The first night of the second debates was intense and with a lot substance. It was exciting to see the mini-debates involving the leaders yesterday, the progressives, and the worse-polling moderates. These are my winners and losers of the first night.
Delaney, Bullock and Williamson all did a good job of showing themselves to the American people, with Bullock and Delaney actively going against Sanders and Warren. This debate was great for their name recognition, and they just need Biden to do poorly tonight for them to campaig effectively for the centrist voters. Bullock had very good substance, while Delaney fought himself into the conversation; with a lot of help from the moderators, who defaulted on him for the response to Sanders’ and Warren’s proposals. He also effectively made great points in the healthcare debate, noting that he actually had experience in that sector. Bullock, on the other hand, had a great moment against Warren when he responded that her views were just going to get Trump re-elected, and that she was “falling into Trump’s hands”. It was a great debate for both as they got their name out, though I’m not sure if the second debate with Biden and Harris going against each other will cause their gains to disappear. Watch out for Biden not doing so great, because if that happens, Delaney and Bullock will probably rise.
Williamson, on the other hand, went a more unorthodox and eccentric way. She supports the big ideas of Sanders and Warren, but expressed her concern about the small details of Medicare for All. She excelled, surprisingly, in the race part of the debate, by skillfully connecting Flint’s water crisis to racial inequality and strongly supporting reparations. She is an interesting candidate that has captivated some people.
We all expected Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to have to defend their policies, but it is clear that Warren did a better job. She tactically went against Delaney, Bullock, and Ryan, while Sanders was just loud. I felt that he didn’t contribute much to the back-and-forth. These two definitely met expectations, but they didn’t go over them that much.
While the worse-polling candidates gained last night, the second tier did a mediocre job of explaining their vision and proposals with the exception of Buttigieg when he was asked about generational change. He is a really good debater, but he has to step up and fight. Not good, but definitively not bad. Klobuchar directly explained her policies, but she missed some of the moderate versus liberal debates, in which she could have been good at. At times, though, she took a long time to explain her positions-which cost her because of the limited allotted time. O’Rourke-who we should consider a lessser candidate that Buttigieg and even Klobuchar- did a poor job of crystallizing his policy proposals and of asking direct questions from the moderators. He also didn’t get much hand to hand combat, which he likes, because of Delaney, Bullock, Ryan and sometimes Hickenlooper. Overall, Beto has had a lackluster performance throughout, especially when compared to Buttigieg, who is overtaking him with the “next generation” persona.
Let’s see if this debate impacts many of the candidates, but I am sure that it will change many voters’ minds.