Twelve Democratic presidential candidates gathered again last night — this time in Ohio — to debate the issues, define themselves as they felt was needed, and attack the current frontrunner. I have watched all the debates thus far. It’s like watching a speeding train with a different conductor each time, everyone else scrambling over each other, using various techniques to get to the first car and be the one to drive. Last night, the conductor was Warren because, according to polls, she is the current front runner. But she didn’t necessarily drive the conversation as she wanted: many found they needed to attack her.
The more you watch these things, the more fascinating — or worrisome — it becomes. The other driver of the train last night was Donald Trump. Everyone on that stage is adamant that he not be given a second term. But the way they showed that concern varied from “you need to get to know me better and where I grew up so that you will see I am the only one to beat DT,” to “DT is HORRIBLE AND WE HAVE TO GET RID OF HIM AND I AM YOUR MAN/WOMAN TO GET THAT DONE!!”
The urgency of this was more apparent last night than in previous debates.
Everyone on stage was aware that Bernie had just had a heart attack a few weeks prior. As is his way, he gesticulated and shouted and got very worked up. I am sure I was not the only one who was worried he would keel over.
Very soon into the debate, Kamala Harris took the time to mention that in all the previous debates, that a woman’s right to chose is under attack in our country. Cory Booker then attached himself as a male ally in the fight, which he is. Amy Klobuchar put the issue squarely onto Trumps’ lap.
Elizabeth Warren attempted to set herself apart from the pack with a seemingly prepared remark and got a lot of pushback from the others.
And she was attacked repeatedly over the course of the evening. First by Amy Klobuchar…
Then by Kamala Harris who simply wanted Warren to agree that Trump’s twitter account should be taken away from him.
Others went after Warren, mostly for her refusal to admit — as Bernie has — that her Medicare for All plan will have to include an increase in taxes. I didn’t draw those, but they were there. Tulsi Gabbard even questioned Warren’s foreign policy chops.
Many showed themselves to be strong contenders. Biden was not at all front and center, but he showed calmness and passion;
Buttigieg continued to shine and be thoughtful and measured in his attacks. Both of these men, as well as Klobuchar, have a natural way of speaking on stage that doesn’t appear rehearsed.
Cory Booker was called “the middle child” last night because of his repeated attempts to insist that everyone just get along. The role he is carving out seems to be one of a philosopher, or preacher, stepping back and looking at the big picture. He also is the only one talking about real poverty, unlike Sanders and Warren who frame it as a class issue, in terms of rich vs not-rich.
When a heated conversation about guns emerged, Kamala Harris steered them towards how it affects the black community, and blac men in particular.
I have to say that a many of the others were just there, and while they did contribute interesting ideas, they seemed more in the background. I actually didn’t even draw Gabbard or Steyer. Sorry!
In the end, its’ still too early to know who will be the nominee. Things happen. Last night, we didn’t really learn anything new except Warren is vulnerable, and Amy Klobuchar is not looking pretty good to some people. Biden is there, still perhaps the best person to be able to appeal to swing voters.
At this point.