The Dirty Dozen Review: Debate #4 and the First NRN Poll of Democrat Candidates

  • Post category:Opinion

Nothing New on the Democrat Stage

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Well, debate number 4 is in the books now (6 if you count the two imaginary debates Kamala Harris referred to). We have seen the best that the Democrats have to offer and a lot of the worst. Beginning by saying something nice, moderator Lacey did a stellar job keeping the candidates on track and holding them accountable for not answering questions. The other two moderators did a decent job staying direct with the questions and addressing the issues rather than pontificating from the desk.

Once again we saw no flags set up on the stage; however, we do need to give Joe Biden some credit for his lapel pin (which was so small we could not tell whether it was an American flag or a Ukrainian Flag). So overall, it was a standard democrat debate. They attacked the president and did not offer anything new to the scene, as they are all hoping that impeachment will be a real issue over a non-issue.

Polling the Voters

Because of the length of this debate, and the fact that the canned answers were boring many people. I had the opportunity to send out a poll to people who were watching the debate and consider themselves likely voters. The poll had four questions:

1.) Are you watching the debate?
2.) Do you believe your will vote in the debate?
3.) Who do you believe won the debate?
4.) Who do you believe won the debate (you cannot choose Trump- he was written in a lot)

The results were interesting. First, I must address that I polled 203 people and only counted 200. Since there was a write in option on both questions (it was a word doc), two people put my name down and one person put down Hillary. I threw those results out. The rest was quite telling. First of all, in the first poll, Trump won by a landslide. Not only did he dominate the airtime, but there were also no concrete claims against him presented.

No Real Growth

The most damning thing was that he selected an ally of 60 years over an ally of 20 years; people can argue back and forth about that choice. With the results, we saw a massive shift from Trump to Gabbard, Reynolds (will tell you who he is later) and Yang. Biden, Sanders, Booker, and Warren all received a small bump when Trump was removed. O’Rourke and Harris stayed the same. Steyer and Castro received no votes in either poll. What this shows is that except for Gabbard and Yang, there is no real growth in difference. This could be challenging when none of the front runners polled above 12 percent.

a. Biden 8%-11%
b. Booker 1%-3%
c. Buttigieg 4%-7%
d. Harris 1% in Both
e. Beto 3% in Both
f. Castro 0% in Both
g. Steyer 0% in Both
h. Klobuchar 2%-3%
i. Warren 5%-9%
j. Yang 5%-11%
k. Sanders 4%-7%
l. Reynolds 8%-21%
m. Gabbard 12%-24%
n. Trump- 58% in first poll (not included in second question)

Dumpster Fire

The debate itself was a dumpster fire, with a differential in speaking time of 15 minutes, there was no parity among candidates. While CNN was not lobbing softballs at Liz Warren, they were giving her the lion’s share of the time, as she is their “preferred candidate.” This is why Fox, OAN or NRN should be allowed to host a debate, because we do not have a favorite in the group.

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To CNN’s credit, they did go after some hard issues before finishing off the night with a fluff question of “who is your oddest friendship.” A quarter of the candidates chose Songbird, and the rest appeared not to have any friends. So let’s see how they stacked up (the numbers in parentheses represent how much time they had on stage).

The Scorecard

13) Billionaire Tom Steyer (7:13)

If self-hatred was a category for the Olympics, Steyer would medal. He spent most of his time, what little he had, attacking billionaires and trying to establish his legitimacy. He seemed almost out of place and would have been if the crowd was more competent. His arguments were weak, and his platform was worn out by years of Democrat talking points. This was his first and hopefully last debate as he just was not presidential, aggressive or even interesting.

Best Moment- The odd moment when he agreed with Bernie sanders that he was, in fact, the devil and that all billionaires were corrupt.

Worst Moment- When he announced that he was so for impeachment that he wanted to start the inquiry before there was any “evidence” of wrongdoing. He is a, “show me the person, and I’ll show you the crime” democrat, which is very dangerous.

12) Former Secretary Julian Castro (8:26)

I know, it’s amazing that Julian Castro is not at the bottom of my list. It is almost like Castro said “I am the most unelectable person ever to run for office,” then Tom Steyer said, “wait, hold my beer.” Castro brought forth a lukewarm performance, which may have helped him after being a petulant child during the last debate. Last time Castro attacked everyone, this time he stayed in his lane and talk about the issues. His ideas are still unAmerican, but at least he presented some ideas.

Best Moment: When he noted that the Fort Worth shooting was gun violence, turning it into a “police violence is gun violence” argument. I think we can all agree that cold-blooded murder is violence, but we should not blame all police on the actions of one person.

Worst Moment- Some of the camera shots of him looked like he was dressed up for Halloween. I know he had no control over that but he had a real “Nixon” moment a few times.

11) Former Congressman Francis (Beto) O’Rourke (13:09)

I do not believe that CNN wanted to give O’Rourke 13 minutes last night, I really do not. With his statements on mandatory confiscation (theft) of personal property and closing churches that do not support the LGBTQ community, he was alienating independents like it was his job. He was aggressive however, and took time to directly debate other candidates on the stage, one of his few (and I mean very few) commendable qualities.

After a burst of poorly spoken Spanish, O’Rourke went after guns in a question that was not about guns. He seemed only to know about AR-15s and Ak-47s, not the handguns that are used by criminals for most gun crimes. It was almost as if he wanted to take protective weapons out of the hands of Americans for the very reason the Second Amendment was written.

Best Moment: When he went into his canned speech on gun violence, the crowd loved it.

Worst Moment: When Warren and Buttigieg challenged him on gun reform and he showed that he knew little more than what his handlers told him to say.

10) Kamala Harris (12:23)

When the campaign started, Kamala Harris scared me as a standout candidate that could take on Trump and had the moxy to make it a race. I was not scared last night. Harris was condescending, disinterested and not at all interesting in her comments. She had two topics that she wanted to talk about (abortion and Twitter), and those were the only points of her speeches most people remember from last night. She already had her moment of fame, now it is time to throw in the towel.

Best Moment: When she challenged Warren on the Twitter issue, it really did not help her cause any but it did show how much of a fraud Elizabeth Warren is.

Worst Moment: When she tried to bring up abortion early and CNN shut her down. The move by the moderator was brutal and really took away any momentum that Harris had up to that point.

9. Senator Amy Klobuchar (13:18)

If you read my column, you know that out of the pack, Klobuchar is one of my favorites of the Democrat candidates. She is a Midwest moderate who seems to have some good ideas. The problem is that many of her ideas are not so good. Last night was a tough night for her.

She scored major points in her first attack on Warren, who did not seem to expect it. This went downhill throughout the debate however, as the attacks seemed to cost her time (you cannot attack CNN’s Favorite). Overall, she was a little bland last night and not as strong of a candidate as she has been at other debates.

Best Moment: The first attack on Warren landed hard and sent Warren reeling. This gave Sen. Klobuchar some room to move up in the ranks.

Worst Moment: Klobuchar kept attacking Warren on the same point and at one point seemed to even be bored with her attacks herself.

8. Mayor Pete Buttigeig (13:01)

A lot of people gave Mayor Pete the win in last night’s debates. They seemed inspired by the message that he presented, which, if you watched any of the previous debates, was the same message he spouts all the time. “I am gay, I was a soldier and I am from the midwest,” (thank you for your service if you read this). The difference was that Mayor Pete was in the fray last night, which meant that he was giving shots and he was taking them. The reason he is in the middle of the pack is because his high moments and his low moments balanced out.

Best Moment: When he put Liz Warren to task for not answering a question, which she dodged again two more times.

Worst Moment: When Tulsi Gabbard basically accused him of using his past service as a tool to advance his political career. She took away one of his core pillars of his image and that really hurt him.

7) Senator Elizabeth Warren (22:47)

With pollsters and CNN trying to help her everyway that they could, Warren held on to the middle of the pack last night, but only because she had a supporting staff. Mayor Pete started off the night with a haymaker on her medical care plan, which was followed by Harris’ odd questions on Twitter. The knockout blow was dodged because CNN took an “emergency” commercial break when Gabbard trained her guns on Warren, the same guns that knocked Harris out of the race (basically). Warren spent the night reeling and using “fuzzy math” to deflect the best challenge of the night from Biden accusing her of spending more money that the nation has.

Best Moment: First 30 minutes of the debate where CNN was feeding her time.

Worst Moment: When she showed that she is no match for President Trump because she cannot fend off simple, polite attacks from her own side.

6) Billionaire Andrew Yang (8:32)

I like Yang, I really do. From his plan to give everyone money, to his cheeky lapel pin, he seems like a cool guy I would do business for. However, I will not vote for him. His plan will not work…yet. We are not to the point in our country where we can pay people for nothing, we have done it for years with the welfare system and have seen how badly that has failed. Even Yang says we should not repeat the mistakes of other countries, but government-controlled income is what has killed many countries. Yang may have a good idea for 2050, but for 2020 he should stick to business.

Best Moments: Yang was one of the people who smashed Bernie and Liz on healthcare. He pointed out what conservatives around the world know, Sweden, England and Australia only have public options because there is also a private option.

Worst Moments: Unlike Mazie Hirono, Andrew Yang is actually smart. Intelligence does not play well in a room that just wants emotional jingoism.

5. Senator Bernie Sanders (13:04)

Not wishing ill on anyone, but Sanders needs to have some more medical procedures. He came into this debate full of vim and vigor and was ready to debate. He still said the same crazy stuff that will divide this nation and cause a civil war, but he looked good doing it—and that is what counts to Democrats.

Best Moment: When CNN challenged his age and he took them on directly. It was so good that Warren said almost exactly the same thing.

Worst Moment: When he was challenged about tax increases and he said he would increase everyone’s taxes. People do not like that – even the college kids that vote for you.

4. Former Vice President (and every other job but president in Washington) Joe Biden (16:39)

Biden is like a tricky racehorse; he starts off great but has no finish. By then end of the night he was tired and stuttering, it just so happened when CNN was talking about age. Biden has been in Washington too long, and it is starting to show. His son and brother are killing his campaign by doing the same things that people are trying to crucify Trump’s kids for doing. The only problem is that Trump’s kids are doing everything legally and out in the open, while Biden has the corruption of corruption issue.

Best Moment: When he yelled at the crowd, I have no idea what he was talking about, but man, he meant it. It was something about releasing his medical records, and he was angry about it.

Worst Moment: The slipping and stuttering, you could tell he was tired.

3) Cory Booker (11:40)

Booker is a sleeper. If we were having a fantasy draft for crappy presidents (which the Democrat primary is, in effect), Booker would be a good second pick. He was an adult in the room, making points without picking fights. However, in a room full of people who wanted fights, it did not play well. I do believe that Booker did well with independents yesterday, which won’t help him in the primary, but if he gets the nod, could help him in the general.

Best Moment: When he lambasted the others for fighting while still getting his punches in, he was sneaky quick- which could work for him.

Worst Moment: Did not really have one, just had a solid night (though he did have to say he was a vegetarian).

2) Mr. Reynolds (0)

Mr. Reynolds is a friend of mine from Florida who is running a joke campaign via his Facebook page. I put him in the poll to see how many people would vote for him knowing nothing about him. The answer was 15 people in the first poll and 42 people in the second poll. Basically, he was the “none-of-the-above” candidate from Brewster’s Millions.

To be fair, his satirical promises like, “build a portal to equestrian so that the little ponies can teach children the magic of friendship,” and “pardoning Josie and the Pussycats so it can be called a good movie,” seem obtainable when compared to plans of Warren and Sanders. Some of his ideas, like banning the GMO food label because it is bad science, are actual policy decisions that could save people thousands of dollars a year on food. While he is a satire candidate, he was the most electable within the second poll. This shows that many people do not like their Democrat options.

1) Representative Tulsi Gabbard (8:24)

Gabbard made her way back to the stage last night after not making it to the third debate. She came ready to fight. She knows that the DNC will not let her be the candidate. She had some very strong points during the course of the debates and no real weaknesses. This is why I gave her the crown of the night.

Best Moments: When CNN cut off her challenge to warren. It gave her the chance to attack Warren and did not give Warren the change to reply.

Worst Moments: None to really speak of.

Overall, the debate was pretty standard. It was people spouting their ideology, which is what we have come to accept as debate. The biggest thing that bothered me was the anti-Christian hate group who was given commercial time by CNN. That really took away from their “fair and balanced approach.” If you have any questions, send them through Twitter and we will be live chatting during the November debate.

Christopher W Smithmyer
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