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- Republican Sen. Maj. Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was a clear political target amongst the Democratic presidential candidates during their first debate in Miami on Wednesday.
- Several Democrats took advantage of the national stage to speak their mind about the McConnell, who has long stymied the Democrats’ policies in Congress.
- Despite mentioning McConnell by name, the Majority Leader’s camp appeared to relish the spotlight.
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Republican Sen. Maj. Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky became a clear political target amongst the Democratic presidential candidates during their first debate in Miami on Wednesday.
Democrats took advantage of the national stage to speak their mind about the senator, who has long stymied the Democrats’ policies in Congress. MSNBC moderators posed to the 10 candidates a number of issues ranging from Senate filibusters to gun control.
"To your question about Mitch McConnell, there is a political solution that we have to come to grips with," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said, referring to nominating potential Justices in the Supreme Court. "If the Democratic Party would stop acting like the party of the elites and be the party of working people again, and go into states including red states to convince people we’re on their side, we can put pressure on their senators to actually have to vote for the nominees that are put forward."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was asked if she had "a plan to deal with Mitch McConnell" if he was still the Majority Leader after the midterm election.
"I do," Warren said to a round of applause from the audience.
"We are democracy and the way a democracy is supposed to work is the will of the people, matters," Warren said. "We for far too long had a Congress in Washington that is just completely dismissed what people care about across this country."
McConnell has been criticized by Democrats after he scuttled former President Barack Obama’s plans to nominate Judge Merrick Garland’s to the Supreme Court in 2016. McConnell cited Obama’s imminent departure from the White House and said he was exercising the "Senate’s constitutional right to act as a check on the president" to "withhold its consent."
"Well, here’s how I see this happening," Warren added. "Number one, sure, I want to see us get a Democratic majority in the Senate, but short of a Democratic majority in the Senate, you better understand the fight still goes on. It starts in the White Wouse and it means that everybody we energize in 2020 stays on the frontlines come January 2021. We have to push from the outside, have leadership from the inside, and make this Congress reflect the will of the people."
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee took on a question about passing climate change reform and said he would start "by taking away the filibuster from Mitch McConnell."
"We have to do that," Inslee said. "We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change and we are the last that can do something it. Our towns are burning and fields are flooding and Miami is inundated. We have to understand this is a climate crisis."
Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio echoed his colleagues’ sentiments on appealing to a broader range of Americans and said, "If you want to beat Mitch McConnell, this better be a working class party; if you want to go into Kentucky and take his rear end out."
Despite mentioning McConnell by name, the Majority Leader’s camp appeared to relish the spotlight. McConnell’s name became the "top trending search query on all of Google during the second half of the debate" after the number of searches increased by 2,000%, according to Google.
In a series of tweets, McConnell’s official Twitter account posted memes during the debate:
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