Part II – Serious Candidates Emerge in Last Night’s Debate
Thursday evening’s debate certainly lacked the maturity and seriousness of Wednesday’s crop of candidates, with the exception of Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Kamala Harris, of course.
The clear victor of the evening was Senator Harris who demonstrated (and I’m sure she’d hate me for saying this) Ted Cruz ability on the debate stage. She was poised. She read the moment. She delivered clear, logical messages aimed at the correct audience. While her policy positions may irk me, I can only imagine that they absolutely thrilled her progressive constituency.
Sadly, unlike Wednesday where I felt every single candidate on that stage was a serious person with serious ideas, and that they presented those ideas in a mature and serious manner, last night was not such a treat.
We were introduced to Andrew Yang, briefly, who outside of wanting to give every American a thousand dollars a month, really had nothing much to say. The moderators seemed to sense this and ignored him entirely.
We were also introduced to author Marianne Williamson, who seems to believe that she is the only one who really understands just how Donald Trump’s mind works, making her the only one who can defeat him.
I’m sorry Marianne, but no one knows how Trump’s mind works. No one.
Then there was the young Eric Swalwell, a California Congressman running for President because he’s a millennial, or something, and is entitled to have “the torch” passed to him. I get it. The Boomers really have screwed the millennials, who will never get a taste of the prosperity and promise enjoyed by their elders. If they are a little salty about it, I think we can give them a pass. But we don’t run for president just because, you know … screw old people?—?and that’s pretty much what his campaign is all about.
Then there is Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, unfortunately born without a political personality, who demonstrated that she’s with Bernie on Medicare For All, but that she’s the only Democrat who can win because she’s the only one who has a plan for publicly financed elections. She didn’t strike me as an issue-candidate, but that was her main contribution to the debate yesterday. The moderators sensed this and politely ignored her, focusing their attention instead on Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg, and Harris.
In other news, Colorado sounds like an absolutely fascinating place, considering her citizens have elected the likes of Governor John Hickenlooper and Senator Michael Bennet. Bennet and Hickenlooper are both liberals, both intelligent, and both politically interesting; but neither of them seem willing to buy into the pandering and promises of Democratic-Socialism or Progressive Idealism. They seem uninterested in destroying the U.S. economy and focused more on achieving liberal goals through pragmatic policies.
I guess that’s something folks in Colorado are into. Colorado sounds kind of cool. Bennet was the Superintendent of Denver Public schools, but apparently education is no longer at the top of the Democratic Party’s wish list. He was also previously Chief of Staff to Hickenlooper. I think they may be trying to save the party from driving off a socialist cliff.
The Big Boys
Vice President Joe Biden had a couple big moments. When Univision’s Jorge Ramos pointed out that President Obama’s border policies weren’t all that different from President Trump’s, Biden was visibly upset, inferring that Ramos was immoral for daring to compare the two presidents. Ramos was absolutely correct of course, but Biden wasn’t having it.
Senator Harris also attacked Biden on the Obama Administration’s immigration policies and explained how, as Attorney General of California, she was forced to ignore the Obama Administration’s laws and regulations. Biden seemed almost as upset with Senator Harris over this as when she accused him of having a questionable past with race, opposing busing and praising racist politicians.
Despite the fact that Vice President Biden received a great deal of time to speak, there were several moments during the debate where I forgot he was on the stage entirely. He didn’t offer anything interesting or new. He didn’t define himself as the candidate for anyone or anything. He got caught up defending President Obama’s record against his fellow Democrats. He did try his best to appear as outraged and progressive as everyone else, but he just couldn’t pull it off. Senators Harris and Sanders are clearly the more outraged opponents of the status quo.
I was surprised at Senator Bernie Sanders. He basically repeated every line he delivered in the 2016 Democratic Primary debates. He offered nothing new. He never really explained how anything would work, only that it had to work because he was going to take down the rich and powerful in this country.
Senator Sanders really is a socialist and an existential threat to the United States of America, but his popularity and the effectiveness of his pandering has certainly moved the entire Democratic Party to the left. So, he’s nothing if not effective.
There was no discernable difference between Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren, except that Senator Warren seems to have a much more academic understanding of the economy and the policies she’s offering.
Bernie just hates “The Man”?—?and that’s cool. I guess.
Thursday night did bring something that we were all waiting for but did not receive during the Wednesday affair. The Trump hatefest was in full swing.
Last night’s candidates recognized that since all the media talks about is Trump, you can’t very well capture the attention of voters without addressing the elephant in the room. They all took their shots at Trump?—?especially on immigration.
Trump is going to have a difficult time dealing with the likes of Mayor Buttigieg or Senator Harris when they tug on the heartstrings of the American People, asking them whether they want to live in an America where we welcome those desperately in need or whether we want to see them lying face down in the Rio Grande.
After two days and twenty candidates, I believe it is clear that the real contenders are Senators Warren, Sanders, and Harris, Vice President Joe Biden, and the dark horse Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
After watching both debates, I would give the advantage to Senator Kamala Harris. She’s less scary than Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, more experienced than Mayor Pete, and far more competent than Vice President Joe Biden. I think over time and over the course of several more debates, this will become clear to Democrats. It doesn’t hurt that we’re all still waiting on the emergence of the first female president.
See also Serious Candidates Emerge in Last Night’s Debate, a recap of the first debate, by Steven Brodie Tucker.
Cover photo: Screenshot from Democratic Debate, June 27, 2019 (NBC News)