A few comments on last night’s debate, which I admittedly stopped watching before it ended.
Picking the participants — I understand that the field needs to be narrowed as the primary proceeds, but I would have liked to have seen Bloomberg and Yang on the debate stage instead of Steyer and Klobuchar, neither of whom has a chance. One does not need to look any further than the latest polls to find an argument in favor of those two substitutions. The issue is with the criteria for qualification which includes both polling and fundraising thresholds.
“He said, she said” — For those who do not know, in the days leading up to this debate, Warren said that Bernie told her in a 2018 meeting that he did not think a woman could win the election. Bernie has unequivocally denied this. Frankly, I cannot imagine that he would have said anything of the sort and find his reasoning on why he did not and would never have to be pretty clearly convincing. Regardless, someone is lying, and that is the only real takeaway from my perspective. Everyone knows a woman can win. As Bernie pointed out in his own defense, Hillary won the popular vote in 2016. How anyone could think a woman could not win, I do not know, but whether Warren or Klobuchar can win is another story. At the end of the debate, it looked like Warren snubbed Bernie when he reached out for handshake. Steyer got caught in the middle. I don’t think any of this looks good for Warren and I think Bernie will have the vast majority of her supporters on his side before it is all said and done.
Bernie-Tulsi 2020 — I have been saying it for months and will write it now here on the blog. I believe Bernie should and very well may announce Tulsi Gabbard as his running mate if he wins the democratic nod. I actually think he would be wise to do this while the democratic primary remains ongoing (though I doubt he will), specifically if and when he edges out Warren and has only one or two of the more conservative Democrats left to beat. Many people do not know that Tulsi resigned as DNC chair in 2016 in order to endorse Bernie for President. She was also his VP on the California write-in ballots in 2016, though it is important to note that this was chosen by electors, not by Bernie.
Bloomberg — While he was visibly absent from the debates, Mike Bloomberg made his presence felt in other ways which kept him in the news. His social media team sent out dozens of silly tweets including a poll that asked “which wild animal would be most fun to release onto the debate stage without warning?” An Ostrich won with 45%. More importantly, Bloomberg wrote an op-ed urging the democratic party to focus less on the first two voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire and more on the battleground states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, and North Carolina, all of which Trump won by slim margins in the 2016 election. I think this is a great point by Bloomberg.
In closing, I thought the answers to the opening question on foreign policy were generally weak, as was the quality of debate between everyone’s differing proposals for healthcare reform. I should mention that I thought Buttigieg did better than Biden, and there is no reason in particular why I did not mention either of them above. Lastly, I thought the program should have started an hour earlier because if I am not keeping the TV on late enough to watch all of it, I doubt a lot of people are. There are already too few people paying far too little attention. Let us not make it more difficult for everyone.