Democrats held the first in a series of debates for prospective 2020 Presidential candidates in Miami. Since the DNC qualified 20 of 25 candidates to take the stage, the debate was done over two nights with purportedly random match ups. The first night mostly featured 1%-ers – no not the taxpayers that Democrats want to jack up their rate to 70% but those who barely qualified for the debate with more than blips on political polls. The only first tier candidate that night was Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA),
In the 2020 election cycle, a gaggle of Democrats pandering for POTUS will march like ten left feet together, so their policy proposals will track a similar progressive path. So political junkies enduring this exercise look for overarching themes which brand a candidate’s campaign and for break out moments which elevate or deflate a debater.
During the first third of the Miami Mixup, Warren came out strong with an anti-corporate aura. It was interesting that in an era of a booming economy with record unemployment, her thesis is that the economy isn’t working for everyone so we must dismantle the system.
Senator Warren was one of the two hands raised to eliminate private health insurance when reforming American health care. But when the organizers lost their close control of the debate stage, Warren became a less dominating figure, particularly when the exchanges turned to abortion and immigration.
Former two term Congressman and failed Texas Senate candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke (D-TX 19th) tried to make his mark out of the box, starting to answer his first question to him in Spanish. Booker had a remarkable look at “Beto’s” bilingual blurtation, which gives the impression of “Damn, he beat me to it on that pandering gimmick”.
But the problem with Beto is that he offers an alluvia of words but never actually answering a question. Granted, a time tested political media trick is to answer the question that you want, not the one that is asked. But when O’Rourke could not clearly respond to a direct question on whether he supported a 70% federal income tax rate for the very rich, it highlighted how “Beto” was all style and no substance. Or to put it in faux Texan terms for a faux identity politics Hispanix (sic)– He’s all hat and no cattle.
Many of the low polling Democrats in the first Miami Mixup clung to their bio as a crutch to define their campaigns as sometimes as a cudgel as they fight for the political spotlight against their comrades. Some candidates seemed more successful in weaponizing their bio. While it seemed tedious for Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI 2nd) to keep referencing her military service, but it gave her gravitas when she verbally parried with Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH 13th) over continued American military involvement in Afghanistan. This may be why Gabbard topped a Drudge Report instant poll on who won the debate. That moment both may be a break out moment for Gabbard and a break down moment for Ryan.
Former San Antonio Mayor and Obama HUD Secretary Julian Castro burnished his Hispanic identity politics credentials by highlighting his bio. Castro came prepared to be the immigration expert on stage and outstaged “Beto” on his immigration answer, with Castro chiding “Beto” to “do your homework”.
Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) garnered the most time in the spotlight that night, started nearly every exchange citing that he lives (or more honestly put– owns a condo) in a sketchy Newark neighborhood. Presumably, Booker is trying to swing some African American support away from former Vice President Joe Biden (D-DE) while appealing to social justice warriors. But the repeated references became too obvious. Inquiring minds might connect Newark’s persistent urban problems to his seven years tenure as Newark’s mayor before ascending to his Senate seat.
Governor Jay Inslee (D-WA) defined his campaign as being all about climate change. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) was a me too women’s candidate who fights for the total right to abort unwanted unborn children. Comrade New York Mayor Bill De Blasio (D-NYC) seemed to be about changing the character of the Democrat party to be union oriented and progressive. In his four years running for the Democrat presidential nomination, ex Rep. John Delaney (D-MD 6th) has tried to steer a somewhat centrist course to his campaign. Delaney applied his campaign’s premise in disputing the wisdom of totally overhauling America’s health care system by qupping “We should be the party that keeps what is working but fixes what is broken.” Wise words but such wisdom is unappealing in an unbridled pander-fest.
Perhaps the most egregious example of progressive pandering was Julian Castro’s reproductive justice tact for supporting abortion.
Castro’s invocation that men can have abortion too may sell well with convicted intersectional progressives but hardly seems like it would appeal to Trump Democrats in the general election.
This early in the campaign cycle, political promises are ambiguous and do not stand for close scrutiny. But the rhetoric used during this Democrat Debate repeatedly invoked emergencies for climate; gun control and health care. This may be the modus operandi for a successful Democrat President to impose unpopular progressive policies under the guise of “emergency action”, particularly if their nemesis President Trump cites in addressing illegal immigration issues.
President Trump had promised to live tweet during the Democrat debate. He summed up his impressions of the debate with a one word critque: BORING!
But the real Donald Trump did not spare debate hosts NBC News for their five minute technical difficulties by not cutting the mikes of the first panel of interviewers. For a network celebrating seventy years on the air, this TV Miami Mixup merits mockery.
Hopefully, President Trump will live tweet the second debate, with leading candidates socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and former Vice President Joe Biden (D-DE). Nevertheless, expect more live tweeting from @CalamityDC using the #DemDebate heading.