

  104. @Meg You need to go back and reread those articles more closely. Politifact called Sanders’s ad “mostly false” because Biden’s “current policy is to increase Social Security benefits.” However, Politifact acknowledged that the ad contained “elements of truth” due to Biden’s past comments. The WP took a similar tack and noted that Biden currently supports expanding Social Security, while Sanders is focusing on older remarks that “came during periods when a growing budget deficit was a major concern in official Washington.” In the debate, Sanders attempted to boil the issue down to a much simpler question: Had Biden ever advocated for cuts to Social Security? Biden said no. But Biden did indeed talk about the need for Social Security cuts on the floor of the Senate. In Senate remarks from '95 that have been highlighted by Sanders’s campaign, Biden noted that he had repeatedly called for cuts as part of efforts to reduce the deficit and balance the budget. Joe said, “When I argued that we should freeze federal spending, I meant Social Security as well. I meant Medicare and Medicaid. I meant veterans’ benefits. I meant every single solitary thing in the government. And I not only tried it once, I tried it twice, I tried it a third time, and I tried it a fourth time." Who's misleading Meg? Who has repeatedly lied about his past, his plagiarism, his record? Biden has a history of misleading statements. https://theintercept.com/2020/01/13/biden-cuts-social-security/

  105. @Dobbys sock Once again - Biden was never for cutting Social Security! Saying he might consider a 1 year freeze on all spending in a crisis (which the GOP proposed) depending on what the package contained is not saying he was for cutting social security - even saying he might entertain an age increase - once again depending on the rest of the package - is not a cut - they may have demanded more money per year if the age was raised - there is simply nothing to say Biden was FOR cutting the programs - zero. So, yes what Bernie said was mostly false and when you consider the ads he is running claiming Biden was for cutting it.... It is bad enough and could cost us the election if seniors buy into the lies - fortunately most of us older folks remember when all this was happening and know Joe and the history - so we know it is lies (but Bernie knows he is lying as well)

  106. Basically, Sanders and the Corona virus have won the ideological battle in the Democratic party, even if Biden is the nominee. Last night, it was almost comical seeing Biden try to muster "the fierce urgency of now" for a range of proposals to address the failings of our healthcare and economic system under the strain of this crisis that look remarkably like, in their effects, Sanders' Medicare for All and more direct federal interventions on behalf of average working Americans. Just try to take them back and return to "normal" vague "moderate" incrementalism after the emergency passes, which is clearly the intent of Biden & company. Good luck on that. It's not going to be as easy as declaring "Mission Accomplished." The American people are going to have new expectations and far less patience with any Democratic administration and Congress that try to deliver only "moderately."

  107. Like many others, I've been wondering how Trump's supporters can listen to an ignorant, mean-spirited, bumbling con artist and somehow hear the voice of a great leader. And after watching last night's debate, and every one before it, I've been wondering how so many NY Times columnists and comment writers could possibly have concluded that Biden did better than Sanders. Our political views and preferences inevitably shape our comparisons of the debaters, so let's forget about Sanders for a moment and just focus on Biden's performance. Frankly, it wasn't very good. He has decades of governmental experience to draw upon, but most of his memories of those decades are self-referential. His extemporaneous answers to questions about situations in which he was involved (such as the auto industry bailout) are mostly about himself; he remembers his own role but doesn't recall other key aspects of the events. Few of his answers were crystal clear, and the problem is not simply that he has a hard time expressing himself. The deeper problem is that he has a hard time formulating coherent, richly informed answers, especially under pressure. Biden has many strengths as a candidate and as a leader, but debating is not one of them. If you thought that his debate performance was great, or that it was better than Sanders', you were overlooking his deficits. Unfortunately, they are too significant to ignore.

  108. The Times columnsists doing the grading seem pretty happy with the "good old Joe" narrative. He didn't shoot himself in the foot. How great is that. Just what I want in a PRESIDENT. If he were running for the president of the local kiwanis club he would be a hit. What the columnists don't want to do is raise the bar. And more importantly, four years of good old Joe will just allow the corporate leaders to become more entrenched in our political system as the owners. Bernie would challenge them NOW. Waiting will move us further on the road where there is no turning back and an oligarchy is just around the corner (many say it is already here). Capitalism has no conscience. Remember that.

  109. We have an honest Broker in Bernie Sanders. But I guess that is not what the Democrats or the DNC want. In these perilous times Bernie has the answers and the commitment. Biden is just the same old, same old but given what is going on right now with the Trump Administration handling of the Coronavirus, and the steep drop in the Stock Market, no one is in the mood for too much change. So we will all have to settle for hoping that Biden is up to the task of knocking Trump out of office. I hate hoping. We need real change. It is proven over and over every day.

  110. Overall, I thought that Biden looked very presidential, very distinguished, spoke clearly and lucidly, all things that we would like to see return to the presidency of this country. Bernie has ideas, some really good ones, but his demeanor is not presidential, more college professor (which I recognize because I am one). Number 2, as Biden likes to say, I think going back 20-30 years and taking things like the social security debate out of the context of the moment, is disingenuous. As fact checkers have pointed out, never did Biden vote for a bill with a SS cut in it. But politics being what they are, it might have been necessary to put "all things" on the table, for the debate, for the negotiation, but to hold back a vote if in fact SS was going to actually be cut. I was very happy to see Biden handle the questions quite well. Also being an old dude, I know that sometimes details escape a person when talking about something. But, Biden will have a raft of smart, hopefully progressive as well as moderate, aides, and the details will get worked out for policies that will benefit the nation. So, stop with the detailed dissection of whether he got every factoid correct. It won't matter to his leadership ability. What does matter is his empathy quotient. Period!

  111. Maybe I am misreading the opinions here, but it seems that the most important thing to Times pundits is that Biden appeared good on TV never mind his long track record of cutting soc security, supporting the balance budget amendment (an IQ test if there ever was one), Anita Hill No, Times columnists think he performs well sad bigly

  112. If Biden called for any more "surging," he'd have tailored a new suit right there on stage.

  113. I don't get the NY Times. You spend the last week on Op Eds saying that we need paid sick leave to deal with the coronavirus. In other words, we need progressive policies that help the working class right now. I've seen articles that argue the lack of universal health care is one of the challenges in the coronavirus. It's clear that centrists are NOT pragmatic, they are just really good at winning elections. Or maybe just primaries, you guys lose to Republicans all the time. That progressive policies would have made us more prepared for coronavirus. By your own admission. And yet you still cheerlead for Joe Biden. The fact that Biden did not have a senior moment is not 9/10. That Biden will have a woman VP is such an overt move. SJWs are so easily manipulated. I don't think a woman VP would change the current crisis. We need leadership, not token VPs. I think there is a strong correlation between the lack of preparedness for coronavirus + its fall out and the lack of leadership by centrist Democrats for decades. I think Bernie needs to do a better job of making this case. I think we need to make fundamental changes in this country and we needed to do so yesterday. I can't believe how two-faced the NY Times is in pointing this out.

  114. Hearing Joe Biden basically lie about his record on Social Security was very painful. We already have a liar in the White House. Watching Biden suddenly say that expanded healthcare and forgiving some student debt were good ideas was painful as well. It's the old "promise anything to be elected" game and I've had my lifetime fill of it. At exactly the age of Senator Sanders, I just donated more of my hard earned money to him. The media should look in the mirror and take responsibility for shoving a tired and Republican - lite candidate (Biden) down the noses of Americans.Senator Sanders' resilience, consistency, honesty, and leadership are what we need in these times. And I believe that only he can beat Trump in November.

  115. @EB Actually Politifact, WaPo, Fact Check, CNN's fact check and others have stated that Bernie is the one lying about Biden's record on Social Security. Biden has never voted to cut Social Security, yet Bernie has been running ads with misleading and edited video that removed context to suggest that Biden has been for this. When first confronted with the edited video, Bernie first pretended he had nothing to do with it - now he is doubling down. Biden never praised the Ryan Plan and this is shown as False on the fact check sites, like Politifact and they show how Bernie edited the video to make it seem so. In a crisis, Biden said he might agree to a spending freeze for the entire budget when the GOP had control of congress and when they were threatening a shut down the gov and default on debt. He had said he 'would consider' raising the retirement age depending on the package - but it never even came to that where it was proposed. So nothing ever even happened. Biden has actually never ever done anything to Social Security and has never been for cutting it. Go to Politifact and look up the debate fact checks and Bernie's claims about Biden and Social Security. Bernie is the one not being honest and distorting facts Now Bernie is running prime time TV ads in my swing state with these false claims about SS and Biden and Bernie could cost the election and a Senate seat.

  116. Biden and Sandersw spent too time in the past, attacking each other's voting records. Bernie won that hands down. With the exception of gun stuff, where Bernie represented his rural gun-owning constituents, he's been consistently progressive for decades. Biden can't be accused of being a man of principle. He's opted for realpolitik often, with no scarcity of bad votes. I find this depressing and unpresidential. That role needs a visionary, someone who exemplifies the lion, not turn him into sausage. Sure Biden's better than Trump—who isn't? What hope I still have resides in his choice of veep. A dynamic crusader for long-repressed Democratic ideals might accomplish something; a small-idea kumbaya centrist liberal like Amy Klobuchar would mean we'd spend the next four years trying to repair Trump's wanton damage without offending anyone, while the empowered oil and coal barons, the real estate tycoons, the agribiz and utility execs, fight the claw-backs with everything they've got.

  117. @Tom P You might want to go to the fact check sites like Politifact, and see the fact check of the debate. Yes, Bernie has 3 super PACs and 6 501(c)(4)s - which are also known as dark money donors Look at facts - facts are facts!

  118. I was blown away by the tone deafness of Biden when he questioned the cost of Bernie's M4A proposal. Did he even realize the hit the country is facing and will face when the Coronavirus really gets going? What will the cost be then? Instead he proposes Medicare for some people, leaving the rest in the cold. But it looks like the center right won again supported by cheerleading of the two newspapers of record, The Times and The Washpost. If Biden wins, and I not sure he will, we'll have another cadre of the revolving door types from Wall Street running our economic policy, the industry insiders back in positions of influence in the Government. But we will have experts instead of Trumpian grifters, losers and hangers-on out of the Government. At least that's a plus. But then we'll have to endure at least another 4 years of Government inaction on any useful policies for the working classes. Like how Muslims bow and pray towards Mecca five times a day, Biden's Government will bow East towards Wall Street...

  119. @Gary Valan Inaction has only occurred when the GOP have had the White House or control of congress - sadly this happens too often Biden's plans are quite progressive you should go to his website Bernie's plan is expected to cost about 4 times our entire defense budget per year and it is true that in places like Italy with a Bernie style plan there are many people dying at home with no treatment due to the lack of capacity. M4A would change the billing route but not likely the regular everyday capacity of our system Regardless of the system used to deliver healthcare these countries and ours were not prepared for such a potential surge in cases In addition, because most of the Senate seats up for grabs in 2020 are in red or red leaning states, there was no way Bernie would have been able to bring the Senate with him if he was the nominee and get M4A done - they all know this. To get some of these senate seats in these states and like my state of AZ, we would need a moderate So, Joe Biden does have a shot at getting important legislation done on healthcare, climate change and taxes and education etc In addition Bernie's plan costs several times our entire defense budget per year and this does not include the money needed to address the extra capacity needed in a crisis like this. Joe was right - at this moment in time it would not have changed the dynamic of the crisis Please go to Joe's website - it might make you feel more hopeful about getting things done

  120. The best thing about this debate was what was missing. The audience. Both men seemed more at ease and more natural with no audience.

  121. As the article pointed out, Biden has the experience of being in an administration. Sanders does not. Biden also has more experience in foreign affairs and in working across the aisle. Biden was not my first choice, but he's my choice now.

  122. Only in the New York Times could a candidate whose behavior in the debate was "dishonest," "smarmy," "defensive," not-exactly-fair (ahem, patently unfair) to everyone's favorite country (Italy), and whose "perennial issue is having to convince voters that he can fix these problems, when he helped create many of them as a leader in the Senate" receive a solid 8/10 from the pundits who used these very words.

  123. No-cost Covin-19 testing and treatment. Hold harmless government support for lost wages. Medicare for all who want it. A woman vice-president. A black woman Supreme Court Justice. Free public college education for children from families making less that $125,000. Taxing capital gains the same as ordinary income, generating enough to pay for free college (no more tax loophole for private equity or hedge fund managers). Returning to the Obama tax rates which existed at a time when job creation under Obama (last three years) exceeded Trump’s. Returning to, and ramping up, the Paris Climate accord, with Biden’s international credibility to get other countries to act. How could Sanders say international buy-in was no big deal when most of the pollution is outside US? No new gas drilling (but continuing to produce the gas we need while we make the transition to renewables; after all, we need something to keep the lights on at night until we figure out how to store the electricity). A path to citizenship for immigrants currently in the country. How is all of this not the kind of progressive agenda we need and that we have a chance of actually accomplishing under current circumstances? Sanders has several valid critiques but has never accomplished any change because he cannot make the compromises and build the coalitions necessary to make it happen. Biden, with some of Sander’s ideas and his support, will prevail.

  124. Judging by the way America has prepared and acted (reacted?) since we first heard of the pandemic, your medical system is screwed up. Someday you will see that Bernie is right.

  125. Joe Biden won the debate because he lied, and lied, and lied, and lied, and got away with it.