The ideological divide between Democratic presidential hopefuls came into focus Tuesday as leading progressive candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren defended their liberal policies on healthcare and immigration against surprisingly energetic attacks from moderate rivals.
The fault lines emerged immediately in the second debate of the 2020 Democratic primary race, with lesser-known candidates taking sharp digs and warning that forcing radical change could ensure President Donald Trump’s re-election.
Warren demanded “big, structural change” and warned that political “spinelessness” over radical reforms will perpetuate a “rigged system that has helped the wealthy and well-connected and kicked dirt in the faces of everyone else.”
But she and Sanders faced dramatic pushback including from ex-congressman John Delaney who delivered a scathing rebuke to their “fairy tale economics” that risk bankrupting the economy.
The debate features 20 candidates over two nights in Detroit, Michigan, a battleground state Trump snatched in 2016.
Frontrunner Joe Biden takes the stage Wednesday with senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, prominent African-American candidates who have strongly criticized the former vice president on racial issues.