Here are my key takeaways from the January Democratic Primary Debate. With only 3 weeks left until Iowa, this was the last debate before voting starts. I waited to publish until today to add some things on Warren after the audio from the failed handshake was released, and the fact than CNN confirmed that the Warren campaign did tell them that Bernie told her that a woman could not run for president.
While some polls have showed that the public generally thinks that Warren had a good night, I think that it has the potential to be a devastating one. Here’s why: because of all the controversy of the past 3 days, Warren has burned a crucial bridge to the Bernie supporters, the progressive, new, left wing. However, she already burned her bridge with the moderates by always standing with Bernie, so now, she has no ideological side to pander to, except maybe for the percentage of voters that are caught between the two lanes, but the amount of them is pretty small.
Biden did not trip up like we saw him do in the earlier debates. I also thought that he was a bit more personal than before; helping him change the idea that the only place he’s been is Washington DC. I think that this debate will not impact his poll standings that much, because we are at the point where most people kind of know the main candidates.
I thought that Klobuchar did a pretty good job, but that she needs more than a “pretty good job” to do better. She was great at the December debate, but the polls didn’t show a great burst of support, although her campaign did raise 1 million dollars in the 24 hours after the debate. Her responses on health care and impeachment were pretty solid, but again, not enough to get her out of a distant fifth.
Buttigieg did very good last night, and definitely held his ground against Amy Klobuchar over the experience issue. However, I think that he might be caught in the same situation that Warren is in- he has bold, big plans for the Electoral College, etc. which many moderates don’t like, and positions on issues like the wealth tax and Medicare for All that doesn’t appeal to progressive voters. Nevertheless, he has been in this situation for quite some time, (remember when analysts thought the Warren-Buttigieg would make perfect sense?!) so I don’t think that this will affect him that much.
I finally think that Bernie did a pretty good job, just as he’s done since his heart attack in October, without making any big mistakes nor having great success. However, I think that this spat with Warren could boost him, and we’ll see if the polls show a Bernie increase. On a side note, Tom Steyer literally did nothing- except maybe prove he would be a good EPA Secretary? I would much rather see Andrew Yang or Mike Bloomberg up on the debate stage.
Please comment on what you thought of this debate!