There Are Only 5 Candidates Still Standing After the Latest Democratic Debate

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  • #193551

    • Total Posts: 5,309

    Booker is sunny and personable — as unobjectionable as an easy-listening radio host. His upbeat, why-can’t-we-all-get-along shtick is surely sincere, but it’s part of the reason why he’s never risen in the polls: It comes off as empty bombast — cheery bombast, to be sure, but no substitute for substance. In a dark time, voters are not looking for a “politics of joy,” to recall the thesis of Hubert Humphrey’s ill-fated campaign in 1968. And they aren’t looking for rage, a market that has been cornered by Trump in any event. What they are looking for is fight. Booker has yet to show that he has much of that, despite his periodic pumping up of his mellifluous voice to simulate fisticuffs.

    In last night’s debate, he also revealed just how hard it is for him to depart from his over-polished prefab scripts. It was somewhat embarrassing when, in an obviously planned bit of grandstanding, he (politely) chastised his rivals for neglecting to talk about how much women’s reproductive rights are under attack — only moments after Kamala Harris had made the exact same point, and stirringly so. Booker’s attempt to concede that she’d upstaged him was awkward (a patronizing “God bless Kamala!”) as was his effort to draw a distinction by congratulating himself on being a man who cares about women’s reproductive rights. (It was just grating enough to recall his mortifying “I am Spartacus” gambit during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings.) In another demonstration of his lack of intellectual agility, he glowingly quoted the former Trump defense secretary, Jim Mattis, while making no reference to Mattis’s recently much-discussed cowardice in failing to speak up about the White House horrors that are at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

    Biden also lacks that intellectual agility. He didn’t repeat the viral glitches of the previous debates. But that’s a low bar to rise above. Like Booker, he seems incapable of the improvisational moves necessary to take on Trump. He ducked a question about why it was okay for Hunter Biden to trade on his name for cushy foreign paydays, however lawfully, and instead repeated an anodyne soundbite three times (“My son’s statement speaks for itself”). This was a lost opportunity because Biden might have joined other Democrats in denouncing the nepotistic follies of his hypocritical Republican critics, notably Donald Trump Jr., Rand Paul, and Liz Cheney. And he might have passionately lit into the criminal White House conspiracy to strongarm foreign governments to soil him and his son. After all, Trump’s assault on the Bidens is the best argument for his candidacy — it makes the case that Joe Biden is the candidate Trump fears the most. But unaccountably Biden has made only fitful use of this political gift horse in the weeks since the Ukraine scandal became front-page news — even as his campaign’s fundraising has wilted.

    There were other examples of his lack of improvisational skills as well. After delivering a meaty tirade against the outrage of Trump’s surrender to Erdogan and Assad, he ducked the question of whether he’d send American troops back into the region. He couldn’t stop himself from repeating more than once his newly favored shtick (intended as a stab at Warren) trumpeting himself as the only candidate who’s gotten anything done. That claim is not only false, but is wielded as a dodge to avoid any treacherous policy question. Worse, it left him open to this memorable riposte from Bernie Sanders: “You got the disastrous war in Iraq done.” Sanders damaged Biden in a less explicit way as well. Post–heart attack, he seemed looser, sharper, and less programmed than he did pre–heart attack. He seems younger than Biden though in fact he’s two years his senior. Who would have ever imagined that Bernie Sanders could be a comeback kid?

    Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

  • #193558

    Flying Squirrel
    • Total Posts: 545

    TL:DR the author thinks the five are Warren, Sanders, Harris, Klobuchar and Buttigieg.

    Personally I’d be kissing goodbye to Harris, Klobuchar and Buttigieg by now. It’s a three-person race, and once Biden drops out it’ll be between Sanders and Warren.

    (Joe is welcome to stay for now and siphon off votes from Warren)

    • #193847

      Ohio Barbarian
      • Total Posts: 12,750

      Klobuchar? Harris? Klobuchar is a neoliberal shill who has consistently polled at 1% or less, and has only one supporter of record–the execrable Bill Maher. Harris was sunk by Gabbard in a previous debate and there’s nothing of her campaign left but an oil slick.

      I’d say Buttgig is still in it, desperately hoping for a brokered convention so the superdelegates he spends so much time sucking up to may pick him. Andrew Yang is polling well above both Harris and Klobuchar. Biden’s still in it, but Bernie torpedoed him and he’s listing to port. Warren’s got the comfortable white liberal vote and will be the major challenge to Bernie.

      The only other one who might bounce up in the polls is Tulsi Gabbard, with an unintentional assist from Hillary Clinton.

      It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.--Eugene Debs

      If Democrats don’t stand for the people, why should people stand for them?--Jim Hightower

    • #193861

      • Total Posts: 22

      The majority of voters that listed Biden as their first choice listed Bernie as their second – so he’s siphoning more from Bernie apparently.

    • #194653

      • Total Posts: 5,309

      Robert Reich agrees with you.

      Robert Reich: It’s Warren, Sanders or Biden vs Trump – all the other Democrats are irrelevant

      Trump will not be debating subtle differences between Medicare for All and Medicare for Those Who Want It. He will accuse the Democrat of being a communist, and worse.

      It’s time to for Democrats to hunker down. The debaters on 20 November should be Biden, Warren and Sanders.

      Warren and Sanders should be given a chance to fully explain how their ideas differ. Biden needs to explain why he believes America should return to the politics we had before Trump, when that politics led to Trump.

      All three should have ample time to describe how they’d win over working-class Americans who have been shafted for 40 years.

      They also need room to discuss how they’ll create a multi-racial, multi-ethnic coalition to take power back for the bottom 90%, and how they’ll get big money out of politics and restore our democracy.

      And they need to address how they’ll take on Trump’s malicious lies and anything-goes tactics. If you thought George W Bush’s “swift boating” of John Kerry in 2004 was outrageous, wait until Trump launches his aircraft carriers.

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

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