Healthcare, immigration dominate US Democrat debate

Joe Biden suffered a slump in the opinion polls after being repeatedly challenge by rivals in the first Democrat 2020 debate- REUTERS

Joe Biden suffered a slump in the opinion polls after being repeatedly challenge by rivals in the first Democrat 2020 debate- REUTERS

The two candidates fired back at their critics, accusing them of adopting the Republican agenda of criticizing progressive policies. Several candidates fought Tuesday over the degree to which Sanders's plan, backed by Warren, would amount to throwing hundreds of millions of Americans off their current health insurance plan.

This prompted laughter from the live audience at Ford theater, and Hickenlooper to imitate the candidate.

There, Biden will fight to prove that his underwhelming performance during last month's opening debate was little more than an aberration. For a significant, early part of the debate, he and Warren together defended their ambitious health care plans. Warren, Buttigieg, and others pointed to the specific plans they have released to try to ameliorate racial inequality.

Sanders and Warren are heading into the anticipated night as the two highest-polling candidates onstage.

Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said during the first round of Democratic debates in Miami that taxes on middle-class families would rise, but added that those costs would be offset by lower overall health care costs.

Mr Sanders told Mr Ryan: "I wrote the damn bill!"

Going too far left on issues like health care wouldn't work, Hickenlooper said, quipping, "you might as well FedEx the election to Donald Trump". "A sane immigration system needs a sane leader".

"We can create a universal healthcare system to give everyone basic healthcare for free", he said.

"The biggest problem we have right now, that we have with immigration, is Donald Trump".

"The legacy of slavery and segregation and Jim Crow and suppression is alive and well in every aspect of the economy and the country today", said former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, adding that he supported the creation of a panel to examine reparations for the descendants of slaves.

"You don't have to decriminalize everything", Bullock said.

Hickenlooper also argued that Sanders's plan deprives Americans of freedoms to choose between a government and private plan: "You know, it comes down to that question of Americans being used to being able to make choices, to have the right to make a decision".

"We need to call out white supremacy for what it is - domestic terrorism", Warren said.

Democrats have made access to affordable healthcare one of their defining issues as the Trump administration has worked to chip away at former Democratic President Barack Obama's signature 2010 Affordable Care Act.

"There is not a single example in history where a trade ware has had a victor", he said.

Former Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper got a question over a Facebook ad that said "socialism is not the answer", and was asked about it during the debate. "They're going to say we're a bunch of insane socialists".

"I want to acknowledge something that we're all touching on, which is the very foundation of this country, the wealth that we have built - the way we became the greatest country on the face of the planet - was literally on the backs of those who were kidnapped and brought here by the legacy of slavery and segregation and Jim Crow", he said.

While calling for negotiating trade deals, the candidates also blasted the deals negotiated under Trump. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going.

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