DETROIT — Centrist 2020 Democratic presidential candidates confronted liberal rivals on healthcare and immigration in the opening round of the party’s second debate set, while liberals targeted the man they want to replace: President Trump.
On Tuesday night, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, making his debate debut, slammed “wishlist” politics in the first minutes of the event, sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee and hosted by CNN in downtown Detroit. Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, a wealthy ex-healthcare executive, warned against opponents’ “impossible promises.” Delaney cited a Holy Trinity of Democratic presidential nominees who lost in landslide fashion, George McGovern, Walter Mondale, and Michael Dukakis, and pointed to socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont as a cautionary tale about moving too far left.
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper advised against “massive government expansions.” Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, meanwhile, said her “bold ideas” were still “grounded in reality.”
The attacks were aimed at the likes of firebrand populists on the debate stage, Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, as well as younger, idealistic hopefuls South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke.