Before Sunday’s Democrat “debate” on Sunday, sans live audience on CNN, Joe Biden was on a roll in the primaries and the party’s number one contender for the White House, hailed by establishment media as The Man Who Will Beat Trump. Bernie Sanders was coming off a string of defeats but still standing and ready to throw down with Joe, stationed a good ten feet away. That was perhaps in deference to the coronavirus, subject of the initial questions.
“My heart goes out,” said Joe. “This is bigger than any one of us.” The former vice president would get testing kits, bring in the World Health Organization and deal with the economic fallout quickly, with interest-free loans and such.
“Shut up this president right now,” countered Sanders, charging that Trump was “undermining the doctors” and “blabbering with unfactual information.” From there it was a quick pivot to his campaign boilerplate. The virus “exposes the weakness and dysfunctionality of our healthcare system.” The USA was the only major country not to offer health care to all the people and a “bunch of crooks” are running the pharmaceutical industry. And Wall Street, and so on.
For Biden the virus was “like being attacked from abroad, like a war.” So Biden would deploy the military, and the crisis had nothing to do with co-pays or anything like that. Biden did note that Italy has a “single payer” health system and it was “not working,” in the crisis.
Univision’s Ilia Calderón, sitting in for Jorge Ramos, asked what would happen to the “undocumented” during the pandemic. Both Democrats assured the television audience that all would be covered and not deported. And how were the candidates faring their own selves?
Sanders had stopped conducting rallies, had staff working from home, and was not shaking hands. Biden said he had no underlying conditions, adding “knock on wood” as he touched his own head with a smile. Biden was not shaking hands either, and not going into crowds.
The hosts asked Biden about the “revolution” Bernie had been touting, and Joe said “revolution will disrupt.” For example, how would Medicare for all get passed? Biden touted his plan to restore Obamacare because “people want hope and need it now.”
The Democrat duo battled over bankruptcy law, tuition-free college, the minimum wage and gun control. The television audience could believe that, on most issues, the differences were only a matter of details.
“Look, if Bernie is nominee I will support him and campaign for him,” Biden said. “The existential threat to America is Donald Trump.” The front-running Biden didn’t disagree with the Green New Deal in principle, but said “I fundamentally disagree with president on everything.” Trump must be defeated “to restore this country’s soul.”
For his part, Sanders could not deal with a president who is a “pathological liar,” as well as
a “racist, sexist and homophobe.” He would do “everything humanly possible to defeat Trump.” On the other hand, Ilia Calderón wanted to know why Cubans in Florida should support Sanders, who has been praising the “dictator” Castro.
Sanders claimed he had opposed “authoritarianism” in Cuba and around the world. But to say “those administrations” had never done anything to benefit the people “is a mistake.” China, for example, had made progress in reducing poverty. Biden recalled Sanders’ support for Castro, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and even the Soviet Union.
Calderón asked Biden if it had been a mistake to deport millions of people during the Obama administration. Biden said “I didn’t speak” out and “took much too long to get it right.” In his first 100 days as president, Biden said, “no one will be deported” and after that, “only felons get deported.” And Joe wanted a path to citizenship for the “11 million” a figure Sanders also used, though the true number is now upward of 22 million, with 10 million in California alone.
“Nobody is talking about open borders,” said Sanders, who would restore DACA, and end ICE raids. Both candidates would “surge” judges to the border and agreed that police must not turn over the “undocumented” to immigration authorities.
Joe Biden said “our future rests with the Latino community,” which was like the Irish and Italian immigrants. And according to Joe, “xenophobia is a disease.”
Biden went on record that he would select a woman as his running mate and as president would appoint the first black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court. Bernie Sanders was not as certain that a woman would be his running mate and neither candidate was naming names.
Aside from “knock on wood,” Biden was reasonably coherent, but still seemed like the Tom Shillue knock-offs on the “Greg Gutfeld Show.” In similar style, Bernie’s “pathological liar” recalls Joe Piscopo’s perfect rendition.
Neither candidate would remind the audience of Democrats such as Harry Truman or John F. Kennedy. Neither seemed particularly confident that they could actually defeat Donald Trump on November 3. As the president says, we’ll have to wait and see what happens.
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