Watching all four hours of the first Democratic debates, it became increasingly difficult to reach any other conclusion.
The candidates unanimously agreed on "Medicare for All" and that it should cover illegal aliens — or as the moderator and candidates generally called them, the "undocumented." Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., even said that Medicare for All requires the elimination of private health insurance.
Sanders correctly asserted that a majority of Americans support Medicare for All. What he did not say, however, is that support steeply drops once people are informed that their taxes will go up to pay for it or when they learn that they may experience longer waiting periods before receiving health care.
But give Sanders credit.
Asked whether he intends to increase taxes on the middle class to pay for his health care plan, Sanders, after talking about the elimination of premiums, co-pays and deductibles, said that, yes, the middle class would pay more taxes.
Joe Biden took a beating. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., made a crack about Biden's age: "I was 6 years old when a presidential candidate came to the California Democratic Convention and said, 'It's time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans.' That candidate was then-Sen. Joe Biden. (He) was right when he said it was time to pass the torch to a new generation of Americans 32 years ago. He's still right today."
Then Biden drew fire from Harris because days earlier, Biden had boasted of his "civility" in working with segregationist Sens. James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia, who, like Biden, were Democrats: "I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland. He never called me 'boy.' He always called me 'son.' ... There was some civility. We got things done. We didn't agree on much of anything. We got things done. We got it finished." It was an example Biden had used many times over the years to illustrate his ability to get along with those with whom he disagrees. But Harris pounced: "It was actually hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country." Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., piled on: "You don't joke about calling black men 'boys.' Men like James O. Eastland used words like that, and the racist policies that accompanied them, to perpetuate white supremacy and strip black Americans of our very humanity."
So, suddenly, to rivals Harris and Booker, Biden's boast became racially insensitive. How dare Biden "praise" the character of Jim Crow segregationists? Why, then, does President Barack Obama escape criticism for keeping by his side as vice president, a heartbeat away from the presidency, a man who showed empathy and sympathy for racists? Where was the condemnation for Democrats who practiced "civility" with segregationists when, at a July Fourth Spirit of America event in 1973, Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy praised Alabama's Democratic segregationist Gov. George Wallace? Similarly, at the funeral of Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd, Democrat Bill Clinton praised the former Ku Klux Klan "Kleagle" (recruiter). The Harris-Booker attack on Biden had the desired effect. Post-debate polls show Biden down several points, with Harris almost closing the gap between them.
The biggest loser at the Democrat debates, however, was the American taxpayer. In addition to "universal health care," Sanders touted his plan to hit up taxpayers for "free college" and student debt forgiveness. The candidates agreed that illegal entry into the U.S. ought not be a crime but rather a civil violation. This would simply encourage more illegal entry. How much would this cost the taxpayers just for the education of their children in public schools?
And a big issue was AWOL in the debate. Not brought up by any moderator, even though it enjoys the support of the most blacks, was the issue of reparations. Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Harris all support reparations. Yet the only who brought it up, and then in passing, was fringe candidate Marianne Williamson. Why would the debate's moderators omit a topic being widely discussed during the Democratic primary campaign? The answer is that the issue of reparations is a political loser. Polls and surveys suggest that the majority of blacks support it, but that's about it. It appears that moderators did not want the candidates endorsing an issue so unpopular. The candidates, of course, could have volunteered their support for reparations. But with the exception of Williamson, they elected not to.
These two debates, in which the candidates fell over themselves offering free stuff, had one clear winner: President Donald Trump.
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