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 TrumpAdvisor: Sanders could beat Trump in Texas Bloomberg rips Sanders over Castro comments What coronavirus teaches us for preventing the next big bio threat MORE, with former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden faces do-or-die primary in South Carolina Democrats view Sanders as having best shot to defeat Trump: poll Karl Rove: 'Long way to go' for Sanders to capture nomination: 'The field is splintered' MORE accusing him of offering "no moral leadership" and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenJack Black endorses Elizabeth Warren Democrats view Sanders as having best shot to defeat Trump: poll Poll: Biden, Sanders tied in Texas, followed by Warren 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 BullockStates, cities rethink tax incentives after Amazon HQ2 backlash Democrats redefine center as theirs collapses Democratic governors worried about drawn-out 2020 fight 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 BookerDemocrats' Obama-to-Sanders shift on charter schooling This week: House to vote on legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime Juan Williams: Black votes matter 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 ButtigiegLiberal author Matt Stoller: Iowa caucus screw-up was 'Boeing 737 Max of the Democratic Party' Biden faces do-or-die primary in South Carolina Democrats view Sanders as having best shot to defeat Trump: poll 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.