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Debate night two:

Presented in glorious Bernie-vision: profess to support 15 minimum wage, immigration reform, no regime change wars, Medicare for all, Democratic Socialism, Green New Deal, free college tuition, taxing billionaires (and millionaires, very recently including Bernie) their fair share etc.? These were all part of Bernie’s platform in 2016, ridiculed by the main stream media at the time but now plagiarized by the Bernie-clones below (with some corporate candidate exceptions).

Scores are based on an average of the extent to which the candidates in question (in the subjective opinion of have been influenced by Bernie’s 2016 agenda and whether there is evidence for or against that they are sincere in their support of those policies.

Marianne Williamson

Healing crystals.

Could be seen by some as wacky and maybe some of those people might be inclined to put Bernie in that group. At least that’s what the powers that be are hoping.

USA has a sickness care not health care - we need to address why people get sick in the first place (not the only candidate to make this claim). True, but what do we do when people do get sick and need health care? Let’s move on.

Bernie score: 0 out of ten

John Hickenlooper

Just there to oppose socialism and Medicare for all, much like independent libertarian candidates who ran against Jill Stein (Green Party) in 2016. Amazing that not one single reference is ever made in the main stream media thanking Jill Stein for championing this cause. Greta Thunberg, we thank you at!

Bernie score: 0 out of ten

Andrew Yang

Advocates universal basic income and dealing with increasing automation in the workplace. Another Bernie type candidate who takes a socialist kind of idea that has been tried elsewhere (Scandinavia) but would be seen as radical by most American voters. The establishment’s hoped for effect is that whilst many view Bernie’s proposals as mainstream, in the context of a crowded field of candidates many of whom sound like Bernie in one context or another, voters will either be attracted by this or that younger Bernie-esque sounding candidate, or be put off by him/her and by extension also Bernie. Divide and conquer.

Pete Buttigieg

Took criticism from Swallwell for not firing the chief of police as mayor of South Bend due to the police killing of an African American man (police officer’s body-cam was turned off). Began his campaign on not having any policies, just values. In the debate criticized the appeal to religion in politics with respect to alleged Republican Christian justification for separating children from their parents seeking asylum in the USA.

Joe Biden

Offered vague Obama-esque platitudes in general and obfuscation about his stance against busing and segregationism in the USA in the 1970’s. Biden had been against Federal government intervention to protect civil rights, with respect to busing and the Hyde amendment (though changed his position on the Hyde amendment after recent criticism). Took major criticism from Kamala Harris during the debate. Weak attempts to defend his position re busing fizzled out with “my time is up, I’m sorry”, only serving to accentuate the weakness of his attempt to defend himself.

Next day Biden attempted to argue that 30 / 60 seconds is not long enough to do justice to his work in civil rights, yet even then he failed to address the point he was criticized for when there was no time constraint. Harris criticized him for being against the Federal government intervening at the state level to ensure busing occurred thus ensuring civil rights - Biden irrelevantly claimed he was not opposed to voluntary busing (in states that wanted to do that).

When asked (with all other candidates, going down the line) about one thing he would focus on as President, he redundantly (and confusedly) declared “defeating Donald Trump”.

Biden was the last person to raise his hand in reply to the question of whether candidates would support idea of health care for illegal immigrants - he appeared to be waiting to see how other candidates were replying before giving his answer.

His final summation ended with “God protect our troops”. This was a dog-whistle to southern religious fundamentalists (and their allegiance to Obama). Furthermore it was an indirect and subliminal response to the criticism that Biden showed poor judgement in having voted for the war with Iraq (a war which Bernie had led the opposition against and one which the American government via the mainstream media lied to its citizens about - i.e. that the justifying pretext for war was that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction).

Bernie Sanders

What you see is what you get. Consistent champion of progressive ideas for decades which he made mainstream in 2016. The media then tried to smear those ideas as radical. Since that strategy failed, the latest establishment attempt to prevent Bernie from gaining the Dem nomination is to have lots of candidates. Many of these candidates individually stress one element or other of Bernie’s 2016 platform - the establishment’s hoped for result is a chipping away at Bernie’s voting support base.

Getting money out of politics (Gillibrand), ending gun violence (Swalwell), Medicare for all (Harris), Green New Deal/Climate change (Inslee), reinstating Glass Steagal regulation for big banks (Warren, who backed Hillary in 2016 - who in turn supported Dodd Frank not Glass Steagal) are some examples.

Simultaneously other candidates are critical of one or other of Bernie’s policies, claiming they are too radical (especially Medicare for all - Bennett, Delaney and Hickenlooper are seemingly mainly running to attack this policy).

The hoped for net result of this divide and conquer strategy from the establishment point of view is that Bernie’s support will be sufficiently weakened.

Kamala Harris

“America does not want to witness a food fight, they want to know how we will put food on their table”, in response to bickering amongst candidates. Claimed she wanted (with Bernie) to eliminate private health insurance, but next day claimed she had misunderstood the question. As she had done more than once before, failed to clearly say whether in favor of or against private health insurance.

Similarly, at a townhall moderated by Don Lemon, she at first said she agreed with Bernie that even convicted felons should be allowed to vote. Then when pushed by Don Lemon, she claimed (less clearly) we need to have that discussion. Next day, she apparently changed her position saying that Boston marathon bomber should not be allowed to vote.

Kirsten Gillibrand

Was the most blatant Bernie clone - referencing her having worked on Bernie’s healthcare plan with him (but didn’t mention she has supported other health care plans different from Bernie’s too).

Talked about her plan to get money out of politics, as if Bernie had not been championing this cause for decades. Despite this talk, she has taken money from PACs or individual members etc. of Wall Street (Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citigroup Inc. etc.) and pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer etc. since 2005.

See Open Secrets:

Michael Bennet

Critic of Bernie’s Medicare for all plan because it eliminates private health insurance. Bernie replied on stage that people don’t like their health insurance, they like their doctor and hospital. Like Lindsay Graham, Bennet lauds Bernie for being honest, only to criticize his honesty about socialism.

Eric Swalwell

Like Bernie who has had a D- rating with the NRA for decades, wants to end gun violence - this aspect of Bernie’s 2016 platform is Swalwell’s primary objective. Swalwell proposed buying back assault weapons and criticized Bernie for not having proposed that Australian kind of policy. In effect Swalwell is a centrist Dem (silent on Medicare for all, Green New Deal, free college tuition, 15 minimum wage, anti-interventionist wars etc.) who is criticizing Bernie for not being far left enough - hypocrital in that respect.

Criticized Biden for not passing the torch to younger person. Indirect criticism of Bernie. Bernie’s (off stage post debate indirect reply - not your age but what you believe is important. Ageism is like sexism and racism.

Swalwell had not much else of substance to say.