The second round of debates, which highlighted the Democrat Party’s internal struggle over the direction of the party, left many prominent Democrats on Capitol Hill worried, according to a report from the Hill.
Senate Democrats, particularly, have been reeling since Tuesday and Wednesday’s debates and are reportedly frustrated that candidates spent more time attacking each other than President Trump and his policies.
“I’m of the view that we have always been a party of ideas,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said, according to the Hill. “I think everybody should sort of consider that.”
“People take sides and then they become hypersensitive and that just makes divisions all over the party and we don’t want that,” she added. “I want every one of our candidates to do well.”
Sen. Chris Murphy (D- CT) took it a step further and seemed to partially blame moderators for encouraging candidates to highlight their ideological differences. He said the “incessant focus on these relative minor divisions” is a waste of time.
“I think these debates are really silly,” he said, as reported by the Hill. “Just the incessant focus on these relative minor divisions between candidates might make for good TV, but I don’t think gives people an accurate portrayal of the stakes of this election.”
Tuesday night’s debate highlighted the battle between far-left progressives, such as Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and more moderate candidates, John Delaney and John Hickenlooper, for example.
Both Warren and Sanders teamed up, sparring with the more moderate candidates who questioned their lofty ideas, like Medicare for All. Delaney said Americans need “real solutions, not impossible promises” and stressed that candidates should offer “things that are workable– not fairy tale economics.”
Warren was not amused and questioned Delaney’s presence in the race.
“I don’t understand why anybody goes through all the trouble for running for President of the United States just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for,” she said to applause.
Delaney spoke to Fox & Friends the following day and said that the dismissive remarks are “a problem with the extreme left of the party.”
“When you point out obvious flaws in the things they’re talking about, they say, ‘Well, that’s a Republican talking point,’” Delaney said. “And I’m like, no, it’s actually a fact that you should be able to defend.”
“I was vice president. I am not the president. I keep my recommendation to him in private. Unlike you, I can expect you would go ahead and say whatever was said privately with him,” Biden quipped. “That is not what I do.”
Trump remarked on the phenomenon during his Cincinnati rally Thursday night.
“The Democrats spent more time attacking Barack Obama than they did attacking me, practically,” he said. “That wasn’t pretty.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) echoed his colleagues’ concerns, expressing the desire for Democrat candidates to unite and focus on Trump’s record.
“If we get all focused on the differences between, say Bernie [Sanders] and Cory [Booker] and Mayor Pete [Buttigieg] and [John] Hickenlooper, we’ll lose sight of the fact that it’s Donald Trump who’s now trying to reduce health care, destroy health care, get it rid [sic] for everybody,” Schumer said.
“That’s a trap we shouldn’t fall into,” he added.