Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate in Miami packed a much stronger punch against President Trump than last night’s soiree. And the top-polling candidates, including Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and Pete Buttigieg made impassioned policy pleas on health care, gun safety, immigration, and college tuition.
Biden said Trump equates “racists and white supremacists with decent people.” Sanders called the president “a pathological liar and a racist.”
But two candidates, in particular, clashed with each other. Harris pressured Biden, the early frontrunner, over his recent comments that praised the civility of two late segregationist Senators. She also said he opposed busing in the 1970s.
“I do not believe you are a racist,” Harris side-eyed Biden. “And I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground. But I also believe… it was 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.”
“A mischaracterization of my position across the board, I did not praise racists,” Biden responded.
On immigration, a moderator asked the 10 candidates to raise their hand if they support providing health care to undocumented immigrants. All candidates raised their hand. President Trump, in Japan, went on the attack.
Some of the biggest differences among the ten candidates arose when the presidential hopefuls talked about their respective plans for healthcare, which ranged from Sander’s single-payer Medicare for All plan, to Medicare buy-in options supported by several candidates, to other plans with universal coverage in mind as a long-term goal.
When asked how he would implement Medicare for All on a national level, Sanders said the single-payer healthcare system would come to the U.S. when Americans stood up to insurance companies and told them “that their day is gone and health care is a human right and not something to make huge profits off of.”
Setting himself apart from Sanders on a solution to fix healthcare, Biden said, “the quickest, fastest way to do it is to build on Obamacare, to build on what we did.”
Biden has given a nod to Texas being winnable for Democrats.
“If I’m your nominee,” Biden said earlier this month, “I’m winning Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, believe it or not, and I believe we can win Texas and Florida. Look at the polling there now … I have no intention of walking away.”
Recent polls show Biden tied or narrowly leading Trump in Texas.