The first part of the second round of Democratic Primary Debates … happened. Again, ignoring my disgust with their far left positions and only looking at how they presented themselves on stage, here is how I believe they fared and how their poll ratings will be affected. Just like last time, ratings are from -10 to +10.
In my opinion, these debates were better run than the last set, there were no technical difficulties, the moderators were more in control. The added control allowed a better focus on the candidates. Glad they got it right the second time…
Tim Ryan +7 – Surprisingly some very good points, appointing a chief manufacturing officer, using private industry for solar energy (which Bernie immediately stole, on stage, in front of people). Very substantive. If the Democrats are smart, he will get a massive boost in his polling numbers and be a contender. I don’t have the faith that they are that smart, but he should get a boost.
Elizabeth Warren +10 – She was clearly in the “Trump” position, the person who set the bar and to whom everyone turned for the competitive answers. She was good with platitudes, had an inspirational manner, was very dramatic, with great energy. She wore red which made her stand out more, looked bigger charisma-wise on stage than the others. She throttled Bernie. Clearly the winner in this debate. I predict that, unless Biden has an unlikely spectacular debate, this is the beginning of her rise to at least a temporary first place.
Amy Klobuchar+1 – Good moderate play but looks nervous. She is probably the best moderate on stage (close with Tim Ryan) but she didn’t stand out enough to get a boost from this performance.
Pete Buttigieg+4 – Was relaxed and has excellent speaking skills, he appeared as an island of sanity in a caldron of intensity. This performance did not have a lot of substance but this will help his effort and he will sustain a small boost.
Governor Steve Bullock -6 – I don’t remember anything he said except he is from Montana and kicked out the Koch brothers. Not enough to get noticed, he is toast.
Beto O’Rourke -7 – This was a weak performance from Beto, he is still a bit twitchy. When he did have the stage with something of substance it was too technical/specific for good television. Not going to win this way, this performance was not Presidential.
Bernie Sanders +2 – Energetic and animated as always, Sanders claimed that all polls say he would beat Trump – He was challenged on his “big ideas” and defended his use of big ideas. This could be a new narrative in the election. Not sure if anyone noticed, but Tim Ryan had a very good narrative on climate change, and Bernie just stole it on the fly. Bernie will continue to appeal to his base, and he may get a slight dead cat bounce from this, but it will not push him into the lead.
Marianne Williamson +3 – She made a bit of a spectacle attacking other candidates for taking donations from big corporations, and she has thought way too much about slavery reparations. Much more informed on the issues than last time. These small things will likely get her a small but permanent bounce in her polling. Enough to be a contender? Not yet.
John Hickenlooper -3 – Was too diplomatic, did not take advantage of a confrontation with Sanders. Trying to be too technical, messages are not clear. His tone of voice not attractive. Nothing here to help his campaign.
John Delaney -8 – I remember nothing about what he said. He should drop out.