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Policy Plans And Backstories: Recapping The First Democratic Debates

Democratic Presidential Candidates Participate In First Debate Of 2020 Election Over Two Nights
Democratic Presidential Candidates Participate In First Debate Of 2020 Election Over Two Nights
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Ten Democrats railed against a national economy and a Republican administration they argued exist only for the rich as presidential candidates debated onstage for the first time in the young 2020 season, embracing inequality as a defining theme in their fight to deny President Donald Trump a second term in office.

Health care and immigration, more than any other issues, led the first of two debates on Wednesday, with another to follow Thursday night. And Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, more than anyone else, stood out — on her own at times — in calling for “fundamental change” across the nation’s economy and government to address a widening gap between the rich and the middle class.

If you watched the debate, who did you find most impressive and who faded into the background? And what did the event signal about the conversations we’ll be having leading to 2020? 

With files from the Associated Press.

With guest host Libby Denkmann


Amanda Renteria, president of Emerge America, a national organization that works to identify and train Democratic women who want to run for political office; she is the former national political director for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and was a staffer for Senators Dianne Feinstein and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI); she tweets @AmandaRenteria

Matt Rodriguez, Democratic strategist and founder and chief executive officer of Rodriguez Strategies. He is also a former senior Obama advisor in 2008; he tweets @RodStrategies

Sean T. Walsh, Republican political analyst and partner at Wilson Walsh Consulting in San Francisco; he is a former adviser to California Governors Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger and a former White House staffer for Presidents Reagan and H.W. Bush

Mitchell McKinney, professor of communication and the director of the Political Communications Institute at the University of Missouri; his research interests include presidential debates, presidential rhetoric and political campaigns; he tweets @MSMcKinney