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  • U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren shake hands before the start of he second 2020 Democratic presidential debate.

    U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren shake hands before the start of he second 2020 Democratic presidential debate. | Photo: Reuters

Published 31 July 2019

“I don’t understand why anybody goes to the trouble of running for president of the United States just to say all the things we can’t do and shouldn’t fight for,” Elizabeth Warren said. 

Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders offered an unabashed defense of their progressive policies during a Democratic presidential debate Tuesday when their liberal, pro-establishment rivals criticized the proposals as unrealistic and politically untenable.

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Defying all guesses of Sanders and Warren turning on each other, the progressive candidates teamed up to take down the right-wing tendencies in their Democratic rivals. 

Apart from stressing the urgency of defeating Republican President Donald Trump, the debate frequently pitted the two U.S. senators against the other eight candidates on stage, with Medicare for All, and immigration policy highlighting the divisions between the two camps.

The first topic, healthcare, brought out the rivalry and the best one-liners by the progressives. 

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

Former Congressman John Delaney attacked the Medicare for All proposal that has been put forward by Warren and Sanders, arguing U.S. people who like private insurance should be able to keep it.

"Why do we have to be the party of taking something away from people?" said Delaney.

He pointed to Warren and Sanders, "They are running on telling half the country that your health insurance is illegal."

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Warren interjected saying, "We're not trying to take healthcare away from anyone. That's what Republicans are trying to do. We should stop using Republican talking points to attack each other.”

Sanders, who has introduced a Medicare for All bill in the U.S. Senate, said, "Healthcare is a human right, not a privilege. I believe that I will fight for that."

When Sanders said Medicare for All will allow elderly people to access affordable healthcare, congressman Tim Ryan interjected saying he could not be sure about it. 

“You don’t know that,” Ryan making Sanders deliver the “best line” of the night according to Congressman Rohit Khanna. 

“I do know it. I wrote the damn bill,” Sanders shot back. 

During the debate, when Sanders and Warren were being attacked by their rivals for their “radical” or “far-left” agendas, Warren fired back. 

“I don’t understand why anybody goes to the trouble of running for president of the United States just to say all the things we can’t do and shouldn’t fight for,” she said. 

She also reminded people that “We’re not going to solve the urgent problems that we face with small ideas and spinelessness. We’re going to solve them by being the Democratic party of big structural change.”

Eight candidates will be in the next round of debates: Joe Biden, Warren, Sanders, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, Beto O'Rourke, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang, according to their campaigns.

Ten more candidates will face off on Wednesday night, including Biden and Harris.

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