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Democrat Debate in South Carolina – Who won?

Democrat Debate in South Carolina – Who won?

First, the usual disclaimer. No, I don’t like any of these people. Yes, Trump will win. The analysis below is meant to try to predict how this debate will affect each of the candidates. (Next debate I’ll try not to be so wordy…)

The debate itself was an organized mess, candidates talking over each over and ignoring the rules. Perhaps slightly tamer than last time, and fewer surprises. I get the feeling this produces better ratings though, so don’t expect future debates to change.

Here is how I score it:

Biden +5    Biden seemed to have new energy and new forcefulness in this debate. At one point, he got cheers from the audience after demanding to finish his answer. He managed to keep this energy through the debate, kept his sense of humor.

This was the first time that I have seen the audience get behind Joe in this way. This performance will likely help him win South Carolina by a wider margin than would have been expected before the debate.  If anything can revive his campaign, a strong showing in South Carolina might do it.

Bernie Sanders – 5  As the frontrunner he was repeatedly attacked by everyone except Steyer. He managed to fend off the initial attacks with light humor and repetition of his normal rhetoric.

However, after a while, Bernie started taking damage. The social nature of the attacks (i.e. everyone piling on), made it so that an undecided person would have questions about his legitimacy (which I certainly have…). This really hit home with Mayor Pete’s comment on Bernie seeing the “bright side of the Castro regime.”

In earlier debates where criticisms came sporadically, Bernie was near teflon, using passion and repetition to defend himself.  It did not work this time. Bernie has been damaged. This performance will likely cost him delegates on Super Tuesday.  However, I still expect him to come out ahead, just by a lesser amount.

Amy Klobuchar +1 – Amy managed to get plenty of talking time, and has been able to maintain her credentials as a knowledgeable moderate candidate. She got in some good hits on Bernie.

This performance keeps her in the fight but does nothing to improve her position. If a deal is made by moderates, she will still be in the running, and that is all she can hope for. She has no reason to stay after Super Tuesday if her only win is her home state.

Michael Bloomberg +6 – This performance was clearly better than the last one. He was attacked frequently, but they were no new attacks or revelations, and he was not ambushed this time. He managed to fend off Warren’s attacks, repeats of those in the last debate, and perhaps even gain some sympathy.

Maybe this was just me, but I found myself very focused on his responses, as if, possibly, he might be the smartest guy on the stage. He appeared authoritative and authentic, and I could actually see some of the old Republican poking through.

Best I can tell, last week is largely forgotten. Much like Trump in the early parts of the campaign, Bloomberg can afford to weather a few mistakes because he is self funding. He doesn’t have to worry about large donors changing their minds and not sending money, he can wait for things to blow over.

In addition, Bloomberg ran ads all through the debate, promoting his campaign. This is a real advantage.

I believe Bernie will still do well on Super Tuesday, but this performance could land Bloomberg in a strong second place. This appears to be a complete recovery for Bloomberg.

Elizabeth Warren – 3 Warren got a lot of talking time, attacked Bloomberg again, and then Bernie. However, I didn’t feel like she was advancing her own candidacy much. Her rhetoric is stale, and while she spoke with passion, we really saw nothing new. I felt like no one was paying attention to her. We were all focused on Bloomberg and Sanders, with a minor interest in whether or not Biden would explode.

She did not do enough damage to Bernie to significantly help her campaign. She should probably make a deal with Bernie and drop out.

Tom Steyer +2 – Steyer got a lot of time to speak, and he did indeed speak passionately, but this performance did not help his campaign much. What it did do was solidify his fairly substantial support in South Carolina, where he has a shot at getting some delegates.

It is not much of a shot, but it is a shot. If he happens to win delegates in South Carolina, it could develop into something. This performance helped him but I do not think Steyer has the charisma to build from here.

Pete Buttigieg -1 Mayor Pete got his licks in, but he could not match the passion of the other candidates, not even Joe Biden’s.  He needed a whole lot more to budge his campaign forward, and he doesn’t have the cash to compete well in Super Tuesday states.

I think Mayor Pete’s campaign deserves some respect, but this performance will not solve his problems. If he stays in after Super Tuesday, it will be strictly for pride’s sake.

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  1. Bozo the clown

    A complete clown show. Unworthy collection of bozos. Bernie is an absolute traitor who hates our country!

    • Derek Blurb

      Pandemonium me-first gaggle of typical deimo-krats. Clever but stoopid. They are actually destroying their own Party’s credibility. Guaranteed Trump landslide.

  2. Clyde Buhrman

    What a joke, I swear 3 year olds could have done a better job. That was truly a circus act.

  3. Dan Eichmann


  4. Sono Fabich

    Bernie should make a deal with Bloomberg where Bloomberg funds Bernie’s campaign with the promise that Bernie will leave Bloomberg alone about wealth taxes.
    Of course, Trump will win again, but Bloomberg might bite.

  5. Robert

    Winner Trump!

    • Wendy Lee

      This childish hand raising, interrupting, and name calling sends mire and more intelligent people moving to the TRUMP camp!!!!

  6. Randy e cantrell

    It’s sad that candidates have stop so low.the issues in this world would be more than any of them could possibly handle.trump 2020

  7. Dan the man

    That had to of been the worst example of political rhetoric I think I’ve ever witnessed. Finally I had to just turn it off because of the boring repetition of lots of insignificant policies’ blown up to be of great importance. Can you imagine any of these so called candidates meeting and greeting world dignitary’s to discuss weighty matters? There was only one clear winner in this debate and that was Trump.

  8. Sheila A Waider

    I had to turn it off also. Fighting with each other is not they way to take 2020, but nice try I guess. Still with Trump for 2020, unless something equally as good or better comes out of the woodwork somewhere. If this is all they got….but sure as soon as Trump takes it, it will be back to impeachment b.s…..pretty soon it will be movie channels here rather than listen to the constant running down of Trump. We will show the demo’s no matter what we the majority of the PEOPLE stand with our ELECTED president TRUMP!!

  9. Ron Black

    I cannot bring myself to watch any of these debates. Last night I watched reruns of the Sopranos instead. My prophecy is that there will be three ” democrats” on the ballot. There will be a brokered convention because Bernie will have the most delegates, but not enough to swing the nomination. Mainstream democrats hate Bernie and will draft hilary, Bernie will blow up at being robbed of the nomination and will run as an Independent. Bloomburg has spent too much money and will also run as a less liberal alternative to Bernie Therefore 2020 will see the democrat base divided into roughly three segments with no candidate worthy of being President. President Donald Trump will be a shoo in, The Republicans will increase their majority in the Senate and win back the House. Pelosi and schumer can climb back under their respective rocks. I am a Conservative, as you can guess!

    • David Barron

      I believe your analysis is correct. Regarding Pelosi, Schumer, maybe Nader and Schiff. I think they may retire or be voted out of office. Their time in office crumbled with constant attacks on the POTUS and the false impeachment charges.

  10. Paul Lamothe

    It was more like a Moron of the month contest !

  11. Bbaker

    10 more debates won’t make me vote for a Democrat – We already have a President we really need to clean up congress. Turn congress back over to REPRESENTING THE PEOPLE.
    Not a bunch of personal money grabbing agendas REPRESENTING THE PEOPLE IS A SERVICE NO AN OCCUPATION

  12. Lewis Wall

    The commentators were horrible. Could not moderate a high school debate. Poor, relatively minor topics. No control. Ignored many topics. Hello? Anyone concerned about education, immigration, decline in values, uniting the country, etc?

  13. DeplorableVirginiaGuy

    What BOZO neglected name tags on the lecterns?

    I knew who most of the are on sight, but actual tags would have been useful.
    It appears they wanted to create confusion as much as possible.
    President Donald Trump was the winner.
    And he was not even present.

  14. Ronnie

    The Dems have gone nuts and we have a Great President already! Who has done everything he has ran on in 2016! He know how to run a Business and has shown us all he knows how to run a Country! Trump wins again!

    • David Barron

      The only thing politicians know how to do is run their mouths.