I just finished watching the latest Democratic Debate. It was broadcast on NBC and it’s the final debate before the Nevada Caucus on Saturday. It was also the first debate that Michael Bloomberg qualified for.
It was certainly the feistiest debate so far. Warren’s trying to make a comeback after blowing it in New Hamsphire and Iowa so she was on the offensive tonight. Biden needs to make a comeback but tonight, he was just rambling Joe, bragging on himself nonstop and coming across as confused whenever anyone disagreed with him.
Everyone focused most of their attention on Mike Bloomberg and, for someone like me who has always found Mike Bloomberg to be insufferably smug, it was glorious to watch him have one of the worst debates that I have ever seen in my life. Bloomberg’s problem is that, like a lot of 79 year-old billionaires, he’s not used to people disagreeing with or challenging him to his face. Other than his first campaign, I can’t remember Bloomberg ever having a tough race in New York City. (And his opponent in that first election was Mark Green, one of the few politicians who comes across as being even more smug than Bloomberg.) Bloomberg seemed to be lost on stage and, after the endless hype that has surrounded his candidacy, that was not the right impression to make. After spending weeks bragging about how only he could take on Donald Trump, Bloomberg struggled to even keep up with Amy Klobuchar. Bloomberg came across as being the boss that everyone hates and, watching him live, it was easy to imagine Trump dismantling him if the two of them ever end up on the same stage.
As much fun as it was to watch Mike get taken down a peg or two, everyone spent so much time going after Bloomberg that hardly anyone lay a finger on Bernie Sanders and Sanders is the one that they should have been trying to take down if they want to stand any shot at winning the Democratic nomination. I get that the candidates don’t want to get Sanders’s supports angry with them (because they’ll need those so-called Bernie Bros to vote for them in November) but it’s hard not to feel that the 2020 Democrats are making the same mistake that the 2016 Republicans made with Trump. They’re all assuming that, if they can just get everyone else out of the race, they can beat Sanders in a one-on-one race or they can at least keep Sanders from winning enough delegates to take the nomination on the first ballot. It’s a foolish plan, though. It didn’t work for Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich and it probably won’t work for Biden, Klobuchar, and Bloomberg.
Final thought: No one, tonight, came across like someone I would trust in the White House. I thought the 2016 election provided me with the worst options of my lifetime but it looks like 2020 is going to prove me wrong.
Really? We’re just three days away from the Iowa Caucus?
I’m shocked that it slipped my mind. I guess with the Super Bowl this weekend, the Oscars next week, and the news being dominated by the coronavirus, it’s easy to forget that the first Democratic nominating contest is on Monday.
I’m going to go ahead and predict that Sanders will win but probably not by as much as some people are expecting. Biden will probably be a little bit stronger than the polling indicates. Warren will probably underperform while Buttigieg and Klobuchar will do just well enough to keep their campaigns alive.
If Biden’s campaign underperforms or if Sanders turns out to be stronger than expected, which is always a possibility because Iowa is not always easy to poll, look for a lot of anti-Bernie Democrats to suddenly develop a strange new respect for Michael Bloomberg.
Last week was a busy one and I feel like I missed a lot. When last I checked in with the news, Cory Booker was suspending his campaign and Elizabeth Warren was refusing to shake Bernie Sanders’s hand at the end of the Democratic debate. That seems like a month ago.
Today, on the other hand, feels like an entirely new news cycle. The 49ers and the Chiefs are going to the Super Bowl and The New York Times turned their presidential endorsement process into a reality show. Last night, people stayed up late to discover that the New York Times can’t even do an endorsement right. That they endorsed Elizabeth Warren is not a surprise as Warren has always been the media’s favorite Democrat. That they also endorsed Amy Klobuchar is a head scratcher. I get the feeling that they secretly know Warren’s campaign is doomed so they tossed in a second endorsement to cover their bases. Since Tulsi Gabbard is hated by the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party and all of the other major candidates are white males, tossing a second endorsement to Amy Klobuchar was a safe way to be woke without tossing all in behind a campaign that is obviously self-destructing.
I think the real winner of the New York Times endorsement show was probably Donald Trump because the whole affair just made the NYT look like the collection of out of touch elitists that the majority of MAGA people already assume that it is. (The New York Times seems to suffer any time that it tries to turn its top people into TV stars.) As for the Democrats, the big winner was probably Michael Bloomberg because he wisely refused to degrade himself by begging the Times for their endorsement. The Times‘s petulant response to Bloomberg’s refusal to kiss their ring probably did more to help Bloomberg than any endorsement ever would.
There’s been a lot of talk about what the media needs to do to regain the credibility that they’ve lost over the past few years. It’s an important question because, as easy as it is to dismiss the media’s self-regard, they does have a very important role to play in America society. It’s hard to know what the media has to do to repair the damage that’s been done to its reputation but turning their presidential endorsement process into a reality show was probably not the right direction to go.
I’m not watching the Democratic Debate right now.
Perhaps I should be, considering how much I go on about politics on this site. But I just can’t summon up any enthusiasm for spending two hours watching those ten clowns answer softball questions from MSNBC. Anything important that’s said will be available on either YouTube or Twitter, mere seconds after it’s said. Despite the best efforts of the media to convince us otherwise, it’s been a while since a debate has really been a must-see event.
Unless, of course, it’s last Tuesday’s debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn. I’ve both watched and rewatched that, quite a few times. Each time I do, I’m struck by two things. Number one, Boris Johnson has his weaknesses. Number two, Jeremy Corbyn is uniquely incapable of taking advantage of them. Despite his weaknesses, I have no doubt that Johnson will still be PM after December’s election. Boris Johnson may be an erratic blowhard but at least he’s not Jeremy Corbyn.
As for the Democrats, the expectation tonight seems to be that Pete Buttigieg will be everyone’s number one target because Mayor Pete has surged in recent polls. I don’t think Mayor Pete is going to be the Democratic nominee but I do think his success is going to keep Biden, Warren, and Sanders from sealing the deal. To be honest, I don’t think any of the current front runners is going to win the nomination. Despite the fact that she’s not getting much attention right now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Amy Klobuchar accepting the Democratic nomination next July.