On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, the campaign to determine who the Democratic Party shall nominate to be the next President of the United States kicked into a higher gear with a two-part debate in Miami, Florida, broadcast on NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo.
Early in the first round of the debate, moderator Savannah Guthrie asked Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke whether he would support a reform of the personal income tax that would put the highest marginal tax rate at 70%, a change favored by some of the other candidates. This was a “yes/no” question and O’Rourke drew unfavorable attention by repeatedly refusing to give it a yes or no.
O’Rourke switched back and forth between English and Spanish at this time, but he wasn’t giving Guthrie’s question a straight answer in either language.
Early in the second night’s proceedings, Marianne Williamson, best known as an author and lecturer on spirituality and love, made a forceful case that the United States does not have a “health care system” at all: that what we have is a “sickness care system” merely designed to maintain ill people in their illnesses.
Both of those are moments worth remembering. But neither is the one moment that stands out.
The Thing to Know:
The one moment that does stand out from the two proceedings comes from later on in the second night, when Senator Kamala Harris confronted former Vice President Biden about his record in the US Senate in the 1970s.
“Do you agree today that you were wrong to oppose busing in America?” she asked, referring to the use of school busing to desegregate educational patterns.
Biden replied that he had not opposed busing, only “busing ordered by the Department of Education.” The echo of those old 1970s controversies in 2019 was striking, and may have been a breakthrough moment for Senator Harris.