2020 Democrats in Las Vegas unify in attacking Trump as 'Divider-In-Chief'
The Democratic National Committee announced new criteria for presidential candidates who want to make the December debate. Buzz60
LAS VEGAS – In a hall full of energized Democrats, President Donald Trump had many nicknames.
"The most dangerous president in the history of this country."
Those were a few of the names 2020 hopefuls campaigning directly to the Nevada State Democratic Party on the Strip Sunday gave the man in the Oval Office.
One of the first four early-voting states in the Democratic nominating process, Nevada is a battleground where candidates look to prove the legitimacy of their campaign.
In a packed convention room at the Bellagio, there was a thread that tied together the 14 Democrats gathered to pitch their campaigns in Nevada: Unifying a divided country.
Poll numbers narrow field
Former Vice President Joe Biden continues to lead a turbulent field for the Democratic presidential nomination, a national USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll finds – but his margin over Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been slashed in half.
Less than a year before Election Day – and less than 90 days before the opening Iowa caucuses – Biden was backed by 26% of likely Democratic primary and caucus voters in the survey.
Warren was second at 17%, followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at 13% and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 10%.
Biden’s lead is reflected in a recent Nevada Independent poll: He leads both Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders by 10 points in the Silver State. However, 55 percent of respondents said they might pick someone else.
In conservative-leaning Iowa, another candidate is on the rise.
Pete Buttigieg rocketed to the top of the latest Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll in the latest reshuffling of top tier Democratic candidates.
Biden leans on experience
On a stage at the Bellagio Sunday, the former vice president pitched himself as the candidate with the experience to accomplish a specific goal: Beat Trump.
"Donald Trump threatens everything we stand for," Biden said, calling the president "a national nightmare." "We can overcome four years of Trump, but eight years of Trump would fundamentally alter the character of this nation for several generations, and we cannot let that happen."
Biden said he's the candidate with the resume to sway the country to put a Democrat in the White House.
He pledged to fight climate change with mandated lower emissions, funnel money into public education and make health care affordable without raising middle class taxes.
“I was there when we passed Obamacare,” Biden said. “It’s time to finish the job: Give everyone a choice, give everyone a public option – Medicare for those who want it."
Biden pivoted to gun violence that's killed students in schools across the country.
“We need to ban assault weapons, limit the size of magazines, take on the NRA,” he said. “I’ve beaten them twice, and I will beat them again.”
If a Democrat dethrones Trump in 2020, Biden said, the new president will inherit a divided nation – “a world in disarray."
“There's going to be no time for on-the-job training," Biden said. "We choose unity over division. We choose truth over lies. We choose science over fiction. And we will beat Donald Trump – and we will beat him like a drum."
Warren calls out corporations
Warren continued her campaign against corruption and corporations, pitching herself as a candidate unafraid to take on big business.
"Why is America's middle class being hollowed out?" Warren asked. "We've got giant corporations calling the shots in Washington."
The government works well for corporations and not for the people who pay taxes in this country, she said.
Warren pledged to empower workers to unionize, cancel student loan debt and enact a wealth tax in American that would require a two-cent contribution on every dollar after $50 million earned.
The senator pushed Medicate for all and the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act – a progressive program to confront global warming that would set aside $180 billion over 10 years to repair existing apartments, upgrade health and safety features and eliminate carbon emissions.
Sanders returns to Nevada after heart attack
On his first trip to Nevada after suffering a heart attack in Las Vegas, Sanders characterized Trump this way: "The most dangerous president in the history of this country."
The senator from Vermont promised to cancel student debt, raise the minimum wage and pass Medicare for all.
“Health care is a human right," Sanders said.
Sanders pledged to fight climate change with a $16.3 trillion plan that builds on the Green New Deal and calls for the United States to move to renewable energy across the economy by 2050 and declare climate change a national emergency.
The future of the world is more important than “short term profits” for the fossil fuel industry, Sanders said.
“This government belongs to all of us,” Sanders said, “not just a handful of billionaires.”
The mayor from South Bend
South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg offered another nickname for Trump: "Divider-In-Chief."
Bringing people together is the foundation of his campaign, he said.
"I don't go to work in an office in Washington, D.C. I work in the heart of the industrial Midwest as a mayor in South Bend, Indiana, serving a diverse, low-income community that has found a better future," Buttigieg said. "I don't have to throw myself a military parade to find out what a convoy looks like – because I was driving one on an Afghan highway around the time this president was taping season seven of 'Celebrity Apprentice.'"
The convention hall of Democrats erupted in laughter and cheers.
Buttigieg said he would fight to battle climate change, protect public lands and pay teachers more.
Immigrants, he said, should have available to them pathways to citizenship – not cages.
"We must manage the border based on our values as well as our laws," he said, adding that there must be an end to family separation.
The tightening of gun regulations is necessary to address guns falling into the wrong hands. The second amendment, he said, is being used as an excuse to do nothing.
"I'm offering you a presidency where you could look at the White House on TV," Buttigieg said, "and watch your blood pressure go down a little bit instead of up through the roof."
Contributing: USA TODAY.