Democrat presidential candidates showcased their vision for America at the last debate of 2019 in Los Angeles on Thursday, from reparations for illegal immigrants, to sacrificing scores of jobs to climate change, to special ceremonies at the White House for the transgendered.
Democrats vying to take on Trump in 2020 continued to push the party to the left with increasingly “progressive” positions that will undoubtedly resonate with voters across the Midwest, though perhaps not in the way candidates are hoping.
Former vice president Joe Biden served up perhaps the most surprising policy position during a discussion about climate change and economic growth.
Politico’s Tim Alberta posted the question: “Three consecutive American presidents have enjoyed stints of explosive economic growth due to a boom in oil and natural gas production, as president would you be willing to sacrifice some of that growth, even knowing potentially it could displace thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of blue collar workers in the interest of transitioning to that greener economy?”
The elderly statesman didn’t hesitate.
“The answer is yes,” Biden said. “The answer is yes because the opportunity for those workers to transition to high-paying jobs … is real.
“We’re the only country in the world that has taken great, great crisis and turned them into enormous opportunities,” he alleged.
Biden then diverged on a tangent about the need for government-imposed green building regulations and the currently opportunity for the U.S. government to “own the electric vehicle market.”
“We shouldn’t build another new highway in America that doesn’t have charging stations on it. We have an opportunity to put 550,000 charging stations so we own the electric vehicle market, creating millions of jobs for people installing them as well as making sure we own the electric vehicle market,” he repeated.
Biden said folks who are put out of work to promote the new Green America will understand, because politicians will explain it all to them.
“We have to make sure we explain to those people who are displaced that their skills are going to be needed for the new opportunities,” he said, disregarding whether or not workers actually want to transition to new work.
Pete Buttigieg, the openly gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana, also offered some eye-opening ideas.
PBS NewsHour national correspondent Amna Nawaz probed Buttigieg about child separations at the U.S.-Mexico border, particularly the potential for the U.S. government to pay illegal immigrants for the inconvenience.
“The consensus among child welfare experts is that those thousands of children will likely suffer lifelong trauma as a result of that separation,” Nawaz said. “Are you committing as president to financial compensation for those thousands of children?”
Buttigieg was adamant.
“Yes, and they should have a fast track to citizenship!” Buttigieg said. “Because what the United States did to them under this president was wrong. We have a moral obligation to make right what was broken.”
Buttigieg did not mention that the child separation policies date back to the Obama administration.
Buttigieg also did not elaborate how much he plans to pay immigrants who crossed the border illegally with their children, but his support for the idea prompted another question about reparations to black Americans for slavery.
“Should the U.S. also compensate descendants of enslaved people? Do you support reparations for African Americans?” Nawaz questioned.
Buttigieg said he supports legislation currently in Congress – HR40 – to establish a committee to review reparations, but also vowed to pump more money into programs that advantage blacks over others to “deliver equality.”
“The United States must act immediately with investments in minority-owned businesses, with investments in health equity, with investments in HBCUs, and on the longer term look at reparations so we can mend what has been broken,” he said.
Sen. @ewarren: “Here is a promise I make. I will go to the Rose Garden once every year to read the names of transgender women, of people of color, who have been killed in the past year.” pic.twitter.com/SSG3T8aeLj
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) December 20, 2019
Elsewhere in the debate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren promised to host a special ceremony for all of the transgendered folks who are killed every year – estimated at 26 people out of a U.S. population of about 330 million in 2018. Transgendered Americans in general comprise about 1 percent of the population.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, “In 2018, advocates tracked at least 26 deaths of at least transgender or gender non-conforming people in the U.S. due to fatal violence, the majority of whom were black transgender women.”
“The transgender community has been marginalized in every way possible, and one thing the president of the United States can do is lift up attention, lift up their voices, and lift up their lives,” Warren said.
“Here is a promise I make,” she said. “I will go to the Rose garden once every year to read the names of transgender women, of people of color, who have been killed in the past year.”
Murdered white transgendered men, apparently, are out of luck.
“I will make sure we read the names so that as a nation, we are forced to address the particular vulnerability on homelessness. I will change the rules now that put people in prison based on their birth sex identification rather than their current identification,” Warren said.