A Debate for This Moment of Utterly Warranted Panic

The coronavirus has changed everything.

Comments: 249

  1. Since Biden has now incorporated most of Sanders' positions-free college, medicare for all lite, ban fracking- what's the difference. Lost my vote.

  2. Lost my vote equals a vote for trump and a vote against democracy.

  3. @bill walker Let me give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you are speaking of the PA primary vote and that you will, in November, vote for Biden if he is the nominee. We can hope and pray we will survive the current situation if a Democrat takes office on January 20, 2021 but if not, all could be lost.

  4. He will do non of them. He will govern as a Republican just like Obama.

  5. I suppose in the light of the pandemic, a fundamental reform of even three, four aspects of US-American life (as Sanders proposes) will be shelved - suits the establishment. I say: OK, let Biden win if it is more comforting to the voters, but let Sanders' policies be incorporated. It's not the man so much as his ideas that are essential.

  6. @Prof Dr Ramesh Kumar Biswas. This is my conclusion, too. Whether it’s the Coronavirus or Trump’s behavior and agenda, Democratic voters seem to be searching for comfort. But it saddens me that Democrats can’t seem to do two things at once: rid themselves of Trump and install a knowledge-based administration to tackle problems like a pandemic AND at the same time restructure our society to avoid future existential threats. There is no reason why the president we elect in November cannot make much more progress on climate change, income and wealth inequality, healthcare for people rather than profits for corporations and shareholders, and a host of other issues. And this isn’t dependent on just the president; after all, electing a president without simultaneously changing the composition of Congress to not just Democratic, but Progressive Democratic will be a recipe in frustration for those of us wanting a more just and equal society. Democrats seem to be too timid, or too worried about the health of their investments.

  7. @Prof: his policies are what put a ceiling on his support

  8. @Jeffrey Lance Yes, the warmongering, Wall Street supporting, status quo protecting Establishment and its media have the clout to limit Sanders support. Sanders policies have majority support, but the Establishment has worked ferociously to kill Sanders candidacy, constantly disparaging Sanders,his policies, and his electability. A vote for Biden, would be a vote for accepting the values of the Establishment and its media...

  9. Biden's commitment to a female v.p. is pandering and paternalistic. By guaranteeing a female v.p. he eliminates, without consideration, other, possibly better, choices. The choice should be made based on who is best for the job, not their gender. As a female, this declaration tells me the missionary position is still the preferred one.

  10. It means he’s already asked someone who has agreed. He’s not going to say who it is until he’s the nominee.

  11. @susanp723 It has long been true that we have an abundance of extremely well qualified female leaders, and here's to Joe Biden for making that commitment. He would have had my vote before doing that but he'll have it with great enthusiasm now.

  12. @susanp723 It's not pandering or paternalistic, it is long overdue and there is no man out there who is better prepared and qualified than any of several women who come to mind as excellent choices.

  13. The debate, while civil, felt out of touch with the current reality. Events of the last month have changed the dynamic of nearly everything; and I wish that they had dedicated more time to plans and assurance of leadership about the epidemic which is inside our doors. Biden's promise of a woman as V-P felt tone deaf and unnecessary under the circumstances. Now that the debating is over, let's get working on what is truely important to us all... the health of our families and our country.

  14. @Helen Of course it is tone deaf for Biden to promise to have a woman VP, but cynical Dems love to hammer the identity politics. Biden will likely pick Kamala Harris, (yes the same Kamala Harris that neglected to prosecute Steve Mnuchin, then with One West Bank when she was California AG.) Kamala will of course conveniently forget about her woke identity politics moment when she took Joe Biden out to the woodshed in a debate. Let's be real. If the Democratic Party cared about empowerment as more than a virtue signal then Tulsi Gabbard would have been on that stage. Weird how the DNC kept a woman off the stage to let the old white guys sort things out.

  15. Nice analysis Frank. This debate certainly seemed more like a debate than any of the others in recent years, which have largely become reality shows.

  16. @margaret ackerman If you wanted a serious debate, then have it on CSpan or public TV or YouTube with no ads, no interruptions, and moderators that are not trying to "jazz things up" for Jeff Zucker et. al behind the curtain. However since there is no function in our society that cannot be reduced to a craven money grab, or a DNC coordinated chess game to get their centrist through to the general, this does not happen. We are a deeply un-serious country.

  17. The line about Italy having single payer health care was effective ... because it plays to the American smugness that we are better than those foreigners. It does not address the questions of whether our pandemic will be bigger or better without universal access to healthcare. I wonder if that line will sound so good in a month or so when we see the uninsured coughing in our streets.

  18. @Gerard Among nations with large numbers of cases, America has the best mortality rate. Our healthcare system is among the best in the world.

  19. @John - I wouldn't be so quick to boast. This is early days. I hope you are staying safe and encouraging those around you to do the same.

  20. @Gerard How should societies deal with coughers who roam? Those found in public spaces, those who stray away from where they've been advised to self quarantine and those in marketplaces, both as shoppers and shelf stockers ?

  21. The simple truth is that today we need a Joe Biden. (Of course, "today" means January 20, 2021, and a lot of things will happen before then.) Tomorrow, however, after we recover from the coronavirus and the global recession or even depression it causes, we need a Bernie Sanders … like in 2024. Hopefully, after having served for four years as vice president, she will take over.

  22. Sanders has had his last hurrah, his farewell address. It i snow high time to rally around Biden and push him across the finish line. I hope Sanders concedes in the very near future and asks Bernie Bros to throw their support to Biden. To show unity and the dire need to oust Trump, Sanders also needs to start campaigning for Biden. Trump is a bigger crisis than the corona-virus and needs to be defeated. Can we move the calendar to November right now?

  23. Biden guarantees Trump another term. Biden won’t win.

  24. @Misplaced Modifier Thanks for Today's Chuckle.

  25. I was struck by how ahead of the times Bernie Sanders has been on multiple issues that came to pass including voting against the Iraq War, allowing gay marriage, increasing minimum wage, free college tuition, and warming relations with Cuba. Unlike most politicians, he not only has a clear vision of what the future should look like, but has been brave enough to stand alone on his ideals. Bernie Sanders would make a great leader.

  26. Good points for sure. But I felt Yang was the one with the most realistic grip on how to deal with future changes to the economy and our way of life.

  27. @Karen Does that include immigration reform? NO. Does that include gun control? NO. Sanders is not a leader. He has not been able to lead any other Democratic Senators to join him to pass any legislation that would further his revolution. If you think a leader shoves his ideas down our throats you might as well stick with Trump.

  28. @Karen actually, you have it wrong; yes, Bernie's ideas and ideals are great; but that is not what makes a great leader. And it is why he has never been able to get any of his larger ideas passed into law. Maybe in a different political system he would do better.

  29. Still not a word about infrastructure and the revitalization of cities. So much time spent on old votes while the people of Flint, Michigan are still lining up to receive their ration of bottled water.I

  30. @Valerie Elverton Dixon I believe that the current world wide health crisis is overriding most of everything else. I agree your concerns are important and have been important for a few years, but Corvid19 has shown itself to be a pretty nasty piece of work. It spreads fast and as a new illness can and is wrecking havoc across the planet. I am 69 years old and retired I spent most of my life working in healthcare facilities I don't recall any time where healthcare staff are getting ill in spite of protective clothing and procedures. The U.S. is lagging behind the world in this situation as the Administration was framing this as a political attack on the POTUS. And that's a shame... Just an old white man's opinion...

  31. @Valerie Elverton Dixon 60 Minutes did an update on the Flint Lead Poisoning Scandal. Former Gov. Snyder and some of his associates should be in prison.

  32. @Valerie Elverton Dixon Agree with you about Flint. As a family doc I saw kids hurt by eating just a few flakes of lead paint: it's sweet!! But we need a Democrat as President to do anything, anything at all for our people. Please work for Democrats and then LEAN HARD!!!

  33. The bottom line is that the person elected president in 2020 will appoint federal judges and Supreme Court justices. That person needs to be someone who is not named Trump. Voters will face a choice in November and it does not matter to me one bit what anyone said about Castro or Social Security years ago. I will gladly vote for whoever is nominated by the Democratic Party. In my view, Trump must go.

  34. @Phil Dunkle barring some catasrophe, if either biden or sanders become potus, appointing scotus justices will be irrelevant. there are five conservatives now. the most likely opening is for RBG's spot, not a conservative.

  35. @Phil Dunkle But if the Senate still has a Republican majority, and especially if McConnell continues as majority leader, I could see the Republicans doing to any Supreme Court nominee what they did to Merrick Garland. They truly have no shame and no respect for the oath they took to uphold the Constitution.

  36. @Phil Dunkle That's not the bottom line if you are working class. Please see graph 2 at: Bit.ly/EPI-study The median wage has been flat for 48+ years, despite GNP growth of 150%, nearly 90% of the gains going to the <1% - the people paying Biden to run. Since some wages have gone up (health/tech) & some in good unions have floated (7%), the vast majority of Americas 160 million workers have had to suffer 48+ years of declining expectations, triggering opioid crisis, protofascism & Trump. These people's lives have already been ruined. What do they care about the disposition of federal judges. That's a 1st world problem. Congratulations on being bothered by that. The working class of this nation face something closer to 3rd world problems. Your ignorance or indifference to that IS the problem. And Joe Biden is a perpetuation of that problem, not the answer to it.

  37. There were a few things made clear by last nights debate. It was much more informative and effective than the ineffective, unwatchable "made for Reality TV" shows that brought us to this place in America. Watch the HRC documentary. Would we be in this mess without those awful "debates", debates which allowed Trump to prop up one of the great nonstories of the past 50 years, the "emails", second only to Obama's birth certificate? Both men actually explained in enough detail to inform without hysterics. Refreshing. Then Biden demonstrated the benefits of experience, a forgotten metric in politics.

  38. I don’t think Trump will debate Biden (or Sanders). It’s another tradition that he’ll try to gut, because he has nothing to gain from it and a lot to lose. (I hope public pressure forces him to do it.) Hooray for Biden! (And Bernie.) He’s NORMAL. He has empathy and respects experts and loves his country. That’s enough for me!

  39. @Ker Biden's experience also counts hugely.

  40. @Ker Not enough for me:He is a very week candidate with a lot of baggage. He´s gonna get clobbered by the great bully. Just wait ´till the word comes up: HUNTER.

  41. @Ker I've said from the get go that Trump will refuse to debate the eventual Democratic nominee. He'll bellow "I'm the president. I don't have to prove myself to anyone." He's an insecure blowhard who knows he will look bad in a debate with the eventual Democratic nominee.

  42. Biden's whole shtick has been about restoring the nation to some gauzy recreation of the Obama years. That's what's euphemistically termed "healing". Well, things have changed irrevocably, and there's no going back. The pandemic has revealed all the flaws in the system that Bernie has been talking about his entire career, but which Biden's establishment buddies have been loath to acknowledge because it might cost them a few additional bucks in wages and taxes. Nobody is going to emerge from this wanting a return to those halcyon days of bank bailouts, crushing debt, and healthcare for the few. It still amazes me that Biden has made no real overtures to Bernie's supporters, assuming that they are outweighed by the country club republicans who'll flock to his candidacy. Even the sop of embracing Elizabeth Warren's bankruptcy law seems a little perverse, because it never addresses the underlying factors of student debt. Biden's thinking on most matters ossified around 1972 and hasn't evolved much since. Even surrounded by advisers who do see him as an anachronism, he is just too set in his ways to make any meaningful change, so instead, he expects us to change to accommodate his inflexibility.

  43. @stan continople Totally correct about Biden, in spite of which, let’s vote for him if he is the nominee. He is not the solution, but he is a step in the right direction.

  44. @Peter By every definition of the times, Biden is not the step in the right direction. 2013 wasn't that great, but even so, it is gone forever. Everything Bernie asks for a super majority want. Biden will deliver nothing of these. To 90% of the people Biden will deliver nothing. The only thing he can deliver is that he's not Trump. That's a pretty low bar.

  45. @Peter — No. At best, Biden is a step away from the wrong direction. Still, I'll vote for him.

  46. I was aghast that even during a pandemic, neither could mention that it's quality of care (including but not limited to whether there's a bed, a doc, a nurse, lab tech, and/or a vent around), not an insurance card, not industry profit margins, that determines whether the next critical case lives or dies. The government's mindless mazes and crony capitalism in everything from medical records to Medicare reimbursement models has spurred many early retirements, reduced the drug/device innovation we used to be known for, and wastes unbelievable time and money to meet truly Byzantine regulations. If we don't process this, any riff on "Medicare for All" (aka Mediocre Care for All) will only worsen both access and outcomes well past this pandemic. As for the golden fleece of single payor systems, I've been inside a few "top tier" hospitals under those systems. Access, yes. Quality? Not so much. Whatever the budget and red tape allows that day.

  47. @Renard And yet they deliver better patient outcomes by many measures at lower cost. I've also lived under a West European system and the folks there would never trade it for what the US has. So go figure. Maybe the question isn't whether or not to give decent health care to everyone, but how to do it. We aren't doing it now, so why should we stick with the current system? Mostly because the health care industry has us in choke hold.

  48. @Thomas The US healthcare system produces really good outcomes. America is at or near the top when it comes to many ailments, including cancer.

  49. @John the united states of america is somewhere around 35th in life expectancy and way down the list for infant mortality rates. it has tens of thousands of people die every year because they can't get health care or wait too late. i can't imagine citizens of any other developed country trading whatever their system is for america's. americans are still trying to enter the TWENTIETH century when it comes to health care.

  50. If we think this pandemic is bad, think about what climate change has in store for us, including more pandemics. My vote is still going to Bernie Sanders because that he continues to hammer home all the reasons why we need fair wages, paid family and sick leave and action on this climate crisis is the reason why he, not Biden, reassures me in the present time. To me, Biden seems like he is being propped up by the past, Bernie is willing to see into the future. Not me, us.

  51. @Leabharlannai But I hope you will vote BLUE in November. Trump has truly damaged America and a second term would be complete the disaster.

  52. @Leabharlannai I do hope Biden moves to the left on climate change, but I find his plans far more practical and effective. He has a firmer grasp on what kinds of immediate executive action he can take as President in order to combat climate change. Biden has communicated his intent to support a carbon tax (Highly recommended by experts, opposed by Sanders) and new nuclear technologies (HIGHLY recommended by experts, opposed by Sanders). With Sanders, I can expect a whole lot of talk and little action. Biden seems to recognize the real "not me, us" -- that climate change is a global issue, and it will take a global diplomatic effort to combat the crisis.

  53. The two national parties are going to offer Donald Trump, need I say more, or a Democratic candidate who has difficulty in putting two coherent sentences together more than one time. Fortunately, the Dems have passed on Sanders who would have been simply disastrous for the economy. A legitimate 3rd party will have a possibility to become a force in this country if the current trend continues regarding the quality of candidates. Perhaps, a good name for the new party might be the Common Sense party which is something that is missing in today's political discourse.

  54. get two people in a rooom and see if you can get agreement on what is "common sense" and you will know your new party is impossible.

  55. Bernie is right that we need big structural changes...now more than ever. Did either of them talk about WHY we are in the middle of a pandemic? It’s all about destruction of our planet, loss of natural habitat. This is likely only the first pandemic to hit the US hard, not the last. So yes we need massive changes in the way we live, not incremental change that will alleviate our short term anxiety, then back to life as usual. We desperately need a Green New Deal, Medicare For all and much much more. The American people and especially the establishment, democrats and republicans alike are still living in lala land. I am scared, not for myself, I’m 65 but very scared for my children and grandchildren. We were warned over and over that this would happen and we still don’t want to listen. It’s a fatal flaw of human nature.

  56. @Liz How can anyone fail to see the urgency for a green new deal and M4A? My partner was praising Biden last night and I lost any respect I still had for him. Moderation is not what we need right now.

  57. And I just heard on NPR a discussion about how the economy will suffer because of lack of consumer demand. Our whole system depends on demand that requires continued destruction of the planet. Where are the leaders we need right now... People brave enough to tell us that the worst is yet to come if we don’t face reality. We are going to have to learn the very very hard way with unimaginable human suffering.

  58. covid19 is not the first US pandemic. it was not caused by loss of natural habitat. you are the one living in la-la land.

  59. Contra Mr. Bruni, the takeaway from last night's debate is that the coronavirus is showing why we need a Bernie Sanders presidency more than ever. His message, pounded home again and again, is that the growing capture of all political and economic power by the "billionaire class" is driving the world into crisis -- as the response of our for-profit "health care" system to the coronavirus promises to illustrate. Donald Trump, the epitome of the predatory, con-man capitalist, has fumbled the federal response to the virus because his instincts are to prioritize profit-taking above all else. He cares nothing for the "little people" whose lives will be shattered. Joe Biden and his ilk -- call them "neoliberal Democrats" -- have been devoted servants of capitalists like Trump since the Clinton era. The choice between Sanders and Biden could not be more stark.

  60. @ando arike Thank you for this clear and concise contrast between the capitalist greed of Biden’s position and the humane position of Sanders.

  61. @ando arike unrestrained capitalism is literally incompatible with survival. Climate change, health care, automation. Socialism, or at least "Social democracy" vs. Barbarism

  62. Please, please, please, let that be the last debate. Let's move on, coalesce for Biden and focus only on defeating Trump.

  63. Why not coalesce for Sanders and move on?

  64. @Misplaced Modifier Because we want to win the White House, the Senate, the House and as many state and local offices as possible.

  65. @BMD Biden offers me nothing.

  66. That debate has now become almost irrelevant. Both Biden and Bernie are good men, capable of leading the country out of the mess we are in. Biden currently has the momentum, and it is time for all sensible Americans to get behind him, full stop. Our democracy, and our way of life, is literally at threat. First by Trump. And now, by Trump's grave missteps in losing precious time, a virus. We do not need rhetoric. We need calm, good governance, and science-driven policy. Biden can deliver.

  67. The lack of audience was a positive. We are giving Biden a pass now given the circumstances? This is the best we can do against Trump it seems, Biden resurrected out of fear of Sanders. We will hope Biden can get it done. And yet Sanders deserves a lot of credit and admiration. Credit for pushing the stubborn positions of the moderates, at least in argument. Sanders keeps attempting to counter the "we cannot afford this" with "we cannot afford to NOT do this" regarding urgent matters especially regarding those left out, healthcare (especially now), higher education, climate change and on... Sanders deserves admiration for selflessly pushing on with vigor, even after his heart event. All the while hate and criticism from all quarters heated up after it appeared he was in the lead.

  68. @Potter Sanders is in part the reason Trump is in office. There is no credit or respect that he deserves in my opinion. He's a one-trick pony that, fueled by an ego that compares with Trump's, refuses to stop pushing for the spotlight. And I have no doubt he'll be back in 2024, still railing against the 'corporate establishment' and assisting in another lost election.

  69. @MMNY This precisely what I mean about Sanders- hate. I don't understand it. Rationality would lead one to see that Sanders is far from "one trick" unless that so-called one trick is pushing for equality and a rebalanced democracy that includes all. "We are all in this together". Apparently the other candidates veering towards his positions think he has a point- a point which is also supported by the votes he has garnered. He has a responsibility to those who have not yet voted and to the issues he is pushing for (the Democratic platform). I doubt he will run again. Being swept aside summarily by those who are of your opinion would have made many angry and not done your cause any good.

  70. Two hours of what civil discussion and argument looks like. Two adults engaged in debate over national governance. How very American. We have a tradition of one-on-one political debates like Lincoln and Douglas and Kennedy versus Nixon. They are important now more than ever as we determine who can save this country from devouring itself. While I now support Joe Biden, I am grateful for Bernie's contributions: new approaches; uncovering the wounds of inequality; the selling of America to Wall Street and the plight of the working and middle class who struggle mightily in this wealthy country.

  71. Biden did not look like an adult. He laughed, mockingly at Bernie each time Bernie raised an objection. Bernie didn’t do anything like that. There was only one adult on the stage.

  72. "I suspect many Democrats tuned into this debate, almost certainly the last of the Democratic primaries, not to see Biden tested but to will him onward unscathed." Amen to that, Frank Bruni. I just wanted the assurance that Biden could handle two hours, one on one, with one of the best Democratic debaters there is. He could, and he did. In fact, he outperformed my expectations. Yes, it got tedious, and repetitive, and sometimes testy. But it never got even close to the level of mendacity, gaslighting, evasion, and lack of personal accountabililty shown by Donald J. Trump. There was a third person, actually, on that debate stage, a hulking moody presence who never spoke: the opponent Democrats face in a few short months. Covid-19 has changed everything, intensifying the stakes of this election.

  73. @ChristineMcM Agree with you about Flint: and about lead paint. Here in the Northeast, old houses are full of it. As a family doc I saw what it did to kids. One pea sized flake will cause brain damage. HOWEVER: to do anything about anything for anyone will require a Democrat as President. The Republicans will do nothing for anyone but their campaign donors. Work for Democrats and then Lean on Us real hard. Remind us, daily, of our responsibilities to our people.

  74. There was one vaguely interesting point in last night's debate. Sanders emphasized that the slow and inept US response to the the COVID-19 pandemic was an example of why Medicare for all is needed. Biden countered that Medicare for all wouldn't have prevented the present US crisis. In fact, Sanders is far closer to the correct answer. Just look across the border to Canada. COVID-19 is spreading exponentially, just like in the US. But in Canada you can get tested. In Canada there is a coordinated national framework and response. In Canada no citizen is worrying about how to pay for either testing or treatment. COVID-19 is still a serious challenge in Canada, but it doesn't have all the excess baggage superimposed on top of the situation like in the US. On this issue, like many historical issues, Sanders is again on the right side of the argument and Biden isn't.

  75. @Roget T /I agree completely. The US is in serious trouble. We are not prepared for this.... Our feeble, for-profit, publicly-owned corporations that make up our healthcare system, from HMO's to hospitals to supply chains all take a piece. This results in the poorest outcomes of all developed nations while we pay the most of it. American families will face financial ruin the likes of which haven't been seen since the Great Depression, and healthcare costs and ill-preparedness for a crisis like this will be a keystone in their ruin. . .

  76. @Roget The US mortality rate is equal or better than other nations with a significant number of cases. That includes nations with single payer healthcare systems. A 1.8% mortality rate is exceptional under the circumstances.

  77. @John yeah, good luck with that thought, we're just beginning to hit the slope of the curve

  78. Of course Bernie kept coming back to the need for a PERMANENT robust social safety net for all Americans including some form of PERMANENT decent health care for all Americans. Because millions of Americans are in a crisis every day, irrespective of the coronavirus. And because if we HAD a robust social safety net and decent health care for everyone already in place, we wouldn't have to scamble so hard to get things in place now. Biden says we need to stand up these things on an emergency basis, but he doesn't actually have a detailed plan to get it done because we don't have one as a nation. Whereas, we wouldn't be starting from ground zero if we already had much of the infrastructure in place. It would still be a stretch, but systems would be there.

  79. @Thomas The problem with healthcare is that the underinsured and the uninsured get sick and they spread their illness to the insured. Back in the late 19th century they discovered that open sewage was the source of cholera. The solution wasn't to just give sewers to the rich neighborhoods but to all neighborhoods. It's also the compassionate thing to do. The current healthcare system makes absolutely no sense except if you are a for profit insurer.

  80. @Thomas Biden’s detailed plan to get it done is to have Warren be his v.p. She has plans and the wherewithal to see them through.

  81. @Ichabod Aikem from your mouth to God's ears. I will be very, very surprised if he chooses Warren. Probably a more moderate woman will be chosen, since Biden has promised "nothing will fundamentally change" and if Warren has executive power, things would most definitely fundamentally change (hence Bloomberg entering the race as soon as she was gaining traction).

  82. Joe didn’t seem calm to me. He has a tough time taking criticism. And it showed. And let’s be clear...he has absolutely put social security cuts on the table. So I don’t think he was honest about that.

  83. We saw this differently as Bernie being for the most part completely unable to lay aside his bid for the nomination and being willing to stick in the knife at every opportunity. Even when Biden had only quietly said a sentence or two, Bernie's mouth was hanging open, he shifted his feet and appeared intense and wanting to overwhelm Biden and the country with his unarguably great debate gifts. Did anyone notice that after the debate, just as Warren had refused a hand shake, Biden calmly walked over to Dana Bash at the table and began talking to her, ignoring Bernie completely. Bernie was forced to walk unceremoniously away.

  84. Biden ignoring Bernie shows his true colors.

  85. The debate was anticlimactic to begin with, given that Biden crushed Sanders on Super Tuesday and in the subsequent primaries. Throw in the ongoing and worsening coronavirus crisis, and I couldn't help but feel as I watched the debate that the candidates' real attention was elsewhere. If that was the case, I don't blame them.

  86. I hope future debates will have no audiences. This one was refreshing - no pandering to the audience, well controlled by the both the panelists and the debaters.

  87. I actually liked the fact that there was no audience. When an audience is present the debate becomes a circus.

  88. @RHA Agree. All the debates need to do this.

  89. @RHA It wasn't just the lack of an audience - there were 5 less candidates then the last debate. Strange, how the DNC waited this long to reduce the number of candidate from 7 to just 2 candidates. I wonder why?

  90. Frank, I had the sense that both candidates missed an opportunity relative to the crisis. They went along with the 'we will get through this' narrative. On Sunday, nearly 250 Italians died in one day! Nobody and no country has tremendous control over the pandemic. America, with its dysfunctional, unequal, inaccessible health systems will not be able cope with the pandemic when it hits the elderly and other vulnerable groups. Over here, I'm being challenged by people who can't understand why it takes less than a week to finance illegal wars, bail out banks, corporate welfare and tax cuts; all the while, when the national social and health safety net is actually flat on the floor.

  91. Biden will provide the calm and assuring leadership that Americans need during a crisis like this. Bernie Sanders would cause panic and anxiety. It’s not Sanders’ style to be reassuring.

  92. "But there was something strained and strange about Sanders’s repeated pivots from the pandemic to income inequality, from the pandemic to corrupt pharmaceutical executives, from the pandemic to how many millionaires and billionaires have contributed to Biden’s campaign. The world has been transformed; the script remains the same." Bernie's script has remained the same since the 1970s. Last night's debate put that fact in stark relief. During the debate, he referred to his past votes in the House and Senate as indicators of his "leadership." In the context of his performance last night and throughout his presidential campaigns, they are more accurately indicators of his particular worldview. We already have a president whose messaging and policies are directed toward just one segment of the electorate. Merely changing the script won't accomplish anything.

  93. So you didn't see the knife go in, Frank? (E tu Brute on the Ides of March no less). After the debate David Chalian of CNN said it is not at all clear how the Democratic convention will go. Dana Milbank has written of Bernie: he is now a spoiler. Jake Tapper appeared to give Bernie a very long leash and the World Vision moderator skewered Biden on his lack of support from Hispanics. Only Dana Bash appeared to moderate the debate impartially. My take is that Tapper is more interested in ratings than in defeating Trump. An ongoing fight helps the ratings.

  94. Leonie You're right to critique the CNN moderators. The network has lost some of its journalistic integrity by having 'reporters' (they are news presenters and analysts, not journalists) convene these panels where uniformity of opinion is stressed and talkers (David Gergen excepted) race to see who can skewer candidates, all in the name of objective reportage. I'm not buying it. PBS News Hour is the standard by which journalism can be measured. All other networks genuflect in their own sly ways to dollars and to feeding the hysteria. Watch with care.

  95. We needed a revolution from FDR to address the Great Depression and his call for drastic change to help stop it from happening again. In a pandemic with no universal health care or adequate job and wage protections, we need a revolution right now. And we need drastic, not incremental, steps to protect our planet to help prevent future pandemics. Mr. Sanders is what America needs right now. P.S. As a woman, I too, cringed at Biden's sudden, pandering announcement that he will pick a female running mate. At least, I suppose, he didn't say he had "binders full of women."

  96. @Sharon FDR was a pragmatic liberal who was willing to try anything to address two of the worst crises in US history. He wasn't a revolutionary.

  97. Precisely because FDR was willing to try anything to save the country from the economic catastrophe that had befallen it, he launched what amounted to revolutionary change. Is Biden willing to try anything to save the country from the multiple catastrophes that threaten the country and the world? I earnestly hope so. That would be true pragmatism.

  98. @NA — You don't get smarmyness that good except from a practiced professional. Sanders is no revolutionary. And his accomplishment transforming the Democratic Party's agenda was a product of pragmatic politics of the highest order.

  99. Unmentioned in this article, or others I've read this morning, is that Sanders emphasized leadership as a key distinction between himself and Biden, pointing out that the ups and downs in Biden's record reflect his tendency to go with the flow and follow along. Sanders, by contrast, stood firm in support of protecting Social Security and voted against the Iraq war instead of following the crowd. In other words, Sanders has vision and is a real leader. But he's not one to attack. I think he went easy on Biden in the debate. It's true that Biden did not do anything embarrassing, and he is miles beyond Trump. He may be proof that nice guys can win.

  100. @SRF Sanders is an opposition figure, not a leader. He has affected very little change and authored very little legislation that has passed during his long tenure in congress. A leader can unify America to face the threat of pandemic that we are now going through. Sanders as President would cause panic, anxiety, and division instead of assuring Americans. Biden is the man we need to bring out the best in Americans.

  101. @John Sanders' ideas were adopted by all of the Democratic candidates to one degree or another. He has changed the conversation, putting universal health care and free education on the table, and rightly pointing the dominance of corporate money in our society and democracy. He championed these ideas when no one else was doing it, and the movement he founded earned such widespread support that he came close to being the Democratic nominee twice, even though he is not himself a Democrat in the card-carrying sense. THAT is leadership. Biden may well be more of a unifier, and I will certainly support him.

  102. No audience was also my takeaway. Its not a reality show. The at home-TV audience could more easily focus on their words not their landing of punches to audience cheers. Of course only 2 on the stage also makes a difference. I hope that the networks rethink how they present these important public moments.

  103. "You can’t tell Americans to pull together at this frightful juncture if you’re pushing them apart." That, for me, is the most important sentence in this piece. Trump does not know how to pull people together other than stirring hate to unite those for whom hate appeals. We do not presently have a national leader to pull us together. We must do it ourselves to support the battle against the corona virus and cooperate with the efforts of our state and local leaders.

  104. @blgreenie This is why Biden is the best choice. He is hands down the best man to unify Americans when we need it the most.

  105. And remember We still need to flip the Senate and get rid of McCOnnell A huge priority to moving the country forward This means eliminating the filibuster for all legislation if the GOP CONTINUES THEIR OBSTRUCTION Biden gives us our best chance to do that

  106. These two guys were debating their Senate votes from 30 years ago. This is what we're left with? Way to go, Dems.

  107. @Carol Colitti Levine Sanders record is that of opposing progress. He has passed very little legislation and usually only serves to stand in the way of the incremental changes that we need. It’s not a time now to let one’s own personal ideology stand in the way of positive change. That’s why Biden is the best choice.

  108. Late last night, walking through a grocery store to pick up a few things, food items on the shelves in some cases were empty but there was a large abundance of food still available. Moving over to the paper section was another story, shelf after shelf empty. The fear of the coronavirus understandable as it is, causing panic to hoard, will be nothing compared to the devastation the climate change has the potential to cause in the future. Rest assured there will be devastation when food supplies are greatly affected and in short supply. The coronavirus will in time abate, even at tremendous costs, nothing will come close when climate change peaks, the return to anything close to normalcy could take centuries.

  109. Sanders has to step up, recognize that he will not be the candidate, and then go full blast getting his people to the polls to vote out every Republican everywhere. The price will be substantial Sanders input to the planks of the platform. It is only if we Democrats hold the White House, the Senate, and the House that ANY reconstruction can occur.

  110. @Bailey T. Dog Yeah, that really worked last time. Progressives warned Dems about Hillary. They nominated her anyway. She lost. Then they blamed progressives for the loss. Once again Progressives are warning the Dems. Once again they are keen to nominate Hillary 2.0. When Biden loses, once again, Dems will blame Progressives. You can't do the bidding of <1% and expect to get a majority vote where it counts (in the rust belt).

  111. @Bailey T. Dog no way. This is 2016 all over again, and it failed then. Sanders should not endorse biden unless biden agrees to implement medicare for all, a wealth tax, reform of the tax code, and a sane approach to climate change including a carbon tax, at MINIMUM. That is how he can serve american citizens best - Holding biden's feet to the fire. His supporters are his leverage to get a better future for all of us.

  112. The president will never get it and only a few members of the GOP get it. They remain in power through fear, not togetherness that creates a better country.

  113. I agree that for many Democrats, we tuned in with fingers crossed that Joe Biden would hold his own clearly and without muddle. I think that he succeeded on that score. I was disappointed that discussion about the virus did not discuss enough of Trump's failures in this regard in the apparent total lack of pandemic preparedness on a national level and the dissolution of the Pandemic Response team. We can look to Korea for that- they knew it would come and they were ready for it when it did. We more than have the talent and capacity to do that; where was our federal government? This should be the straw that breaks the camel's back... a phrase that Biden might be apt to use.

  114. @Toro - Trump’s failures, missteps and outright lies regarding the pandemic (among other things) are very clear to all but his most ardent supporters and his advisers and cheerleaders on Fox News. The time to go after Trump and remind voters of his failures and his grifting will be during the general election and this will be the best time to also remind voters of the Republicans who enabled him. Last night was about who was the best leadership of the Democrats.

  115. @Stephen Hyland Thank you, Stephen, you are correct. And I'm sure it will come out. I'm just so anxious for us to move through the crisis and on to defeating Trump!

  116. Bernie has been a force in the Democratic Party because he diagnoses our problems really well. And for this we should be grateful. The issue, of course, is that he really isn’t a leader. He’s an antagonist. And we need a leader—one who can unite, comfort, hire well, compromise (yes!) to get meaningful legislation passed. We are not Canada. We are not Europe. Do I wish we had Medicare for all? Sure, but we won’t because we are who we are as a nation. Corporate interests are part of our national fabric and we should regulate heavily and tax appropriately but quit trying to make corporate America the enemy. Joe understands that being an American president requires a balancing act between idealism and pragmatism that many young people find morally repugnant but which is absolutely necessary to our functioning as a democracy. Accept the messiness. It’s what really makes America great.

  117. @Carol: Exactly right, thank you. Seems almost everyone I know expresses some variant of, "I agree with a good part of what Bernie says, but..." It's the "but" that makes all the difference, and explains Democratic voters' late, en masse break to Biden.

  118. @Carol Corporate interests are part of Canada and Europe as well, but unlike us, they DO regulate heavily and tax appropriately. That's the difference that Sanders has been advocating.

  119. @Carol For 40 years, Joe Biden has been a servant of corporate interests -- "part of our national fabric." He is part of the problem -- the dramatic shift away from the ideals and policies of FDR's New Deal to a government that serves the corporate oligarchy and throws the working class under the bus. This is not about a "balancing act between idealism and pragmatism," but about "Which side are you on?" Are you on the side of the One Percent or the vast majority? The Billionaire Class or the working class?

  120. What America needs is a leader that can bring Americans together and get the most out of the institutions we have, not someone who denigrates our system and divides us. This is why Biden is the answer we need.

  121. Bernie is a one-trick pony. This became increasingly clear during the debate. Biden, for all his (numerous) flaws, has much more to offer - or more accurately, much more of what we need right now. The revolution, while important, can wait.

  122. @JB what luxury, and privilege, to be able to say that. A revolution in health care cannot wait for the uninsured with crippling disease, or young folks starting out with crippling student debt; but more importantly, it cannot wait for us to halt climate change and restore biodiversity right NOW.

  123. Medicare for All, income inequality, and other issues are worthy of a debate on public policy, but right now we are in the early stages of a major public health crisis. We have two good candidates to choose from. Last night, one was focused on the problem right now while the other was focused on his policy playbook.

  124. Health care, for all, or for some, was the dominant issue of this campaign, and now we find ourselves in the middle of a pandemic. There is not doubt that universal health care, in whatever form, would be infinitely more helpful in saving lives during a pandemic that anything remotely similar to the US health care system. Biden's poke at Italy, was an extremely dishonest and misleading caricariture of the mayhem that is unfolding there. Europe's pandemic hotspot, with upwards of 250 mortalities daily, is not caused by an inadequate health system, private or public. We are talking about northern Italy, with high quality universal health care, and hospitals that are as good or better than most in the US. No system can handle an exponential explosion of critically ill, and I have deep fears that this will unfold in many localities in the US. Just a week or two of delay, and there is no way to catch up, the beds are simply not there. Each country is fumbling with their errors in reaction time and qualitative decisions to slow the spread or prepare for worst case scenarios, and I do sincerely hope that the US someone miraculously avoids another Milan, but I would not count on it. If it does, it will be based on luck, some fast and hard governmental decisions, and a whole lot of collective solidarity among its citizens, and not the structure of its health care system.

  125. @Steven Weiss The US has a strong healthcare system. America’s major challenge is how we fund our healthcare, not how well our system functions.

  126. I disagree. We do not have as many doctors or hospital beds per capita as other developed countries. Our system is disjointed & makes cooperation almost impossible.

  127. @Mary Sampson The US system could potentially be far superior at a time like this. What we need is healthy infected people using telemedicine as is becoming widely available in the US. It’s best to keep people who don’t need hospitalization out of hospitals to slow down the spread of disease.

  128. "...there was something strained and strange about Sanders’s repeated pivots from the pandemic to income inequality..." Sanders bases his appeal on describing the problems. His 'solutions' are painted only in broad strokes, with crucial details missing or relegated to promissory notes. When pressed on how he would actually bring about the changes in time for it to make an immediate difference, he reverts to describing the problem. In the same terms that we have been hearing for years now. He in no way transformed from gadfly to effective leader. And he pushed his case by attacking choices (which he allowed were pragmatic) made by Biden decades ago — playing a game of gotcha that amounted to a non sequitur at this stage in the game. Different times, different circumstances, different necessities. That is why the debate got him nowhere.

  129. Doug Thanks for your eloquent recap. Agreed, Biden has much work to do to reassure Sanders' supporters that he'll engage and lead as they wish on climate and health.

  130. @Greg Thanks -- with Sanders' constant refrain, "Why can't we have -- health care etc. -- that other developed countries have," that question must be explored in order to come up with actual, achievable steps toward those goals, rather than treating it as a rhetorical question with which to bludgeon all other contenders. Why can't/don't we have those things? What are the actual obstacles -- in specific detail (not just blaming 'billionaires' and corrupt influences) -- so that they can be addressed? What are the actual factors in American society that resist steps in those directions— especially the ones that CAN be changed, starting now (and how)? The biggest obstacle is for progressives to treat any form of incrementalism or pragmatic measures as a sin and betrayal of 'the cause.' As long as the question "Why can't we" is treated as a rhetorical tool to excite Sanders' followers and to dismiss Biden, we get nowhere. Biden indeed needs to reassure Sanders' supporters (and everyone in the Party and the US) that he'll engage and lead on climate and health — and will be effective in doing so if he does it more directly and honestly by identifying the obstacles that must be overcome. Starting with 'how to pay for it' — which is something he is already doing, and Sanders simply is not. And Sanders supporters need to accept, in the face of reality (i.e. the answers to the question Sanders constantly asks) that it won't happen the 'Sanders' way' of "revolution."

  131. @Greg I think it is clear that the Democrats (led by Biden) have to build a campaign that does not depend on the Bernie Democrats. Many of them are a lost cause. It is the Bernie way or the highway for them.

  132. Frank Bruni writes that, "there was something strained and strange about Sanders’s repeated pivots from the pandemic to income inequality, from the pandemic to corrupt pharmaceutical executives, from the pandemic to how many millionaires and billionaires have contributed to Biden’s campaign." I don't find it strained or strange at all. To me, the pandemic offers a visceral reminder that we need to create an economy, healthcare system, and government that serve every American. I will be relieved if Joe Biden ousts Donald Trump in November, but I will do not expect President Biden will seriously tackle economic inequality, our too-expensive healthcare system, or our broken and corrupt campaign finance laws. We face momentous, interconnected problems that require bold solutions, not a continuation of Democratic Party centrism.

  133. @Chris - but “bold solutions” are useless if you can’t get elected or, once elected, can’t get your bold solutions passed in Congress. LBJ, despite his failures regarding Vietnam, was an effective progressive who first demonstrated his effectiveness during his years in the Senate. Sanders has never demonstrated the leadership in the Senate he loudly declared we needed. As a candidate, he would be another McGovern or Stevenson. As a President, he would be another Carter — a decent but ineffective man.

  134. Bernie and his supporters believe that his unwavering support of democratic socialistic policies makes him consistent and credible. While I appreciate his dedication, the reason he was able to find so many inconsistencies in Joe's 40 year political career is that Joe is a politician--and that's not intended to be a pejorative. Over 40 years, attitudes change. So do priorities and even beliefs. Joe was an effective legislator and vide-president. He developed relationships. He compromised. He took some risks. That's politics and I'm looking forward to having a politician back in the White House.

  135. @Richard Winkler Exactly. Biden got stuff done while Sanders was unwavering and has little to actually show for all his time in congress.

  136. @Richard — Biden should have pushed back on Bernie’s leadership question by asking him to point to actual accomplishments in the Senate and to how Bernie managed to pull together other Senators to pass the legislation he proposes. Bernie talks a great game but how many times has he gotten the ball across the goal line? Bernie’s correct - we need a real leader, but it ain’t Sanders. That’s why I voted early in Florida for Joe. And Joe knows Trump blows!

  137. @Richard Winkler "He developed relationships. He compromised. He took some risks. That's politics and I'm looking forward to having a politician back in the White House." Risks like the Iraq War!? I'm sorry, but the fact that ANYONE who openly supported the Iraq War can get even a single Democratic vote, let alone have the success Biden has had in the primaries, shoes me, categorically, that I am not a Democrat. I came to the party only in 2015 to vote for Bernie. When Bernie exits the stage I will be exiting with him. I'm not alone.

  138. Biden was on his game last night, responsive and on point. But if I had one criticism it would be that he might have taken a moment longer to reassure Sanders voters that he understands their concerns and his candidacy takes their desires seriously. It is a time for unity not only for the nation but the democratic party as well.

  139. @just Robert "But if I had one criticism it would be that he might have taken a moment longer to reassure Sanders voters that he understands their concerns and his candidacy takes their desires seriously." Yeah, except he doesn't understand our concerns and has LITERALLY said that he has no empathy for us.....

  140. Bernie cares about his ideas, and he has a point that a crisis is an opportunity to prepare for the next crisis. Biden was unfair--and the press and Republicans--for trying to paint Sanders as a lover of authoritarian regimes. Yes, we can be glad that Cuba educated children and offered health care and still be appalled at human rights abuses. But politics has never been about nuance. And Sanders, I think, wanted to make the correction and at the same time, is enough of a politician to know why Biden was doing it. But I think both of them care not just about their egos and ideas, but about other people. And that sets them worlds apart from the current occupant of the White House, whose trumpet of me, me, me sounds especially hollow now.

  141. Bernie has Fought-The-Proverbial-Good Fight but the numbers are clear. The gap in delegates is going to widen state-by-state going forward. He can leave the field with his head held high-but Wednesday morning will be the time for him to do that.

  142. Now that the race is down to Joe and Bernie, Joe is polling consistently above 50% in most or all national and state polls. It is obvious, who will be the nominee. However, the vitriole about Joe by Sanders supporters just continues to amaze and frustrate. Many of them are willing to make the same mistake they made in 2016. The objective is to win the election not lose it. Our party sometimes works deliberately to pull defeat from the jaws of victory. Read your history sometimes it does repeat itself...I know....I worked hard for both McCarthy and McGovern.

  143. It was oddly comforting to hear the candidates discuss the coronavirus pandemic - not because they trivialized it, like Trump does, but because they understood the magnitude of what this health crisis means. It was a reminder that there are responsible leaders waiting in the wings.

  144. If Biden's evasions, inconsistencies and episodes of flawed judgment were correctly identified by Sanders why did that get a pass by the moderators? If Sanders raised fair, even necessary questions about whether, on issues like climate change, Biden’s proposals were more timid than the stakes demanded, why was Joe allowed to float above the details to paint a gauzier picture? Why is it strange for Sanders to repeatedly pivot from the pandemic to income inequality, to corrupt pharmaceutical executives, and to how many billionaires have contributed to Biden’s campaign? The connections are significant with regard to the severity and COMPLEXITY of the situation we find ourselves in with this pandemic. Biden's selective retellings and lavish sugarcoating of votes and comments he’s made in the past should not only alter the current trajectory of the Democratic contest but cause thinking people to take a hard look at who he really is. To state openly that the biggest question about Biden in this debate was whether he could keep his sentences from running out of gas on a road to nowhere exposes something that has mostly been understated among the MSM. Finally, if people are looking for results, Sanders made powerful cogent arguments for a smarter healthcare system, clean energy, affordable education, and other policies that are not reckless in the least but aspirational and necessary.

  145. Sanders promotes his voting record but not his legislative accomplishments. He has few. His legislative career is a lesson in how the perfect becomes the enemy of the good. His presidency would likely have been the same. He made no bad vote on a trade deal, but made no trade deals. He made no gains to better immigration policy because the legislation was imperfect. Would he similarly fail on climate change? Health care? He does not work well with others. FDR had 70 Dem senators vs. 26 Republicans in 1935. Biden will be lucky to have 51 Dem senators. A Sanders candidacy would have risked Pelosi losing the House majority. A populist demagogue shouting "We need a revolution!" is more exciting than a slogan of "Incremental change!" But that's what works in a Republic. I would have voted for Sanders against Trump. I think his oft repeated goals rally Republicans and can only be obtained incrementally. I know the exigencies of poverty, racism, climate change. I don't want righteous indignation or moral superiority in support of legislation that will not pass. I want to see them addressed. All Dems know health care is broken, the poor & middle class abandoned, the environment and Republic at risk. Get out of the race and do not aid Trump/McConnell in what is now a vanity tour. Conceed today and avoid risking citizens' health in the primaries. Quit taking money for a lost campaign that could otherwise support Dems in senate and House races. Enough!

  146. @JT - John Tucker incremental change has failed, at least economically - where it really matters. We have incrementally gutted the labor movement, chipped away at environmental protections, permitted the increase of essentials like health care , education, and housing to the point of becoming crippling; and adjusted tax policy to favor the creation of ultra-wealthy elites who can spend infinite dark money to craft laws of their design to benefit themselves. "Moderate" has shifted, such that FDR's policies seem like a revolution to us now. I want to see the real issues addressed also - but they have NOT been in any 'moderate' administration, and I do not believe they ever will.

  147. @JT - John Tucker A fantastic assessment of Sanders' many weaknesses. As a former supporter of his, I think Sanders is acute at recognizing and speaking on the many failings that have roiled American society. However, he has repeatedly failed to put forward an actionable plan. At some point, rhetoric needs to translate to policy to consensus to action. During the debate, Sanders had a whole lot of rhetoric, but very little insight into how to actually, actually, actually improve the lives of Americans. His attempts to address the Coronavirus crisis were vague and wanting, not reassuring in the least. Biden is exactly the leader we need to steer this ship on course and begin implementing the kind of progressive, practical policies that will actually make a difference in our lives.

  148. Some of yesterday’s debate felt gratuitous, particularly picking apart one another’s prior votes and words. What counts is what each potential president would do in the present and future. The most informative segments were about coronavirus. Each man showed that there are things we can do in the present to ensure that we have a future.

  149. Senator Sanders should now drop out and work his progressive causes through the candidacy of Joe Biden. Let us focus on healing the nation and getting rid of the virus, hate, and divisions dogging this exceptional county.

  150. Bernie did not learn the lessons of 2016. How can he expect to win the nomination of the Democratic party when he is a Democrat only at election time??? He doesn't put in the work for the party, campaigning and fundraising for down-ballot candidates. So why should Democrats and the Democratic party support him? If Sanders had formed his own party to run in 2016, he would have built an organization to support his ideas, and he would've challenged the Democratic party to become more progressive in order to compete.

  151. I didn't even remember that the debate was happening. Doesn't matter though. I'll vote for either Biden or Sanders, whichever one is the candidate in November, if I make it to November, that is. I'm almost 70, so in the in-danger age bracket, though my general health is good. We can't really count on the future now, can we? But, assuming we're past this crisis and some kind of normalcy is restored by fall, I hope to do my tiny part to kick all the Trumps to the curb, where they belong.

  152. I follow politics closely, through thick and thin. Although I regret it, 45 minutes into last night's "debate" rendered it utterly unviewable. My wife and I turned off the TV before turning in. What should have been a serious and somber conversation about the national exigency in face of an immediate crisis and a countrywide imperative thereafter descended into a food fight between two schoolboys. The food was well past its sell-by date. What a profoundly depressing pass for a country in desperate need of sober, thoughtful guidance! We found none of this tonight. That tonight's event devolved into such a circus was not primarily the fault of the moderators. After all they are not fifth grade recess monitors.

  153. I'm not looking for 'healing' if Biden is elected. I'm looking for a president who will spend the next four year ensuring that republicans never control anything ever again - at the local, state, and federal level. I want to see a new Attorney General prosecute every single republican who has broken the law during Trump's reign of terror.

  154. @Markymark Get real. None of this is going to happen, nor should it be a priority in a Biden presidency. Taking on the Republicans head-on is exactly the kind of mistake that Sanders would have made had he won. The intelligent thing to do is find and engage with the moderates, use the bully pulpit to marshal popular support, and find common ground to achieve actual lasting change. You may not believe that's possible, but the very fact that Biden is going to win this thing proves that many more people believe it is.

  155. @John Your recommendation would be fine if there were any moderates in the Republican party.

  156. @eksmom Don't confuse solidarity within the Republican party for a homogeneous hive mentality. Republicans tend to vote together when ideological extremes are thrust together. Outside of that, there is a clear record of certain Senators and Representatives breaking ranks on key votes. Either way, the fact remains that there are more moderates (both liberal and conservative) in this country than those in the ideological extremes.

  157. Biden put the nail in the M4A coffin last night, when he correctly pointed out that Italy's universal care system is faring no better than our own in the current crisis. Biden may give ground on other Progressive ideas, but he's savvy enough to know that M4A is neither practical, necessary or most importantly, a winning argument in the 2020 election. While Bernie comes across as a broken record, Biden shows off his political chops by navigating through challenge rather than trying to foolishly plow ahead, as Sanders so often does. Biden 2020.

  158. @John Our health care system has yet to be tested. Many a slip betwixt the cup and the lip.

  159. @John Two points: Italy has more hospital beds per capita than the US, and we are at least 10 days behind Italy in exponential growth. Testing wasn't limited to those with insurance, so Italy also had more confirmed cases per capita - you can't measure what you will not acknowledge exists. See how confident you remain in the US performance if we are unfortunate enough to follow the same disease progression.

  160. @John In fact Spain and France are doing no better than the US.

  161. Bernie has great goals -- health insurance, student loans, etc., but no realistic way to achieve them. Someday, perhaps in 30 years or so, they will be the law, but right now, getting rid of Trump is the only mantra we can subscribe to. Bernie would do the US and the world a great service if he bowed out under the understanding that Biden would sign legislation in Bernie's direction. And Bernie has to promise, as well as possible, to not hold his young and passionate voters to him and let them first campaign for Biden and then go and and vote for him. There is a hall for great Senators who never became President, and, if Bernie can throw his weight behind Biden, he'll be welcome next to the likes of Fulbright, Humphrey and Moynihan.

  162. Biden was presidential and positive - calm, open to learning and listening. Bernie was, as usual, alarmist and negative about how awful things are. Biden understands the kind of leadership the country needs in an unprecedented crisis. Sanders, with his eye on "revolution," does not.

  163. @Charles Michener The "revolution" is 90% twitter talk and nothing more. Sanders support has actually diminished, not increased. The greatest trick his campaign and his supporter pulled over the last year was pretending that they actually represented the "will of the people". The reality is that Sanders and his supporters remain a fringe movement, nothing more.

  164. Hopes that somehow the Corona Virus is an opportunity to turn around Sanders’ fortunes in the primary are misguided. Biden is still the likely nominee and our best chance to remove Trump and change congress. It’s time to keep an eye on the prize and that’s a win in November.

  165. I believe if one came at this debate looking for our next leader and not already convinced, it was extremely useful. Facing a unique crisis today, Sanders was basically unable to deal in specifics and constantly pivoted to his talking points about structural inequality. Sanders actually seems excited that COVID is an opportunity to promote his “revolution,” while Biden was speaking about what specifics he would undertake. I did not view Sanders as “authentic.” Instead, he seems incapable of adjusting to new realities, a frightening prospect for a leader, and was unprepared for questions and comments such as why Italy is triaging the elderly, or even commenting about naming a female VP. Sanders’ stubborn defense of dictators shows an inflexible, perhaps too elderly mind. Biden also did not look remarkably agile, but listening to him I got the sense he actually cares about people instead of making a point, and I believe he would be able to put together teams of talent that Sanders could not. Finally, Sanders does not seem to think through his views beyond his rhetoric - the answer Biden gave about the 2008 bailout was perfect. At that time, destroying the banks would have crippled our economy and thrown the baby out with the bathwater. Today, when we need all hands on deck, Sanders blithely proclaims the scientists and MDs who work in industry as “crooks,” and when we need to bolster our economy, accuses every business exec as dishonest. Biden in a walk-off.

  166. If a tree fell in a forest, where nobody was around, did it make a sound? I mean really...I am excited for anyone we nominate, but what did we learn from last night's fireside chat? The question: who was acting like presidential and who was acting like they want to be president? That's my barometer for voting preference: who is there right now and who is ready to trounce the impeached one.

  167. @Scott Franklin Easy. Biden acts Presidential. Bernie hangs on.

  168. It's quite possible that a pastrami on rye could beat Trump in November (if the election is actually allowed to be held). So Democrats should be weighing which candidate will better serve Americans post Trump. Bernie hasn't put a price tag on Medicare For All, but neither candidate has projected the cost of keeping businesses and workers afloat during this coronavirus crisis. The proposed $50 billion stimulus amounts to less than one day of GDP. Multiply this by how many days regular business will be on hold. And each time a new covid-19 victim is identified, the shutdown will continue. We could be looking at a year or more before things get back to normal. So our so-called "national debt" might almost double from $23 trillion to $40 trillion or so IN ONE YEAR. Point is, if expanding the "debt" this much is actually the responsible thing to do, then what is Joe getting so bent out of shape about? Worrying about the price tag for Bernie's Medicare For All plan is peanuts by comparison.

  169. The run against Trump will be a nasty war - because of Trump. Hopefully, the basic decency and solidness of Biden will win out. Sanders gets credit for bringing long overdue issues front and center - most importantly single payer health care. It is now becoming, not if, but when - which is exactly right. Biden saying he will pick a woman running mate most certainly must mean Elizabeth Warren - which is a superb choice.

  170. @Paul Shindler Isn't her Senate seat open to be given to a Republican if she leaves? If that is true, though I would love to wake up day after the election and see her in the White House, not gaining the Senate would be disastrous. Hugh

  171. @Hugh Massengill I believe Massachusetts law requires a special election within 3 months to replace a senator.

  172. @Paul Shindler He'll never pick her: he's said unequivocally that the philosophies must align--that means a moderate like Klobuchar or even more likely Harris. Plus her Senate seat would go Republican for four years--a Republican governor would appoint the replacement.

  173. Nice summary of debate and analysis. I must admit that it was a little frustrating to me, and I'm sure Sanders, to listen to Biden make the claim that action on wealth inequality and medical coverage was something that needed to be done now not in the future. Two moderate democratic administrations over the past forty years have advanced, not corrected, the disparate flow of wealth. The idea that a Biden administration would provide any relieve, let along immediate, is laughable. Sanders also missed a chance to seize on Biden's comment that we have to take care of the coronavirus situation now and worry about addressing long-standing problems later. Many citizens, Sanders should have responded, face a crisis/emergency every day. It shouldn't take a pandemic for the the government to take action.

  174. @Number23 Your comments on Biden and Bernie are the equivalent of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The ONLY issue concerning us is GETTING RID OF TRUMP. Especially now. Nothing else matters and can be worried about much later on.

  175. @Butterfly You're allowed to have your own priorities. You don't get to tell the rest of the world what theirs must be. Also, we can hear you WITHOUT THE SHOUTING.

  176. @Laurence Bachmann I'm flattered. I didn't know I had the power to tell everyone what their priorities are. The sane and intelligent people agree with me about GETTING RID OF TRUMP. Trump is a threat to us all. Whether you agree or not.

  177. Some of the criticisms Bruni makes regarding Sanders' position in a pandemic crisis are unfair. True, Sanders can't claim Biden's experience but what does political expertise matter in a crisis such as this? An intelligent, humane president would step aside and 1) follow the advice of health care professionals 2) implement their advice while providing financial relief to citizens and businesses 3) pronounce reassuring bromides to keep folks calm. That's the job. Any smart, compassionate politician can do it. The problem is not Biden's or Sanders' "qualifications", it is the president we have now is neither intelligent nor compassionate. Whoever replaces him will be a vast improvement. When this "social distancing" crisis is over we will return to the nation's enormous problems of income inequality, inadequate health care and climate change. Let's stay focused on who is best for the next 2, 4, or 6 years. Not months.

  178. Neither appear presidential to me. Neither have a vision for the Republic and neither are inspirational leaders. Flat, like the democratic platform. Shoe in for Trump -2024 and Haley to follow.

  179. @Phil I am not asking for inspiration. I only ask for competence.

  180. @Phil So Donald trump does appear presidential to you? That is what you're saying? Haven't you learned anything about the buffoonish president over the last few months from his inaction pertaining to the virus? Well he did say that he is "strongly" considering a pardon for Michael Flynn. That should help getting virus test kits to your dr.

  181. @gratis And TRUTHFUL, non-self aggrandizing leadership.

  182. So what is it about the Democratic Party that it today has many people who can be trusted to step into the White House and do a credible job, compared to the Republican Party which has...Mitt Romney? I think it is because they value government as a cooperative action. Republicans just think government gets in the way. But government is complicated, like being a pilot or being an expert in quantum mechanics. You cannot just walk in, say you are a billionaire, and do a good job. The plane would crash, and as far as faking it regarding understand physics, not possible. Hugh

  183. @Hugh Massengill Agree- when you look across the country at state and local officials who are stepping up and getting the job done along with meeting with the media to provide accurate information, encouragement, and support, more often than not they are Democrats. They have a deep bench.

  184. @Hugh Massengill really all you need to do is look at the cabinet in a trump administration and understand that the democrats will choose a better team with their eyes closed. and we know that republicans are so blinded by their agenda to turn america back to the 50's, to gut women's health care, to soil the judiciary with reactionary judges and to despoil our finest institutions, that they are incapable of leading anyone other than their base.

  185. @Hugh Massengill Exactly. But Americans think that if you have a lot of money, (a) You must be very smart and (b) You worked very hard to earn that money. Usually, both are false. This is why we get TV celebrities, actors, talk radio personalities etc, as leaders. These people have the charisma that people with knowledge and experience lack.

  186. Disagree that panic is warranted. Agree with FDR. Take precautions. Control what you can control. Hope for the best, plan for the worst. But none of that is "warranted panic". I deplore that what the only thing going viral faster than the illness is the culture of panic.

  187. I suggest that the Democratic nominee, whether it is Biden or Sanders, refuse to debate Trump. Trump should not be given several platforms during the fall to lie and spread falsehoods in a format in which those lies and falsehoods cannot be anticipated or rebutted. The Democratic nominee will, of course, be accused of being "afraid" to debate Trump. But this may also be viewed as a means of bringing some truth to a presidential campaign that promises to be as ugly as any campaign in history.

  188. The best thing Sanders can do, at this point, with no obvious path to the nomination, is immediately to suspend his campaign to prevent people en masse from going to the polls tomorrow and surely- and this is a guarantee- have people spread this virus even more. Senator Sanders, if you’re reading this, accept that you won’t win, and show the country your leadership by taking this pandemic seriously and remove the risk for both your supporters and Biden’s.

  189. Down-ballot is HUGE in this election, and Joe brings SO MUCH MORE to that. Bernie ... go back to the Senate and work hard for your issues. You will have great influence, particularly if the Democrats flip the Senate.

  190. We must harness our fears about both the pandemic and our off the rails president. AAA. Action Absorbs Anxiety. We will wash our hands, not touch our face, keep six feet away from others and GO to the polls and defeat the Republicans in November.

  191. Political debates and deliberations that don't address Trump's lethal lies and evasions in this crisis, with ideas about how to contain his malevolent influence, are secondary to the nation's highest priority. Come on Biden and Sanders! Aim your fire at Trump, not at each other. Then voters will decide who can best beat Trump.

  192. As a Bernie Bro, I am more than a little chagrined that Bernie treated, at times, the debate as a sporting contest: "You, Joe, did wrong in the past, and I did the opposite, so I'm a better choice." Not a good look during a pandemic. I don't care which person does the right thing today, just that somebody needs to do it. Dissing the other chap to score points is childish and counterproductive. We have problems. Let's solve them together, not try to push, shove, kick, scream, and elbow our way to the top of the pile for some vain reason. I will vote, ultimately, for Joe's platform; check out his website. If he really tries diligently to enact his stated policies, we will make great progress in 2021 and beyond.

  193. @Welcome to Hard Times Thank you for showing that not all Bernie Bros are sanctimonious jerks. Hope your position becomes the norm.

  194. @Stephen Thanks. We are panicking, some of us, because we know a new Bernie is not in the offing, the effect will be that tens of thousands will suffer and die due to lack of universal healthcare. But maybe Joe can do something; I'm pulling for him: lives depend on it.

  195. Again too many lame questions from the CNN moderators; first off, what was the point of finding out or even asking what each would do about COVID 19 if either were POTUS right now? COVID 19 mishandling is Trump's to own and eliminating the department that was created to lead in the event of an epidemic was his to own; which he will not. A better question would have been to discover "how, as POTUS, will you provide the infrastructure and leadership needed to battle future epidemics"? Bernie sounds like the broken record that he has become and as Mr. Bruni states he just pivots on each issue to his "eat the rich" agenda. Biden held his own and Bernie appeared unable to advance much of anything or even how he would put wheels on his agenda. I do not want to watch another Biden/ Sanders debate; hopefully we won't need to.

  196. a "totally warranted panic" - no. Closing restaurants, schools and telling people "stay home" - what about people who don't know how to cook (a lot), don't have the money for more than a day or two of food, or the homeless? The NYT addressed the overcrowded prisons and the virus, now what about the homeless? Ok, everyone stay home - & watch the garbage build up. Before this too many people did not have enough money for more than paycheck to paycheck and now the bottom has fallen out. All the candidates have sound bytes of truth, but none of them seem to have a real plan that encompasses everyone. Perhaps "preferred providers" of medical supplies, like China, will never happen again, perhaps the supply chains of food and goods will be rethought, but for now we have to make sure communities take care of everyone in their community. Trump, Sanders, Biden - hoping there's a semblance of sanity by the time of elections. We are past ideas, we need rational actions that take into account everyone and the reality of our worker society.

  197. There is a constant desire for Sanders to change his message; his consistency is seen as intransigence; his certainty as hubris. Why is it so hard to conceive that he might simply be right?

  198. Why is it so hard for Bernie and his followers to understand that a strict focus on ideological purity on his part, were he the nominee, would very likely result in four more years for our current Liar-in-Chief?

  199. Joe Biden could have sneezed on the moderator and Frank Bruni would still call him a winner. We know who writes your paychecks Bruni. You can spare us the insult to our collective intelligence. Neither candidate changed their stump speech. Biden is the "I know Obama" candidate. Sanders is the perpetual "millionaires and billionaires" critic. What changed? Old people are terrified about their stock portfolios. They therefore flock to Biden. That was true before pandemic. The only difference is a tanking economy gives Biden a remote chance of actually winning. Young voters are once again told to wait their turn while the planet burns. We should note pandemic is a climate related event. The IPCC repeatedly reported a warming climate means new and more dangerous infectious disease. And yet, Democrats are still dead set on incrementalism as if 401ks are more important. Better than denial but not by much. That's like saying a missing arm is better than a missing leg. If nothing else, pandemic has shed a very garish light on everything wrong with our economic system. From healthcare to daycare, we are seeing the underlying vulnerabilities which make our society so fragile to shock. Vulnerabilities which Biden helped create and the Democrats still support. Sanders certainly isn't the perfect messenger. However, he's got a point. There is something wrong with America that needs changing. Democrats are running for a safety blanket instead.

  200. Two points: 1. It is too early to tell if the American health care system will outperform the European health care systems in its management of the coronavirus health crises. The facts are not in yet. 2. In foreign policy it is always a mistake to underestimate potential enemies. Acknowledging the successes of those enemies is wise. Underestimating enemies because it is politically correct is at best foolish...at worst calculated McCarthyism. A good example of this time-tested error is underestimating the Communist Chinese in the trade deals. Bernie Sanders did not underestimate the Communist Chinese. Almost everyone else did.

  201. I hope Bernie stays in the race for a while - at least until the Wisconsin primary election on April 7. A two person race will draw more democrats to the polls which could help dem-aligned Judy Karovksy get elected to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The court currently suffers from a 5-2 conservative- liberal split. Karovsky's opponent, Dan Kelly is a staunch conservative, a graduate of Pat Roberston's Regent University and a member of the Federalist Society. Wisconsin's right-wing (former) governor Scott Walker appointed Kelly to fill a vacancy on the court. Kelly had previously defended the extremely gerrymandered voting district maps cooked up by the Republican legislature in federal court. He also does not believe in any kind of formal recusal rules for justices on the court. F, ronemt elect a

  202. One wants to make cuts to Social Security. One wants to expand it One has a history of making bad decisions when under pressure. One has a history of being on target when under pressure. One is going to prioritize corporatocracy and wall street over people One is going to expose corruption and push for a government that represents the people. One is republican lite One is an FDR democrat. FDR said The only thing to fear is fear itself. The American people are going to vote out of fear. Again.

  203. Of the two, Bernie Sanders would clearly make the best president. His mind is quite sharp and he is articulate unlike Biden who struggles with memory and coherent speech. Bernie's revolutionary ideas are exactly what the US economy and the global climate changes are demanding. In every way, Bernie would be the best president. Except for electability. Bernie insists on calling himself a "Democratic Socialist". That alone makes him unelectable in America. Too bad for Americans that they are so stuck in the past and many hardly even know the difference between Communism, Socialism and Democratic Socialism. Bernie COULD help them (and himself) out by calling himself a "Social Democrat" but he refuses to do so. This rigidity makes him unelectable. And even if Bernie could be elected (because so many people revile Trump) he would not be able to bring along enough Senators and Representatives to enable him to enact his grand plans. Too bad for America! So Joe Biden it is, I'm afraid. He's a good-hearted, decent person with a wealth of experience. He will be surrounded by lots of great people who will help him get the job done. But it won't be big solutions for big problems. Biden solves one enormous problem: the viciousness of the racist, immoral, incompetent Trump regime. Perhaps he can the GOP out of government as well.

  204. Sanders tried to tie “Medicare for all” to being better prepared to fight Coronavirus. Does he not know most of Europe is on a this type of system. Little it has done for them. Better insurance is not going to stop a virus. Biden seem to understand this. It is better leadership that will help in such a crisis.

  205. In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, yesterday’s debate was the equivalent of arguing about the appropriate arrangement of deck chairs on the Titanic.

  206. A reasonable take on the debate. But the assertion that we are experiencing unwarranted panic was never explicated. The "panic" seems warranted, although we should restrain our behavior. I'm worried about my children, grandchildren, neighbors and the world. My modest retirement is going from "modest" to "marginal." We have a dangerous fool in the White House, surrounded by mean-spirited sycophants. What's not to panic about?

  207. Biden gave me the reassurance and comforting and presidental tone I seek in these troubled times Lucky for Biden that his exaggerations and occasional outright fibs, which, in normal times, might have been showstopper headlines, pale against Trump's minute to minute pathological and outright loony lies. In fact, they might ironically further boost Biden's lead, assuring voters he's mastering the art of the spin that he'll need in his fight against Trump.

  208. If, and it remains an "if", Trump ultimately shows up for the one-on-one presidential debates Biden could be in a semi-coma and still have a better grasp of facts and statistics and policy than the rambling incumbent who can barely string two coherent words together - even the big ones. Trump's go-to position will be to insult, smear and demean, he'll be trashing Obama and use Hunter Biden like he used Bill Clinton against Hillary. Joe's achilles heel is remaining calm under fire, especially when his family is dragged back through the muck. In the light that of that has happened of late, and is sure to develop in the meantime - if he can keep his cool the choice for November will be clear.

  209. Two points: 1. It is too early to tell if the American health care system will outperform the European health care systems in its management of the coronavirus health crises. The facts are not in yet. 2. In foreign policy it is always a mistake to underestimate potential enemies. Acknowledging the successes of those enemies is wise. Underestimating enemies because it is politically correct is at best foolish...at worst calculated McCarthyism. A good example of this time-tested error is underestimating the Communist Chinese in the trade deals. Bernie Sanders did not underestimate the Communist Chinese. Almost everyone else did.

  210. A very apt skill that Frank and the majority of NYT's columnists possess. No matter how well Bernie does or how sincere Bernie is,there is always the snide remark or 2 or 3. Kind words about Fidel Castro? Obama was much more positive and forceful about Cuba's educational and healthcare system in 2016. I get it.The majority of the columnists are neoliberals. I do think the majority of them may want to hang out with some working and middle class folks to understand what it is like to live paycheck to paycheck,worry about their children's college education,paying for health insurance,let alone a health emergency,saving for retirement.

  211. The president has been devoted to "pushing [Americans] apart." Unlike Democrats, Trump does not comprehend that in a national crises Americans want to pull together. But there is much more than the fact that Trump doesn't get it. Trump's only talent is to praise himself, attack others, scapegoat others, denigrate others -- he is master of the art of divisiveness and self-aggrandizement; he is artless when it comes to bringing the people together, to healing an ailing and fearful nation. As Biden moves closer to cinching the Democratic nomination we worry about Sanders' followers (will they unite with Biden supporters to save America?), but we have no fear of a Biden - Trump debate. Since Trump is a bag of foul wind with no command of facts or the truth, it is inconceivable that he will ever appear on a debate stage with Biden. He will find excuses which will always blame Biden or someone or something for why he can never debate Biden. So don't, as in past elections, look for debates leading up to the general election. Trump is frightened of Biden. He will avoid debates and use other means to attack, blame and denigrate Biden. That's just who Trump is - a divider, not a uniter.

  212. My take: 1. Biden keeps America from falling further into the abyss 2. Bernie keeps America moving forward Given our current state of affairs, one must come before two.

  213. But wouldn't it just keep America permanently on the edge of abyss, as it happened in 2016?

  214. @Essex County Maybe you somehow don't know that Biden is pushing for the abyss? He and his fellow coward fake democrats are what got us here by going along instead of fighting back.

  215. @magicisnotreal You are right. The democrats (perhaps with the exception of Pelosi and company) have not served us well. I guess when it comes to defeating Trump I am quite risk averse.

  216. During Sunday’s debate, Joe Biden accused Republicans of lying when they say he favors open borders. But he also said: “Number two, the first 100 days of my administration, no one will be deported at all. From that point on, the only deportations that will take place are commissions of felonies in the United States of America.”  How could this be described as anything other than an open border policy? It means that no one who steps onto U.S. territory could be removed unless they commit a felony. This means anyone who sets foot on U.S. soil could not be required to leave unless they are arrested and convicted of a felony. This would apply not just to illegal border crossers but any of the 76.9 million tourists who come to the United States each year.

  217. @William Case We don't deport tourists. Not even those who don't understand the meaning of the word.

  218. @Rea Tarr When Biden says deportations, he means not one will be forced to leave. We force tourists who overstay their visas to go home. If they refuser to leave voluntarily, we arrest and deport them.

  219. I look forward to a Biden election in eight months, his assuming the office of the presidency in ten months. We have no idea where we--the country--and the world will be by then. No idea. Even so, it's the waiting, waiting, waiting that gets me down.

  220. I agree that the number one priority has to be defeating Donald Trump. But - what has happened to America that this is not self- evident? I still sense a note of concern that there is yet the possibility that a man who has been a disaster to both your country and the world still has a chance at re-election. If we think it is bad now - well, the future would be truly Apocalyptic.

  221. Sorry, but panic is never warranted, at least for adults who want to take constructive actions in times of crisis. On the other hand, promoting panic does have benefits for those who want to use emotion to sway public opinion for political gain (and for media appeal).

  222. Our cleaning lady is in tears. She is angry she thinks this is all a big fuss no one is sick and why should they shut down everything. We are reasoning with her and she finally gets it...we think. She is angry that the ladies in her cleaning crew have to eat and survive and if her clients cancel out on her, how is she going to pay them! They live pay check to pay check. We explained to her shutting down schools offices churches is all aimed at stalling the virus. Thank goodness we have Masshealth in our state, she buys health coverage for her ladies. Listening to her we realized fox news has downplayed the danger of the virus to such an extent people like her are actually mad that state officials are shutting down things. We are assuring her this is where the government can step in and step up so her crew of cleaning ladies don’t starve and should they fall sick, they will get the help. Bernie is right, he is an angel on earth, to you he might sound repetitive but you have to step into the world of inequality to feel what it looks like in their shoes.

  223. @petey tonei Some repetition is actually helpful for remembering. Look what the gop mindless repetition has gotten us in the past 40 years. Right where we are now.

  224. @petey tonei And you could "step up" too and pay your cleaning lady more these few weeks until we are over the hump. We are all doing our part to help each other.

  225. @Marcia yup we will do that we told her we can buy her masks and gloves so she can reassure her clients they are immaculately professional. And of course we will help food wise as well.

  226. If only all debates can be audience free. No distractions, no hyperbole, no emoting, no one-sentence zingers. Just the facts, sir, just the facts. We had before us yesterday evening two seasoned politicians who have each weathered the good times and the bad ones too. They each have made mistakes or misjudgments along the way. How can they not after years and years of public service in the glaring DC spotlight? It’s okay with me because here’s the crux, the difference between them and this failure of a man called Trump...PUBLIC SERVICE. Biden and Sanders both want the best for you and me and our millions of American neighbors. Of this there is no doubt. For me, I need a calmer pace to resurrect our waning democracy. I look for progress, of course. But not a revolution, not now for sure.

  227. Almost everyone is disparaging President Trump's sincere efforts to unite the country: he is worsening climate change, giving huge tax cuts to the rich and powerful, pardoning his cronies, obstructing justice, mishandling a global pandemic, and showing his complete lack of understanding or empathy. He does these things loudly, brazenly, repeatedly with racist, sexist, and homophobic undertones every day. If we can't unite against that,nothing can save us.

  228. I am still for Bernie. I think he is much sharper. If only the stupid democrats had gone all in for him. He needed the support of some of the other candidates who could be cabinet members, as well as some other prominent establishment figures, such as for instance the NYT editorial board. But thank you, Bill de Blasio for your endorsement. Bernie has run the entire democratic campaign both in this election and the last, and this is the thanks he gets. We do not need Biden, who is a vacillating, compromising, wishy-washy, half-baked, sentimental and sad old fellow who is here only thanks to the adulation of Obama by black Americans, backed by a couple of billionaires and James Clyburn. Wise up, people.

  229. @ps "Stupid Democrats." Great way to try to change hearts & minds.

  230. “You can’t tell Americans to pull together at this frightful juncture if you’re pushing them apart. The Democrats seem to get that.” Except for the thousands of Bernie Bros and never-Bidens and other sore losers who would rather burn down the country than stray from their selfish orthodoxies.

  231. Isn't it Biden's job to bring everybody together including Bernie's Bros? Of he can not do it, he should not run.

  232. It looked like a slam dunk for Biden and a bye-bye Bernie debate. I never imagined "March Madness" could ever be redefined by something like the coronavirus.

  233. Right. Joe Biden the wartime leader. Not. After the culling, the Orange One will be reelected and this column can spend the next 12 years -- after Haley's two terms -- fumbling about as to whom to blame. As is usually the case for this champion whiner.

  234. Biden tried to hide behind the Virus. He has no ideas to fix America and if he should win I would dread 4 years of him as president. Sanders is the man for the people. Too bad there are not enough honest people in this country to vote for Sanders. Biden has a terrible track record and it comes to haunt him every time he speaks. He cant hide behind Obama forever. I voted twice for Obama and I didnt find him a great president. He helped wall street get richer. Biden is no leader and we will waste 4 years with him. Sad

  235. I found the debate FAR more informative without an audience clapping and hooting.

  236. I doubt Trump will engage in ANY debates.

  237. Very difficult times are coming for the United States. Many are going to die, be impoverished, and otherwise have their lives irrevocably altered for the worse. It's going to be so much worse than it had to be--all because an evil little man took advantage of our differences, used them against us, and thereby enriched and aggrandized himself and his fellow ghouls. By the time this plague is over, Trump will have rivers of American blood on his hands. Never forget what the GOP and Trump have visited upon us and vote like your life depends on it--because it does.

  238. Every American is now asking themselves how they will get through this. I think the next thing is for Bernie to join forces with all the other candidates and get behind Biden. Let's face it. He will steer the ship out of the turbulent waters with the help of a large number of talented people. It won't be perfect. It will likely include some missteps as these are really uncharted waters we are in. But after the coast is clear, I think Biden will step aside, ride off into the sunset and let Stacy or Kamala take over. Which will drive Conservatives absolutely crazy. Not just a Black president. A Black Woman president. That will make the coronavirus look like a hangnail to conservatives. White men having to take a back, back seat. And you will have Trump to thank for that. And you thought you could work around him.

  239. I am not sure about Biden. He seems to be prone to make significant mistakes as voting for Iraq war, or siding with the credit companies.

  240. My few takeaways from last night are simple. Biden did not implode, and that was very good for him. Sanders won the debate when he went after Biden‘s record. The pandering to women announcing a female vice president, and a black woman for the Supreme Court,Was the ultimate pandering and distasteful.

  241. Or honest. Bernie acted like he hadn’t even thought about it. And the, “there are progressive women out there,” statement? Gee, thanks Bernie—talk about pandering.

  242. A complete waste of time and effort. I told you so: it’s Joe. Now more than ever. We need someone who will actually listen to the experts, follow their Advice, and implement the best known practices to combat the Pandemic. The best thing that could happen in fighting this: Trump Resigns. Otherwise, the Governors and Local Officials are the warriors. Trump and His Regime are not only useless, they are hindering progress. Who could have possibly guessed ? NOVEMBER.

  243. Bernie, has socialized medicine helped Italy during this crisis?. Biden, you have the chutzpah of, well, nothing. Stop the criticism of our President. We are lucky to have him in charge right now. Ok, so he exaggerates a little. He stopped flights in from China. He ain't so bad.

  244. Thanks for contributing the details of your imagined reality to this conversation.

  245. @one percenter Hope you and yours stay healthy. You prob have a pretty good chance, given that delusional bubble you are walking around in.

  246. So Biden was o.k.He survived. NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Let´s see what happens when he faces the great bully. One word is gonna come up continuously: Hunter, Hunter, Hunter...

  247. All in all the Covid19 virus crisis pales in comparison to the slower-but-certain (and MUCH larger) crisis looming with global warming. I consider this a test run. Note trump’s response to global warming is almost identical to his response to the virus: denial, willful ignorance, ineptitude, lies and finger pointing.

  248. I guess it's time to bet on who will be the VP. I hope the three who shared the stage are big favorites. While names from Georgia and Florida have been floated, I think Kamala Harris, Amy Klobucher and Elizabeth Warren have all been tested and to some degree vetted by being on the trail. I'm leaning toward Harris and Klobucher because I think they are more aligned with Joe Biden. Please remember the Sarah Palin debacle. Please. While there are probably jazzier ladies on the horizon, and tempting ideas from Georgia and Florida are there any more qualified than the ones I've mentioned,