Throw Out the Debate Playbook: Biden and Sanders to Clash Amid Crisis

Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Bernie Sanders will be auditioning for the presidency, trying to convey leadership, against the backdrop of an unfolding national emergency.

Comments: 135

  1. Tomorrow is the time for Bernie to say that if Joe is the candidate, anybody who chooses not to vote for him is betraying Bernie's own movement. Tomorrow is the time for Joe to say that Bernie has a lot of good ideas, and to pledge to work with the progressives to go forward as rapidly as feasible. And if Bernie gets the nomination, Joe will fight hard for him.

  2. @beaujames I would never vote for Biden. He is not capable of doing the job.

  3. @brown7228, And you believe Trump is better suited for the job than Biden? Please grow up.

  4. @beaujames: I agree with you, but I fear Bernie is desperate and won't follow your advice. I hope I'm wrong.

  5. Today is the time for Sanders to withdraw his candidacy. He has no path and it will allow the DNC to suspend the rest of the voting. He needs to do the right thing for the voters plus the poll workers etc. Now is not the time to put yourself above the safety of America. We have a guy in the White House already in that lane. Do not be like him , Bernie.

  6. @Larry Why? Hillary stayed in the primary until June 7 2008. More than half of the delegates are still available. Its not over.

  7. Comparing Bernie to Trump, or even suggesting a comparison, at this moment, is really low.

  8. @Larry 'Suspending Elections', sounds like something that could never backfire. Great precedent to set with Trump in the WH too. The recent push by some (including Rep. Clyburn) to end the election is a clarifying moment, among many others this cycle. The Democratic Party is facing a full-scale legitimacy crisis. Iowa Caucuses - Articles about this disaster could fill a library. The Sanders campaign pushed for more transparency after 2016, and what it revealed is not pretty. The system is an undemocratic farcical ritual designed to allow party officials to nominate a winner. Debate 'rules' - DNC altering the arrangement to allow Bloomberg on the stage. DNC also altering the rules to prohibit certain candidates. Bloomberg - Something about a multi-billionaire (with a paid cheering section) openly bragging about 'buying' House seats.... I'm sure that won't come up in a general election. and of course, the coup de grace Ending the elections - Whether it's Clyburn or NYT or other media elements, even floating the idea of ending the elections is ghastly. If anybody cared about the health impact of coronavirus, they'd propose mail-in ballots or other measures. I don't know what else to say. You can't beat authoritarianism with diet authoritarianism.

  9. There should be no debate per se but rather an objective fact based discussion on how Trump has failed to defend the USA from the coronavirus. He lacks the concern for the health and safety of the country. He disbanded departments and fired scientists who would have been helpful at this time. He takes NO responsibility for his inaction. The virus affects the entire country...red and blue states. This could be used as the perfect example of how Trump has failed vs debating about this or that

  10. The current crisis is laying bare how badly needed are so many of the things Bernie has been advocating for. If Biden wants the support of Bernie supporters, he needs to embrace at least some of them in a meaningful way. Fate has handed him the perfect scenario to adopt new positions in these areas - if Biden truly is the leader we need now, he will recognize that fact and pivot.

  11. @Benjamin Hinkley No - Biden needs to defer to Bernie.

  12. @Benjamin Hinkley He does not need them. If we pivot to Bernie we lose in the swing states. Cut them loose. We can win without them.

  13. Vice President Biden could do a lot to unite the country by admitting the United States has fallen behind on public health in communities across America (compare to 1950's). Allow investors to profit handsomely from health insurance is amoral and wrong, just as CEOs making tens of millions of dollars in the business. The medical loss ratio of the Medicare and the VA is still under four percent given some privatization. It used to be under two percent, meaning 98 percent of every dollar taken in by Medicare and the VA went out as medical benefits to Americans. Under the Franken bill, private insurers are guaranteed an MLR of 20 percent--more than 10 times that of Medicare before privatization of some services. Meaning huge profits, and explains why Obama got $18 million from health care in 2008 to keep the public option off the table.

  14. @Carl Lee Your history is more than a little bizarre. Obama was strongly advocating the public option in 2009. When Franken was finally approved as the 60th Senator in favor, it was the Senator from the Blues, Joe Lieberman, who scotched the public option by declaring that if it was in, he would join the filibuster against it. Bash those who need bashing, but get your facts straight first.

  15. More so than ever we need Bernie's vision in our country to be a reality. There is no more arguing on whether certain policies are "realistic." We are entering a global depression caused by the reaction to the Coronavirus and we must demand the "impossible" to make sure we can weather that storm. Bernie should stay in the race to force Biden to concede on some points. Remember, Biden needs Bernie's supporters to win the election and will not simply hold are nose and vote for Biden unless he has a real plan to fix our country. In the shadow of Covid-19, "normalcy" is a chimera.

  16. @NW ...."More so than ever we need Bernie's vision in our country to be a reality.".....And a moderate is far more likely to be able to deliver on progressive promises.

  17. @NW No, Biden doesn't need Bernie voters to win. Bernie doesn't have the number of supporters/voters he thought he had. Were were they on Super Tuesday? To get concessions you have to have something to offer and ya'll don't have the numbers.

  18. Senator Sanders has the policies to move us forward as a nation. If there is anything this crisis is showing us, it’s that the status quo position on health care is a disaster. We need bold vision and smart change, and that is what the Sanders candidacy offers us. Bernie can win.

  19. @Area Man ...I don't understand Bernie supporters. Do they not understand that nothing will happen if legislation doesn't pass Congress. Do they not understand that half of Democrats are moderates and Democrats make up only 40% of the voters. How are you going to win down ballot races when the head of the ticket has support from 25% of the country? Ideas and accomplishments are not the same thing.

  20. @W.A. Spitzer What do you not understand about the fact that whomever is elected, Sanders or Biden, there will inevitable Republican pushback? Don't make it seem like this is just tied to Bernie.

  21. We are desperate for a unity between Biden and Sanders. We are in the midst of a climate and environmental emergency and our entire way of life as humans has led to this and the Coronavirus crisis. We need leaders of vision and intellect who understand and respect science over ideology and greed, to lead the United States and the world to a safer future for our children and the living planet. We are about to be defined as the generations that destroyed that opportunity. These two men have an awesome responsibility.

  22. The more time Biden has in a debate, the worse he'll do. I'm expecting Sanders, across the course of the debate, will be incisively stating his position on one critical issue after another, and, for each, will turn to Biden to ask "how does your position on this issue compare to mine?" or "do you support [position], yes or no? If not, what is your position?" I'm expecting Biden, faced will this, will be struggling to say much of anything substantive and will instead blabber on about vague generalities; will, at times, be inarticulate, confounded and self-contradictory; and, will, presumably, at least a few times, wax poetic about wanting to work with Republicans, as though he's been under a rock for last 15 years, including the 8 years he spent as VP. As much as I'd like the Democrats to unite around someone now, I wish Biden were a stronger candidate. He's a dud whose time has past, if there ever even was a time for him. Hopefully, Biden will, well in advance of the Dem convention, begin to announce a strong, inspiring team -- with, say, Abrams as his VP nominee, plus many of his cabinet picks, also announced before the Dem convention, and who would include many of the earlier contenders for the Dem nomination. If Biden does otherwise, I won't be confident he can beat Trump.

  23. Some motion towards overt universal coverage is the rational course. But remember that Obamacare has barely survived and our attitudes towards immigration - a more important issue for America - are inversely proportional to the size of the social safety net. As Governor Dewine of Ohio pointed out today, we need to have the domestic capacity to address future pandemics. This means the supply chain to manufacture at scale the medical supplies and drugs needed domestically and some surplus health care workers. With an aging domestic population and a birth rate well below replacement, this means we will need lots of immigrants who want to work here in such jobs, not just spend their already-amassed wealth. The best thing Bernie can do for the health system is suspend his campaign before four large states have all of their voters trade germs at their polling places. Everyone knows what he stands for and many people want to work towards those goals. Being a hero means doing what is needed when it matters, not when it fits in with your other life goals. This is Bernie's chance to be a national hero.

  24. I would prefer to see more of a Kumbaya between Joe and Bernie, rather than a bruising debate. Democrats need to come together and focus on Donald Trump, not each other. As the current frontrunner, it's incumbent on Biden to offer an olive branch to Sanders and his supporters. If I was Joe, I would compliment Bernie as a visionary, thank him for his longstanding service, and tell him if he's elected President, Bernie will have an open door in a Biden White House.

  25. I want to hear from Biden what he will do to earn my vote.

  26. Status quo vs. change. Know what the “haves” want.

  27. [email protected] ...Change to what. As long as the Republicans control the Senate you can make all the promises you want, but nothing will ever happen. If you want change you have to win down ballot races.

  28. “Medicare for all who work.” Make that small change to win the support of the most important Democratic Party constituency, labor.

  29. I never understood how people can blithely discount the billions of dollars bled from the federal revenue to prop up already successful industries and become ticked off that someone else is getting treated for chronic diabetes without a co-pay.

  30. @Rogue Warrior How about Medicare for all who live?

  31. One of them wants to give us health care and guaranteed sick days and all the other things that are suddenly so important. What does Joe Biden possibly have to offer?

  32. @Dick ...It isn't about what you have to offer, but rather what you can deliver.

  33. Okay, what can he deliver? Sound bites are easy. Rallying people is hard.

  34. @W.A. Spitzer No, it really is about what you believe in and are willing to fight for. I want a president who will fight for what this country needs, even if he/she can't get all of it passed, not one who won't even try. You win the future by fighting for it now, not by settling for just the low-hanging fruit.

  35. Dear Joe and Bernie, Please, for the sake of our country, don't make this debate non-stop vitriol. Most of us are severely stressed from living these past few years with the worst president in American history, and now from the worries around Covid-19. Right now, we urgently need calm assurance that somehow we'll be ok, combined with matter-of-fact recommendations to keep us safe. Our #1 goal must be to get Trump out of the White House. Keep that in mind during the debate tomorrow and work together as best as you can.

  36. Our words have consequences. I wish we would stop characterizing each other as either yesterday's news or tomorrow's revolutionary. Most Americans are between the 40 yard lines. But when we use over-the-top language it places people on the five yard lines, each screaming at each other in order to be heard. I believe there's a relatively straight forward plan for defeating Trump. As both leading candidates have said regarding the virus, we have to stick together. Period. Biden will likely win the primary, but he also knows he MUST reach Sanders' voters. Sanders, if we are to believe him regarding the imperative of defeating Trump, MUST help Biden by getting his supporters to vote. Trust is essential. The burden is on Biden to broaden his appeal by ensuring the basic social safety net, including health care, will be THE driving policy issue. He already owns the decency and integrity "lane", but clearly and emphatically needs to convince Americans that he will guarantee a health care system that builds on the excellent work he did with President Obama. He needs to be specific so that voters get it. If he does this thoughtfully, he will crush Trump on this issue alone. And if we can convince our side to vote the five or six vulnerable republican senators out of office, we'll have a wonderful opportunity to get much accomplished. We're so close......

  37. ...and if we have to stick together, assuming Biden wins, just who do you think will be his VP choice? I’ll give you one guess and he’s from Vermont.

  38. @HJS "He already owns the decency and integrity "lane"..." Biden? Um, no. No, he doesn't. Quite the opposite, if you ask any Sanders supporter. Implying that Sanders doesn't operate with decency and integrity is not a good way to build a bridge. I appreciate the overall collegial tone of your post. It's refreshing to not have to put up with a lot of badgering, shaming, and lecturing from someone who doesn't support Bernie Sanders. I just want you to know that promising to shore up Obamacare is a non-starter for this group. Say what you will about that, but it's not something that will bring them over to your side.

  39. Pandemic is a signal that we need Medicare for All. Everybody is a socialist during emergency situations like hurricane, earthquakes and now coronavirus!!! Watch Biden change his response about Medicare for All that he tactically said that he would veto!!! Medicare for All is what need right now!!!

  40. If Biden was 154 delegates behind Bernie, would you all honestly be calling for him to drop out? Ask yourself this quesiton honestly. And is the very idea of him needing to drop out/not having a path to the nomination your own or something you've read in relentless press coverage? Lastly, where is this narrative coming from and why? Why would the corporate media, owned by billionaires (Bezos, Slim, Murdoch) and sponsored by Pharma, Insurance, and other corporations be so eager to write the narrative that Bernie has no chance?

  41. Because the party wants to unite and all the endless extra time spent trying to prove a point is worthless. W Ernst to win and can’t do that because some progressive voters in the last stages demand that “their voices be heard”. This a primary and the point is to select a nominee; once that lead is insurmountable, I’m sorry but the rest of us that want to consolidate and unify the party just don’t rightly care. And yeah, if it was the other way around and Joe was behind and didn’t have a foreseeable path to the nomination I would absolutely want him to drop out and, even though I wouldn’t agree Sanders wouldn’t be the best candidate, I’d want us to unify and do our best. That’s the problem with anti-establishment folks, they just don’t actually care about winning.

  42. @Parapraxis I'm a longtime Bernie supporter now struggling to get by on Social Security. Bernie should drop out and get behind Biden. Watching Trump mismanaging this crisis and putting lives at risk with his bad planning, lies and weird denial of facts is terrifying. Lives will be lost as a result. The Democrats must unite behind a competent candidate as soon as possible and work to defeat Trump. Biden is going to sweep the upcoming primaries. The voters, not big Pharma, are sweeping Biden to the nomination. Not big Pharma but people like me who are terrified of Trump and want the Democrats focused now in this emergency on winning the election. I've heard enough from Bernie in the last 6 years that I could write his remarks tonight. I've been a progressive all my life. And I recognize Bernie has lost for the 2nd time. We need to move on. Bernie needs to acknowledge he's getting beat and wants the Democrats to unify and start focusing on beating Trump. That Bernie believes we still need to hear more from him about why he should be president now is self indulgent in the extreme. The last thing I want is for the next president to be someone stubbornly self-absorbed and convinced he's right, even if the American people are repeatedly signaling he's pursuing policies most Americans don't want and don't support. Which is what we've got right now. Bernie should take heed.

  43. @Parapraxis Tinfoil hats don’t look any better on Bernie supporters than they do on trump supporters. I’m no huge fan of Biden but I do know he’s heads and tails 10000000% better than a second term of trump and I really struggle to understand how self described progressives can’t see that.

  44. Instead of sniping at each other, these two men should sit down on a stage and tell us what it means to be leader of the nation. Let them go through the issues and tell us how they approach things differently, but with the same benefit to the American people. At the end, let them tell us what each would have done to prevent the leadership void we have today as we confront coronavirus. Let them end by shaking hands and pledging to support the other, whoever wins. These are both highly intelligent, competent candidates, either of whom would be an asset to the nation. They have an opportunity to tell the country how much we would be better off with either of them than the less-than-human being now occupying the Oval Office.

  45. Instead of competing directly with each other, both should do their best to show the country how they would handle this devastating crisis, show leadership, working together, and let the voters then decide which one is their best bet. Fighting with each other only plays into Trump's hands, and he is an absolute danger to us now. Keep the focus on the people and their needs at a time like this, let the election chips fall where they may.

  46. Bernie should do the right thing, for the Democratic Party as well as for the entire nation, and withdraw his candidacy. Not only will it spare states the need to make their own decisions about holding primaries but it would also be less risky health wise. In addition, many of the ideas guiding his campaign are much less relevant at this point and his chances of winning the nomination are getting slimmer by the day.

  47. @Ran Yes, his chances of winning the nomination are getting slimmer by the day. But his ideas are even more relevant now. He owes it to his supporters- who if not a majority, are still legion - to fight to get Joe's positions on those issues on record. That is, if Joe is serious about wanting our votes. He won't get them for free, it's going to take a whole lot more than a nice cup of hot cocoa to get us on board.

  48. @Ran Seeing this kind of thinking, if we can call it that, is astounding. Ran and company advocate depriving millions of Americans their right to vote in the primary. Adding insult to injury Ran in apparent oblivion sees no value in our national conversation as if the Sanders campaign did not elevate and lead us to our current national debate where critical issues were brought to the fore and rate remaining the spotlight. As a nation we have heaps of issues that require airing, more than the candidates, or our body politic have time for. Beyond that, many are, and have been concerned with the debates formats. From the absurd minute and a half allowed for answers to allowing interruption, and talking over, and the unequal time allowed. Watching Pete deliberately intervene with Sander's time was not funny. The monitors should have been discretely reprimanded on the spot. Very unforntenate that the Leuge of Women Voters are not hosting. They brought integrity as well as a more mature process.

  49. @rtj The problem for Biden in winning over progressive voters is that he has a history. He has never wanted any part of us or our ideas. We're not going to trust him when he dangles some token policy carrots to try to get our votes, because we know he won't fight for them once in office.

  50. No, they can't unite the country anymore than any other candidate today could, from either party, and that should be obvious to anyone who's been paying attention since the mid-1990s. The issues we face today are much greater than is the idea of uniting the country. The sooner we come to grips with that reality, the sooner we may discover the path to a united country.

  51. Talk is cheap and hindsight is 20-20. Bernie and Biden can babble all they want about how they would have/could have dealt with the virus panic so far, but I suspect they, having the same CDC, etc to rely on would not have been any more effective than Trump. What I want to see tomorrow night is how effectively they defend their policies when challenged. Will Bernie force Biden to make statements that push his stated positions left? Will they merely repeat their stump speeches past each other? Or???

  52. We need leadership right now today! Until the virus crises is under control they should cooperate and save the primary battle for later. They should absolutely not shake hands. They should also show how to use best practices to reduce the risk of getting the virus.

  53. “The coronavirus does not have a political affiliation,’’ Biden said. “It will affect Republicans, independents and Democrats alike and will not discriminate based on national origin, race, gender or ZIP code.” But it will more likely affect those people who do not have health insurance or are underinsured and so will not go see a doctor to get tested. They, if they are old and have underlying health issues, will be the ones who will most likely die. And if they are poor, they do have more underlying health issues - like diabetes and heart disease - than wealthy people. Bernie is right. We need universal healthcare. We live in the wealthiest country on earth. If most other advanced nations can do it, why can't we?

  54. @Seanchai We don't have universal healthcare because the Republicans in the Senate won't let us. Do you think they will just hand that to Bernie? If so, why haven't they already. He's been fighting with them for his whole Senate career and has persuaded no one.

  55. Dear Bernie and Joe, Please start the debate by noting where you are in agreement. Begin with a united statement and position. Also avoid shouting at each other. Please demonstrate you are an adult. Then answer each question as precisely and as directly as possible. No spin-offs or tangents. Be truthful and have some respect for us watching. Peace.

  56. Bernie needs to flat out say that he is highly electable (multiple candidates are not just Joe); list Joe Biden’s bad votes Re Black people’s concerns; list out in specifics his first 6 months Presidential action plan; highlight his consistent values and goals yet extolling his flexibility in making it succeed with short term actions that cross the aisle; that he will campaign with down ballot Democrats to keep the Blue Wave rolling strong.

  57. Part 2: As someone who has lost loved ones to Alzheimer's, I find Biden's affect so troubling. From very early in the primaries, I noticed I would sort of look away when he was talking because it was sad. I was really hoping he'd drop out (not because I am a Bernie supporter), and my interpretation of the SC results was that it was at least partly an act of generosity by older African Americans to allow him to end his campaign with some dignity. And then the DNC, panicked by potentially losing their power and jobs and pressured by donors, did the drop out/endorse dance -- but now what? I hope Sunday allows more people to see that Biden really can't do this and it is morally bankrupt to run him against Trump. Even if he were elected, we'd end up with the VP -- who didn't necessarily even campaign -- as president. This seems like such a back-door, undemocratic move. Anyway, Bernie is my choice, but I feel a lot of sorrow and compassion for Biden and anger at those who are enabling this.

  58. @Parapraxis I was a Bernie supporter until about 2 months ago. Bernie lost me with his comments about Castro. That was a serious mistake he can't undo that would cost us Florida in the general election if he's the nominee. Worse, it exposed Bernie as someone too reckless to be the nominee. The remark was massively out of touch. Biden has picked up steam since his early days when he seemed to be casting about for a reason he was running. Biden is now running on competence and being ready to govern. I thought watching his speech last week on the coronavirus that Biden looked like he was ready to be president. Bernie not understanding that his remarks about Castro were politically catastrophic is a miserable situation. Bernie doubled down on the remarks the next day instead of trying to back away from them. It was massively tone deaf. That, and his insistence on staying in the race to keep getting beat now, I believe shows Bernie has a character problem. The insistence of a zealot that he must be paid attention to, even now that he's lost definitively and we're in a national emergency. The Democratic party could provide a picture of leadership and competence in opposition to Trump if Bernie would get out of the way. I'm sorry for how this is turning out. I had a lot of faith in Bernie for a long time. Not anymore.

  59. Bernie Sanders had a heart attack and then denied it. He is the much bigger risk for a VP taking control. The heart attack and stent are one thing, I was actually much more concerned about the long delay in seeking medical help and the LIE. What if he delays seeking help with a fever when the novel corona virus comes back in the fall? We need a leader who is truthful. A leader who is not angry and aggressive would also help with out current culture.

  60. @Parapraxis OBVIOUSLY, Bernie is your choice. Therefore, you are trying to sell the story that Biden has Alzheimer's and that you have some sort of expertise to diagnose him based on what you remember about family members who have had it. Lots of people have family members who have had this, including me. Sorry, not buying your story. It is hardly credible that almost every former opponent would endorse someone not up to the job. Unlike you, they have been around Biden quite a bit. And the idea that the overwhelming majority of African Americans who voted for Biden did it so he would END his campaign is absurd. Biden is a person who has overcome a serious speech issue, lifelong, which makes his speech sometimes less than mellifluous. This latest campaign by the Bernie people to create doubt about Biden by perpetrating such a story is what is sad.

  61. I will vote for whomever has the courage to declare that they are putting all politics aside, and yes, even join, united, with Political opponents, lest our divisiveness continue to tear us apart. People have to stop exploiting this unprecedented crisis. The first thing everyone must do, including the readers of this paper, is to stop having to establish blame before moving on. I recall once in a business setting, people were supposed to be gathering to solve a serious imminent problem. Instead, they were shouting over each other, trying to establish blame before spending a second on solving the problem. I suddenly shocked everyone by declaring that it was all my fault. I don’t think it was, but it was worth it to start people working towards a resolution. Once I settled that, we solved the problem. So please, please, let’s invoke a moratorium on blaming someone. I challenge anyone to say that they would have foreseen this and would have known how to handle it. No one could have seen this coming, and those who say otherwise are naive or intellectually dishonest. We must learn from this and make sure that, while a new virus will certainly arise, we will together develop a strategy so that the human toll, economic and social, will never again descend into total fear and panic. There should be no more stones thrown, except, of course, by those who are without sin.

  62. If ever we needed a special person one whose oratory skills matched those of President Obama is now. We need clarity, honesty, and mostly hope. On a daily basis much on the idea of the “fireside chats. “ We need to know we are being cared for they are doing everything possible to stop panic and confusion.

  63. What Biden and the rest of the Democrat Party can "unite" in is getting behind Medicare-for-All. While they are at it, they ought to get behind repealing Nixon's allowing for-profit health care. If this crisis has proved anything it is that health care is not only a right but is something that is in the national public interest. Would we allow "the market" to take care of defending against an invasion from another country? Of course not. Neither should we allow "the market" to be in charge of dealing with viral invasions. This ought to be a no-brainer. It tells much that it isn't.

  64. Neither the elections nor the Democratic Convention have been postponed. The media in all its power, along with the DNC are solidly behind Biden, as they always were. So the debate must go on. Let's see what each candidate's advise will be concerning the current crisis and what they will do differently, if elected president. Mr. Sanders has a lot of common sense solutions, which Wall St., the insurance companies, the powerful lobbies etc. etc. hate, but millions of non-brain-washed Americans support. Also, I want to see Mr. Biden speak and how he articulates his answers/approach. The debate must take place!

  65. If Bernie Sanders asks Joe Biden, his well-advertised list of questions. I hope before he even begins to respond, Joe will say, "Bernie, first my question for you. When I'm the Democratic Party nominee, what will you personally do to help me defeat Donald Trump, and what you will do to rebuild the Democratic Party?"

  66. @Asheville Resident Starting with an arrogant question isn't likely to win Biden any points with Sanders supporters. While Joe will have my support (should he become the nominee), he's got to work to get young people behind him. The sooner he realizes that, the better.

  67. @SCL Have you been preparing for the coronavirus? Are you aware of the fear most people live with now? Are you people unconscious? You are the minority; there are not enough of you to win the national election. That is the reality. It's either Biden or Trump, again. If Bernie can't win the primaries, it's all over for him. It's the numbers; that's the reality. It's not personal!

  68. Time for Biden to reach out to all us progressives--this is where the energy is in the party, and the Biden campaign will need all the energy it can get. Bring us into the tent in substantive ways, reach out to progressives not republicans. We need to get across the finish line with our values intact.

  69. @teach .....A street is traveled in two directions. Don't forget to reach out to moderates. You need them as much as they need you.

  70. I reckon sleepy Joe Biden should do the right think and withdraw his candidacy. It is obvious that what America needs now is universal health care and the only person prepared to deliver that is Bernie Sanders.

  71. @Steven ...Please. Come on. Get serious. How is Sanders going to deliver universal healthcare? Look, the Republicans control the Senate. I am sorry, but that is the real world we live in. Before you can accomplish anything you have to win down ballot races. I live in a moderate district in New Mexico. We barely won that House seat in 2018. If Sanders heads the ticket, conservative Republicans will come out in droves and I guarantee we will lose that seat, and probably the house too. Biden might be able to carry it. Love Sanders all you want, but a President can't dictate universal healthcare. It has to pass Congress first. Wake up. After 4 years of organizing and campaigning, if Sanders can't win 50% of the Democrats, how can he win in November?

  72. Please stop name calling, and dropping your own dignity to the level of Donald Trump. If you can’t make your point without name calling it wasn’t worth making a point of.

  73. Mild Corona virus infection probably is somewhat similar to flu so far among younger than 55 immunocompetent adults. It will take 4 days if it is treated and 96 hours if it is not. All bets are off if the person has a weak immune system due to other underlying causes and difficulty breathing is manifested as shortness of breath then hospitalization with life support could be considered by the primary care physician. Early signs of fever are reason to connect with your doctor and get immediate attention. Both front runners of the democratic party are in the age group of over 75 at high risk for being infected and likely will have a not so mild case, if exposed. President Trump is also over 70, was allegedly exposed but has been found to be negative so far. He should be tested again in a few days. That said business as usual with all precautions should be the way forward. What is the point of surviving and not being able to live. Panic and paranoia will not be productive. Simple sensible common sense business as usual will enable smooth passover of corona crisis. I would really like to follow the debate and learn from Biden and Bernie, what they would have seriously done differently than what the Trump administration is doing in real time. Not just on Corona but on everything else.

  74. @Girish Kotwal: > It will take 4 days if it is treated and 96 hours if it is not. Guess what: 4 days equals 96 hours.

  75. @Bob The Builder from NY city. Thats the point. Mild Corona virus infection will be cured naturally in most cases by one' own immune system and that there is no treatment other than treating the symptoms. As my great family doctor the late Dr. Vasant Randive said. "Doctor's don't cure patients. Doctors help nature to cure themselves".

  76. @Girish Kotwal Neither of Biden or Sanders would have defunded the CDC. Sanders was talking about sick paid time off before the virus. Both Sanders and Biden would be trying to get everyone covered by health insurance, although the Sanders plan would be much more robust, because the ACA plans have a deductible that makes accessing health care in the early phases of a viral infection difficult and expensive. We are probably going to hear much more about intervening on behalf of working Americans so they do not lose their homes during this economic down turn. Neither Sanders or Biden would have declared themselves experts on virology and flu pandemics.

  77. There are only three debate questions that matter: 1. If you are elected at best 50% of voters will have voted Trump out and not for you or your agenda. If you are nominated, what will you do to represent the voters who preferred your opponent and/or his policies? 2. As a white man in your late 70's what is your criteria for a selecting a Vice President? 3. If elected, what will your criteria be for selecting supreme court nominees. Biden and Bernie, as well as all of their supporters can debate the differences in policies all year long and not influence any one to change their minds. Both sides have valid perspectives. Neither will be 100% satisfied with the other candidate. Trump is a clear and present danger. I want answers to the questions above because this election year, these are the only #3QuestionsThatMatter

  78. @Leaving The VP pick is more important this time around because of the age of these two men, not because they're "white". If Biden, who looks to be the nominee, picks another moderate centrist for his VP, regardless of gender or color, that will be a strike against him and a blow to his call for "unity". His VP pick will be the clearest sign of whether or not he is actually committed to building and governing with a coalition.

  79. cf. Tim Kaine

  80. Nothing turns a "centrist" Dem (or even "moderate Republican") into a Democratic socialist faster than a pandemic and a swift kick down the economic ladder. By November, people will be begging Bernie to be the President.

  81. I'm not asking anyone to withdraw but, PLEASE, gentlemen, speak and act presidential, not presidential CANDIDATE.

  82. NO, no no! Both of these men advocate for free healthcare for every person illegally in this country and every person who sneaks in in the future. Always was ridiculous and even more so as we probably face huge medical bills for OUR OWN CITIZENS.

  83. Note to Biden and Sanders supporters: keep up your fighting and you’ll end up watching his excellency, Donald J. Trump, inaugurated next January for his second term . . . and possibly not his last.

  84. @LIChef In other words, shut up, sit down, and go along. This is America. We fight for things here. Nothing great is achieved without a fight. That's our history and that's our future. If you can't handle it, tune out until November. If your candidate can't handle it, he shouldn't be running.

  85. We get no where by tearing each other down. Show how you both can work together. How are your plans complementary. Divided we fall, into the Trump morass.

  86. More repetition designed to close the minds of millions. Sanders is an undesirable due to his socialism tendencies and his modeling of Denmark as a desirable of the perfect government, a nation of barely 5 million. We are 340 million so the scale makes this comparison ridiculous. Biden is not formidable but certainly an improvement over Trump.

  87. @NOTATE REDMOND - Once again, Denmark is NOT a socialist country but a full on Capitalist market economy with less government regulation than the US, a very generous safety net and public benefits, and high taxes to pay for it all. Perhaps it is a good model for us to follow but not because it is a socialist country.

  88. What does this "unite the country" meme mean? Multi-party democratic systems aren't "united". They are based on disagreement. Political disagreement and opposition are the foundations of democracy. The only political systems that are "united" are countries like China and North Korea. In those countries, everyone's on board with the one party that wins every single election with 99.2% of the vote. Do you want a one-party system here in the US? I don't. If you don't either, then accept the fact that we are never going to be "united". We will disagree, sometimes strongly, and that is exactly how multi-party democratic systems are supposed and expected to work. Please make up your mind as to the kind of political system we should use to govern ourselves. I have.

  89. The seldom answered prayers of an agnostic would ask of this meeting that Bernie set up Joe to move a bit to his side in a union to remove what Bernie has called "The most existential threat to the nation and humanity in our lifetimes." With a united front the Senate could be flipped. Electoral college reform could begin. Justices appointed, and possibly impeached. And then convicted. Meanwhile the donald continues to host a V.2 version of "The Masque of the Red death" at Mar a Lago.

  90. No, because Bernie just seems to enjoy being the angry old man too much. Bernie just had the healthcare issue taken off the agenda. After Coronavirus, the effort needed to convince everyone that universal healthcare saves lives will be considerably less. I don’t think Joe will shut down a tidal wave moving toward Medicare for all. Last, but most important is that Bernie has no coattails. President Sanders would face a Republican senate. Sum = 0.

  91. @Bach Joe has already stated he will shut it down. He's totally against it.

  92. I can't help but laugh at the idea that the debate should be about unity and kumbaya. This is a presidential debate for two highly different candidates. The past year of "electability" discussions have never been put so fully to the test as they will be by watching each candidate one on one -- a test run for what the eventual candidate will need to endure for many months to come. It should not be a debate of conciliatory unity. Do you expect that Trump will be kind and gentle in his debate with the eventual party candidate? Highly unlikely. Whoever the candidate is should earn the votes of those in the remaining states. I am one of those voters and I will be watching closely. There are lives at stake in the differences between the two candidates policies. Perhaps those who want a calm debate do not see the vital significance between them. It is no time for kumbaya.

  93. If this were a parliamentary democracy, the Moderate Democrats and the Moderate Republicans would have formed a coalition; the Progressive Democrats would have formed a coalition with the Disaffected Poor/Middle Class; the Fundamentalists would have joined the Conservatives; and there would be horse trading to produce the majority. Factionalism is what remains for the debate and ultimately capitulation to the status quo of globalization and rampant capitalism. No drama Obama/Biden. There are safety valves which vent and distract and calm until some grievous misreading and miscalculation leads to upheaval. The pendulum swings and rebalances. We must be missing the important values for the niggling and the proxy?! Let's be better in our ethical strivings instead.

  94. Wouldn’t it be nice if both Sanders and Biden agreed on some common-ground issues beforehand. Then propose doable solutions. And contrast them with the actions of the Trump administration. Presidentially, truthfully and without any histrionics, yelling or finger pointing. One of these men will win the nomination. And most will vote for the winner of the primaries. Not doing so would give us another four years of Trump. And it’s irresponsible. There is no perfect candidate. So,let’s show the American people what presidential looks like. Many of us have forgotten.

  95. @It’s About Time Senator Sanders telegraphed ahead of time the questions he wants to ask of Biden. They are about the critical issues - the climate, healthcare for all, student debt and the cost of college that are crippling so many of our young, and the issue of vast income inequality. Hopefully, the moderators of today's debate will assure its civility, in this time of global crisis. Debates used to be civil - when the League of Women Voters ran them. It would be nice if both parties would agree to return to that format, as opposed to the horse race, "gotcha" model we see these days.

  96. I hope the Senator and the VP read this. Gentlemen, use the stage tomorrow not to argue about where you differ but take the time, while you have the nation's attention, to show your unity. Senator, if the numbers aren't there for you to get the nomination share with your supporters the importance of electing Mr. Biden. Vice President, you know how passionate try he Senators supporters are. They have to feel welcomed. Their beliefs are heart felt. The best thing to come out of the debate is unity.

  97. @Ms. OTV This debate is the first time we can see the remaining candidates debates. Hillary stayed in the primary until June 7 2008. More than half of the delegates are still available. Its not over.

  98. @Robert: The times are different now. The country is in a National Emergency. Trump is President, and the country needs a rescue from his incompetence. Bernie is going to get trounced again next week. He needs to convince as many of his busters that we can't allow Trump to have four more years.

  99. @jas2200 Sanders can't convince his supporters. He can eventually endorse and support Biden, which he will, but he can't convince anybody to vote a certain way. That's Biden's job now. If he has nothing to offer the young voters on the left, he's going to struggle. The older Democrats chose this candidate because they convinced themselves that he has the biggest coalition to win. If that turns out not to be true, that's on their shoulders. You make the call, you live with the call.

  100. At this point this voter is looking for leadership, unity, and compromise. Any clash would be counterproductive and even counterfactual. If a clash is in the offing, they should cancel the debate. A clash means one or both of the candidates are putting their own egos above the needs of the country. The elephant in the room is the golfer in the Oval Office whose lies, incompetence and selfishness vis-à-vis the pandemic have been nothing short of criminal. We are in a hot spot here. Every community with which we are associated has had somebody who has tested positive. And almost nobody has been tested yet. You folks can do the statistics for yourselves. The numbers are going to explode.

  101. @Robert really good point, they should really turn their fire elsewhere now. Especially if you anticipate the bar room brawl their opponents are trying to turn this into. Looking at it from afar, it seems Joe Biden will win more hearts and minds now (he was not my first choice). He has shown that he can handle power wisely. Which is not something you could say of the present incumbent.

  102. We desperately need unity, but we need to be sure we're unifying behind the right candidate. We therefore need serious consideration, in the form of a hard-hitting debate (vs. a personalized slander-fest), of our nation's massive inequalities, poor wages and benefits, and broken health care system, all of which are now being highlighted by COVID-19 and the scramble at the FED to shore up a cracking economy. Appeals to unity and compromise should never be used, as they have repeatedly been during this primary, to discourage debate and encourage people to stand behind an establishment candidate without critically examining the content of candidates' actual platforms. We need a debate that will force both candidates to account in public for their proposed policies, political track records, and sources of funding, so that voters might ask themselves what this suggests about candidates' willingness to push sweeping reforms at a time when the very planet is daily testifying that business as usual means the end of life as we know it. So we need a real, tough debate tomorrow, especially amidst this medical crisis. The narcissistic bully-in-chief, for all the damage he's done, is a symptom of much deeper and wider problems. It's not simply about replacing Trump with a Democrat. We need to be sure we're not furthering the hopeless act of putting a band-aid over grievous wounds.

  103. Bernie and Joe, I love you, but if you want to be true leaders and become heroes, I implore you to change to scope of tonight’s national spotlight. Democrats have an opportunity and an obligation to all we stand for to pause our primary contest. I challenge you use tonight’s stage to resist criticizing each other or the opposition (plenty of time for that later) and to propose a unified plan to keep our country and world safe.

  104. Now that Warren has dropped out, only Sanders is left to press the case for a modern, comprehensive national healthcare system. One would think that our current pandemic would be enough to bring Biden around to that, but he continues to speak of it as if it has no connection to the past, to previous debates and other exchanges. as if the private sector has been doing the job responsibility and adequately. It isn't simply a matter of delivery of resources and services, but the inestimable value of having a national communications network in place, with people already in their jobs, with well-defined responsibilities and authority. We shouldn't be building firehouses, buying firetrucks, looking for water, and hiring and training firefighters to fight a roaring national conflagration. Sanders and Biden are both old seasoned veterans, both short-tempered and cranky. But only one of these people has had a national healthcare system up front since the beginning.

  105. @Earle Sanders has only talked about it; he has never created such a thing. He can't get much of anything through the Senate. This makes me wonder how you think it would be any different if he were president?

  106. One important position for both Biden and Sanders to emphasize in the debate this evening is that we have only one president at a time and that is Donald J. Trump. However, although the President is not personally responsible for the coronavirus and its spread across the country, the President must be RESPONSIVE to the pandemic, and criticized if he fails that test. That means he must acknowledge the government's role in providing (i.e.actively cooperating with private companies) test kits for the public to access immediately, with guidance for affected groups and individuals to self-quarantine . Government-guaranteed health insurance is a primary issue, and Obamacare is just as effective a basis for Medicare and Medicaid expansion as Sanders' blanket demands for one size fits all. Also, it is important to focus on health care as the key issue in the pandemic, and reference to economic effects follows. Otherwise, the poor, poorly paid, and and vulnerable will be left even further behind and income disparity further accelerated by the virus.

  107. At this stage, in view of the coronavirus, it would be pointless for the two candidates to attack each other on past mistakes, and debate on whether the ACA should be overturned or improved', and whether the federal minimum wage, should be raised to $15 or $12, when McConnell's Senate keeps it at $7.25 Sanders might stop referring to the Democratic "Establishment" as just as corrupt, greedy and tied to "Wall Street" as the Republicans, and Biden should never say, "I see my time is up."

  108. I'm no expert in American politics but I'm just gonna say this, in light of the upcoming Biden vs. Sanders debate: they should get together on a single ticket. I don't see any other option that stands the slightest chance of knocking down Trump in November. #bidensanders2020

  109. With the support of 20% of Democrats and 10% of America’s voters you can’t win nor achieve anything but you can make a lot of noise and disrupt a lot of things, which ultimately helps Trump. Mr. Sanders: please exit.

  110. It's wishful thinking that Bernie, not even a Democrat, will join with Biden in fighting to end Trump's rule but I would love to see that. However I think Bernie sees this as his chance to beat up Biden and maybe weaken Biden. Bernie will stay in until the end and perhaps, again, help Trump win another 4 devastating years. The debate should not happen; it only gives Bernie a platform to yell and attack and weaken Biden. Bernie has definitely now lost the nomination but he will probably help Trump win. My first choice was not Biden but I support him now. He is what a president should be. I would like to see Bernie be more active in the Senate and to change from an anti-gun control person to one that supports gun control.

  111. Many people will be watching the debate. But let’s be honest. They will mostly be Democrats. How can we make sure some Republicans watch? We need them to vote for a Democrat in November. Text or email or call your friends who are Republicans and make sure they watch. We have to do everything we can to get a Democrat in the White House.

  112. Nobody asked Joe Biden to quit when he was losing. Nobody should ask Bernie Sanders to quit when he's losing. There's still eight months of politics to go before the election. Anything can happen and probably will. Most important, this is Bernie's moment to show Americans how right he's always been about the most vital presidential issue - getting health care for all as a right. Obama and Biden had eight years to get it done and failed. It's very doubtful that Biden is willing or able to get it done should he become president. Since at least 2015 it's been Bernie Sanders and his progressive policies that have been head and shoulders above and ahead of every other politician in the US. Don't demand that Bernie give up when the race is only half run.

  113. Neither Biden or Sanders should have even run. They should have let others lead. The best moderate was Buttigieg and the best liberal was Warren. That would have been a debate worth tuning into. It's funny how all politicians think they are the one. Democrats again have missed the best. A thing they are really good at. This makes sense though, when you realize how old the democrats voters are. I suspect that the actually registered democrats are even older than the people who vote in their primaries.

  114. The most illuminating debate I ever saw was during the 1992 primary. Bill Clinton and Jerry Brown had been throwing mud at each other in a vicious fight for New York. Debate moderators didn't help. Talk show host Phil Donahue offered to host one last debate. Instead of throwing questions at them he sat them down and told them to talk to each other. What resulted was a discussion between two intelligent men who disagreed on many issues but had the best interests of the country at heart. As a fervent Brown supporter I developed a reluctant respect for Bill Clinton--a respect which helped me overcome my dislike for him when it came to November. I would love to see the CNN anchors step out of the way, ditch the gotcha questions and let the candidates talk. Unlike Bill and Jerry these guys actually don't hate each other. Indeed were it not for the issue of age they could make a rather nice unity ticket. If the idea is to unite the party behind the winner then letting voters hear the other guy's views from his own mouth and could be a very good thing.

  115. What kind of policies will the two Democratic candidates propose in such an emergency? It is a good chance for the party members to judge which candidate is appropriate for the leader of the country. If both of the candidates can’t show more effective policies than Trump, it is hard for Democrat to recover the presidency.

  116. Based on what I'm seeing in the posts, I think Bernie should cancel the debate. The Biden faction will expect an endorsement, and that will not sit well with Bernie's people, who are in it through the convention at this point. Far better to call it off.

  117. I'm hoping the debate is called off, and if it's not, that one of them decides against participating. People don't want to see a debate, period. It's not the moment for this. Maybe in a month.

  118. Debate Question that would unite the party and spark some humorous responses: can we actually believe that Trump took a Coronavirus test, or that he tested negative, simply because a doctor signed off on it? A doctor also signed off on him weighing 239 pounds and anyone with eyes can see that this is a big fat lie.

  119. Bernie Sanders lost. He lost states he won in 2016. He is here to destroy the Democrats party and it makes me very very scared. I wish that he would drop out. He LOST. It's over.

  120. Once again, Biden is wrong in his analysis of coronavirus. It does indeed discriminate based on zip code, gender, income, and most especially age. People with no paid leave still must come in to work if they are to keep their jobs, let alone their paychecks. Biden continues to demonstrate that he is clueless. Here is the question: would four (?) years of Biden really be preferable to four more years of Trump? Trump is many undesirable things, but he's not senile. He is a known quantity. He has actually disagreed with the traditional Republican party line on trade, Social Security/Medicare, and hawkish foreign policy. And the Democratic party has vigorously opposed him with their own agenda. Biden has expressed willingness to "work with" the Republican Congress, as he has indeed over and over again in his long career. Keep the Hyde amendment? Why not, he always supported it. Cut Social Security? It's for the program's own good, man. Yet as he lets the Republicans set the agenda, as Clinton and Obama did, the Democrats will be powerless to push back against their own president. And unlike Clinton, Obama, and Trump, Biden has become so mentally feeble that he will be subject to the influence of whatever unelected power brokers he becomes surrounded with. So think twice before you nominate President Ham Sandwich. It's not too late to go with the real Democrat, the FDR Democrat, who until only recently was the frontrunner. Either that, or some may go with Trump.

  121. I sense some moving of the goalposts and resetting of the bar in order to shame Sanders if he goes after Biden in the debate. If he does, we'll hear a chorus of moderate pundits shouting, "How dare he do that in such a time of crisis! Has he no shame? That's not presidential. He needs to drop out of the race." The establishment media is already circling the wagons around their boy Joe.

  122. Primaries are being delayed due to health concerns, leaving Democrats without a candidate while the Republicans go full tilt boogie into their vile campaign. Can someone please convince the angry, arm-waving old man to give up so Democrats can get on with it? Or do we have to suffer another cliff-hanger into the summer?

  123. Vice President Biden: Invite Senator Sanders to be your Secretary of Ethics. Invite him to sit with the Cabinet. His mandate would be Speak Truth To Power. He will have your ear. Senator Sanders: You have been called an Old Testament Prophet. Your sincerity is widely acknowledged, even by those who oppose your policies. You are the voice of the havenots. As Secretary of Ethics you and your many followers will serve as a counterweight to greed. Follow the money. It's your calling. Wear the sackcloth proudly.

  124. "Let the process play out. A candidate will be chosen at the convention." No. The Republicans have already begun their campaign. We cannot afford to fight amongst ourselves for the next 3 months while the Republicans continue destroying the country. Also please note who is cancelling primaries in the South. Hint: It's people who have good reason to fear the black vote. And don't imagine they won't pull the same stunt in the general. Democrats simply cannot allow this intraparty squabbling to continue.

  125. A possible exercise in futility orchestrated by 2 men who are, in different ways, tough to comprehend. Biden supporters will pray that their guy doesn't sound too unhinged. If they had their druthers, Joe's people would keep him hidden under a barrel for the duration. As for Bernie, well, he has never made much sense to those tethered to reality. His ideas are so bizarre, not necessarily wrong but bearing no relationship to the real world, that they are easily dismissed. OK, maybe not "easily" but simply won't work given the math. So: one has to wonder, with the large talent pool available, why it all boils down to this thin gruel.

  126. Sanders wonders why his young followers don’t vote. He’s offering, among other things, free health care and free college. These are things many of them already enjoy through a previous arrangement. It’s called “parents”.

  127. The debate boils down to two issues: Can Biden heal the breach in the Democratic Party and secondly can he dispel persistent rumors and questions about his cognition. If he can do those two things he will have smooth sailing ahead; if not there is trouble aplenty ahead for Democrats.

  128. I was a Bernie supporter but I now want Bernie to drop out. In the last 3 weeks, Bernie lost 14 states by wide margins. He has no credible path to the nomination. What Bernie can do - & what he's doing - is keeping Biden involved in the Democratic primary campaign long past the point where he's a viable candidate. With the country reeling in a national emergency & watching Donald Trump blow this, the patriotic responsible thing Bernie could do is drop out & vow to enthusiastically support Biden & help him defeat Trump. That Bernie is stubbornly continuing his campaign & this debate - so viewers can hear Bernie make the same points he's been making for 6 years - is folly. Beyond that, it shows a stubbornness & self-absorption that is useless in this crisis. I have lots of problems with Biden. He's not my dream come true. But in his speech on coronavirus last week, Biden appeared calm, intelligent, honest & presidential. That's a good contrast for Democrats while we watch the hapless president flailing & lying to the American people. The only thing in the way for Biden to keep distinguishing himself in this crisis as a real leader is Bernie's insistence that he needs to stay in the race & get more attention. Bernie's demanding more attention. I resisted the complaints in 2016 that Bernie was hurting Hillary by staying in long after he'd lost the nomination. They were right. Bernie's doing it again. Drop out now, Bernie. This from one of your longtime supporters.

  129. Could this debate open with War's "Why can't We Be Friends". some toe taps, elbow taps and fist bumps as greetings? To show confident leadership in a crisis can smile, and give reason for the people to be confident in them. Those guys got it down, they got a plan of action. Gonna be tough, but, we will make it. That's it.

  130. All I want from this debate is for Biden and Sanders not to somehow manage to shoot the Democratic Party in the foot for the 2020 election.

  131. Will one of the objective journalists at the debate ask Biden why the Obama/Biden administration waited until 1K Americans had died to declare a national emergency regarding H1N1?

  132. To Bernie Sanders: Many of us think you helped Trump after feeling Hilary had unfairly dealt with you. Now it is your chance to defeat Trump by joining with Biden, sacrificing your ego and showing a possibility of generosity. It is important for you to do this !!! Your hatred of billionaires isn't enough to deal with our current tragic circumstances. Please think communally for once.

  133. I hope some one will ask them to raise their hands if they will decriminalize illegal entry and give illegals free healthcare as they all did at the first debate. Given our current mess the mass immigration/ open borders platform needs a rethink from the democrats. Borders and a well thought out immigration system may not be the terrible things they’ve been portraying them as.

  134. Sanders will pivot everything to healthcare.....that is important but Universal healthcare is just that...healthcare for whole universe. Not a rallying point for country to get behind..and besides unless the healthcare he gets is what is made available to all... That’s more inequality...like to see him answer that question...besides the inability to explain how it gets paid for.. Maybe talk about Tort law..that should end his career... He’s a one trick pony...

  135. Both men are auditioning for the job of president in the middle of a pandemic. One man supports universal healthcare and paid sick leave. The other candidate, Biden, opposes both. Biden’s record is awful, his plans are non-existent. Democrats can nominate him... doesn’t mean I’ll vote for him