Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has been the most aggressive in calling for breaking up some of the dominant firms, and most recently said she would not take major donations from their executives.
“We need to enforce our antitrust laws, break up these giant companies that are dominating big tech, big pharma, big oil, all of them,” Warren said.
“You get to be an umpire in the baseball game, or you get to have a team, but you don’t get to do both at the same time.” But former Rep. Beto O’Rourke disagreed, saying he didn’t “think it was the role of a candidate to specifically call for a company to be broken up.” He said it was something “Donald Trump has done,” a reference to the president’s calls for antitrust scrutiny of Amazon. Instead, he argued one problem is that tech companies are treated “functionally as a utility when they are more akin to a publisher.” He referred to Facebook’s decision to accept a misleading ad from the Trump campaign on Joe Biden and Ukraine, while CNN rejected it for factual reasons. Tom Steyer said “monopolies have to be dealt with. They either have to be broken up or regulated, and that’s part of it.” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) pointed to her proposals for stricter antitrust laws, and her role as the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary’s antitrust subcommittee. Andrew Yang said that while he agreed with Warren “in diagnosing the problem,” “competition doesn’t solve all the problems.” “So it’s not like breaking up these big tech companies will revive main street businesses across the country.” He even pointed to Bing, the Microsoft rival to Google. “Sorry Microsoft,” he said. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) turned her attention to her effort to get Twitter to take down President Donald Trump’s Twitter account. She also attacked Warren because she had not backed the proposal. “I don’t just want to push Donald Trump off Twitter. I want to push him out of the White House,” she said.
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