Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Democratic Debate Wrap-Up: The Race Remains the Same

 

Two hours and forty-eight minutes later, the third Democratic primary debate is finally over. Nothing said Thursday night will significantly impact the race; Biden still leads with Warren and Sanders close behind.

ABC News hosted the latest scrum, filled with more Trump-bashing, tax-raising, and spending, spending, spending. According to party rules, only ten candidates appeared. In addition to the top three, the dais included Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Harris, Klobuchar, O’Rourke, and Yang.

Without Tulsi, Marianne, or the red-state outliers, Thursday’s debate was duller than the previous affairs — and that’s saying something.

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang kicked off the festivities by saying his campaign will give $1,000 a month for a year to 10 families, a UBI sweepstakes requiring contestants to sign up on his website. The other candidates openly laughed at the stunt.

Julián Castro also had an early misstep with a clumsy attack on Joe Biden’s age. “Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?” Castro sneered as the crowd groaned. He would have lost his senior-citizen votes if he had any to begin with.

Biden recoiled from a more substantive strike on Obama’s immigration record, this time from moderator Jorge Ramos. “What Latinos should look at, comparing this president to the president we have is outrageous,” he said, then added a flat-out lie. “Number one, we didn’t lock people up in cages. We didn’t separate families. We didn’t do all of those things.”

Yes, you did.

Another moderator, Linsey Davis, asked about Biden’s 1975 comment that he didn’t “feel responsible for the sins of my father and grandfather” when it came to segregation. Biden didn’t lose his cool, instead outlining his record fighting racism.

To his credit, the left-leaning Ramos questioned Sanders about socialism. “You admit that Venezuela does not have free elections, but still, you refuse to call Nicolas Maduro a dictator,” Ramos said. “Can you explain why? And what are the main differences between your kind of socialism and the one being imposed in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua?”

Sanders called Maduro “vicious tyrant,” but added, “to equate what goes on in Venezuela with what I believe is extremely unfair.”

“I agree with [what] goes on in Canada and Scandinavia,” the Vermont senator continued. “Guaranteeing health care to all people as a human right. I believe that the United States should not be the only major country on earth not to provide paid family and medical leave.”

Warren regurgitated her plans to solve every problem under heaven by taxing the rich and spending more. Despite being a top-tier candidate, she barely said anything memorable.

Beto O’Rourke framed nearly every answer with references to the El Paso Walmart shooting. “Hell, yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47,” he said. “We’re not going to allow it to be used against a fellow American anymore.” Thus, ensuring he’ll never be elected president or vice president.

Cory Booker dropped his Spartacus theatrics and returned to the affable moderate that first made him a national figure. The oddest performance went to Kamala Harris, who set aside her usual gravitas for a giggly triviality. Loosening up is fine, but Harris seemed two glasses in to a bottle of rosé.

Pete Buttigieg turned in another hyper-earnest TED-talk, while Amy Klobuchar stuck to her failing strategy of impenetrable dullness. Neither had a breakout.

The nearly three-hour debate shouldn’t shift the primary race. There were no masterful takedowns, career-making/breaking gaffes, or viral moments. Mercifully, the next faceoff isn’t for another month.

Published in Elections, Politics
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There are 47 comments.

  1. SParker Member


    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    : Entrepreneur Andrew Yang kicked off the festivities by saying his campaign will give $1,000 a month for a year to 10 families, a UBI sweepstakes requiring contestants to sign up on his website. The other candidates openly laughed at the stunt.

    Then they said una voce: O, dear boy! Remember who you are. We Democrats never put our money anywhere close to where our mouths are. Heavens!

    Right?

    • #1
    • September 12, 2019, at 9:50 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  2. Sash Member

    Thanks couldn’t stand to watch it… glad you gave a run down.

    • #2
    • September 12, 2019, at 10:02 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  3. Zed11 Lincoln

    Wanted to watch this, but decided to stab my foot with a fork for three hours. #Winning

    • #3
    • September 12, 2019, at 10:02 PM PST
    • 21 likes
  4. Gary Robbins Reagan

    I was at a church board of trustees meeting. Thanks for the summary.

    • #4
    • September 12, 2019, at 10:14 PM PST
    • Like
  5. Gary McVey Contributor

    The format felt less forced, though three hours was too much. ABC said the aim was to present two hours of actual debate, plus time for opening statements and breaks. It was supposed to be done around 10:30 Eastern, but to the network’s credit they didn’t try too hard to shut it down, knowing they had the timeslot open until 11. 

    For whatever criticisms I’d make, ABC’s moderators did the best job so far. 

    IMHO, Yang ran out of being interesting, Klobuchar took up the space that Tulsi deserved (but sure didn’t do much with it), O’Rourke managed to top his drowsy performances in June and July with an energetic suicide note if he should ever want to run in Texas again, and Castro made a (bigger) fool of himself with his attack on Biden. The OP is right; Harris sounded weirdly loose, making a point of dropping her G’s at a Black college (“Y’all knowin what ahm feelin” is not what she sounds like in Sacramento). I’ll give Bernie this; despite a growling case of hoarseness he was vigorous and unashamed, whereas Warren was just shameless. Biden had one of the strangest rambles I’ve ever heard on stage. 

    I enjoyed watching it, though. For political junkies, it was a lively wrestling match. 

    • #5
    • September 12, 2019, at 10:20 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  6. Percival Thatcher

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    The format felt less forced, though three hours was too much. ABC said the aim was to present two hours of actual debate, plus time for opening statements and breaks. It was supposed to be done around 10:30 Eastern, but to the network’s credit they didn’t try too hard to shut it down, knowing they had the timeslot open until 11.

    For whatever criticisms I’d make, ABC’s moderators did the best job so far.

    IMHO, Yang ran out of being interesting, Klobuchar took up the space that Tulsi deserved (but sure didn’t do much with it), O’Rourke managed to top his drowsy performances in June and July with an energetic suicide note if he should ever want to run in Texas again, and Castro made a (bigger) fool of himself with his attack on Biden. The OP is right; Harris sounded weirdly loose, making a point of dropping her G’s at a Black college (“Y’all knowin what ahm feelin” is not what she sounds like in Sacramento). I’ll give Bernie this; despite a growling case of hoarseness he was vigorous and unashamed, whereas Warren was just shameless. Biden had one of the strangest rambles I’ve ever heard on stage.

    I enjoyed watching it, though. For political junkies, it was a lively wrestling match.

    They all spent each fall circling to the left.

    • #6
    • September 12, 2019, at 10:24 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  7. Cato Rand Coolidge

    Thanks for watching it for us Jon. Somebody had to and better you than me.

    • #7
    • September 13, 2019, at 3:47 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  8. Franco Member

     Great summation. I watched parts but had to leave during the despicable questions from Ramos.

    By the way, regarding Ramos the “to his credit” phrase is overused by pundits on our side. E.G. To his credit, Kim Jong Un didn’t arrest Trump when he crossed the border.

    No need to give credit for asking a simple question – the kind of question any journalist should be asking. And considering his blatant demagoguery, he’s still at a deficit in the ‘credit ‘ department.

    Another thought, I think that accent of Ramos’ is an exaggeration. I understand wanting to hold onto one’s heritage, but he’s speaking English. I would always try to pronounce another language as close as possible to the native speakers. What am I going to do, deliberately emphasize my English/American accent for the sake of pride? But I think that’s what he’s doing.

    The other takeaway is how the questioners are so solidly left-wing. It’s disgraceful.

    • #8
    • September 13, 2019, at 4:15 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  9. Doug Watt Member

    Excellent summary Jon, I’m in your debt because all I see in this group are Takers. Takers that are running for the Governor of California, or New York. They do present a good argument for retaining the Electoral College.

    • #9
    • September 13, 2019, at 5:04 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  10. OkieSailor Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Entrepreneur Andrew Yang kicked off the festivities by saying his campaign will give $1,000 a month for a year to 10 families, a UBI sweepstakes requiring contestants to sign up on his website.

    Am I wrong in thinking this would violate campaign finance laws? At the least it seems like a back door way to buy votes, surely unconscionable if not illegal. I like much of what Wang has to say but this is beyond the pale for me.

    • #10
    • September 13, 2019, at 5:22 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  11. Randy Weivoda Moderator

    It was mostly the same old stuff. A few interesting items, though. Beto O’Rourke said (paraphrasing) that this country’s true founding wasn’t in 1776, it was in 1691 when the first slave was brought to this country. I have no problem confronting the ugly parts of American history, but to say that this was the foundational act of this country is just insulting. Why would anyone even want to be president of such a wretched country? 

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Another moderator, Linsey Davis, asked about Biden’s 1975 comment that he didn’t “feel responsible for the sins of my father and grandfather” when it came to segregation. Biden didn’t lose his cool, instead outlining his record fighting racism.

    Yeah, Biden just danced far away from a direct answer. Biden’s 1975 quote makes logical sense, but there’s no way a white Democrat can say that today. And Biden may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer but he’s smart enough to know that if he denounces all white people he’s going to lose a lot of states. Better to just pretend you didn’t hear the question and talk about funding public schools and half a dozen other topics and hope people forget the question.

    I will give Joe Biden credit for one thing. Out of this whole debate he was the only one to mention that there are Constitutional limits on a president’s authority. I don’t remember what the issue was, but he mentioned that something would have to be passed by Congress because the Constitution doesn’t allow the president to just do it. Kamala Harris seemed to think this was silly. But that’s just modern America. It’s only when the opposition party is in control that most people bring up Constitutional limits on power.

    I don’t remember which candidate declared that no one should be put in prison for a non-violent offense. So if I make my living by stealing people’s identities and robbing senior citizens of all their money, as long as I didn’t use a gun I will just pay a fine? I don’t deserve to be locked up? Wait a minute, I thought we wanted to put the executives of pharmaceutical companies and fossil fuel companies in prison. I guess we just have to call their acts of profit-seeking violence and we’re cool.

    • #11
    • September 13, 2019, at 5:37 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  12. Franco Member

    OkieSailor (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Entrepreneur Andrew Yang kicked off the festivities by saying his campaign will give $1,000 a month for a year to 10 families, a UBI sweepstakes requiring contestants to sign up on his website.

    Am I wrong in thinking this would violate campaign finance laws? At the least it seems like a back door way to buy votes, surely unconscionable if not illegal. I like much of what Wang has to say but this is beyond the pale for me.

    Yeah, running a defacto gambling operation. But hey, that’s what politicians do!

    • #12
    • September 13, 2019, at 5:52 AM PST
    • 1 like
  13. Kozak Member

    Biden might want to invest in some Dentu-Grip

     

    • #13
    • September 13, 2019, at 6:07 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  14. Cato Rand Coolidge

    OkieSailor (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Entrepreneur Andrew Yang kicked off the festivities by saying his campaign will give $1,000 a month for a year to 10 families, a UBI sweepstakes requiring contestants to sign up on his website.

    Am I wrong in thinking this would violate campaign finance laws? At the least it seems like a back door way to buy votes, surely unconscionable if not illegal. I like much of what Wang has to say but this is beyond the pale for me.

    He claims it’s been vetted and, in practical terms, who cares? He’s giving this to 10 people. Not enough to matter. Heck, I signed up. If I win maybe I’ll give the money to some worthy candidate(s).

    • #14
    • September 13, 2019, at 6:20 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  15. Stad Thatcher

    Cato Rand (View Comment):

    Thanks for watching it for us Jon. Somebody had to and better you than me.

    He took one for our team . . .

    • #15
    • September 13, 2019, at 6:20 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  16. Cato Rand Coolidge

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Biden might want to invest in some Dentu-Grip

     

    Wow. Is this guy even going to make it to November 2020?

    • #16
    • September 13, 2019, at 6:22 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  17. JamesSalerno Coolidge

    All I have to say is that Jorge Ramos comes across as a total scumbag. This is the same guy that said he had the “constitutional” right to vote in both US and Mexican elections on Tucker’s show.

    • #17
    • September 13, 2019, at 6:23 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  18. Old Bathos Member

    I think Biden has an inherent advantage in that he represents stale, demonstrably failed but familiar policies presented with an air of innocuous incompetence versus new, spectacularly stupid, fiscally impossible ideas delivered with a tone of arrogant self-satisfaction. Even a low-wattage, rambling buffoon like Joe Biden can tell medicare-for-all and the green new deal are dumb ideas. Will the rest of the country not also see through the BS from Comrade Sanders and Sen. Lieawatha Chavista (D-MA)?

    • #18
    • September 13, 2019, at 6:25 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  19. Vance Richards Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Another moderator, Linsey Davis, asked about Biden’s 1975 comment . . .

    Are they going to ask other candidates about comments made in 1975?

    Senator Booker, in 1975 you told a friend that you thought Hong Kong Phooey could beat Underdog in a fight. Do you still believe that to be true?

    • #19
    • September 13, 2019, at 6:30 AM PST
    • 12 likes
  20. Western Chauvinist Member

    OkieSailor (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Entrepreneur Andrew Yang kicked off the festivities by saying his campaign will give $1,000 a month for a year to 10 families, a UBI sweepstakes requiring contestants to sign up on his website.

    Am I wrong in thinking this would violate campaign finance laws? At the least it seems like a back door way to buy votes, surely unconscionable if not illegal. I like much of what Wang has to say but this is beyond the pale for me.

    The other candidates laughed because they know you never go full Monty and reveal you’re paying for votes. That’s what tax dollars are for!

    • #20
    • September 13, 2019, at 6:30 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  21. MACHO GRANDE' (aka - Chri… Coolidge

    I salute your courage, Jon, in listening to lunatics ramble for hours so we don’t have to.

    Politics is the last resort of the incompetent. Bernie Sanders is the alpha male of failure. Only [redacted] hippies get to fail up into sweet-paying gigs with mega-retirement dollars.

    • #21
    • September 13, 2019, at 6:37 AM PST
    • Like
  22. Vance Richards Member

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    OkieSailor (View Comment):

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Entrepreneur Andrew Yang kicked off the festivities by saying his campaign will give $1,000 a month for a year to 10 families, a UBI sweepstakes requiring contestants to sign up on his website.

    Am I wrong in thinking this would violate campaign finance laws? At the least it seems like a back door way to buy votes, surely unconscionable if not illegal. I like much of what Wang has to say but this is beyond the pale for me.

    The other candidates laughed because they know you never go full Monty and reveal you’re paying for votes. That’s what tax dollars are for!

    Gonna take more than 12 grand to buy my vote because their policies will cost me way more than that in the long run.

    • #22
    • September 13, 2019, at 6:38 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  23. MACHO GRANDE' (aka - Chri… Coolidge

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    It was mostly the same old stuff. A few interesting items, though. Beto O’Rourke said (paraphrasing) that this country’s true founding wasn’t in 1776, it was in 1691 when the first slave was brought to this country. I have no problem confronting the ugly parts of American history, but to say that this was the foundational act of this country is just insulting. Why would anyone even want to be president of such a wretched country?

     

    So it was un-founded in 1864?

    History is hard when you use fake first names.

    • #23
    • September 13, 2019, at 6:40 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  24. MACHO GRANDE' (aka - Chri… Coolidge

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Biden might want to invest in some Dentu-Grip

     

    Fantastic.

    Poly Grip, check your inbox.

    • #24
    • September 13, 2019, at 6:41 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  25. Richard O'Shea Coolidge

    Chris Campion (View Comment):

    Kozak (View Comment):

    Biden might want to invest in some Dentu-Grip

     

    Fantastic.

    Poly Grip, check your inbox.

    Did this moment come across live during the debate? This looked bad.

    • #25
    • September 13, 2019, at 6:51 AM PST
    • 1 like
  26. Man With the Axe Member

    I wonder how many voters are fooled by the descriptions Warren and Sanders give for Medicare for All (MFA). First, there is the notion that Medicare is free. I have a couple of hundred bucks deducted from my social security check for Medicare every month. In addition to that, there is a small annual deductible. I also have to pay every month for my supplemental insurance, without which very few doctors would be willing to see me, and even if they did my out-of-pocket expenses would be quite high. I have to pay for prescription drugs over and above what Medicare covers, and if not generic it can be very pricey.

    Altogether, Medicare, as it exists, is not going to work for everyone. Doctors today are willing to take Medicare’s low payouts only because they can make it up by charging a lot more to people with private insurance. With MFA there won’t be anyone to make up the difference.

    Warren and Sanders said over and over that the private insurers make their profit by denying coverage. But Medicare denies just as much coverage, if not more, and under MFA why would the government agency not try to stay within budget (I know, that’s funny) by denying coverage? Without competition from private insurers, the incentives would be to deny coverage for expensive therapies. “Customers” have nowhere else to go.

    Bernie said that under MFA doctors wouldn’t have as big of a paperwork burden. That is truly funny. Medicare is loaded with paperwork, not to mention fraud.

    I tutor a Russian immigrant who is trying to improve her English language skills. We discussed this issue yesterday, by coincidence. She told me that in Russia going to the doctor is free of charge. But you can’t get to see a doctor for a very long period of time, and so people who really need to see the doctor today must make a private arrangement to see him after hours and pay out of pocket. Where have we heard that before?

    Neither Warren nor Sanders addresses the question of how their plans will increase the supply of health care services to meet the huge increase in demand that comes from making it free for everyone. Neither explains how starving the pharmaceutical companies of profit will allow them to develop the drugs of tomorrow. I’d rather pay more for 2019 drugs than get 1970 drugs for free. Under their plans, no more new drugs.

    • #26
    • September 13, 2019, at 7:16 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  27. Jason Turner Member

    Did anyone play the the drinking game for this debate? And if so are you sober yet?

    • #27
    • September 13, 2019, at 7:33 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  28. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    • #28
    • September 13, 2019, at 7:48 AM PST
    • Like
  29. Richard O'Shea Coolidge

    Man With the Axe (View Comment):
    Bernie said that under MFA doctors wouldn’t have as big of a paperwork burden. That is truly funny. Medicare is loaded with paperwork, not to mention fraud.

    Who on earth associates the federal government with less paperwork? Apparently Bernie doesn’t do his own taxes.

    • #29
    • September 13, 2019, at 7:57 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  30. Judge Mental Member

    Richard O'Shea (View Comment):

    Man With the Axe (View Comment):
    Bernie said that under MFA doctors wouldn’t have as big of a paperwork burden. That is truly funny. Medicare is loaded with paperwork, not to mention fraud.

    Who on earth associates the federal government with less paperwork? Apparently Bernie doesn’t do his own taxes.

    Maybe the paperwork involved is counting the money they make as doctors. Part of Bernie’s plan to cut costs is to cut doctor pay.

    • #30
    • September 13, 2019, at 8:01 AM PST
    • 1 like