Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) defended their progressive agenda together against a slew of criticism from the moderate hopefuls looking to make a mark on Tuesday night at the second Democratic primary debate.

Contrary to assumptions by many political analysts, Warren and Sanders stood side by and side and managed to fend off critics on matters regarding healthcare and immigration, capping a productive night for both the progressive flag-bearers. They were by far the best candidates at the debate, with quips from both Sanders and Warren receiving huge applauses.

Former Rep. John Delaney, one of the low-polling candidates, came out firing on all cylinders, attacking Warren and Sanders for promising “bad policies” that would “turn off independent voters and get Trump re-elected." Instead, Delaney called Congress to focus on issues like infrastructure.

Warren’s response to Delaney, which became one of the highlights of the night, was:

"I don’t understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running to the president of the United States to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for."

Ohio congressman Tim Ryan, the former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper and Montana governor Steve Bullock sparred with the two long-time friends and senators, who fought off the centrists and at the same time avoided conflict with one other.

One of the key points of discussion was “Medicare for All," a proposal spearheaded by Sanders. Medicare for All would expand the existing Medicare program to cover more Americans than just people over 65 years. The control would shift to the federal government, thus essentially eliminating the private insurance industry.

Bernie Sanders
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during a rally for Nevada Democratic candidates at the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts in Las Vegas, Oct. 25, 2018. Getty Images/ Ethan Miller

This program would enrol all Americans in a national health-insurance program, with the federal government and taxpayers paying the bill. This plan would provide a comprehensive coverage, as the Medicare currently does, with no deductibles or premiums.

The moderates criticized the bill, calling it everything from “wishlist economics” to “political suicide." At one point Sanders grew frustrated at the criticisms levelled on the bill by Ryan, who said Sanders didn’t know what the bill would do, and emphatically replied, “I do know it. I wrote the damn bill!”

Sanders and Warren have proposed sweeping changes, perceived by centrists to be far-left and socialist, to address healthcare, income inequality, taxes and college tuition.

However, the Democrats did seem to come to a collective agreement on comprehensive immigration reform and stricter gun laws.