“We can go down the road that Senator Sanders and Senator Warren want to take us, which is with bad policies like Medicare for All, free everything, and impossible promises that will turn off independent voters and get Trump re-elected,” former Representative John Delaney predicted on Tuesday night, before ticking off the surnames of past Democratic presidential losers. “That’s what happened with McGovern, that’s what happened with Mondale, that’s what happened with Dukakis.”
[“You’re wrong!” Read a transcript of the conversation between Mr. Sanders and Mr. Delaney on Medicare for All.]
After an exchange over immigration, Mr. Ryan warned that the unyielding progressive tilt of the night’s debate was dangerous politics. “Now, in this discussion already tonight, we’ve talked about taking private health insurance away from union members in the industrial Midwest, we’ve talked about decriminalizing the border, and we’ve talked about giving free health care to undocumented workers when so many Americans are struggling to pay for their health care,” he said. “I quite frankly don’t think that that is an agenda that we can move forward on and win.”
From their centrally located lecterns, Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren, sharing the debate stage for the first time, formed a persistent tag team, quickly dispelling any notion that they might snipe at each other.
Though either’s path to the nomination probably depends on consolidating progressive support, neither has seen much upside in attacking, sustaining a peace born of broadly shared policy goals and a friendship that aides describe as genuine. “Giant corporations and billionaires are going to pay more,” Ms. Warren said of the health care vision she shares with Mr. Sanders, in a line either could have uttered. “Middle class families are going to pay less out of pocket for their health care.”
Their mutual nonaggression was notable, if unsurprising. Mr. Sanders’s poll numbers of late have been middling, with Ms. Warren appearing to siphon support among some of the party’s most liberal voters, even if their coalitions do not always overlap. (Ms. Warren’s base tends to be older, more female and more educated, while Mr. Sanders remains especially popular with younger voters.)
Still, the two can be contrasts in style and substance. Mr. Sanders speaks of wide-scale revolution; Ms. Warren has self-branded as the candidate with a plan for everything. Mr. Sanders’s best-known campaign medium is the mega-rally; Ms. Warren has often subsisted on smaller events, defined by personal voter interactions and winding lines for photographs. Mr. Sanders aligns himself with democratic socialism; Ms. Warren says she is “a capitalist to my bones.”
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