Is Cory Booker the next Barack Obama?

Fifth Democratic TV debate : In search of the super healer

The good news for the US Democrats? The fifth TV debate of their presidential candidates was unusually harmonious, apart from a few small outliers. While the poll's favorite of the moment was addressed in each of the four previous debates, sometimes so badly that some were already afraid of the cohesion of the party, it was different on Thursday night.

The less good news for the party, however, is that with this event in Atlanta it has still not made any decisive progress on who should challenge US President Donald Trump for it in November next year. And that's despite the fact that the Iowa caucus will have primaries starting in less than three months. The big favorites are still called Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders - and Pete Buttigieg.

There have been repeated attempts by the four moderators to stir up disputes among the ten candidates on stage. For example, after Hawaii Congressman Tulsi Gabbard criticized her own party's foreign policy, which had embroiled the country in endless "regime change" wars. California Senator Kamala Harris was called upon to respond, and after a moment's hesitation, resolutely did so. It is sad that there is a candidate on stage who has spent the past four years criticizing former President Barack Obama and her own party. "We need someone who can win because he speaks to everyone in the country." And another time, former Vice President Joe Biden resisted being "instructed" on the subject of climate change by billionaire Tom Steyer, who had made his money with coal.

Closed against Trump

In contrast, attempts to unleash the candidates, as expected, on the young mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, who, according to new polls in Iowa, is suddenly at the forefront, were largely harmless. Harris, who made a remarkable appearance at all, although currently lagging behind in the polls, even refused to enter into a controversy with Buttigieg. Harris said that the mayor has already apologized for the mistake of his campaign team to use the photo of a Kenyan mother with her child as a symbol for his plans for the benefit of African Americans. It would have been too cheap, too.

The ten candidates (seven others failed to qualify for the debate) unanimously criticized President Trump, against whom the Democrats in Washington are currently examining impeachment proceedings. Everyone was outraged by the latest developments in the Ukraine affair. Elizabeth Warren insisted that nobody was above the law. Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders said Trump was not just a "pathological liar" but "arguably the most corrupt president" in US modern history.

Senator Harris said that according to US Ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, who testified before the Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, many high-ranking government officials have been privy to trying to put pressure on the Kiev government. Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Trump's chief executive officer, Mick Mulvaney, also knew, Harris said. The whole government is "a criminal enterprise".

Sondland had testified that he had worked with his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in dealing with Ukraine on the express orders of Trump. Giuliani has demanded a "quid pro quo", something in return, for a meeting between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi and Trump in the White House. Kiev should therefore announce investigations against the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, for which Biden's son Hunter was employed until April.

Biden himself said in the evening that he had learned from the impeachment investigations that Trump definitely does not want him to be a presidential candidate.

Sanders warns not to talk too much about the president

However, Senator Sanders also warned that Donald Trump could be too busy. "With that we risk losing the election." Instead, the party must deal with the real problems facing the people in the country.

Buttigieg also noted that the Democrats would have to make it clear how they could govern the country after Trump's tenure and bring the divided society back together.

In general, the issue of how important it is to "heal" America again was raised with a striking number of times. And every candidate claimed to be the best healer. Biden pointed out that he had been bringing people together across party lines for so long. Senator Cory Booker stressed that the next president must reunify the country and that he is the best candidate for that. Bernie Sanders said the country had to be brought together, but not just against Trump.

These tones may go back to a warning from Barack Obama. Trump's democratic predecessor had just warned his party not to scare voters off with radical ideas. Recently, the contrast between the growing left wing, for which Warren and Sanders stand, and the moderate representatives had become more and more evident. Warren and Sanders are calling for radical change in the country, while others like Biden fear it could scare off the moderate Republicans and independent voters the party needs to win an election.

The moderators themselves put the crucial question to Buttigieg

But that evening in Atlanta was not all serious and state-supporting. Senator Amy Klobuchar and tech founder Andrew Yang had some of the loudest laughs. Klobuchar with her sentence - which has already been uttered frequently - that she had set an all-time record because she had collected 17,000 dollars from ex-boyfriends for her Senate campaign. And Yang, when he answered the question of what the first thing he would say to Russian President Vladimir Putin if he was elected. "I'm sorry I hit your guy," he will say, announced Yang. It was obviously clear to the audience in the studio that he was talking about Trump.

Because the candidates didn't really want to jump in, the moderators ultimately asked Pete Buttigieg: Why should Democrats take the risk of betting on such an inexperienced candidate like him? The 37-year-old countered, as usual, calmly: "I may not have the Washington experience." But he knows how to bring people together. Washington should look a little more at the particularly well-governed cities in the heart of the country. "The problems in my city may seem small, but politics in Washington seem small to us." At least that point was his.

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