Second debate night: Indian Country Today's live blog from Sparks

ICT editorial team

Indian Country Today watch party and tweet storm begins at 6 Pacific / 9 Eastern

8:03 pm

Thank you for tuning in tonight and last night. Come back on July 30 and 31 when we cover the second Democratic Debate set to take place in Detroit. Good night. 

8 pm

How do we pick a president? A debate with a 30second response seems an odd way. But we will be following along between now and Feb. 2020 when the first votes are cast. Follow Indian Country Today for our unique take on national politics. #NativeVote20

7:49 pm

While it's a break, how about this? Instead of starting the primary season in Iowa ... start it in Indian Country. Let First Americans go first and have a say about the country's future. #NativeVote18

7:40 pm

Question from a viewer about institutions is a great one. Today the Supreme Court could not reach a decision on an important case.” #SCOTUS today announced that Murphy will be re-argued next term … 

7:35 pm

Say it again:  Gun violence as a public health issue. Even though the discourse is about mass killings. Serious problem, indeed. But most gun deaths are suicide, 30,000 a year. And without a gun most of those people would have survived the attempt.


7:21 pm

The debate: When will fossil fuels be abandoned? What moves the needle? The funny thing (and we wish this was the question) is there are only two choices. How much does the nation want to spend on adaptation versus mitigation. That's it. Money for higher sea walls. Moving people out of harm's way. Or fossil fuel mitigation now. How does the candidate budget for both? And which gets most of the money. (Climate deniers are choosing adaptation. Expensive.)

7:19 pm

Sen Harris says we have a president that embraces "science fiction" over fact.  His denial of climate "crisis" is the treat. 

7:18 pm

Native women already live under the Hyde Amendment. Candidates ought to say now that poor women -- and treaty based health care -- should have access. Sen. Gillibrand: Hyde amendment was a compromise. #NativeVote20

7:15 pm

One thing that ought to get more discussion: The sequester is not over. The Budget Control Act remains the law of the land and it will come up again because there are not the votes in Congress for its repeal. #NativeVote20 #RealPain

7:10 pm

7:05 pm

Biden brings back "forced busing" discourse. We already used 1963 in a tweet. #NativeVote20

7:01 pm

A wall of mistrust in many communities. Native Americans have the highest percentage of police shootings, highest numbers in Alaska, Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. Most recent shooting was in Nebraska at a church where Clarence Leading Fighter, 32, was killed. There ought to be news -- and investigations. #NativeVote20

6:53 pm

Something to think about. Should tribes have their own trade policies? It's not addressed in treaties, so tribal governments retain the authority. #NativeVote20

6:45 pm

6:40 pm

One element of immigration that is not discussed: Climate change. It's time to measure, and help. climate refugees. The numbers are only going to grow in the years ahead. #NativeVote20

6:30 pm

Again: This is more about the announcers than the candidates. But in 1963 nearly 8 out of 10 workers were covered by major medical policies. Today that number is in the 40s (boosted a bit by the ACA)


6:27 pm

Sen. Sanders point is backed up by data: US spends far more on health care than any other country in the world (by far). Not even a close number. #NativeVote20

6:24 pm

VP Biden talks about building on Obamacare. The best part of that program is one of the oldest ideas in US healthcare, Medicaid. That program now funds a significant portion of the Indian health system (if not the single largest source of funding.) #NativeVote20

6:22 pm

The question about employer based insurance misses this: It's going away anyway. It was an accident of history and it makes no sense. How can a Boeing compete with an Airbus when one pays for health care, one does not. #NativeVote20 

6:20 pm

What does the economy look like in Indian Country? During the government shutdown, a result of stubbornness, government employees in tribal communities were being served at local food banks. #NativeVote20

6:19 pm

Pass the torch? Generational change is worth discourse. We see it among tribal leaders, business, local government, why not the United States of America? There is a lot written about U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Kansas, being one of the two first Native Americans in Congress. She is also Indian Country's first millennial. 

6:17 pm

We still want to hear one of the 500+ Indigenous languages spoken at the




Mayor Buttigeg calls for reducing student debt; free and low cost college based on income. Here is a prompt for every candidate listening: Tribal colleges are a good example of stretching resources successfully. That ought to be a part of the conversation. (And on so many levels, education, employment, community engagement.)

6:10 pm

Challenge is no economic growth across the board. Interesting. That reflects the shrinking of government since Ronald Reagan. Government used to do a lot more, especially in communities such as those on reservations or villages. 

6:08 pm

There it goes. Already in the pre-debate a concern about socialism. So ... government is about 40 percent — a little more, a little less — of the economy. In Western Europe (think “socialist” countries) it’s about 48 percent. That’s ought to be debate, the 8 percent difference. 

6:07 pm.

Sen. Harris asked: Less than 100k would get a tax credit that pays families. That would impact Indian Country significantly. #NativeVote20

6:06 pm.

Demonize the rich? Frm VP Joe Biden talks about jobs & middle class. What's interesting -- and so often missed -- is the rise of the gig economy and how that's changed the nature of work in the U.S.


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6 pm.

Bernie Sanders. Health care is a right,. Medicare for all. As we pointed out last night, Medicare for all would result in a 3times increase for Indian health funding. Imagine what could be done with recourse. #NativeVote20

Indian Country Today will again host a watch party & tweet storm at the Sparks Nugget Convention Center on the second floor. The National Congress of American Indians meeting is over, but for those still in town, the debate will be broadcast. We will post video comments from people who'd like to make a comment.

It will be interesting to see if any mention of tribal issue makes it into this conversation during the second round. It would be excellent timing: The Supreme Court punted on an important issue in Oklahoma in the Murphy case. Read more: Muscogee (Creek) Nation: ‘Dust will settle’ after Supreme Court pass on treaty case

Live blogging begins at 6 pm Pacific, 9 Eastern. Hashtag: #NativeVote20

Dem Debate
Live tweets, live audience. (Photo by Jourdan Bennett-Begaye)

Thread from Wednesday's Live blog of the Democrat's debate

Thursday's candidates include:

• Former Vice President Joe Biden

• Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders

• California Sen. Kamala Harris

• South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg

• Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet

• New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

• Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper

• aCalifornia Rep. Eric Swalwell

• Author Marianne Williamson

• Entrepreneur Andrew Yang