Just before tonight’s Democratic debate began, Donald Trump tweeted that he was too busy to tweet about it. Then, just after it began, Trump tweeted one word – “BORING!” – before crawling back into his crypt for the rest of the evening. From there, it was all about the ten Democratic candidates on the stage. Despite the muddled number of candidates, there were some clear winners and losers.
The big winner: Due to the semi-random way in which the candidates were divided across the two nights, Elizabeth Warren – despite being in third place in most polls – entered the night far ahead of everyone else she was sharing the stage with. That meant all she had to do was to perform as well as anyone else on the stage, and she’d come out of the evening with momentum. She stayed on message all night, her answers generally connected, and she’ll probably climb five points in the polls over the next week. Best moment: when asked if she had a plan to take on Mitch McConnell, she simply said “Yes I do.”
Additional winners: Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker, and Julián Castro initially entered the race with fairly high profiles, but they’re each polling at close to zero percent as they’ve gotten lost in the shuffle. Just by virtue of getting some prominent airtime tonight, and sounding competent and personable in the process, they should each see a bit of a bump.
Losers: Beto O’Rourke’s campaign hasn’t been going well for him, and tonight didn’t help, as all he’ll be remembered for is his weird feud with Castro. Bill de Blasio got a lot of airtime, but probably didn’t win over any new supporters. Tulsi Gabbard is still trying to convince everyone she’s no longer a right winger, but no one is buying it (except Chris Matthews). Tim Ryan seems to have no idea why he’s even running. Most viewers probably thought John Delaney was an audience member.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report