If you were not watching the Pirates/Reds fights over the last two nights, you may have been tuning in to the second round of Democratic Debates, watching them choose their nominee for the President of the United States. While a debate 16 months in front of the general election is a very long election cycle, the smell of desperation from these second tier candidates was palpable. With only so many slots in the vaunted September debate, the candidates that are polling at or around zero know that if they do not do something, they will be kissing their chances at the Oval Office goodbye.
I hope they keep the wide field for September.
Wednesday was a night of scary moments, thrills and even two managers almost getting in a fight, but we are talking about the Democrat debate here. While it was more thrilling than round one (Biden almost seemed to know that there was a debate going on…almost) it was still the tired democrat tropes attacking President Trump and failed talking points from the 2016 election cycle. The highlight of the night was that they actually realized they were competing for the Presidency, which led to some heated exchanges between the candidates. Here is how it all shook out:
10) Former New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio (9:41)
With anti-police remarks, pandering to the crowd, and failed attempts to generate momentum with “gotcha” questions to Joe Biden, de Blasio was bland, under preforming and not exciting. Of all the people on the stage, de Blasio seemed to reek of desperation the most, and it showed in pandering answers framed as policy choices, choices that he did not make as Mayor of New York City. De Blasio was out of his league and overmatched at the big kids table. Living in the Big Apple is not a qualification to be President of the United States; you need to have a record of accomplishments- kind of like the current President of the United States.
Best Moment: When he asked Joe Biden a question and Joe did not answer it. This gave him a few moments to gloat.
Worst Moment: When the moderator pressed Joe Biden on the question and he actually answered it, showing that Biden has more policy experience in his little finger than de Blasio has in his entire office (to be fair, Joe should because he has been in political life since segregationists were still a thing in Washington).
9) Washington Governor Jay Inslee (10:46)
Competing with Leonardo De Caprio for the “I speak for the trees, even though I do not know what I am talking about,” Jay Inslee is everyone’s least favorite Lorax. While De Caprio is busy spending his own money to build low income, clean housing for people in poor communities, Inslee has been spending taxpayer dollars in the SETAC area ignoring rural Washington to the point that the east half of the state is talking about seceding and forming a new state. Last time we had a democrat this divisive was James Buchanan, and that led to a civil war.
Best Moment: Inslee stayed in his lane and spoke a lot about the environment, and I mean a lot. His speeches seemed to be more like Green Peace commercials than a presidential debate. This is his wheelhouse and this is where he stayed.
Worst Moment: Trying to bring everything back to his wheelhouse. Like a friend who brings every conversation back to their kids or the recent vacation, Inslee is a one trick pony. What he has in limited experience withers in comparison to the lack of depth that he shows on multiple issues. Point 1: The Environment; Point 2: “I Hate Trump.”, You need to be more than a two issue candidate to be at the big kids table, so it is time for Inslee to go back to Washington State, not Washington D.C.
8) Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro (10:25)
Since, by and large, the nation is giving Joe Biden the benefit of the doubt for being Obama 2.0, Castro has nary a leg to stand on. Each time he tried to claim an Obama policy, it seemed like he was just copycatting Joe Biden. This could be because of the limited amount of time (10:25) that CNN moderators gave him. This forced Castro to take the hard left road, and for a historic little left of center-left democrat, it just chaffed. Castro was not ready for a Presidential bid, and last night it showed.
Best Moment: When Obama appointed him to HUD Secretary.
Worst Moment: The moment he decided to get into the race.
7) Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) (17:43)
It may seem odd for most people that the media sweetheart is being placed so low on the list, but last night was her worst public performance in a long time. She was arrogant, bland and did not weather the challenges that her opponents brought against her. Of all the people on the stage, Harris’s career says she is a moderate, and she is preaching that she is a radical. Months back, I called her one of the four-freshmen of the Apocalypse (a job which has been taken by Rep. Pressley), and it shows that she is willing to act like a radical when she is really a grandstander.
Best Moment: Right out of the gate, she staved off Joe Biden’s attack on her Medicare-for-all plan. When she tried a riposte to get the attention off of her, it worked- but not in the way she wanted. She should have built on the momentum from a good answer, but she opened the door for Biden to have an amazing night.
Worst Moment: When Tulsi Gabbard wiped the floor with her on her record and she tried to say Tulsi Gabbard did not know what it was like to be under fire, Bush League move for a candidate who may have already seen her 15 minutes of fame.
5) (Tie) Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) (11:18)
Sen Gillibrand had a good showing last night, she was a “stick together” player in the game but she did take some shots at other candidates. I do not like her politics, but she presented herself as presidential in the middle of the road amount of time that CNN gave her. Good show from the junior senator from New York.
Best Moment: When she broke Bill de Blasio, and destroyed him. I disagree with the idea of firing an acquitted police officer, but for the crowd she was pandering to, she hit the mark. That likely killed de Blasio’s campaign- please let it have killed his political career too.
Worst Moment: The Clorox line. It was funny the first time you said it. It got a few laughs the second time you said it. I know you are from NYC but that does not mean that your comedy has to be from Saturday Night live where you beat a joke into the ground. It is going to take your Clorox to get that stain off of an otherwise acceptable night.
5) (Tie) Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) (10:27)
I noted last month that he sounded like Thurston Howell III from Gilligan’s island. Well he got off the island and put forth a strong showing in the debate last night. Bennet came across as a moderate who was starting to move back to the center for the primaries and general election. I think this is a good move for the middle of the road candidates. While he didn’t shine as a top candidate, he definitely had a better showing than many others.
Best moment: Being an adult, while he was willing to exchange with others, he was not rabid like de Blasio. Bennet came across as a presidential candidate, not a street brawler, and that benefited him.
Worst Moment: Low Energy, as if trying to steal the title from Biden. Bennet lived up to the Howell moniker from the last debate in seeming like he was too relaxed. You are fighting to be the leader of the free world, show some spunk!
4) Businessman Andrew Yang (8:38)
In my humble opinion, the non-politicians cleaned up in this debate cycle. I gave the win Tuesday night to Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang also did well in the debate. He stuck to his guns and his misunderstanding of economics with his $1,000-for-all plan. And then he explained how it would benefit the society, rather than just being a bribe, something he failed to do in the last debate. Yang was poised and stayed above the fray, sadly CNN only gave him 8 minutes to talk.
Best Moment: His soliloquies about how the $1,000 would benefit the community, he presented his fuzzy math well.
Worst Moment: His racist “Asian who is good at math” comment just rang as forced, and the same when he said that his wife was worried about their health care. He is a billionaire; if he is an “Asian that is good at math” (🡨 still a racist statement) as he said, then why is he not managing his money well enough to take care of his family?
3) Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) (12:59)
Still my favorite punching bag who would likely kick my butt in a fight, Booker had a good night in the debate. Though I cannot say that I support his middle of the road approach to being friends at the debate, he did do well and kept his jabs clean, blocking the shots of other candidates. He was strong and open in the discussion, a good showing through most of the night.
Best Moment: When Joe Biden offered the olive branch (and maybe the Vice presidents nod) to Cory Booker and Booker took him to task. Booker hit Biden on his record and while Joe diverted, dodged and deflected most of the damage away onto other candidates, Booker still had a great moment.
Worst Moment: The first time he pleaded with the stage “we are all on the same team” it was ok, the second time, it seemed like he was worried someone would trounce him, by the third time it had gotten old and disingenuous. Sen. Booker, you are a U.S. Senator, you are running as a person, not a democrat, you cannot be a party man and a country man, you have to choose.
2) Rep Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) (10:32)
I still think that Tulsi Gabbard is the biggest threat to President Trump in the General Election. Rep. Gabbard is a Vet, a moderate and well spoken. I disagree with her policies but thank her for her service. Last night was not as strong a showing as the first debate. She came out of nowhere in the debate the first time, we knew of her and she came out of the gate a little flat.
I honestly think Harris pissed her off with the “under fire” comments, which lit a spark under her and set the firecracker off. And she went scorched earth on Harris, maybe destroying Harris’s presidential hopes. Saying Harris was a marijuana hypocrite (a hempocrit if you will), may destroy her support with several of the democrat demographics. If second half Tulsi had shown up for the first half, she would be in the number one spot.
Best Moment: When she cleaned the floor with Harris. This was not a catfight as some liberal sexists are calling it, this was two seasoned politicians fighting to be the First Woman President of the United States. Dismissing it as any less is sexist and below mainstream media. I hope we will get to see more of this battle on the September Stage. Tusli, just remember Kamala knows who you are now, and she is no minor leaguer either.
Worst Moment: Her start. She came off bland. People want to see the spunky fighter that we saw in the first debate, to be more than a supporting character and give Big Joe a run for his money, you need the energy that you just did not have in the first half.
1) Former Vice President Joe Biden (21:01)
With a massive amount of time that over doubled Andrew Yang’s 8 minutes, you would think that CNN was picking him as the winner. They were not; rather, they were trying to feed Harris as much time as they could. The reason Joe had so much time is because other candidates (especially de Blasio) kept asking him questions during their time. This led to Joe getting nearly half an hour to reply to questions however he liked (moderators do not hold your feet to the fire on other candidates questions).
Joe was Teflon Joe in this prize fight. While some people landed blows, it was dwarves vs. the giant in this debate. Joe laid out his record when challenged and made Gillibrand look small. Joe destroyed de Blasio when he actually answered the question (the one he deflected may have had a classified answer and de Blasio likely knew that). And he set Harris up as a target at the beginning of the debate. Joe showed he was OG and that he knew how the game was played. All the candidates on the stage were burned by the Joe last night.
Best Moment: Whenever in the last 4 weeks he woke up and realized that he needed to win the primary to get a shot at president Trump.
Worst Moment: When he ask people to donate to his 30330 campaign. This was a silly gaff we expect from Joe, which will doubtless result in attacks on his age.
Biden Kept His Paws to Himself on Night 2, But Lemon Did Not
Overall, the second night of the debate was better. Don Lemon still had questions that were unbecoming of a major news network and @TrumpWarRoom should look into a slander/liable suit (as it was spoken and written). The general feel of the debate was more of a debate. I hope they keep the wide field for September.
The “minor players” are starting to show and they are brining the debate back to the middle where we can have a reasonable discussion. I cannot wait till next year to see the Dems candidate square off with Donald Trump for the future of our nation. I still am a Trump fan, but I want a real debate- not just Trump pushing over some socialist.
If you want to live tweet with me during the next debate, please follow me on @acriminalhisto1.
Dr. Christopher W. Smithmyer
Dr. Christopher Smithmyer is a writer for NRN, the Vice President of International Affairs at Brav Online Conflict Management, and an Adjunct Professor of MBA Business at Doane University. He is also part of the founding team at BlackWalletLTD, one of the leaders in stable coin 2.0 ecosystem maintenance. Dr. Smithmyer’s focus is international business and finance, along with reviews of board games, weapons platforms, and survival items.