Both debates displayed the left’s commitment to driving the party even further to the extreme left in what appears to be a desperate attempt to satisfy the Democrat Party’s new crop of “woke” voters.
Candidates hit on a range of issues and pivoted from their traditional methods of trying to appear moderate, instead embracing radical policies like Medicare for All, taxpayer-funded abortion, and marginal tax rates 70 percent and beyond.
Here is a compilation of some of the most extreme statements made by each candidate both nights.
1. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA): “I’m with Bernie on Medicare for All.”
NBC moderator Lester Holt asked the stage of candidates if they supported abolishing private insurance altogether. Only two raised their hands – Warren and de Blasio. Warren argued that Medicare for All would solve a range of issues, from affordability to access to care, but provided little to no logistical details.
2. Julián Castro (D): “I don’t believe only in reproductive freedom, I believe in reproductive justice. 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.”
Castro’s answer was in response to a question about his government health care option covering abortion. Castro said it would and pivoted to a conversation about trans-females having the “right to choose.” His point remains unclear, as trans-females are incapable of becoming pregnant, making their right to “choose” nonsensical, at best.
3. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ): “If you need a license to drive a car, you should need a license to buy and own a firearm.”
Booker temporarily dodged a hypothetical question on Republicans confirming his court nominees, instead addressing a previous question on gun violence.
“In states like Connecticut that did that, they saw 40 percent drops in gun violence and 15 percent drops in suicides,” he claimed. “We need to start having bold agendas on guns.”
4. Mayor Bill de Blasio (D): “I want to make it clear. This is supposed to be the party of working people. Yes, we are supposed to be for 70 percent tax rate on the wealthy. Yes, we are supposed to be for free college, free public college for young people. We are supposed to break up big corporations when they are not serving our democracy.”
The NYC mayor’s remarks were in response to a question about addressing “income inequality.” Mayor de Blasio used his experience governing New York to preview his lofty plans, which include upping marginal tax rates to astronomical levels and making “free” college a reality.
5. Gov. Jay Inslee (D): “There is no reason for the detention and separation. They should be released pending hearings and have a hearing and the law should be followed. That’s what should happen.”
Savannah Guthrie asked candidates what they would do with the illegal immigrant families residing in the U.S. on day one. Inslee also bragged about his state’s law that “prevents local law enforcement from being turned into mini-ICE agents.”
6. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI): “This president and his chickenhawk cabinet have led us to the brink of war with Iran.”
Holt asked Gabbard about her previous promise to revive the Iran Deal. While she admitted serious flaws within the deal, she said President Trump and his cabinet are “creating a situation that just a spark would light off a war with Iran,” adding that Trump needs to “get back into the Iran nuclear deal and swallow his pride.”
7. Beto O’Rourke (D): “But unfortunately, under this administration, President Trump has alienated our allies and alliances. He’s diminished our standing in the world and he’s made us weaker as a country, less able to confront challenges, whether it’s Iran, North Korea, or Vladimir Putin and Russia, who attacked and invaded our democracy in 2016, and who President Trump has offered an invitation to do the same.”
O’Rourke claimed Putin “attacked and invaded our democracy” as a response to a question about the U.S. and its role of combating genocide and crimes against humanity. He later referred to the attack as an “invasion democracy.”
8. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH): “I think it’s abhorrent — we’re talking about this father who got killed with his daughter — and the issue here with the way they are being treated is if you go to Guantanamo Bay, there are terrorists being held that get better health care than those kids that tried to cross the border into the United States. That needs to stop.”
Ryan’s answer was in response to a question about the nature of crossing the border illegally.
“Should it be a crime to illegally cross the border? Or should it be a civil offense only?” Guthrie asked.
Ryan added that “there are other provisions in the law that will allow you to prosecute people for coming over here if they’re dealing drugs and other things.”
9. John Delaney (D): “All the economists agree that a carbon pricing mechanism works. You just have to do it right.”
Chuck Todd asked candidates about their climate change plans and the prospect of taxing carbon.
“If pricing carbon is just politically impossible, how do we pay for climate mitigation?” he asked. Delaney said his plan would “put a price on carbon” and “give a dividend back to the American people.”
10. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN): “And my plan would be to, first of all, make community college free and make sure that everyone else besides that top percentile gets help with their education.”
Guthrie asked Klobuchar about her past remarks, in which the Minnesota senator said she would make college free if she were “a magic genie.” She did not completely dismiss the idea of free college during the debate but added, “I do get concerned about paying for college for rich kids.”
11. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA): “You asked before what is the greatest national security threat to the United States? It’s Donald Trump.”
During Thursday night’s debate, Todd asked Harris about climate change, which she said “represents an existential threat to us as a species.” She connected it to Trump and referenced his denial before making the declaration.
12. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT): “People who have health care under Medicare-for-all will have no premiums, no deductibles, no co-payments, no out-of-pocket expenses. Yes, they will pay more in taxes, but less in health care for what they get.”
Guthrie asked Sanders if his administration would raise taxes on middle-class Americans, and he eventually admitted that it would. He attempted to spin it as an incredible deal though.
13. Joe Biden (D): “I’m also the only guy that got assault weapons banned, and the number of clips in a gun banned. And so, folks, look, and I would buy back those weapons. We already started talking about that. We tried to get it done. I think it can be done. And it should be demanded that we do it.”
Biden bragged about his ambitious plans to tread on the Second Amendment, adding that gun buybacks are a “good expenditure of money.”
14. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY): “Women’s reproductive rights are under assault by President Trump and the Republican Party.”
Gillibrand promised to make “women’s reproductive rights” one of her top priorities in the event that she makes it to the White House. She described herself as the “fiercest advocate for women’s reproductive freedom for over a decade.”
15. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA): “But I’m the only candidate on this stage calling for a ban and buyback of every single assault weapon in America.”
Swalwell declared his gun platform the strongest of all the candidates’ and claimed that their plans “would all leave 15 million assault weapons in our communities.”
16. Marianne Williamson (D): “What Donald Trump has done to these children — and it’s not just in Colorado — Governor, you’re right, it is kidnapping, and it’s extremely important for us to realize that. If you forcibly take a child from their parents’ arms, you are kidnapping them.”
Not only did Williamson accuse Trump of “kidnapping” children, she also said that the administration is inflicting them with trauma and abusing them.
“And if you take a lot of children and you put them in a detainment center, that’s inflicting chronic trauma upon them. That’s called child abuse. This is collective child abuse,” she added.
17. Andrew Yang (D): “That’s right.”
While the quote does not sound extreme on its own, it is in response to the following moderator statement: “Mr. Yang, your — your signature policy is to give every adult in the United States $1,000 a month, no questions asked.”
He later added:
I would pass a $1,000 freedom dividend for every American adult starting at age 18, which would speed us up on climate change, because if you get the boot off of people’s throats, they’ll focus on climate change much more clearly.
18. Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D): “Well, the reality is we need to begin adapting right away, but we also can’t skip a beat on preventing climate change from getting even worse. It’s why we need aggressive and ambitious measures. It’s why we need to do a carbon tax and dividend.”
Buttigieg confirmed that a carbon tax is part of his exhaustive list of policy proposals.
19. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO): “When I — when I — when I see these kids at the border, I see my mom, because I know she sees herself, because she was separated from her parents for years during the Holocaust in Poland.”
Bennet essentially compared children at the southern border to his mother who was separated from her parents during the Holocaust.
20. John Hickenlooper (D): “I recognize that, within 10 or 12 years of actually, you know, suffering irreversible damage, but, you know, guaranteeing everybody a government job is not going to get us there.”
Hickenlooper happily toed the party line on the time frame on climate change, although he added that socialism is “not the solution.”