March Democratic Debate Recap: Coronavirus, Bailouts, More

Tuesday, 17 Mar, 2020

Bernie Sanders have taken the stage for the first one-on-one debate of the Democratic primary.

The fast-moving coronavirus was something of an afterthought in that debate.

Biden also leads President Trump in the Republican-leaning state by 46 to 43 per cent, according to the new Monmouth University poll.

Only two candidates remain: Senator Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden, who now leads at the polls.

Democratic presidential candidates in 2020 were mostly in-step with education unions, with Biden and the rest vowing to replace President Donald Trump's education secretary, Betsy DeVos, with someone who's had classroom experience, while vastly increasing federal spending on early childhood, primary and secondary education. They've paid special attention to his verbal stumbles in recent public events, and delighted Sunday in pointing out mid-debate that the former vice president, who overcame a speech impediment as a young man, got tongue-tied early on and called the H1N1 virus the "N1H1" virus.

Sunday's session stood in sharp contrast to the food-fight atmosphere of the February 25 debate hosted by CBS, when Biden and Sanders were among seven candidates onstage. Two days later, they chose to move the event to a CNN studio in Washington.

Biden noted that he doesn't have any of the "underlying conditions" that make the virus especially risky and said he was taking precautions that people in their 30s, 60s, or 80s should be doing. "They want to deal with the results they need right now". This is doubly true now that the coronavirus epidemic has hampered any ability to hold campaign rallies or engage in face-to-face campaigning that puts people's health at risk.

The debate, originally scheduled for Phoenix, took place in a Washington studio with no audience, a move made to limit possible exposure to the virus - a sign of how deeply the campaign routine has been reshaped by the global pandemic.

Biden fueled even greater interest in that subject on Sunday, when for the first time he pledged to pick a female running mate should he win the Democratic nomination.

Sanders highlighted that while he voted against the Iraq war as well as trade deals and for gay marriage, Biden has been on the other side of the issues in the past.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks about the coronavirus Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Wilmington, Del.

Biden and Sanders clashed over a dust-up over whether Sanders' signature health care plan is the best way to respond to the coronavirus.

"I can not tell you how many people our campaign has spoken to who have said "I like what your campaign stands for".

At one point, Biden said, "He's making it hard for me right now". It was the last head-to-head matchup before four states - Arizona, Florida, Illinois and OH - hold primaries on Tuesday amid health concerns. He views the current political and economic system as irredeemably broken and in need of sweeping reform.

Among Latinos, 59% of Cuban Americans registered to vote in Florida said they would vote for Trump, while 63% of Puerto Ricans said they would vote for Biden.

Not that anyone should have been surprised: As always, Sanders was merely doing what he said he would do. Sanders wouldn't make such a commitment, although he did say his "very strong tendency would be to move in that direction". Sanders said Saturday during an online "fireside chat" with supporters.

"The Best Thing Bernie Sanders Can Do Is Drop Out", read a headline for David Frum's piece at the Atlantic. Schools and businesses across the country are closed, and many hospitals and clinics are struggling to obtain tests for the coronavirus.

Unfortunately, when it comes to electability, too many Democratic primary voters are listening to the pundit elite-the same elite that had told us in past years how "moderate", status-quo, corporate Democrats were the most electable. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.