In the first Democratic primary debate of 2020, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) defended her position that the government should break up Google, Facebook, and Amazon. The topic came up on Wednesday during a discussion of corporate consolidation and antitrust laws.
“We’ve had the laws out there for a long time to be able to fight back. What’s been missing is courage in Washington to take on the giants,” she declared. “It’s been far too long that the monopolies have been making the campaign contributions, the Super PACs have been out there making sure that their influence is heard and felt in every single decision that gets made in Washington. Where I want to start this is I want to return government to the people, and that means calling out the names of the monopolists and saying ‘I have the courage to go after them.'”
Warren spoke in response to a question moderators posed to Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) about his previously stated objection to Warren naming specific companies she believes should be broken up, “without any kind of process.”
Booker wants Amazon to start paying federal taxes and Washington to take more action against corporate consolidation, but he said that if he’s elected, his administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would confront the issue.
Antitrust law came up again in the debate when New York City mayor Bill de Blasio was asked about income inequality. “We are supposed to wake up the corporations when they’re not serving our democracy. This Democratic Party has to be strong and bold and progressive,” he said.
Corporate tech giants weren’t Warren’s only targets on Wednesday. She also took aim at drug companies, private prisons, and oil companies when responding to a question about why voters should choose her economic approach instead of the kind carried out by the Trump administration.
“When you’ve got a government, when you’ve got an economy that does great for those with money and isn’t doing great for everyone else, that is corruption, pure and simple. We need to call it out, we need to attack it head on, and we need to make structural change in our government, in our economy, and in our country,” she said.
Warren also espouses green jobs and manufacturing in the United States as part of her economic plan.
Candidates onstage Wednesday called climate change, nuclear weapons, and China the biggest threats the United States faces today.
Multiple polls show that Senator Warren is a top candidate in important Democratic primary states like Iowa and Nevada. She shared the stage Wednesday with Representative Beto O’Rourke, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Representative Tim Ryan (D-OH), former Obama cabinet official Julián Castro, and others.
The candidates addressed a wide range of subjects in the first debate, including hostility with Iran, health care, gun control, climate change, women’s right to have an abortion, and how immigration policy should change following the deaths of children in U.S. detention facilities. Outrage over Trump administration immigration policy spiked earlier this week after the deaths of Oscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his two-year-old daughter Valeria, both of whom perished while trying to swim across the Rio Grande River.
A second cohort of candidates, including other frontrunners like former vice president Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) will take the stage today in Miami at 6 p.m. Pacific.