The past week saw another two-night slugfest as 20 Democrats took the stage in Detroit to tell American voters why they deserve to challenge President Donald Trump in 2020 and to defend their policies and proposals.
The first night was a tug-of-war match over the direction the Democratic Party should go, with moderates calling out senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
“That is a disaster at the ballot box,” John Hickenlooper, the former governor of Colorado, said. “You might as well FedEx the election to Donald Trump.”
The middle-of-the-road Democrats said Warren and Sanders are too extreme and unelectable for independent voters.
“With bad policies like Medicare-for-All, free everything and impossible promises, that will turn off independent voters,” Rep. John Delaney of Maryland said.
The progressive senators stood their ground and hit back.
“I get a little bit tired of Democrats [who are] afraid of big ideas,” Sanders said.
An exasperated Warren echoed the sentiment.
“You know, I don’t understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for President of the United States just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for,” she said.
On night two, an uneasy tension filled the stage. From the start, candidates were engaged and aggressive, with many of them turning their focus to former Vice President and front-runner Joe Biden.
“Mr. Vice President, you can’t have it both ways,” New Jersey Sen. Corey Booker said, insinuating that Biden leans on his relationship with former President Barack Obama when it’s convenient and distances himself when needed.
Former Secretary for Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro called Biden out for flip-flopping on issues and Sen. Kamala Harris called out some inaccuracies.
Biden pushed back, reminding the candidates and audience of his experience in the White House.
“I find it fascinating. Everybody is talking about how terrible I am on these issues,” he said. “Barak Obama knew exactly who I was. He chose me and said it was the best decision he made.”