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Democrats fear ‘circular firing squad’ at debates

Democrats fear ‘circular firing squad’ at debates

Several Democrats stressed that they're fine with the candidates debating policy, as long as it doesn't go further than that. | Mark Ralston-Pool/Getty Images 2020 Elections Democratic bigwigs fear debates will devolve into horror show The prospect of taking on a sitting president after a months-long internal bloodbath is keeping many Democrats up at night.…


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Several Democrats stressed that they’re fine with the candidates debating policy, as long as it doesn’t go further than that. | Mark Ralston-Pool/Getty Images

2020 Elections

Democratic bigwigs fear debates will devolve into horror show

The prospect of taking on a sitting president after a months-long internal bloodbath is keeping many Democrats up at night.

said last week that Biden’s “relationships with proud segregationists are not the model for how we make America a safer and more inclusive place for black people.” Sen. Kamala Harris was no less blunt: “I would not be a member of the United States Senate if those men that he praised had their way.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, has long criticized Biden for voting for the Iraq War and free trade deals. At the same time, moderate candidates have been unloading on their progressive opponents. After Sanders defended democratic socialism in a major speech in Washington, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper bashed Sanders’ left-wing ideology.

The first debates of the primary also come as a number of candidates are barely registering in the polls and desperate for a splashy moment.

“It’s fine to draw policy distinctions. People get that. That’s what primaries are about. But negative personal attacks are something people are worried about,” said Troy Price, chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party. “Everyone is united behind the fact that we have to win and people don’t want to see anything that distracts from that.”

Of course, a free-for-all this far out from the start of voting might be long forgotten by the time elections get underway next year. Republicans had their own circus-like spectacle in the 2016 primaries, yet Trump still managed to win the White House in the end.

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