2020 Democrats audition in Iowa, decry Trump's 'darkness'

2020 Democrats audition in Iowa, decry Trump's 'darkness'
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More than 20 Democratic presidential candidates descended on Clear Lake, Iowa, on Friday evening for the state party’s annual Wing Ding dinner as they blitz the critical early voting state this weekend, making their pitch to voters.

Many Democrats used their speeches Friday night to lambast President TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth MORE, with former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth Poll: Biden holds five-point lead over Warren among New York Democrats MORE accusing him of offering "no moral leadership" and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth Kamala Harris calls for new investigation into Kavanaugh allegations MORE (D-Mass.) hitting what she called a "trade-war-by-tweet."

Several of the candidates on stage have in recent days pointed the finger at the president's rhetoric in discussing the recent El Paso, Texas, mass shooting, ripping the president's previous remarks about an "invasion" of immigrants.

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Candidates continued to go after the president's rhetoric and behavior on Friday night, with Biden accusing him of exercising "a political strategy of hate, racism and division."

"Donald Trump doesn't get it. He truly doesn't understand what we're all about," said Biden, who sat in the audience while his fellow Democratic rivals spoke before delivering the final speech of the night.

"Take it back now. This is America," Biden yelled. "Take it back."

Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockPartisan divisions sharpen as independent voters fade Jeff Bridges calls for donations to get his 'good buddy' Bullock 'up on that debate stage' The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats clash over future of party in heated debate MORE emphasized the need for Democrats to unite to ensure that Trump "is a one-term president."

"But you know what, it’s more than that. It’s about soundly rejecting the behavior that he’s normalizing,” he said. “We expect more out of preschoolers than we do the president of the United States.”

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerOvernight Energy: Top presidential candidates to skip second climate forum | Group sues for info on 'attempts to politicize' NOAA | Trump allows use of oil reserve after Saudi attacks Poll: 33 percent of voters undecided on who won third Democratic debate Jon Bon Jovi: Booker would 'do an amazing job' as president MORE (D-N.J.), one of several Democrats to draw a standing ovation from those gathered Friday night, called on Iowans casting the first ballots of the Democratic nominating contest to stand up to Trump's "darkness."

“We will stand up with faith in our country, faith in our ideals, faith in each other and come together again and stand together and work together and love together and overcome his darkness with our light,” he said.

Though the state’s caucus is not until Feb. 3, the Iowa State Fair and its peripheral events are longtime staples for presidential candidates as they seek to jockey in what this cycle has become one of the most crowded primary fields in modern history. 

While Democrats seeking to take on Trump next year kept the president in focus, they also touted their own policies Friday night, with Warren highlighting her proposed “wealth tax” on the ultra-wealthy to help pay for a bevy of programs, including universal child care and eliminating student debt.

“We’ve had enough of an America where the government works better and better and better for a thinner and thinner slice at the top. 2020 is our chance, we can make this government work for all of America,” she said. “Let’s do this, Democrats.”

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegCalifornia poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth Buttigieg unveils disaster response plan focused on communities Poll: Biden holds five-point lead over Warren among New York Democrats MORE also brought the crowd to its feet with a message of unity.

“And with a fire in our belly and with a hope in our hearts, we are going to fix things in this country, we’re going to do it together and I am proud to do it with you every step of the way,” he said.