Just remember a few things as you watch the first U.S. Senate debate of 2020, on NBC with moderator Chuck(les) Todd: 1) Sen. Mark Warner has been doing a superb job on a wide range of areas and richly deserves to be reelected by a big margin on November 3rd; 2) Republican nominee Daniel Gade has run a highly dishonest campaign (also see here), something we can almost certainly expect to continue during tonight’s debate; 3) Gade has campaigned with far-right extremist Amanda Chase, who had previously bragged about how she’s helping Daniel Gade run right now for U.S. Senate [against Sen. Mark Warner] and coaching him”; 4) Gade himself is very extreme, including having “advocated for abolishing the Department of Education,” “oppos[ing] anti-discrimination measures for LGBTQ+ Americans,” etc.; and 5) Gade has repeatedly refused to wear a mask at crowded Republican events and has even called mask wearing a form of “tyranny.” So…yeah, this is not a difficult choice at all: GO MARK WARNER!
UPDATE 7:55 pm – Gade claims “Washington” is a “dysfunctional mess” because of both parties. Which, of course, is nonsense. In fact, it’s overwhelmingly been *Republicans* who have made Washington “dysfunctional.” Warner thanks Gade for his willingness to “be in the arena,” says he’s an optimist about our country’s future, wants to give everyone the same fair shot that he had. Warner also says we have to work together, that he has a “bipartisan record of getting things done” and asks for everyone’s vote. Which he richly deserves!
UPDATE 7:50 pm – Question on voting absentee, by mail, by drop boxes, etc. Gade says he has “some concerns.” Alrighty. Says he and his fellow soldiers in Iraq all cast absentee ballots “many many times.” But then he claims what we’ve seen in Virginia this year is “terrifying,” then fearmongers/demagogues about dropboxes, witness signatures, ideas, mythical voter fraud, etc, etc. Really, really bad. Warner says he dramatically disagrees with Gade, that he’s “taking the Donald Trump approach on voting, let’s restrict it as much as possible.” Warner correctly says what the US Postmaster General has done is “outrageous.” Warner says “we have to vote in record numbers,” “need to do it early” and guard against foreign election interference.
UPDATE 7:54 pm – Question on accepting the results of the election. Warner says he will of course accept the results, but that we may not know who the winner is on election night and we have a sitting president who is saying he might not accept the results, which plays into Putin’s hands and is unprecedented. Gade claims he will accept the results of the election, except he just got done fearmongering about the election. Very weird.
UPDATE 7:46 pm – Question on immigration, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program. Warner says the Senate should block the deportations of people who came here under TPS, that it’s morally and ethically wrong to deport people during a pandemic and who have made lives here. We also need “broad-based immigration reform,” got 69 votes on a comprehensive immigration reform bill, but the Republican-controlled House at the time refused to take it up. Gade says he “believes” he’d block the TPS deportations, claims that Trump’s “build the wall” slogan is simply “shorthand” for protecting the border. Huh? Says we need H1B visas. Warner says he’s glad to see Gade break with his party, even if it’s only on one item. Warner says there are a lot smarter ways to secure the border than a “fourth-century technology” like a wall. Warner says Gade should “do his homework” and look into Warner’s deep record working on immigration reform. Gade then goes back to fearmongering, literally using the word “fear.” Amazing.
UPDATE 7:42 pm – Warner says we need to invest in the police, give them the tools and the training they need, put body cameras on police officers so we don’t have things like the Bijan Ghaisar tragedy…we can and must stand by our police officers. Warner says Gade can say things, but that doesn’t make them true. Gade again falsely claims that Warner “defunded the police.” Again, tiresome nonsense. Also, Gade goes all 7th grade schoolyard, saying Warner’s “never been in a physical fight.” Pitiful. Warner says Trump has committed more than 20,000 lies so far, and that Gade is “trying to catch up” with that. Warner says Virginians know his record, and what Gade is saying is just not true.
UPDATE 7:39 pm – Gade says there’s “no place for organized left-wing violence” and then goes into crazy conspiracy theories about “antifa.” On that topic, see Five myths about antifa in the Washington Post the other day. Basically, Gade is not just wrong but WILDLY wrong about everything he says. Gade laughably claims he’s “better on this issue.” It’s hard to even tell what Gade’s ranting about, honestly.
UPDATE 7:37 pm – Question on Northam’s “blackface” scandal. Warner says he was very disappointed at the time, but that Northam has worked extraordinarily hard to regain the trust of the people of Virginia, has worked to advance racial justice agenda and to handle the COVID-19 crisis. Gade again goes back to his b.s. “defund the police” line. This is really tiresome.
UPDATE 7:33 pm – Question on systemic racism, whether they believe it exists and what should be done about it. Warner says the history of race in our country has been challenging for hundreds of years, that systemic racism exists and that Black Lives Matter. Warner adds that violence of any kind should be avoided, and that we should NOT be defunding the police, but if anything they will need ADDITIONAL training. Gade says there are “pockets of racism,” which was not the question at all…so basically, he didn’t say he agreed that there’s systemic racism. Gade says defunding the police is an “evil idea,” and again dishonestly claims that Warner somehow wants to defund the police. Warner says Gade has been given Four Pinocchios, which means it’s a lie, on his attacks. Warner says we need economic equality as well…
UPDATE 7:30 pm – Question on Trump announcing a vaccine before the election and would they take the vaccine. Warner says he’d take the vaccine if Dr. Fauci says it’s ok. We need to look at what’s happened to the FDA and CDC, which were the “gold standards” but have not gotten this pandemic exactly right due to “political interference” in part.
UPDATE 7:28 pm – Question about in-person education. Warner says he wants schools to reopen, and to reopen SAFELY. He says that decision should lie with school boards, parents, teachers, and not be dictated out of Washington. Warner says Gade can’t have it both ways, being against the ACA but supposedly supporting protection for people with pre-existing conditions. Gade gets defensive on the ACA, claims it’s “defamatory” and “offensive” for Warner to tell the *truth* about Gade’s opposition to the ACA. Warner reiterates, “you can’t have it both ways” and “cherrypick which parts of the ACA you want to preserve.”
UPDATE 7:24 pm – Question on the spread of COVID19 in the Latino community. Gade, who again thinks wearing a mask is “tyranny,” talks disingenuously about supposedly caring about healthcare, etc. Warner says COVID19 has exposed long-standing disparities in the Latino and African-American communities that we have to deal with. On healthcare, Warner says we have to start by “protecting the ACA,” and that Gade has “criticized me constantly for supporting the ACA.” So basically, Gade wants to ditch the ACA, yet claims that he cares about people with pre-existing conditions? Load of horse manure.
UPDATE 7:21 pm – Question on broadband. Warner talks about putting millions into broadband, but that we need to do more and have “ubiquitous” broadband across the country. “Broadband in 2020 is an economic necessity, not a ‘nice to have’.” Gade doubles down on “California,” “Chicago” and “New York,” again going for the dog whistles. Warner says Gade should do his “homework a little more,” says he’s been working on a lot of the things Gade mentioned, leading a bipartisan effort in the Senate to counter China on 5G and into the next generation of wireless.
UPDATE 7:20 pm – Haha, Gade just said “California,” “Chicago” and “New York” – dog whistle, anyone
UPDATE 7:17 pm – Gade again dishonestly dodges yet another question about not wearing a mask as he travels around Virginia. Gade also says he would have voted for the Republicans’ COVID-19 relief bill, which again is completely pathetic. Warner says 200,000 Americans are dead, Trump has misled the American public, and Gade – “all recorded” – has called wearing masks “tyranny,” has compared COVID19 to the flu, etc. Warner points out that the only way we’ll get the economy going again is to “follow the science,” and that wearing a mask is a “sign of respect” for other people. Warner notes that the Republican plan was 1/3 of what even the Trump administration proposed, and says “let’s get real” and get a bipartisan package.
UPDATE 7:13 pm – Warner rightfully rips Gade for calling wearing masks “tyranny,” for comparing COVID-19 to the flu, for praising Trump’s disastrous response to the pandemic, etc. Gade falsely claims that Warner is “wrong” about what Gade himself said and did. Lame. Gade attacks Warner for not voting for the horrible, pathetic Republican “plan” for COVID-19 relief. Again, totally lame. Warner gives Trump an “F” on the pandemic. Gade dodges, gives the country a B-/C+, but doesn’t touch Trump. Again, lame.
UPDATE 7:11 pm – Sen. Mark Warner talking about the importance of the Affordable Care Act, and how that’s at stake with a new Supreme Court justice. Gade, of course, defending Mitch McConnell’s massive hypocrisy on saying over and over against in 2016 that the Senate absolutely should NOT confirm a new Supreme Court justice in an election year, but now that Trump’s in the White House, of COURSE it should confirm a new justice just a few weeks before the presidential election.