Rising Newsletter: The Worst Debate So Far

Let Yang Speak!

Hello #Risers! Welcome to the sixth edition of our newsletter. If you haven’t already, tell your friends to sign up by sharing the link to this post!

As promised every Friday we’ll tell you what our favorite segments of the week are, give you a written and expanded version of #RisingQs, and give you our weekly takeaways. If there’s anything you love, like, dislike, or hate don’t hesitate to reply to this email with your thoughts!


Favorite Segments Of The Week

1) Rising Post Debate Coverage:

Why: Because we were awesome and so were our guests obviously. We love doing these things and have been blown away by the response. We got instant reaction from Sanders Senior Advisor Chuck Rocha who gave us some real insight into how the Sanders campaign views Pete’s surge. Got some great reactions on our panel also to Tulsi’s brutal attack on Pete and the moderator’s utter failure.

2) Glenn Greenwald:

Why: Glenn consistently has some of the best context from the left on the impeachment hearings, and why this particular issue is what led to impeachment. Loved the point he makes here in particular about how Republicans will rightly fall back to the same line Democrats used effectively regarding impeachment in the 90s, “Yeah Trump’s conduct was bad, but it wasn’t impeachable.”

3) Kyle Kulinski

Why: Kyle gives some really good advice here for Bernie and Tulsi on how to effectively hit the establishment candidates on corruption. He also rightfully drags the MSNBC debate moderators. That was a big theme for us this week.

Expanded #RisingQs


Answer (from both): They don’t like Andrew, they don’t understand Andrew, and they can’t fit him into any of their pre-conceived serious candidate boxes. UBI is not supposed to be a policy prescription that is on the menu of acceptable choices so that’s an issue for them. Asian Americans are supposed to be quietly writing code not galvanizing mass movements. And treating him fairly doesn’t earn them any chits with the establishment figures they need access and chummy relationships with. Weird how the MSM which loves to celebrate the diversity of corporate leaders and establishment candidates can’t bring themselves to acknowledge the historic nature of Andrew’s candidacy.


Answer (from both) At this point, everyone not named Joe, Bernie or Elizabeth. I know Pete thinks he can actually win but Iowa ain’t the nation. Cory and Kamala have got to be honestly thinking that’s the best they can hope for at this point. That’s probably why Kamala has dialed back the attacks on other candidates. Amy may be hoping to parlay her Midwestern electability narrative into a VP slot but I’m extremely doubtful anyone would actually choose her. I have a hard time imagining Tulsi playing that strategic calculus though. There was nothing strategic politically about resigning from the DNC and endorsing Bernie after it was already clear Hillary would be the nominee. From what I can tell, she really does act on her principles even when it is incredibly counter to her personal professional interests.


Krystal: It’s so hard to answer this because honestly the Democratic Party is such a mess I couldn’t even say what policies they really stand for. To me the biggest disappointment from the Democratic Party is how they have let unions whither on the vine. Just look right now at Virginia where Democrats hold the Governor’s mansion and have just won control of both chambers. They have a chance to overturn the odious Right to Work legislation that makes it nearly impossible to organize. Do I think they’ll actually do it? I’m extremely doubtful. They’ve just revealed their top legislative priorities and RTW repeal isn’t on the list. Never underestimate Democratic leadership’s continued fealty to corporate interests.

Saagar Enjeti: The policy I like the most from the progressive wing of the Democratic party at least is anti-trust. Matt Stoller’s work has increasingly convinced me that corporate consolidation in vital sectors of our economy are squeezing out healthy competition and empowering a professional managerial class’s ability to take advantage of workers. The policy I dislike the most from the Democratic party is the increasing openness to legalizing or decriminalizing all drugs. I believe it is possible to solve criminal justice concerns and racial disparities while continuing to combat the scourge of drug use in our society. 

Weekly Takeaways

Krystal’s Takeaway:

MSNBC Hosts the Worst Debate of all Time (Also I miss Marianne)

Ok maybe it wasn’t the worst of all time but it was certainly the worst I can remember. It sucked in every important way. First, they started off with the predictable impeachment question, a subject on which every candidate agrees and a general waste of time. Bernie Sanders had the best response here when he basically said, can we please not spend all our time fixated on impeachment and Donald Trump because if we do Democrats are doomed. Then on the healthcare segment, they failed to ask Elizabeth Warren one question about her stunning shift away from Medicare for All. Healthcare is the number one issue for Democratic voters. Warren has spent the entire campaign saying “I’m with Bernie” only to reveal that she really wasn’t with Bernie. Seems like kind of a big deal but not to these moderators who preferred instead to tee her up for a folksy anecdote about her Daddy converting their garage to a bedroom or whatever. Meanwhile, Pete is being feted by all the elite press as a new frontrunner and the next Obama and they certainly treated him as such by giving him and Warren the most speaking time. I thought for sure, they couldn’t possibly fail to ask him about new reporting from Ryan Grim that his Douglass Plan for Black America had faked black endorsements, used a stock photo from Kenya and represented that all endorsers were black when at least half were actually white. 

But nope. Didn’t make the cut. As I said on the show this week, can you imagine if Bernie had done something similar? The entire media would have cut into impeachment hearings to lose their minds over it! Every candidate on the stage would have been given their chance to trash him. But Pete didn’t face even one question. Insane. 

Instead they preferred to spend time asking Bernie once again to take responsibility for his supporters, this time they demanded answers for a rally chant that offended their delicate sensibilities. Andrew Yang didn’t get a single question until we were more than 30 minutes into the debate and when they did come to him it was to ask really important and not at all deranged questions like what will you say on your first phone call to Putin. He got a whopping 6 minutes of air time the entire debate. Warren didn’t get asked about her Medicare for All flip-flop or her weak statement on Bolivia but she did get asked some weird question about whether she would dismantle any sections of the border wall. In the end, it was the lowest rated debate of the cycle and no one really learned anything new unless you count witnessing the sheer desperation of witnessing Cory Booker beg viewers to help him get to the next debate stage. In summation, I miss Marianne. 

Saagar’s Takeaway:

It’s bad, but not impeachable

I’m willing to say it. What Trump did was pretty bad. You should never ask a foreign leader to investigate your political opponents. That being said, impeachment is an extreme political action to be undertaken only in the gravest of circumstances and frankly this particular case does not rise to the occasion. 

Furthermore, this particular case of impeachment against Trump is an obvious move by the national security state to lash out at him because he threatened precious military aid to Ukraine. Military aid to Ukraine is a policy decision at the sole discretion of the President of the United States. The idea that there are “never partisan” bureaucrats within the national security state is a laughable canard. Their very existence is predicated on keeping underlying policies that Donald Trump ran against in the 2016 presidential election. 

As a refresher, this is what Glenn Greenwald stopped by the show to discuss:

Will Hurd, who is no friend of Trump and has nothing to lose summed up what I predict will be the GOP Senate’s position when they acquit Trump in a few months. Yes the conduct was bad, but it’s not impeachable. If Democrats really believe that what Trump did was so singularly terrible then they should prosecute their case before the American people in a Democratic election. 

The problem of course is that they can’t do that because nobody really cares. Polling we’ve covered on the show indicates that independents are moving away from impeachment in a major way. In the swing state of Wisconsin, Trump actually went up in the head to head matchups despite an overwhelming amount of voters agreeing that Trump did use military aid as leverage against Ukraine. 

The Democrats laid out the case against impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1992. It’s bad, but it’s not impeachable. That’s where I, and I suspect most of the country will eventually fall on this matter.