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At the first Democratic primary debate since the American political landscape tectonically shifted, it's no surprise the potential impeachment of President Trump was a significant focus of the night.

How, why and when Trump should be impeached drew creative and passionate responses from the people vying for his job.

It was one of many agenda items that united the Democrats last week at the CNN/New York Times debate in Ohio, despite some discrete skirmishes around the edges over how much of our health care should be free--100 percent or 99 percent--and whether giving up your gun should be voluntary or mandatory.

But in addition to impeachment, another issue united the 12 candidates on stage: just how much they want to insert themselves into our daily lives.

It's no surprise liberals believe government should be a prominent fixture in your life, far more so than conservatives. But even for them, many moments in the debate felt downright Orwellian.

Consider the conversation around tech, an industry that touches us all in various and impactful ways. While many candidates hammered Silicon Valley for, in their view, harboring dangerous monopolies and enabling election meddlers, they also took shots at our favorite apps and websites.

Democratic candidates mentioned Facebook, Twitter, Uber, Amazon, Bing and Microsoft, and not positively--an interesting play considering how many people, not just millennials, use and depend on many of these applications and sites every day.

In her crusade to trample on free speech, Kamala Harris tried desperately to enlist a co-conspirator in Elizabeth Warren, goading her into co-signing her plan to kick President Trump off Twitter, an idea that's both foolhardy and transparently illiberal. Warren didn't take the bait, but not for Harris' lack of insistence.

Andrew Yang, who comes from the world of corporate tech, declared that screen time for kids is a major societal problem, apparently one he thinks the president of the United States should solve, inserting himself into our homes and onto our phones. Interestingly, Yang can point to Republican lawmaker Josh Hawley, who's proposed actual legislation meant to intercept your social media use.

There were other creative suggestions by the Democrats to invigorate the presidency with omnipotence and omnipresence.

Harris promised that if Congress--the people we elect to make our laws--didn't pass the gun ban she's calling for within the first 100 days of her presidency, she would use her executive authority to do it.

Beto O'Rourke confessed his gun buyback plan wouldn't include going door to door, but that he'd expect Americans to "do the right thing," which I suppose is what he wants them to do.

When it came to using the Supreme Court to protect abortion rights, some were open to any number of options.

Elizabeth Warren said, "We may have to talk about" adding justices to the Supreme Court to protect abortion--a historically rejected practice otherwise known as packing the courts, which is suddenly enjoying a renaissance since Trump came to town.

But nowhere was the intrusion into private life more obvious than in health care, where Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders vied to be the most obtrusive candidates on the stage, arguing with other candidates over whether the government should fully or mostly hijack our health insurance decisions.

At least one voice of reason, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who wants to let people buy into Medicare, not be forced onto it, pointed out, "I don't think the American people are wrong when they say what they want is a choice."

Likewise Amy Klobuchar tried to reason with Warren, asserting that hers weren't the only solutions to combat rising health-care costs. O'Rourke correctly noted that Warren's policies can come off as too punitive, because they are. These notions fell on deaf ears.

There were a few good lines Tuesday night, a couple of memorable moments. If anyone changed the primary landscape, it was only incrementally. The biggest loser of the night, though, was our personal freedom, which Democrats seemed determined to override in favor of their personal favorite solutions.

Kamala Harris trotted out a well-worn adage to warn voters of Trump's duplicity: "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time."

It's a good saying, but it also applies to this lot. When politicians insist over and over again that they know better than you do about issues that affect your wallet and your family, you should believe them the first time.


S.E. Cupp is the host of Unfiltered on CNN.

Editorial on 10/21/2019

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