Mainstream media analysis of the first night of the first Democratic Party presidential primary debate agreed across-the-board that the party has shifted so far to the left that it is unrecognizable from the party it was in the 1990s.
The New York Times led with a front-page story, “Democrats Split on How Far Left to Nudge Nation.”
Not a debate headline that helps the party’s electability. pic.twitter.com/CVFbf9TnNs
— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) June 27, 2019
The Los Angeles Times — hardly a conservative outlet — noted, in an article titled “This is not your father’s Democratic Party: Debate shows how leftward it has moved”:
The Democratic Party opened its 2020 presidential debates with a remarkably policy-focused exchange that illustrated how consistently to the left they have moved.
The shift in the party goes beyond economics. As the debate made clear, it includes gun control, abortion, climate change and immigration, among other issues. On each of those, candidates took positions to the left of those embraced by either of the last two Democratic presidents, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who was barely mentioned by any of the candidates.
Rather than Clinton’s call for abortion to be “safe, legal and rare,” for example, the debate featured candidates stressing that the universal healthcare plans they backed would include public funds to pay for abortions for poor women.
And Politico added, in an article titled “Democrats lead with their left” (with the subtitle: “It’s not an illusion: The party is presenting its most liberal face since the 1970s”:
This is a party eager to go on the ideological offensive not just against Donald Trump (whose name did not dominate the evening even as he was invoked plenty) but against an economic and political power structure that candidates argued is deeply corrupt. Liberals must be empowered to bring bad actors to heel through robust intervention of government.
It fell largely to emphatically back-of-the-pack candidates like former Rep. John Delaney to stand up for something like the political gospel of Clinton or even Barack Obama (since mandatory Medicare for All amounts to a repeal of the Affordable Care Act.) “100 million Americans say they like their private health insurance,” Delaney said. “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. Why do we have to stand for taking away something from people?”
The second night of the candidates, featuring many of the frontrunners, will be held Thursday evening at 9 p.m. EDT on NBC.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.