NPR Analysis Of The Nevada Democratic Debate

Feb 19, 2020

 

From left, Democratic presidential candidates, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.,former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., stand on stage before a Democratic presidential primary debate Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, in Las Vegas, hosted by NBC News and MSNBC.
Credit AP Photo/John Locher

Warren Goes After Bloomberg For Allegations Of Sexual Harassment

One of the debate’s critical moments happened when former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg was asked about women’s allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination over his years in business.

Bloomberg defended himself by saying that if there’s ever a complaint across his enterprises, it’s investigated immediately and that women are in key roles across the workplaces.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren jumped in. She said it doesn’t cut it to simply respond to the allegations by saying, “I’ve been nice to some women.”

She also cited the nondisclosure agreements that some former Bloomberg employees have signed. She paused and asked Bloomberg whether he would release various women from their NDAs, to allow them to offer their side of the story. He did not agree. At one point he seemed to dismiss some complaints by saying people “maybe didn’t like a joke I told.”

Warren said Democrats are not going to defeat Trump — who has faced many allegations of sexual misconduct himself — with someone who has so many NDAs and what she referred to as a drip-drip-drip of allegations.

Former Vice President Joe Biden piled on, saying “it’s easy” to release the former employees from the NDAs, and he made a larger point about Democratic nominees needing to be transparent.

 

 ’Stop And Frisk’ Becomes A Debate Flashpoint

Predictably, the former New York City police policy known as “stop and frisk” became a flashpoint tonight for former Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Bloomberg continued the policy from Rudy Giuliani’s administration in which people on the street were searched because the city government believed that would help stop murders and violent crime.

The way the policy was carried out was found to be unconstitutional, however, because of the disproportionate number of black and brown people who were stopped. Bloomberg has apologized and says he ended “stop and frisk” when he saw it wasn’t working. Tonight, former Vice President Joe Biden challenged that, noting that the Obama administration sent in monitors — which Bloomberg resisted.

Bloomberg has gotten into trouble during this presidential campaign for comments he made in 2015:

"People say, ‘Oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana who are all minorities.’ Yes, that’s true. Why? Because we put all the cops in the minority neighborhoods. Yes, that’s true. Why’d we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is. And the way you should get the guns out of the kids’ hands is throw them against the wall and frisk them,” Bloomberg said then.

He has since apologized, saying, in part: “I have taken responsibility for taking too long to understand the impact it had on black and Latino communities. This issue and my comments about it do not reflect my commitment to criminal justice reform and racial equity."

Midwest Nice? Klobuchar, Buttigieg Spar Again

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar have a few things in common: they’re Midwesterners positioning themselves as centrist bridge-builders – and they’re each trying to grab attention as Bloomberg and Sanders are on the ascent.

Buttigieg picked up on a question directed at Klobuchar, who was recently unable to remember the name of Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Buttiegig suggested that as a U.S. senator, she should have known his name. “You are staking your candidacy on your Washington experience … and were not able to speak to literally the first thing about the politics of the country to our south,” he said.

Appearing frustrated, Klobuchar asked, “Are you trying to say that I’m dumb? Or are you mocking me here, Pete?”

Klobuchar said she “made an error,” and pointed to her legislative record in the Senate, contrasting it with Buttigieg’s lack of experience holding a national office. Warren came back and defended Klobuchar a few minutes later, saying everyone forgets names sometimes. It’s not the first time the two have sparred; Klobuchar has tried to paint Buttigieg as inexperienced, and Buttigieg has previously criticized Klobuchar’s failure to recall the name of the Mexican president.

Socialism Vs. Capitalism At Core Of Democratic Primary

Income inequality in the United States drives Democrats who are running for president. But they don’t agree on how to fix it.

Bernie Sanders stands on one side with what he calls “democratic socialism.” It includes, for example, health care as a universal right and free tuition at public colleges. Sanders defended those policies, comparing them to those in Northern European countries, like Denmark.

But socialism, “democratic” or not, is not popular in the United States. The latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found that just 28% had a favorable opinion of socialism, while 58% had an unfavorable one. In contrast, 57% had a favorable view of capitalism.

Billionaire and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg retorted, regarding the argument of socialism versus capitalism, that he can’t think of a way to get President Trump reelected more quickly.

“We’re not going to throw out capitalism,” Bloomberg said. Other countries tried that, he said: “It’s called communism, and it just didn’t work.”

Sanders took offense. “Let’s talk about democratic socialism, not communism, Mr. Bloomberg,” Sanders said. “That was a cheap shot.”

Bloomberg fired back, saying it’s proof of the great country that America is that the “best-known socialist in the country is a millionaire with three houses.”

If Sanders wins the nomination, he certainly will have to draw the line between “democratic” socialism and socialism, explain it and sell it. He thinks he can do it; many practiced in politics disagree. But we are in unique times.

 

1 Billionaire, 4 Millionaires And A Millennial

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg keeps making references to himself as the only person onstage who isn’t a millionaire or billionaire. After an allusion to former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s many residences, Buttigieg described what he called the view 

from the front porch of his “one house, in Indiana.”

Here is the net worth of each candidate onstage, according to the most recent data from OpenSecrets.org and Forbes:

  • Mike Bloomberg: $64.2 billion*
  • Elizabeth Warren: $11.1 million
  • Joe Biden: $7.9 million
  • Amy Klobuchar: $2.3 million
  • Bernie Sanders: $1.8 million
  • Pete Buttigieg: $167,000

*Bloomberg has not yet disclosed his finances to the Federal Election Commission but has an estimated net worth.

 

All Eyes Now Turn To Caucus Day On Saturday

With the debate over attention now turns to Nevada’s caucuses on Saturday, when 36 delegates are at stake.

Check-in will begin at the almost 2,100 precincts at 10 am PT, 1 pm ET and the caucuses are scheduled to start at noon PT, 3 pm ET.

Democrats across the state will use new technology for the first time to integrate into the process nearly 75,000 early votes that were cast this week.