MSNBC-Washington Post Democratic Debate

Watch MSNBC-Washington Post Democratic Debate

  • 2020
  • 1 Season

On November 20th, 2019, MSNBC and The Washington Post co-hosted the fifth Democratic debate of the 2020 primary election season. While there were a smaller number of candidates on stage compared to previous debates, there was no shortage of substantive discussion and spirited exchanges.

The format of the debate, moderated by Rachel Maddow, Andrea Mitchell, Kristen Welker, and Ashley Parker, allowed for two hours of debate time with ten candidates on stage. The candidates included former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator Bernie Sanders, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senator Kamala Harris, Senator Cory Booker, Senator Amy Klobuchar, tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang, billionaire activist Tom Steyer, and Congressman Tulsi Gabbard.

The first topic of the debate was the ongoing impeachment proceedings against President Trump. The moderators asked each candidate for their opinion on why they believe President Trump should be impeached and removed from office. Some candidates focused on the legal and constitutional ramifications of Trump's actions, while others brought up the importance of holding the president accountable for his behavior.

The conversation then shifted to economic policies, with candidates discussing their plans for creating jobs and improving the lives of average Americans. Senator Warren was especially forceful in advocating for a wealth tax, which would place a 2% tax on households with a net worth over $50 million and a 6% tax on those with a net worth over $1 billion. Mayor Buttigieg, Senator Harris, and others argued for policies that would help small businesses and create well-paying jobs in industries like renewable energy.

Health care was another major topic of the debate, with candidates discussing the pros and cons of a single-payer system like Medicare for All versus a public option that would allow people to buy into a government-run health care plan. Senator Sanders and Warren were strongly in favor of the single-payer option, while candidates like Biden and Buttigieg argued that a public option could achieve similar goals without upending the entire health care system.

Another key topic of the night was immigration, with candidates discussing their plans for border security, migrant detention, and paths to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Senator Sanders and Gabbard both advocated for ending the criminalization of crossing the border, while other candidates emphasized the need for more resources to process asylum claims and keep families together.

Foreign policy also received some attention, with several candidates discussing their views on the recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the ongoing crisis in Syria. Senator Warren was forceful in her condemnation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, while Steyer and others argued that the US needs to take a stronger stance against countries like Saudi Arabia that abuse human rights.

Throughout the night, the moderators encouraged the candidates to engage with each other and respond directly to criticisms and comparisons made by their competitors. This led to some lively exchanges, particularly between Biden and several of the more progressive candidate. However, the moderators also did a good job of keeping the conversation focused and substantive, without getting bogged down in personal attacks or sniping.

Overall, the MSNBC-Washington Post Democratic Debate was a strong showing for the various candidates on stage. While there were no clear winners or losers, each candidate was given ample opportunity to showcase their policy positions and argue their case to the American public. With the primaries only a few months away, this debate represented a crucial moment in the race for the Democratic nomination.

MSNBC-Washington Post Democratic Debate
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MSNBC-Washington Post Democratic Debate
1. MSNBC-Washington Post Democratic Debate
September 1, 2020
MSNBC-Washington Post Democratic Debate
  • Premiere Date
    September 1, 2020