Moderate Democrats take aim at liberal candidates at debate

DETROIT (AP) — A high-profile clash pitting pragmatism against ideological purity dominated the early moments of the second round of presidential debates on Tuesday as moderate Democrats warned voters against nominating liberal candidates who embrace "wish-list economics."

Working people "can't wait for a revolution," said little-known Montana Gov. Steve Bullock in a clear swipe at Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who stood at center stage. "Their problems are here and now."

Sanders' ally Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren pushed back: "We're not going to solve the urgent problems we face with small ideas and spinelessness."

35 PHOTOS
July 2019 Democratic debate
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July 2019 Democratic debate
Workers get the stage ready for the Democratic primary debate hosted by CNN Tuesday, July 30, 2019, at the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Chair of the Democratic National Committee Tom Perez speaks ahead of the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 30, 2019. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Chair of the Democratic National Committee Tom Perez speaks ahead of the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 30, 2019. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Crews prepare the stage for the second Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidates debate in the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., July 30, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Democratic Debate 2019 live updates: Night 1 of the debates is underway (ABC News)
Democratic Debate 2019 live updates: Candidates pivot to immigration and border crossings (ABC News)
As with the first debates, 10 Democrats will appear on the first night while the other 10 will appear on the second night.
As with the first debates, 10 Democrats will appear on the first night while the other 10 will appear on the second night.
From left, Marianne Williamson, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock participate in the first of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
From left, Marianne Williamson, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock participate in the first of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke spekas as former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper listens during the first of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks as South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg listens during the first of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Author Marianne Williamson speaks during the first of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper watches as former Maryland Rep. John Delaney speaks during the first of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, participates in the first of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Bernie Sanders Invokes Donald Trump’s “Racism And Xenophobia” At Democratic Debate
Democratic presidential hopefuls (L-R) US senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders and US Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren relax during a commercial break in the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 30, 2019. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential hopefuls (L-R) US senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders and US Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren relax during a commercial break in the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 30, 2019. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) / ALTERNATIVE CROP (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential hopefuls (L-R) US author and writer Marianne Williamson and US Representative for Ohio's 13th congressional district Tim Ryan participate in the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 30, 2019. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) / ALTERNATIVE CROP (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks during the first of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Democratic presidential hopeful US senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders looks on after participating in the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 30, 2019. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., takes notes during a break in the first of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Marianne Williamson participates in the first of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke gives a thumbs up during a break in the first of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Marianne Williamson and Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, participate in the first of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. talk during a break in the first of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Democratic presidential hopeful US senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders delivers his closing statement during the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 30, 2019. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential hopeful former US Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren delivers her closing statement in the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 30, 2019. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) / ALTERNATIVE CROP (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential hopeful US Senator from Minnesota Amy Klobuchar delivers her closing statement during the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 30, 2019. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential hopeful US senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders leaves the stage after the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 30, 2019. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential hopefuls US senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders (L) and US Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren hug after participating in the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 30, 2019. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential hopefuls (fromL) US Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren hugs US author and writer Marianne Williamson next to US Senator from Minnesota Amy Klobuchar and Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg after participating in the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 30, 2019. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders greets audience members after the first night of the second 2020 Democratic U.S. presidential debate in Detroit, Michigan, July 30, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
From left, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg talk after the first of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Democratic presidential hopeful former US Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren leaves the stage after the first round of the second Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by CNN at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 30, 2019. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
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The fight for the political left is just one subplot as the first wave of 10 candidates meets in Detroit. A second group of 10 that features early front-runner Joe Biden as well as Kamala Harris convenes Wednesday night. The groupings were chosen by debate host CNN at random.

The first votes in the Democratic primary won't be cast for six more months, yet there is an increasing sense of urgency for many candidates who are fighting for survival. More than a dozen could be blocked from the next round of debates altogether — and effectively pushed out of the race — if they fail to reach new polling and fundraising thresholds implemented by the Democratic National Committee.

Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who is participating in the first debate, is likely to qualify, even as he tries to stop his sharp slide in the polls. But those especially at risk among Tuesday's lineup include Bullock and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, the only governors in the running, and Midwestern natives such as Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan. Also on stage: former Maryland Rep. John Delaney and author and activist Marianne Williamson.

The better-known contenders such as Warren, Sanders and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg face a less dire challenge: to stand strong but avoid any major gaffes in a marathon campaign season against President Donald Trump that has only just begun.

It was the candidates with the most to lose who were most aggressive with their fellow Democrats in the early going Tuesday night.

"We have a choice: We can go down the road that Sen. Sanders and Sen Warren want to take us, which is with bad policies like "Medicare for All," free everything and impossible promises," Delaney said. "It will turn off independent voters and get Trump reelected." 

Warren and Sanders promised to pursue bold liberal priorities if elected.

The high-profile New England senators are known for their unapologetic embrace of aggressive plans to overhaul health care, higher education, child care and the economy — ambitious and expensive steps that may be popular among many Democrats but give Trump and his Republican allies ample opportunity to cast all Democrats as extreme.

"We're not going to solve the urgent problems we face with small ideas and spinelessness," Warren charged, calling for "a Democratic Party of big structural change."

55 PHOTOS
Elizabeth Warren's 2020 presidential campaign
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Elizabeth Warren's 2020 presidential campaign
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during a rally Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, at Macalaster College during a campaign appearance in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during a rally Monday, Aug. 19, 2019 at Macalaster College during a campaign appearance in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Supporters wave signs before Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks at a rally Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, at Macalaster College during a campaign appearance in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during a rally Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, at Macalaster College during a campaign appearance in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) comes out to a standing ovation, lays out her recently release immigration plan even as immigration protesters shouted her down at the Netroots Nation 2019 Presidential candidates forum in Philadelphia, PA on July 13, 2019. (Photo by Cory Clark/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
PETERBOROUGH, NH - JULY 8: U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren appears during her town hall event at the Peterborough Town House in Peterborough, NH on July 8, 2019. (Photo by Erin Clark for The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
PETERBOROUGH, NH - JULY 8: Jo-Ann Finn pins an Elizabeth Warren pin onto her shirt before attending a town hall event held by U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren at the Peterborough Town House in Peterborough, NH on July 8, 2019. (Photo by Erin Clark for The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
PETERBOROUGH, NH - JULY 8: U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren speaks during her town hall event at the Peterborough Town House in Peterborough, NH on July 8, 2019. (Photo by Erin Clark for The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
PETERBOROUGH, NH - JULY 8: U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren appears during her town hall event at the Peterborough Town House in Peterborough, NH on July 8, 2019. (Photo by Erin Clark for The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
PETERBOROUGH, NH - JULY 8: A supporter waves her fan during a town hall event held by U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren at the Peterborough Town House in Peterborough, NH on July 8, 2019. (Photo by Erin Clark for The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
PETERBOROUGH, NH - JULY 8: Attendees hold up signs during a town hall event held by U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren at the Peterborough Town House in Peterborough, NH on July 8, 2019. (Photo by Erin Clark for The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JULY 06: Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks at the 25th Essence Festival at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Josh Brasted/FilmMagic)
UNITED STATES - JULY 4: Supporters of presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., chant during the Boulder City Damboree Celebration 4th of July parade in Boulder City, NV on July 4, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JULY 4: Supporters of presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., chant before the start of the start of the Boulder City Damboree Celebration 4th of July parade in Boulder City, NV on July 4, 2019. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 02: Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks during a community conversation at the East Las Vegas Community Center on July 2, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Polls taken after last week's first Democratic presidential debates show Warren gaining ground with voters. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 02: Marilyn Beilstein (L) of Nevada poses for a photo with Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) after she spoke at a community conversation at the East Las Vegas Community Center on July 2, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Polls taken after last week's first Democratic presidential debates show Warren gaining ground with voters. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 02: Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks to members of the media after holding a community conversation at the East Las Vegas Community Center on July 2, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Polls taken after last week's first Democratic presidential debates show Warren gaining ground with voters. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 02: Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) (C) poses with attendees after she spoke at a community conversation at the East Las Vegas Community Center on July 2, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Polls taken after last week's first Democratic presidential debates show Warren gaining ground with voters. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 02: Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) hugs Clark County Democrats Chairwoman Donna West after Warren spoke at a community conversation at the East Las Vegas Community Center on July 2, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Polls taken after last week's first Democratic presidential debates show Warren gaining ground with voters. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 02: Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) (L) talks with former Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani after Warren spoke at a community conversation at the East Las Vegas Community Center on July 2, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Polls taken after last week's first Democratic presidential debates show Warren gaining ground with voters. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
NBC NEWS ELECTION COVERAGE -- The First Democratic Debate -- Pictured: Elizabeth Warren at The Knight Concert Hall, Miami Florida on Wednesday, June 26,, 2019-- (Photo by: Gustavo Cabellero /NBC News/MSNBC/Telemundo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Democratic presidential hopeful US Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren with NBC anchor Chris Matthews in the Spin Room after participating in the first Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida, June 26, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is seen on a television at a watch party for the first Democratic presidential primary debates for the 2020 elections in Miami on Wednesday, June 26, 2019. (John McCall/Sun Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
Democratic presidential hopeful US Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren speaks in the first Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida, June 26, 2019. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 26: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks during the first night of the Democratic presidential debate on June 26, 2019 in Miami, Florida. A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential hopeful US Senator from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren is shown on a screen in the spin room during the first Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida, June 26, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 26: Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is displayed on a monitor inside the spin room during the first Democratic presidential primary debate for the 2020 election at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, June 26, 2019 in Miami, Florida. A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JUNE 26: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) takes the stage during the first night of the Democratic presidential debate on June 26, 2019 in Miami, Florida. A field of 20 Democratic presidential candidates was split into two groups of 10 for the first debate of the 2020 election, taking place over two nights at Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is swarmed by the press while visiting at the Homestead Detention Center ahead of the first Democratic debate on June 26, 2019 in Homestead, Fla. (Daniel A Varela/Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images)
Senator of Massachusetts and Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren stands on a ladder with an unidentified girl, and gestures to migrant children in front of a detention center in Homestead, Florida on June 26, 2019. - Democrats are in Miami, Florida for their first debate -- and first inflection point -- of the 2020 election cycle, with ex-vice president Joe Biden taking the stage as frontrunner for the first time. Ten candidates including Senator Elizabeth Warren square off Wednesday, while Thursday's 10 feature Biden and three others polling in the top five. (Photo by RHONA WISE / AFP) (Photo credit should read RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Senator of Massachusetts (D) and Democratic Presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren gestures as she speaks during a town hall meeting at Florida International University in Miami, Florida on June 25, 2019. (Photo by RHONA WISE / AFP) (Photo credit should read RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)
Senator Elizabeth Warren addresses the crowd at the We Decide: Planned Parenthood Action Fund 2020 Election Forum to Focus on Abortion and Reproductive Rights event in Columbia, SC on June, 22 2019. - Many of the Democratic candidates running for president are in Columbia to make appearances at the South Carolina Democratic Party Convention and the Planned Parenthood Election Forum on June 22. (Photo by Logan Cyrus / AFP) (Photo credit should read LOGAN CYRUS/AFP/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 22: Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) addresses the crowd at the 2019 South Carolina Democratic Party State Convention on June 22, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina. Democratic presidential hopefuls are converging on South Carolina this weekend for a host of events where the candidates can directly address an important voting bloc in the Democratic primary. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 22: Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) rally outside of the 2019 South Carolina Democratic Party State Convention on June 22, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina. Democratic presidential hopefuls are converging on South Carolina this weekend for a host of events where the candidates can directly address an important voting bloc in the Democratic primary. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - JUNE 21: Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks at the Democratic presidential candidates NALEO Candidate Forum on June 21, 2019 in Miami, Florida. At left is moderator Arturo Vargas and at right is Vanessa Hauc. (Photo by Joe Skipper/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, SC - JUNE 15: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) waves to the audience during the Black Economic Alliance Forum on June 15, 2019 in Charleston, South Carolina. The Black Economic Alliance, is a nonpartisan group founded by Black executives and business leaders, and is hosting the forum in order to help Black voters understand candidate's platforms. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
WINDHAM, NH - JUNE 14: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during a house party in Windham, New Hampshire on June 14, 2019. (Staff Photo By Christopher Evans/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)
DYERSVILLE, IOWA - JUNE 10: Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks with Raymond Defenbaugh during a visit to the Big River United Energy ethanol facility during a campaign stop on June 10, 2019 in Dyersville, Iowa. Yesterday Warren joined 19 other candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination at the Democratic Party’s Hall of Fame Dinner in Cedar Rapids. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA - JUNE 09: Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks at the Iowa Democratic Party's Hall of Fame Dinner on June 9, 2019 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Nearly all of the 23 Democratic candidates running for president were campaigning in Iowa this weekend. President Donald Trump has two events scheduled in the state on Tuesday. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA - JUNE 09: Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) wait for her to arrive at the Iowa Democratic Party's Hall of Fame Dinner on June 9, 2019 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Nearly all of the 23 Democratic candidates running for president were campaigning in Iowa this weekend. President Donald Trump has two events scheduled in the state on Tuesday. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA - JUNE 09: Democratic presidential candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks at the Iowa Democratic Party's Hall of Fame Dinner on June 9, 2019 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Nearly all of the 23 Democratic candidates running for president were campaigning in Iowa this weekend. President Donald Trump has two events scheduled in the state on Tuesday. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
MSNBC - Election Coverage "All In With Chris Hayes Town Hall with Elizabeth Warren" Pictured: (l-r) Chris Hayes, Elizabeth Warren (Photo by: Michael HickeyMSNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - June 1: Supporters scream as Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks to thousands of CA delegates at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Organizing Convention at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California Saturday June 1, 2019. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
THE VIEW - Senator Elizabeth Warren is the guest today, Thursday, May 30, 2019 on Walt Disney Television via Getty Images's "The View." "The View" airs Monday-Friday, 11am-12pm, ET on Walt Disney Television via Getty Images. (Photo by Jeff Neira/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images) ELIZABETH WARREN, SUNNY HOSTIN, MEGHAN MCCAIN
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - MAY 30: A billboard with an image of Democratic presidential hopeful U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on May 30, 2019 in San Francisco, California. The presidential campaign for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren posted a billboard in the South of Market Area of San Francisco that calls for breaking up big tech. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA - MAY 16: Voters listen during a campaign town hall of Democratic U.S. presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) at George Mason University May 16, 2019 in Fairfax, Virginia. Sen. Warren held a town hall to tell her plans for Americans and answer questions from voters. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA - MAY 16: Democratic U.S. presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks during a campaign town hall at George Mason University May 16, 2019 in Fairfax, Virginia. Sen. Warren held a town hall to tell her plans for Americans and answer questions from voters. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren gestures as she speaks during a campaign stop at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia on May 16, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren gestures as she speaks during a campaign stop at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia on May 16, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
People hold signs as they attend a campaign stop held by Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia on May 16, 2019. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 13: Democratic presidential hopeful, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) holds Francina Seedman-Stout, 8 months, after a teacher's union townhall on May 13, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the event hosted by the American Federation of Teachers, Warren spoke to about 200 educators, according to published reports. (Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images)
IOWA FALLS, IA - MAY 3: An image of 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is seen on a book held by an attendee during a campaign event at Rivers Bend Bed & Breakfast in Iowa Falls, Iowa on May 3, 2019. (Photo by Daniel Acker for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 24: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) waves to a crowd at the She The People Presidential Forum at Texas Southern University on April 24, 2019 in Houston, Texas. Many of the Democrat presidential candidates are attending the forum to focus on issues important to women of color. (Photo by Sergio Flores/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 24: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks to a crowd at the She The People Presidential Forum at Texas Southern University on April 24, 2019 in Houston, Texas. Many of the Democrat presidential candidates are attending the forum to focus on issues important to women of color. (Photo by Sergio Flores/Getty Images)
SOMERVILLE, MA - APRIL 12: US Senator Elizabeth Warren addresses the media and Stop & Shop workers on the picket line at the Stop & Shop in Somerville, MA on April 12, 2019. US Senator Elizabeth Warren joined Stop & Shop workers on a picket line outside a Somerville store as the strike against New Englands largest supermarket chain enters its first full day Friday. Stop & Shop workers in southern New England walked off the job on Thursday, April 11, after more than 31,000 employees last month authorized their labor leaders to call for a work stoppage amid increasingly strained contract negotiations. (Photo by Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
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The tug-of-war over the future of the party will decide exactly what kind of candidate Democrats put up against Trump in November 2020. It is a high-stakes debate that pits voters' hearts against their heads as they weigh their desire for an aggressive response to Trump with finding a safe choice who's best positioned to win.

It is a debate that is only beginning in many respects.

The ultimate nominee won't be secured until the party's national convention next July in Wisconsin.

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