Last night’s ABC debate featured the top ten Democratic primary candidates. Like the previous debates, this one was filled with entertaining exchanges without failing to provide informative policy discussions.
Here is a small review of each candidate’s performance:
- Amy Klobuchar: Klobuchar’s strong point is that she is from the Midwest, the region notorious among many Americans for enabling Trump’s victory in 2016. However, her combining this fact with her straight forward explanation of how and why she could get things done did not make her stand out in a debate that rewards one-liners, charisma, and popularity more than anything else.
- Cory Booker: An African American male with strong stage presence could be intimidating for Trump, considering his criticism of a relatively successful former black president reveals weakness in the form of baseless resentment. In other words, if Booker some how miraculously wins this Democratic primary, his charisma and style could be Trump’s worst nightmare on the debate stage.
- Pete Buttigeig: Keeping with his high standard of articulate speech and unique take on views such as healthcare, Buttigieg showed us why he has a reputation for being a high IQ candidate, but even so, he was overshadowed by the other more seasoned candidates.
- Bernie Sanders: Sanders stuck to his guns and showed his supporters that he will continue to fight for his left wing ideas, but the question is if his ideas on issues like healthcare will gain trust from moderates who support Biden, somebody who showed strong resistance to Sander’s healthcare ideas in the debate.
- Joe Biden: Compared to previous debates, Biden had a stronger showing, considering he had a well thought out attack against Sander’s and Warren’s style of healthcare. Notwithstanding, we still got to witness the signature Biden style of meandering away from topics, but if he continues to feed the reasoning of his strong moderate base without losing his confidence and charisma, then they will deal with the quirks.
- Elizabeth Warren: In spite of her less than moderate policy stances, Warren still has the name recognition, political experience, and support of educational elites in the country, and all of that was demonstrated by her tonight. She stuck to what she does best, which is anecdotes about her political career and concise reasoning for her policies.
- Kamala Harris: Harris’ approach as a legal expert played out in the debate: aggressive but reactionary. The same anecdotes about her experience seeing dead bodies of victims and heart wrenching experiences of the like are nothing new and therefore not as impactful. However, she consistently showed strength last night, and proved why her background, attitude, and style could be Trump’s antimatter.
- Andrew Yang: Yang might not have been able to use the modest Washington outsider approach of “they don’t take me seriously, even though I make a lot of sense” as much as he would have liked to tonight, but the fact that he was able to confidently say what he wanted to on the stage for the third time shows why he can keep going.
- Beto O’Rourke: It would be hard for somebody like Beto to do poorly in his home state, considering his recent press coverage regarding his profanity filled response to a recent mass shooting in his hometown gave him an opportunity to talk about this exact issue tonight, which is exactly what he did.
- Julian Castro: Many are condemning Castro for his “low blow” against Biden that seemed to attack him ad-hominem for his memory issues, but another interpretation is that he was merely addressing the elephant in the room (which I believe ultimately helped Biden who did not have to address it himself), and that one day they will be debating a Republican on stage, who will not play by the same rules as Democrats. Depending on your perspective, you can say Castro either disqualified himself by violating certain principles, or that his unapologetic attitude is ultimately a win, considering one day one of these contenders will have to confront the most unapologetic Republican the country has seen.