The 2019 Democratic debate – The big winners and losers

With the primaries in full swing, it is very evident that the gloves are off! For some of the more fringe members of the Democratic Party, it is an opportunity to get their jabs in on some of the front runners. I think we all expected the fists to come out swinging but unfortunately, for those watching, it was rather uneventful. Make no mistake, there were pivotal moments but none that topped Hawaii’s own, Tulsi Gabbard, annihilating Kamala Harris in the previous debate. It may be a few days too late, but it is worth talking about the winners, losers and who can rival President Trump.

Joe Biden – Winner

Joe Biden did well during the debate, in my opinion. The issue with Vice President Biden, however, is that he is very slow, fumbles his words and is often sloppy. But, he carried himself well by getting a few ‘jabs’ in at Bernie Sanders over his proposed income tax increases. His democratic moderacy really showed during the gun debate by reminding the likes of Beto O’Rourke that you can’t just run roughshod over the constitution on gun policy. Some say he comes across as very old and slow and I would tend to agree. I have always thought that this is his downfall, especially during the aggressive nature of the primaries that require quick wit, subject knowledge and coherence. However, this is his greatest defence if he becomes the nominee. Poll statistics show that a significant portion of America want a calming of the political sphere. Vice President Biden makes a good case to obtain the suburban vote as he is moderate, relatively uncontroversial and is seen as a safe figure. This could play well for him when compared to Trump’s bombastic and often careless nature that seems to put off a portion of the voters.

Amy Klobachar – Winner

One of the more fringe candidates, Klobachar held her own in the debate. I would argue that she performed the best in this debate but the night was overshadowed by the expectations of Elizabeth Warren and lack of media coverage. It was by no means enough to give her a shot at the nomination, but she had her good moments. Her most notable moment was calling out Bernie Sanders for keeping quiet about the part of his ‘medicare for all’ bill that eliminates the private insurance of over 149 million americans. She did this in such a cut-throat and clinical fashion. It is a shame she couldn’t gain more traction as I think she could be polling better than a lot of the others if she was more relevant.

Kamala Harris –  Loser

The democratic debate of 2019 will go down in history as the final nail in the coffin for senator Kamala Harris. After being absolutely crunched by Tulsi Gabbard, in the opening exchanges of the primaries over her ‘forced busing’ hypocrisy among other issues, things got worse for the lawyer-turned-senator. I praised VP Biden for reminding the candidates of the constitution, and how undemocratic it would be to attempt to bypass it via executive order. Kamala Harris finished her already slim chance at the nomination by just saying ‘we can’ followed by her insufferable cackle. That was her only notable input. Maybe the fear of another ‘Gabbard-esque’ clothesline was enough to keep her silent. She barely spoke and when she did, it was substanceless trash. It was a performance that has all but finished her campaign.

Bernie Sanders – Winner

You have to give Bernie a lot of credit. I disagree with Bernie radically on policy but he has been, and continues to be, the most consistent candidate. He delivers his questionable policies with a level of passion and charisma nobody else seems to have. He has been philosophically consistent throughout as his message has remained largely unchanged (unlike Beto O’Rourke who flip-flops campaign strategy on a daily basis). His upfront nature is likely to further his campaign to a solid second but I do not think he has it in him to take the number one spot away from VP Biden as he too threatens the US with possibly too much radical change.

Pete Buttigeig – Loser

Buttigeig has been a consistently good speaker during debates. Last night however, he was non-existent. I only remembered Pete was there when he tried his usual tactic of virtue signalling the lack of effort to co-operate and question why everyone is slandering each other. He set the scene so well, only to get smoked by Julian Castro who claimed ‘that is the purpose of a debate’. Rest in peace to an uneventful Buttigeig campaign.

Beto O’Rourke – Huge Loser

It surprises me, to this very day, how Beto O’Rourke is even still here. Everything that comes out of his mouth is like a suckerpunch to his own nominee chances. The issue with Beto is his hugely anti-American stance on everything. In the debate, he refused to accept America being founded on anything else other than horrible racism, bigotry and prejudice by selecting only the dark points of America’s history. It felt like he had a genuine disdain for the US and its people. His whole campaign is predicated on the notion that everyone and everything is horrible and racist and needs to be removed from its core. Insinuating that it is the fault of the american people for causing such an idea is a great way to run a campaign (not). His obsession with gun confiscation also came through by basically admitting he would plough through the ‘inalienable’ constitutional rights by exclaiming ‘hell yeah, we are going to take your AR-15’. His ideas were terrible and presented poorly and with too much aggression. He has ground his 1% polling into the dirt with another terrible performance.

Cory Booker – Winner

It was a stellar performance from Mr Booker. He was just a more reasonable, justified and better informed Beto O’Rourke. It is debatable whether his point on criminal justice reform carried any weight but it was more justified that O’Rourke just running amok through constitutional rights of the people. Nothing hugely memorable but no real mistakes or blunders in his responses. Solid performance.

Elizabeth Warren – Loser

Warren’s true colours began to show tonight. It was the one opportunity to really close the gap on Biden. There is still time, but she will have to spice up her game. The thing about Elizabeth Warren is her dishonesty on policy. She is running a campaign, more or less, identical to Bernie Sanders. The difference is, Sanders believes in his policies, Warren does not.

Side note – Elizabeth Warren used to be a republican before switching affiliation in 1996. She wrote academic books suggesting to be in favour republican policies. Most notably, her novel ‘The two-income trap’ was starkly in favour of a school voucher system to eliminate the zip code assignment of children’s schooling. 

After being in favour of policies over the other side of the political aisle, we have seen a radical and progressive version of Warren come out. Given her prior allegiances to more right-leaning policies, I think she may get caught out as a fake candidate for the nomineeship. This was evident with her lack of willingness in the debate to be associated with Bernie Sanders as she was visibly uneasy. When it came to talking, it was often substanceless. She was frequently flip-flopping on topics relating to income tax and seemed reluctant to defend Biden’s assault on Bernie about how he’s going to pay for his socialist schemes. It could have been a much worse night for Warren. She is lucky she has such glowing media coverage to mitigate the damage.

So, who can grasp the nomineeship and take on Mr Trump? The best bet, in my opinion is ol’ reliable Biden. His docile, nonthreatening nature and his moderate stance make him the best candidate to pursue the ‘return to normalcy’ that the suburban public are craving. Biden’s biggest primary weakness is his greatest strength as the nominee, it will be interesting to see what he can do if he wins.

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