Democratic presidential hopefuls split over whether to end private health care, decriminalise illegal migration and rejoin the Iran nuclear deal as clear divisions emerged in the first debate of the campaign.
During a series of feisty exchanges, the 10 candidates who appeared together clashed on how far they would go to tackle climate change, end gun violence in America and take on the country’s corporate giants.
When asked to name the greatest geopolitical threat some half a dozen different answers were given including China, Russia, nuclear war, climate change and – to cheers and applause from the audience – Donald Trump.
The clashes over the two-hour debate in Miami, Florida, provided the clearest evidence yet of how candidates will attempt to stand out and which issues will define the race for the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination.
There were moments of unity, most notably the demand echoed by candidates to win back support from working class voters who backed Mr Trump and address the economic pain they are feeling.
There was also universal disgust at the shocking photograph of a father and daughter lying dead in a river after crossing the border into America which emerged this week, with one candidate saying: “It should p*** us all off.”