Wednesday, the top candidates for the Democratic Party presidential nomination met for their first debate.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) capped the participants of the first debates at twenty, so not all of the candidates were able to participate.
Those that were allowed were: former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Cory Booker, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Housing and Urban Development secretary Julián Castro, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Kamala D. Harris, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, businessman Andrew Yang, and spiritual author Marianne Williamson, Sen. Michael Bennet, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Maryland congressman John Delaney, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Rep. Tim Ryan, and recent Alabama visitor Rep. Eric Swalwell.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Miramar, Fla., Mayor Wayne Messam, Rep. Joe Sestak, and Rep. Seth Moulton lacked the popular and donor support to participate under the DNC’s rules. Future debates will further pare down the field.
Ten candidates were in Wednesday night’s debate. The other ten will be on the state in tonight’s debate. The debate was moderated by NBC News with anchor Lester Holt being the lead moderator on the panel.
Sen. Warren said, “Who is this economy really working for? It’s doing great for a thinner and thinner slice at the top. It’s doing great for giant drug companies. It’s just not doing great for people who are trying to get a prescription filled.”
“We know that not everyone is sharing in this prosperity,” Sen. Klobuchar said. “And Donald Trump just sits in the White House and gloats about what’s going on, when you have so many people that are having trouble affording college and having trouble affording their premiums.”
“Right now, we have a system that favors those who can pay for access and outcomes,” Rep. O’Rourke said. “That’s how you explain an economy that is rigged to corporations and to the very wealthiest.”
“I live in a low-income Black and brown community,” Booker said. “I see every single day that this economy is not working for average Americans. The indicators that are being used, from GDP to Wall Street’s rankings, is not helping people in my community. It is about time that we have an economy that works for everybody, not just the wealthiest in our nation.”
“I would do several things, starting with something we should have done a long time ago, which is to pass the Equal Rights Amendment finally in this country.” Castro said. “And also pursue legislation so that women are paid equal pay for equal work in this country. It’s past time that we did that. And, you know, we have to do this. If we want to be the most prosperous nation in the 21st century, we need to make sure that women are paid what they deserve.”
“I know the importance of our national security, as well as the terribly high cost of war,” Rep. Gabbard said. “And for too long, our leaders have failed us, taking us from one regime change war to the next, leading us into a new cold war and arms race, costing us trillions of our hard-earned taxpayer dollars and countless lives. This insanity must end. As president, I will take your hard-earned taxpayer dollars and instead invest those dollars into serving your needs, things like health care, a green economy, good-paying jobs, protecting our environment, and so much more.”
“Well, we’ve been addressing income inequality in New York City by raising wages, by raising benefits, by putting money back in the hands of working people, $15 minimum wage, paid sick days, pre-K for all, things that are making a huge difference in working people’s lives,” Mayor de Blasio said of what he has done to fight income inequality.”
“I think we have to do real things to help American workers and the American people,” Rep. Delaney said. “Right? This is the issue that all of us hear on the campaign trail. We need to make sure everyone has a living wage. And I’ve called for a doubling of the earned income tax credit, raising the minimum wage, and creating paid family leave. That will create a situation where people actually have a living wage. That gets right to workers.”
“I’m proud of standing up for unions,” Gov. Inslee said. “I’ve got a plan to reinvigorate collective bargaining so we can increase wages finally. I marched with the SEIU folks. It is not right that the CEO of McDonald’s makes 2,100 times more than the people slinging cash at McDonald’s.”
“The bottom 60 percent haven’t seen a raise since 1980,” Rep. Ryan said. “Meanwhile, the top 1 percent control 90 percent of the wealth. We need an industrial policy saying we’re going to dominate building electric vehicles, there’s going to be 30 million made in the next 10 years. I want half of them made in the United States. I want to dominate the solar industry…”
“So here’s what I propose for an industrial policy. Start with a place where there’s a real need,” Warren said. “There’s going to be a worldwide need for green technology, ways to clean up the air, ways to clean up the water. And we can be the ones to provide that. We need to go tenfold in our research and development on green energy going forward. And then we need to say any corporation can come and use that research. They can make all kinds of products from it, but they have to be manufactured right here in the United States of America. And then we have to double down and sell it around the world. There’s a $23 trillion market coming for green products. We should be the leaders and the owners, and we should have that 1.2 million manufacturing jobs here in America.”
“My proposal is to do something about pharma, to take them on, to allow negotiation under Medicare, to bring in less expensive drugs from other countries,” Klobuchar said. “And pharma thinks they own Washington? Well, they don’t own me.”
“So getting to guaranteed, high-quality, universal health care as quickly and surely as possible has to be our goal,” O’Rourke said. “The ability to afford your prescriptions and go to a primary care provider, to be — the ability to see a mental health care provider. In Texas, the single largest provider of mental health care services is the county jail system today. And health care also has to mean that every woman can make her own decisions about her own body and has access to the care that makes that possible.”
“I mean, we should give everyone in this country health care as a basic human right for free, full stop. But we should also give them the option to buy private insurance,” de Blasio said. “Why do we have to stand for taking away something from people? And also it’s bad policy. If you go to every hospital in this country and you ask them one question, which is how would it have been for you last year if every one of your bills were paid at the Medicare rate? Every single hospital administrator said they would close.”
“I believe Medicare for all is the way to do that,” Klobuchar said. “I also think that employers will recognize how much money will be saved by supporting a Medicare for all program, a program that will reduce the administrative costs, reduce the bureaucratic costs, and make sure that everyone gets that quality health care that they need.”
“If you look at other countries in the world who have universal health care, every one of them has some form of a role of private insurance, so I think that’s what we’ve got to look at, taking the best of these ideas, but making sure unequivocally that no sick American goes without getting the care that they need, regardless of how much or little money they have in their pocket,” Gabbard said.
“I don’t believe only in reproductive freedom, I believe in reproductive justice,” Castro said. “And, you know, what that means is that just because a woman — or let’s also not forget someone in the trans community, a trans female, is poor, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have the right to exercise that right to choose. And so I absolutely would cover the right to have an abortion.”
“Yes. (SPEAKING IN SPANISH) On day one, I will make sure that, number one, we end the ICE policies and the Customs and Border Policies that are violating the human rights,” Booker said. “When people come to this country, they do not leave their human rights at the border.”
…. “I will make sure that we reinstate DACA, that we reinstate pathways to citizenship for DACA recipients, and to make sure that people that are here on temporary protective status can stay and remain here.”
“I think it’s abhorrent. we’re talking about this father who got killed with his daughter, and the issues here, the way these kids are being treated,” Ryan said. “If you go to Guantanamo Bay, there are terrorists that are held that get better health care than those kids that have tried to cross the border in the United States. That needs to stop. And I think the president should immediately ask doctors and nurses to go immediately down to the border and start taking care of these kids. What kind of country are we running here where we have a president of the United States who’s so focused on hate and fear and division? And what has happened now, the end result is now we’ve got kids literally laying in their own snot, with three-week-old diapers that haven’t been changed.”
“But rather than talk about specific provisions, we really have to talk about why these people are coming to our country,” Delaney said. “… and what we’re going to do to actually make a difference in these countries.”
“There is no reason for the detention and separation of these children,” Inslee said. “They should be released, pending their hearings, and they should have a hearing and the law should be followed. That’s what should happen.”
The next debate will be tonight. Frontrunners Biden and Sanders will be in this next round of candidates.
The Madison County Democrats are holding a debate watch party at 7:30 p.m. at the Shelby Center on the University of Alabama in Huntsville tonight. Attendance is free and they are promising snacks.
Alabama’s presidential primary will be March 3.
To read the full transcript of Wednesday’s debate click here.
(Original reporting by the Washington Post and Washington Examiner contributed to this report.)
Sen. Doug Jones won’t support SCOTUS nominee before Nov. 3 election
“Certainly, power grabs are not uncommon in our political system, but few are accompanied by such blatant hypocrisy as we are witnessing now,” Jones said.
Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, on Friday said he would not support any nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court before the outcome of the Nov. 3 election is determined.
Speaking during a livestreamed briefing, Jones said that while Republicans appear to have enough votes to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, he will not be a party to denying the people a voice in the process in the election of the next president “in just under 44 days.”
President Donald Trump said Saturday that he plans to nominate Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ginsburg, who on Friday became the first woman, and first Jewish person, to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol.
Several Republicans who voiced opposition to President Barack Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court more than 10 months before the 2016 election have reversed course, and now say they support Trump nominating a selection with election day just a little more than a month away.
“Certainly, power grabs are not uncommon in our political system, but few are accompanied by such blatant hypocrisy as we are witnessing now,” Jones said. “In fact, I believe that the level and intensity of hypocrisy being displayed by Senator McConnell and the president, with regard to the rush to confirm Justice Ginsburg’s successor, is unmatched in the history of our constitutional government.”
Jones said what McConnell and other Republicans should be focusing on instead is getting another round of much-needed COVID-19 aid to small businesses and people impacted by the pandemic.
“Rather than pushing this confirmation to the top of the Senate calendar, the majority leader should turn his focus instead to protecting the lives and livelihoods of the American people. We should pass a new bipartisan COVID-19 stimulus package to give Americans and businesses the relief that they desperately need, and that economists say if required to shore up the economy now,” Jones said.
Jones expressed concern as well for what medical experts are warning could be a new spike in COVID-19 nationwide.
“There could be an even greater urgency, if our health care professionals’ warnings come to pass,” Jones said. “And that is as temperature drops and people go indoors that this virus spikes, and we see another surge.”
Asked why his opponent, Tommy Tuberville, won’t debate Jones, he said, “It’s pretty simple. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
“He has no clue. He is Coach Clueless,” Jones said.
Jones noted that when asked recently on his thoughts on extending the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act of 2020, Tuberville stumbled through an answer that indicated he wasn’t sure what the Voting Rights Act was.
“He had no earthly idea,” Jones said.
Jones said Tuberville isn’t going to debate him because Tuberville doesn’t want to talk about issues.
“He doesn’t want to talk about a plan. His plan is simply this: Whatever Donald Trump says, I’m good,” Jones said, “and if Donald Trump says or does something that is not good, it’s crickets coming from Coach Tuberville.”
Jones noted that after multiple news outlets, including Fox News, confirmed reporting that Trump had said disparaging things about veterans who died in combat, Tuberville has not spoken out against Trump’s comments.
Jennifer Griffin, senior national security correspondent for Fox News, reported that she has spoken to senior U.S. officials who backed up reporting by The Atlantic, and said Trump said of the Vietnam War “anyone who went was a sucker.”
“He has not said a thing about what was confirmed by Fox News about the president’s comment,” Jones said of Tuberville. “That’s just disgraceful.”
Merrill gives guidance on straight party, write-in voting
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill issued guidance Wednesday on straight party and write-in voting.
“Voters who wish to vote straight party for all of the Democratic or Republican candidates on their ballot may do so by filling in the bubble next to their party preference at the top of their ballot,” Merrill explained in a statement.
“If a voter wishes to vote for any candidate outside of the selected party, however, he or she may do so by filling in the bubble next to the preferred candidate’s name. In doing so, the candidate(s) voted on outside of the voter’s designated party ballot will receive the vote for that particular race.
“In addition, if a voter wishes to write-in a candidate, he or she may do so by filling in the bubble next to the box marked ‘Write-in’ and then printing the name of the preferred candidate on the designated line.
“Write-in votes must be hand-written and not stamped or otherwise artificially applied to the ballot.”
Sample ballots for the Nov. 3 general election are available online.
Opinion | For Coach Tub, no thinking required
Has Tommy Tuberville ever had an original thought? It doesn’t sound like it. Coach Tub basically spews Republican talking points and keeps his mouth firmly locked onto Donald Trump. He disrespects Alabama voters so much that he thinks that’s all he needs to do to win a place in the U.S. Senate.
Tuberville recently addressed the St. Clair County Republican Party at its September meeting. As reported by APR, Tuberville is quoted as saying the following, and I’ll offer a short rebuttal. I’m doing this because Tuberville is clearly afraid to death to debate his opponent, U.S. Sen. Doug Jones.
So here goes:
Tuberville: “America is about capitalism, not socialism. I think we are going to decide which direction we are going to go in the next few years.”
Me: We decided which way we were going to go years ago, when the federal government started subsidies for oil and gas companies, farmers and other big industry and business. That, coach, is your so-called “socialism.”
I’m not necessarily opposed to subsidies to boost business, depending on the cause, but I’m not going to let a dimwitted, know-nothing, mediocre, former football coach pretend we don’t already have “socialism” in this country.
What Tuberville really means is that he’s against “socialism” like Medicare or Medicaid or Social Security or food assistance or health insurance. He’s a millionaire already, so there’s no need for him have empathy for or support a safety net for people who are less fortunate socially and economically. That’s Tuberville’s “socialism,” and the Republican Party’s “socialism,” and Trump’s “socialism.”
That’s a cruel, mean perspective that would cast aside the great majority of Americans for the rich (Tuberville, Trump) and connected and, where Trump is concerned, the fawning.
Tuberville: “I am not a Common Core guy. I believe in regular math. We need to get back to teaching history.”
Me: I would love to ask Coach Tubby, one-on-one, exactly what he thinks “Common Core” is. I’ll guarantee you he can’t explain more than he already has. “I believe in regular math?” There is no other math. It’s math. Does he think there’s a math where 1+1=3? There isn’t one. There are a variety of ways to teach math, but there’s only math, not a “fake” math or a “Republican” math or a “Democratic” math or, God forbid, a “Socialist” math.
And when Coach Tommy said, “We need to get back to teaching history,” one wonders if he’s ever been into a classroom. We know more than a few of his former players weren’t in many classrooms, if reports are correct. But they always played the game under his uninspired coaching.
Of course schools teach history.
The history Coach T. is talking about is Donald Trump’s “white” history, the one we’ve been teaching in our schools forever. Not real history; you know, the one where the United States was founded as a slave-holding nation, where Native Americans were massacred and starved by the hundreds of thousands, where white supremacy was codified within our laws, where any color but white was subjugated. That history. The history that is finally fading away, so we can really see where we’ve been as a nation—so we know where, as a nation, we need to go.
Tuberville: Tuberville said he supports following the Constitution and appointing a replacement for Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday.
Me: Well, of course he does. Tuberville doesn’t have an independent thought in his body, and Donnie told him this is what he’s supposed to think. The big question: How much will a Senator Tuberville be able to function as a member of a minority party in the Senate — with no Papa Trump in the White House to tell him what to do?
Both scenarios are real possibilities, if not likelihoods.
There is no question that Doug Jones is far more qualified than Tuberville. Jones can work across the aisle, which will be vitally important if Democrats take control of the Senate. Jones has his own thoughts, which sometimes go against the Democratic Party’s wishes. Jones is independent, smart and represents Alabama well.
Tuberville is a failed football coach who lives in Florida. That’s about it.
President Donald Trump endorses Barry Moore for Congress
President Donald Trump on Wednesday endorsed Republican 2nd Congressional District candidate Barry Moore, sharing his endorsement on Twitter.
In the tweet, the president wrote, “Barry Moore (@RepBarryMoore) will be a terrific Congressman for Alabama! An early supporter of our #MAGA agenda, he is Strong on Jobs, Life, the Wall, Law & Order, and the Second Amendment. Barry has my Complete and Total Endorsement! #AL02”
Moore met with the president in the White House on Wednesday.
“I’m truly honored to be endorsed for Congress by President Donald J. Trump,” Moore said. “I have never regretted being the first elected official in America to endorse him for president in 2015, and I’m looking forward to working with him in the next Congress during his second term.”
Barry Moore (@RepBarryMoore) will be a terrific Congressman for Alabama! An early supporter of our #MAGA agenda, he is Strong on Jobs, Life, the Wall, Law & Order and the Second Amendment. Barry has my Complete and Total Endorsement! #AL02 https://t.co/hlrWU7Drr2
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2020
“President Trump has already accomplished so much and kept so many of his campaign promises despite all that the establishment and the Democrats have done to obstruct him, but he knows there’s still lots to be done,” Moore continued. “We must contain and control the COVID pandemic, restore our economy to the pre-pandemic level of growth and prosperity we enjoyed during his first three years in office. We must restore and maintain law and order on our streets and in our cities. We must finish building the wall, and then fix our broken immigration system.”
“We had great meetings at the White House with the president’s domestic policy team,” Moore said. “Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, was also there. We discussed a new health care plan being introduced, economic recovery, trade with China and expansion of opportunity zones in depressed areas. The president has a bright vision for America.”
“I’m convinced that Donald J. Trump is the president we need to lead us for the next four years, and I hope the people of Alabama’s 2nd District see fit to elect me to work with President Trump as their congressman on Nov. 3,” Moore concluded.
It was an honor to visit the White House and meet with President @realDonaldTrump and VP @Mike_Pence – These are two great men who care about America and the people of Alabama. I look forward to working with them! #MAGA #Trump2020 #BarryMoore2020 #WhiteHouse #alpolitics WH PHOTOS pic.twitter.com/sK3SUXPZg6
— Barry Moore (@RepBarryMoore) September 23, 2020
Moore served two terms in the Alabama House of Representatives from 2010 to 2018. Moore is a graduate of Auburn University, a veteran, a small business owner, husband and father.
Moore is running for Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District in the Nov. 3 general election. Incumbent Congresswoman Martha Roby, R-Alabama, is not seeking another term. Moore faces Democratic candidate Phyllis Harvey-Hall.