Wednesday’s Democrat debate in Atlanta followed seamlessly from Adam Schiff’s impeachment hearings earlier in the day. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow hailed Gordon Sondlund’s “bombshell” testimony and asked the candidates whether they would impeach President Trump.
Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Joe Biden had no problem with that, and when Maddow finally called her number, Sen. Kamala Harris was on board. The former San Francisco District Attorney and California Attorney General blasted the “criminal living in the White House,” adding that his presidency was a “criminal enterprise,” including the Vice President, Secretary of State and “chief of staff.” Therefore, Harris said, “Justice is on the ballot.”
In similar style, California billionaire Tom Steyer called Trump the “criminal in the White House,” and a “fraud and failure on economy,” though Steyer did not invoke any data on economic conditions under President Trump. The California Democrat targeted climate change as his major priority. No actual climate data emerged from any candidate, though Bernie Sanders warned that the world had only eight or nine years to address the problem.
On the subject of housing, Steyer lamented “too few housing units” as the source of the homeless crisis and inequality. The billionaire called for “millions of new units,” which had to be “sustainable.” The candidate did not explain why California’s supply of housing was failing to keep up with demand.
Candidate Tulsi Gabbard, a military veteran, blasted the “Bush-Clinton-Trump” policy of “regime change wars,” but did not cite any such war President Trump might have started. Gabbard charged that Kamala Harris “will continue the status-quo” in foreign policy.
Gabbard also attacked mayor Pete Buttigieg for his plan to send U.S. troops to fight drug cartels in Mexico. Buttigieg quickly countered that “I was talking about U.S.-Mexico security cooperation” and not an actual invasion of Mexico.
Tom Steyer noted that all candidates supported “progressive” ideas and on most points the Democrats strenuously agreed with each other. All the Democrat candidates claimed they were capable of defeating President Trump in 2020. Joe Biden talked up his experience defending Obamacare and Kamala Harris touted a record of bringing people together. For his part, Tom Steyer boasted of putting together “coalitions to take on unchecked corporate power” and beating down oil, utility and drug companies.
Warren and Sanders, turned up the volume on familiar anti-corporate rhetoric, and the only candidate to speak of growing wealth and entrepreneurship was Cory Booker. The New Jersey Democrat is now struggling to stay in the race, in the manner of Kamala Harris and others. Despite his great wealth, Californian Tom Steyer did not emerge as a favorite of the four debate moderators in the MSNBC-Washington Post event.
Their preferred debater seemed to be Elizabeth Warren, who for decades claimed to be Native American and Cherokee. Those false claims did not prevent Democrats from welcoming Warren’s candidacy for the White House.
The last California governor to become president of the United States was Ronald Reagan, who served two terms. Four-term California governor Jerry Brown ran for president in 1976, 1980, and 1992, each time without success. Current governor Gavin Newsom has not joined the field for 2020 or announced plans for 2024.