It’s just Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden standing on stage at CNN Studios in Washington D.C. with no audience and both candidates 6 feet apart due to health concerns.
The format is a little awkward, but a debate that was supposed to take place in Arizona now takes place amid a National Crisis the likes of which we have never seen before.
With a 160 delegate lead over Senator Sanders, Former Vice President Biden makes overtures to Sanders supporters ahead of Tuesday’s primaries in Florida, Ohio, Arizona, and Illinois.
Live Updates and Highlights below:
The Debate began with both candidates addressing the Coronavirus crisis ongoing in the United States and the world as a whole. Biden stated that the crisis is a “war” and both contenders stated they would deploy the military. Sen. Sanders stated we “need to shut this president up right now” as he “undermines doctors, scientists”.
The debate got testy at times, but there was a moment where Biden explained all the things the two have in common and the fact that they need to beat Trump. Both stated they would campaign and support the other, no matter who the nominee is.
When asked about Women’s issues and a cabinet make-up, Vice President Biden committed to appointing a Black Woman to the Supreme Court and fully committed to run a woman – he did not say who – as his Vice President. Senator Sanders stated it would be likely to have a “Progressive Woman” as his running mate if he is the nominee.
On Immigration, both candidates took a hard stance that undocumented immigrants arrested by local police should not be turned over to immigration officials. Biden committed to zero deportations and path to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants, except for felons. Sen. Sanders said he would never allow the United States to “rip babies from mother’s arms” like the Trump Administration.
On Climate Change, Sanders called for the Green New Deal Legislation and Biden committed to rejoining the Paris Climate Accords and legislation to disallow Brazil to burn the Amazon, no ability for fossil fuel companies to drill oil off-shore. Both committed to no fracking and investing in more green alternatives to cars. Sanders plan is the most comprehensive – $16 Trillion as opposed to Biden’s plan of $1 Trillion.
Biden attacked Sen. Sanders for confusing comments about China, Cuba, and the former Soviet Union. Sen. Sanders attacked Biden for his vote on Iraq* which Biden has said was a mistake and said he led the effort against Authoritarian regimes in Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E.
Both candidates were pressed on their failure to support, for Biden: Latinos, and for Senator Sanders: African Americans. Sanders spoke about his support from young american (18-30) and Latinos and expressed doubt that Biden can bring them in.
In closing, both candidates offered extreme empathy for all Americans in regards to the coronavirus… a complete contrast from President Trump. That’s what at stake in this election. It is easy and reassuring to know that either of these men could or will be President in the next crisis.
* Senator Sanders did not vote for the war in Iraq as a member of the House.