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Debates highlight the space between 2020 Democrats

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

While Sen. Kamala Harris' confrontation with former Vice President Joe Biden will likely steal most of the postgame headlines from Thursday's second round of the Democratic debates, there were a few other major takeaways worth noting.

The state of play: Democrats are not united on everything. If one of the more progressive Dems won, they'd still have plenty of moderates telling them to get real and stop trying to offer free college to everyone or abolish private health insurance.

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders seemed like a sidelight: Nearly everyone else could name the first issue they'd push as president but he couldn't, or wouldn't, choose. (Biden, seeming to misunderstand the question, said: "[T]he first thing I would do is make sure that we defeat Donald Trump, period.")
  • Pete Buttigieg had a moment of blunt honesty when asked why the diversity of the South Bend police force hadn't improved during his two terms as mayor: "Because I couldn't get it done. ... I am determined to bring about a day when a white person driving a vehicle and a black person driving a vehicle, when they see a police officer approaching, feels the exact same thing."

Go deeper ... Kamala Harris' night: Schools Biden on busing