In order, worst to first:
Trump: As the evidence piles up and he and the Republicans keep having to revise their defense, as even their own witnesses testify to their lies, this debate was a breath of fresh air and a marked improvement over the clown show that was the Republican party debates 4 years ago. I especially like how Sondland has gone from a “a really good man and a great American” to “I hardly know the gentleman. He came in late and was with other candidates before”.
Deval Patrick, Michael Bloomberg, Julian Castro: while not in the debate tonight, it was very clear: we don’t need them. Most of the candidates acquitted themselves very well tonight; these 3 have nothing to offer that we didn’t see tonight. Just go away.
Gabbard: I hate to engage in CT, but if she’s not on the Trump campaign’s payroll, I’ll eat my hat. The troll candidate had no good moments.
Biden: Dear Jesus, spare us. “I’ve been endorsed by the only black female Senator ever”. With Kamala Harris standing not 15 feet away. “Keep punching” – at the issue of domestic violence – bleah. Then we’re told how he’s going to be tough on Saudi Arabia and empty the prisons/expunge the records of those convicted of marijuana offenses when he’s done nothing about either of these issues in the last 40 years. The conversion on marijuana gave me whiplash given his “it’s a gateway drug” answer 2 days ago. Weak closing statement. Go play with the grandkids Joe, please, just go.
Steyer: I’m being a little unfair here. All his answers were solid, and he pushed climate change hard, which has been given short shrift in these debates. Also highly in agreement with his answer that the Democratic party needs to get non-voters to vote, and not worry about flipping Republican voters. So, a little garlic added to his mashed potatoes candidacy. Tasty answers, but not the main dish.
Bernie: Again, solid answers, but a repeat of his usual script. His self-congratulatory closing remarks were a little off-putting for me.
Mayor Pete: Solid for most of the debate, but the engagement with Gabbard was a disaster. I was surprised he wasn’t attacked more, Kamala Harris really let him off the hook in their exchanges.
Yang: I really want the next president to add a cabinet position and make him Secretary of Technology. This man is highly intelligent, innovative, had several great lines and substantive answers tonight. Great closing remarks. But, like Trump, you can’t come into government to the highest office in the land with no experience.
Kloubuchar: Great night until the closing remarks. I fear we are going to hear a lot about the line “work to have the African-American community stand with us” – and rightly so. Who the bleep is this “us”? African-Americans are not part of the Democratic Party? They don’t stand with you now? It was a classic white privilege answer, the kind that Kamala Harris just 30 minutes prior, did an outstanding job of critiquing.
Warren: Usual great job, all-around. Surprised the attacks against her from the last debate were largely missing.
Booker & Harris: Tie.
- Booker’s line to Biden “Your answer about marijuana being a gateway drug – I thought you might have been high when you said that” was the 2nd best line of the night, right behind Andrew Yang’s “First thing I’d tell Putin: Sorry I beat your guy”. Great answers on criminal justice reform, China, human rights, voter suppression.
- Harris: Where has this been the last 2 debates? Her candidacy seems to be in shambles, but she was great tonight.
- Not sure it will matter for either of them, but they did great tonight.
MSNBC: Maddow, Mitchell, Welker and Parker were outstanding. No “gotchas” – questions were smart and well formed. Balanced talk time except for Steyer and Yang (which I suppose is fair anyway). Well done.