The Democratic Race After the Second Debates

With the second Democratic debates behind us and the field set to shrink, it’s time to discuss where the race stands.

The winners of the second debates were Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in that order. The forceful arguments they made in favor of progressive, just policies stood out when compared to the other 18 candidates.

While Bernie is still my preferred candidate, I give the edge to Warren in terms of who had the better debate. Her line questioning why someone would run for president only to say no to everything was the best line of the two nights. Her strong defense of progressive policies and her wide range of knowledge were on display.

The greatest challenge for Warren and Sanders is their inability to make a great case to people of color. Their policies leave so much room for them to be the candidates of choice for people of color, but they don’t yet make the argument they should to people of color. Lucky for them, no candidate is giving people of color the message they deserve. I hope Sanders can be the one to state the obvious reasons why progressive ideas should be supported by people of color in large numbers.

Kamala Harris was the most disappointing candidate. Since I think Harris is a pragmatist who will do anything, including regularly lie, to make her case, I’m glad she was so ineffective.

Going into the debate, I thought Harris would finish the job she did on Biden in June. Her only shot at the nomination is to convince people of color she, not Biden, should carry on Obama’s centrist legacy. But the stupid 10-year health care plan Harris released before the debate was a harbinger of the weak debate performance she ultimately gave.

Corporate Joe Biden wasn’t terrible. Given his performance in June that was news. Still, he stumbled over words, forgot his own website, and simply didn’t appear up to the job.

It will be nice to see a smaller field in September; we need those with an actual chance at the nomination to be on stage together. It’s too bad the early buzz around Betto means he has qualified, because he has since been eliminated. Still, we need to have Sanders, Warren, Biden, and Harris on stage together. At this point, I don’t see a reasonable case for anyone else having a shot.

I know some are still pushing Wall Street Pete, but his big-money donors can’t buy him support in the polls. Most people are seeing through the nice words to the lack of success, especially the damage he has done to people of color, as mayor of South Bend.

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