Four Democratic candidates addressed the Democratic National Committee’s summer meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota last Friday. So we thought we would evaluate them on their performance.
Not many people watched this, so the impact on the U.S. voting population is negligible, but these speeches could be a harbinger of speeches to come. I’ve added the face to face scenario with Putin as added value.
Some highlights, Clinton and Chafee both got in the phrase “black lives matter,” a bit of propaganda victory for the founders of that group. Common themes were the expansion of Social Security, destroying Citizens United, and LGBT equality.
Hillary Clinton, +2 – She gave a classic speech, well delivered, confident. Mixed with humor, managed to compare her hair with Trump’s hair without being insulting (smart on her part). She is still the frontrunner, and if not for the array of scandals she faces she would have a reasonably clear shot at being the nominee. She was allowed to exceed her time limit (a great deal if you can get it), so her impact would have been greater, if she had faced a national audience.
In my purely fictional scenario of a face to face with Putin, I see her holding up well on camera and declaring victory, but giving away the store in the back room. Putin wins.
Martin O’Malley + 6 – O’Malley should be the frontrunner (but he’s not). He gave an impassioned speech, coherent, intelligent, confident. Not that I agree with much of what he said, but when you think of next generation strength, he could be the symbol they are looking for. He’s clean cut and relatively young, at 52. By contrast, Chafee is 62, Hillary is 67 and Sanders is 73. If he can gather momentum and build a stronger team, and if Hillary cracks up (50-50 chance in our estimate), he could emerge. The Democratic debates will be his shot.
In my fictional scenario of a face to face with Putin, I see O’Malley as being relatively strong and prepared. Not necessarily a win for Putin, in fact I like O’Malley’s chances.
Lincoln Chafee – 6 – I’m sorry but Lincoln Chafee doesn’t seem too bright to me. I was listening for signs of intelligent life and not seeing any, it was as if he were on prozac. I detected very little strength, very little of substance in his speech, and not very much I would consider presidential.
In my fictional scenario of Chafee sitting face to face with Putin, I see Putin giggling uncontrollably. Putin wins, eats Chafee’s lunch, publicly and privately.
Bernie Sanders +1 – Talked about going from “fringe” to over 100,000 volunteers, more than 400,000 individual campaigns, averaging $31.20 (means about $12 million dollars in contributions). It really is impressive how he is building. His strength is that he reeks of integrity, and the enthusiasm of his followers reminds me of Ron Paul followers from days gone by.
His weaknesses? His speeches are labored, he seems exceedingly old. This is so pronounced he almost seems a caricature of himself. But I’m a bit biased, I don’t really care for socialists. I find their principles to be delusional, and Bernie Sanders doesn’t disappoint in this respect. His dogma seems surreal, reminiscent of old Soviet propaganda, or Castro’s tirades. Just to edge towards insanity a bit, a ticket with Bernie Sanders and Ron Paul might get a lot of votes.
In my fictional face to face with Putin, I can see Sanders and Putin talking to each other but engaging in two conversations having nothing to do with each other. Putin may not win, in fact I don’t believe any deal would be possible between the two.
James Webb -3 – Jim was a no show. He had an opportunity for support and exposure and didn’t take advantage. We decided not to speculate on a face to face with Putin (OK, he would get smushed…) nor to include his picture on our website.
We are looking forward to the Democratic debates when these guys go head to head, we expect it to be a Bernie/Hillary show.
O’Malley would be smart to make a spectacle of himself (in a good way) otherwise he will continue to be ignored.
The real contest will be how many people actually watch the Democratic debates, and how close will they get to the 24 million viewers inspired by Trump’s presence in the Republican primary debates. More viewers is a disadvantage to Hillary, since she is already a household name, and exposure to a mainstream audience will benefit the lesser known candidates.