We have just witnessed yet another 2019 Democratic Debate – this time run by CNN. My disclaimer, as always, is that as a good conservative, I find almost all of the rhetoric on the stage to be ignorant, uninformed and tragically ridiculous.
My goal here is to attempt to ascertain how the performance of each will affect their standing in the polls and their possibilities for winning the Democratic nomination.
Incidentally, it appears that there are new rules – If you are one of the top 4, as long as you say “This is really important” then you get more time. If you are not one of the top 4 you are ignored and stepped on.
Joe Biden +3 – I expected the question of Joe’s illegal activities in Ukraine to be brought up, and it was, and I expected Joe to get heated and try to back everyone else down. But no. Joe answered the question by deflecting and no one else had anything significant to say about it. Biden was assertive, drawing upon his experience and actually presented himself as the reasonable guy on stage. As far as the Democrats are concerned, he is past his crisis. He had many moments that could be considered “Presidential,” more than anyone else.
He has some baggage to work through in real life, but I have to say this performance helped him.
One mistake though, was that, when asked directly, he said he would put the troops back into Syria. This may very well come back to bite him.
Elizabeth Warren -6 — I predicted that many would attack Warren, and everyone did. I would have expected her to perform better though, she seemed rattled. When asked about whether she would have to raise taxes on the middle class to raise the $30 Trillion need for her health care plan, she repeatedly deflected and denied. Several people called her out on this, made her look bad. She went into her “You didn’t build that” speech, which pissed me off, but was good for her constituency.
Overall, and the reason she got such a bad score, is her mannerisms while under fire. When the camera was split showing her while someone else was speaking (especially when under attack), she frequently looked spacey and confused, and had an almost Parkinsons-like manner. Her manner of raising her hand made her look small, and very un-Presidential. I’m willing to bet that her team sees this and she fixes this by next time. In the meantime, this could stop some of her campaign’s momentum.
Kamala Harris -3 — I predicted that Harris would attack Joe and Liz, and I was not disappointed. When watching her, I couldn’t help thinking what a terrible actress she was. Her campaign is in freefall, nothing could help her, but this was not a good performance.
Tom Steyer +4 — I predicted that Steyer would steal the show, and was disappointed a bit. CNN did not give him much of a chance to speak, but when he did, he was focused and fresh. Surprisingly, he actually agreed with Bernie about taxing the rich out of existence, was reasonably ominous about it. Good to start a cultish following, but not mainstream yet (… but he has a billion dollars…).
He has a whole lot of work to do, but I believe this performance will put him on the board.
Steyer did look like he was drooling a bit at one point. Not a good look.
Andrew Yang +2 — He has a cultish following, and I believe his following will improve based on this performance. He disagreed with other candidates on a number of issues (disagreed on the wealth tax, because it failed in Germany, France, Denmark and Sweden, better for a value added tax). Will get the addicts, wants to legalize all opiods and more. I believe we will see a bump in his polls, but not a mainstream candidate just yet.
Tulsi Gabbard +1 — Gabbard came out, once again, an angel in white, the most attractive candidate by far. I like her voice and her confidence. She came out swinging, but I was a bit disappointed in the result. She lost an exchange with Mayor Pete (he was smoother, not more correct). She attempted several times to challenge others but was interrupted by the commentator (rudely, in my opinion, given the latitude others were given). She had moments of disagreement on the issues that were appropriate and not outside of the realm of Democrat support, so she stood out a bit.
I believe she will get some bump, but not enough to jumpstart her campaign. She needs more. Probably won’t get it.
Bernie Sanders + 2— Nothing new with Bernie, still the same rhetoric, the same manner and the same energy.
But that was it exactly.
After his heart attack, he still has the same energy, which is a bonus for Bernie.
I believe Bernie will get a bit of a bump, but not more than he had before. Health will still be an issue in his campaign and I believe it will ultimately be his downfall.
Corey Booker +0— He always sounds reasonable, but he is a sideline voice at this point. Took his speaking time to match my socks. (It’s laundry night).
Beto O’Rourke +0 — Nothing will help him at this point, so I didn’t really listen much. With the sound off, though, he presented like a kid, I kept having the urge to yell at him “Stand up straight!!!”
Amy Klobuchar +5 — My prediction for tonight’s debate was that she was not capable of making a name for herself would not be able to create opportunities to make her points. I was actually surprised at how Klobuchar not only made her points, but managed to elevate herself to a unique new position. She attacked Warren on taxes for health care, and called Warren’s plan a “pipedream.” She was passionate, her emotional content was good and appropriate.
This was the opportunity she needed, but her campaign has no momentum, and she may be too far down in the polls for it to matter. If this gets her enough followers to help her fundraising, then at least she lives to fight another day.
Klobuchar got a lot of extra face time on CNN after the debate. Hmmm…
Pete Buttigieg +4 — I predicted that Mayor Pete would continue his holding pattern, but I was wrong again. I do believe in this debate he performed above his weight class. He was the voice of reason in several heated exchanges between other candidates, and appeared “adultish” in the presence of more experienced politicians.
While I disagreed with his points versus Gabbard (and almost everything else he said), he won the exchange because of his presentation.
He is second tier at this point, and I don’t believe he will rise above that, but I think this puts him back in the public eye.
Julian Castro +0 — I expected nothing, his campaign is dead. I took this time to fold my underwear (laundry night, remember?).