Elections National

Second Debate – Night One – Reaction

A decent debate actually brought between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and the four white Democratic moderate clones hoping to be the understudy for Joe Biden (John Delaney, Steve Bullock, Tim Ryan and John Hickenlooper). The clear winner was Warren with Sanders as the runner up. He gets knocked down a notch because he has yet to figure out that there are other octaves to the human voice other than yelling.

Warren ended the campaign of John Delaney and really all the moderate naysayers who are at 2% or less in the polls with one sentence, while at the same time capturing the number one complaint that progressives and liberals have made against the Democratic establishment for over 30 years: “I don’t understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for.”

That clip was the memorable line from the night and Warren will get a polling boost from it.

Two candidates, Pete Buttigieg and Beto O’Rourke, were not really part of the progressive v. moderate fight, mostly because they both are hard to categorize on that spectrum. I thought both did well, and Beto did much better than his first debate performance. If this was a single elimination playoff game between them, then Pete would have won.

Candidates that should run for Senate in their respective states: Bullock, Hickenlooper, Beto.

Candidates that should never be seen again: Delaney, Ryan, Klobuchar, Williamson

New York Times: “On an evening that could have produced explosions in their own political rivalry, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren instead formed something of an ideological tag team to defend their shared agenda, above all on health care. Though each is seen as the other’s chief obstacle in the Democratic race, Mr. Sanders and Ms. Warren did not at any point clash directly.”

“Instead, they battled an array of comparatively obscure candidates who used the debate as an opportunity — and for some of them, likely a last chance — to express alarm about their party’s embrace of immense liberal policy goals, like the creation of a ‘Medicare for all’-style health care system, Mr. Sanders’s No. 1 issue, and a broad liberalization of the immigration system.”

Dan Balz: “Warren and Sanders more than stood their ground during two spirited hours of sharp and passionate exchanges.”

Video of Elizabeth Warren’s murder of John Delaney.

Washington Post: “Ten more candidates, including former vice president Joe Biden, are scheduled to appear on the stage Wednesday, on the second night of this round of debates hosted by CNN. Yet Biden, whose lead in the polls has been one of the most enduring aspects of the Democratic primary contest, was not mentioned by name Tuesday night. Instead, other moderates were used as stand-ins for some of the ideas he espouses.”

John Harris: “The assignment of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to the same debate stage in Detroit Tuesday night was random chance, but turned out to be a well-timed and clarifying event. There was the possibility that the two heroes of the left would sharpen the differences between them in the competition over who is the fairest of them all. But very little of that came to pass.”

“Instead, the combined Warren-Sanders presence emboldened most other voices in the first round of a two-night debate to say they wouldn’t enter the derby over who is most ideologically pure. The real argument, they urged, should be over who is most credible general election adversary to Donald Trump and potential president in 2021.”

“It wasn’t exactly an invigorating evening.. But in its discursive way it was illuminating: The debate showed a party arguing seriously about the inherent tension between boldness and realism, passion and prudence, on such topics as improving health care, immigration, taking on wealthy interests, and the best way broadly to energize average voters.”

Josh Marshall: “On balance, I would say Warren was the big winner of the evening. I continue to think and worry that her embrace of Medicare for All, with a deep clarity about the prohibition of private insurance, could be a major electoral liability if she becomes the nominee. But to me she had a clarity and energy that owned the stage. She had directness, moments of memorable humor and compelling explanation. I didn’t think she did as well in the first debate as some others did. In this case I think she had a very strong night.

Sanders clearly sees that he’s not and can no longer run a frontrunner’s campaign. He has to dig in and fight for it. He was more declarative and thundering, a bit more the genuine article. He had crowd pleasing moments. Here’s a selection of his punchy one-liners and punchy moments. But I didn’t see anything that would make him break the trend that is moving toward Warren. This may partly be the skeptical prism through which I view Sanders rather than the particulars of this debate. You can decide. But that’s my take.

I don’t have terribly strong thoughts about the other contenders on the stage. I don’t think any of them are really significant players in the race. That applies to Pete Buttigieg, who I admire a great deal. But his campaign seems to have stalled.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

29 comments on “Second Debate – Night One – Reaction

  1. DE Native

    I have a problem with Beto because he purposely let people believe he was Hispanic/Latino and went through the same struggles when he was really just a white male.

    I thought Senators Warren and Sanders did excellent. Healthcare is a Right, not a privilege. That is a winning message. I would like to have heard more about reparations. We should also come up with a different name as reparations has a negative context to many.

    • Delaware Dem

      Yeah, I’m a hard no on reparations. It is hard enough to get everyone on board for Medicare for all and debt free college and raising the minimum wage.

  2. I’m a hard no on reparations as well, it hands an almighty stick to the Republicans to beat the Dems with and will immediately be labeled as welfare. Agree with Warren and condemn all “moderates”, as noted who the hell needs a politician who’s only response is no , you can’t do that. The other side of the coin is that these are the fools that believe “all we have to do is talk to them” when referencing the Republicans, Moscow Mitch begs to differ.

    • DE Native

      So we ignore Justice and cater to our racist and bigoted past because of Republicans? Sorry, they is contrary to everything we stand for. Yes it may be a shock at first, but I refuse to cater to what Republicans want at the expense of those suffering from centuries of injustice.

      • Delaware Dem

        Look, the first priority is defeating Trump. The vast majority of the general public is simply not there when it comes to even considering reparations. There are plenty of other more necessary and immediate racial justice, equal rights, and criminal justice issues we need to confront. Further, those advocating for reparations need to answer two questions first before you demand anything from the candidate: 1) who pays? and 2) who gets paid?

        • DE Native

          Valid question and that should be part of the discussion so we hear their opinions and plan. I disagree that a majority would end up opposing Emancipation Debts once it is socialized with the public. If the first priority is simply to defeat Trump that is already a defensive approach. We should be offensive by putting our ideas and vision out there. We will win that way.

          • “I disagree that a majority would end up opposing Emancipation Debts once it is socialized with the public.”

            That’s nice, but what do you have in the way of data to back up your opinion?

            Recent polling found 67% say government should not provide cash payments to slaves’ descendants. Sounds like a stone-cold loser to me.

            • DE Native

              A majority opposed legalizing same sex marriage. My point is, if we go by what the majority currently thinks before an idea is socialized, we would have no Progress at all. I have a feeling those opposing so strongly are white males- the very ones who have benefited the most from Privilege and the impacts of slavery.

              • cassandram

                There’s a current majority of Americans who continue to benefit from all of the efforts to exclude African Americans . It can’t be a surprise that they are against it and are a “hard no” now.

                • Nope, that’s not it.

                  • DE Native

                    I am disappointed and frankly, it seems borderline racist that you oppose it. It’s the definition of using Privilege to hold people back who have gone through struggles you can never possibly imagine and still feel the impacts of slavery to this day.

                    I hope that years from now when this is seen as widely accepted the same way same sex marriage is, you apologize for your stance.

                  • Oops! I was responding to xyz! Sorry

                • cassandram

                  And let’s be clear that this is not limited to the effects of slavery — there is the undermined Reconstruction effort, the implementation of Jim Crow, the terror of lynching and beatings and burning down black towns, redlining, extractive mortgage products, the barriers thrown up for black GIs to access the GI Bill, the the undermining of the goals of Brown v Board, exclusionary zoning, the lack of voting rights, the War on Drugs, excessive policing of communities of color — all meant to treat black people as second class citizens and let white people convince themselves they are superior. Much of this is still in existence today. Including all of the white people who are dead certain that they know what is best for black people — without ever being on the front line of trying to dismantle any of these oppressive structures.

                  • Once again, the issue isn’t whether reparations are just. The issue is whether bringing it up in the 2020 presidential campaign is smart.

                    I argue it is not. If Trump’s goal is to drive a wedge between the races, you won’t find a better way of doing it than by campaigning on reparations.

                    The way to broach this is between elections, not during them. And after we win, not when we’re trying to.

                    • And just to be clear, I support reparations.

              • Good point about same-sex marriage, but it proves my position, not yours. Not even Obama campaigned on legalizing it. In fact, it was legalized without any presidential nominee ever supporting it.

                • Delaware Dem

                  I agree, I will support reparations once it is defined. Right now, it is not at all defined, which gives free reign to Republicans to define it. Reparations could be direct monetary payments, or it could come in the form of tax credits or other social programs, or free college for slave descendants. There is a whole host of ideas and we are no where near ready to have a Presidential campaign based on it. We need to spend several years educating the public. Right now, as the polling suggests, the general public is solidly against and I see no reason to give another edge on an issue in 2020 to the most racist President in history.

                  • cassandram

                    Well, yes, once it is defined, Which is the usual excuse. Because there is always something more important that must get done. And in the meantime, the more important thing might or might not get done and we are still not talking about dismantling the one thing that continues to distress the lives of the most reliable voting block in the Dem party. Even you have internalized taking these votes for granted. It intrigues me that we have folks fighting to have debates on Climate Change and not ones on poverty or even reparations. Two of these are old issues. Old issues that we avoid for others because we can’t be bothered to help the public care about them.

                    • Your position assumes the only way to “help the public care about them” is to campaign on them. This is not the case.

                      I am not waiting for reparations to be defined to support them. But I do not support running on them.

                      Climate change affects not just the entire species but the entire planet and millions of species. Choosing which is a priority is not a tough choice for me. Indeed, I wonder why reparations would rate higher for anyone, unless someone is self-interested in it.

                    • cassandram

                      No, actually, it doesn’t. My position is that white people dismissing the effort is both self-serving and something of a habit.

        • Wondering

          I agree . . . I am a hard no on reparations too.

  3. Wondering

    I liked Beto and Pete. I think Pete could probably go toe-to-toe with Trump in a debate the best of all candidates, IMO. I just don’t know if America is ready for a gay President. Heck we might not even be ready for a woman President. Not feeling the Bern though, too old.

    Maybe a ticket of Warren/Pete OR Warren/Beto could be the winning combination. Just my 2 cents.

  4. At least there was some intelligent discussion of the political and financial costs of the pipe dreams of Bernie and Pocahontas. This won’t change the minds of any of the KosKids but if there are any thinking Democrats left they have to be wondering how they can clear the decks for more reasonable candidates like Bullock, Hickenlooper, Delaney and Ryan.

    1) Sanders is done. His armwaving, shouting schtick was old last time around and is beyond annoying now. Has done absolutely nothing to broaden his base. His loyal army of braindead millenials and aging hippies will keep him afloat through the first few primaries but he is a dead man walking.

    2) Warren’s scolding and endless policy proposals have branded her as Hillary 2.0. Northeastern liberals have not done well as Democratic candidates since JFK and she is following in the footsteps of Dukakis, Tsongas, and Kerry. She will also probably stagger through Iowa and New Hampshire but will founder on the rocks of South Carolina, and fall out of the race after Super Tuesday.

    3) Buttigieg is slicker than owlshit, but too white and too male for the Democrats in 2020, and too gay for America in 2020. Will not make many inroads into the black vote that is crucial after Iowa and New Hampshire, and in fact may not even make it that far.

    4) Beto is a joke. Can this guy pander any harder? Charismatic but his picture is in the dictionary next to “empty suit”

    5) Steve Bullock was likeable and actually seems to have some common sense. With his red state background he sounds like a guy that might actually be willing to work across the aisles to get something done. As a result he probably won’t even be on the next debate stage. No place for common sense in today’s Democratic party. And you can basically repeat the same comments for Ryan.

    6) Marianne Williamson actually sounded reasonable in this crowd. That’s a big part of the problems the Democrats face this cycle.

    Now we get to see if Joe Biden can punch back. Hopefully he takes kneepads Kamala down a few pegs. Will be fun to watch if he comes out swinging.

    • Last warning. No more referring to Kamala Harris in those terms.

      (Warren didn’t scold, but I get, given all your comments, you love your misogyny.)

      • As if we needed the proof, the guys he likes are poorly disguised Republicans.

  5. It may turn out that the only way to get Reparations done, once it’s shape and form is hopefully defined not by the white upper class, but the African American community itself, it may have to include resentment prone low income others too, who are in a similar economic situation for different reasons, but are desperately hurting too. That may not be all bad for the country.

    • Steve Newton

      As an historical point (made originally by Eric Foner and not by me)–Abolitionism was a political failure. What launched the Republican party in the 1850s and led to a groundswell consensus that slavery was wrong and that something had to be done about it was what Foner labels “anti-slavery” as opposed to Abolitionism. And what was the difference? Foner argues persuasively that anti-slavery ideology defined why enslaving African-Americans was bad for the entire country, and particularly why slavery was bad for white people. A very strong (if sometimes nonsensical) argument was well honed between 1854-1860 that slavery was bad not because Black people were inherently equal to White people, but because slavery would eventually corrode the entire American dream out of existence.

      Reparations will, I think, work much the same way–when the issue can be presented, narratized, and perceived as necessary to restore across-the-board American prosperity, and not primarily as a social justice issue. Foner often argued that social justice helped crystalize the moral arguments, but enlightened self-interest is what makes societies change.

  6. Joe Connor

    in ’80 Reagan and Bush tore into each other “I paid for this microphone!” Then they won big. Maybe Biden/Harris?

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