Round 2 of the regular season for the Democratic presidential nomination kicked off Tuesday. Ten candidates, who were randomly chosen (and better selected than NBC), took the stage this night in Detroit. The other half, including presumptive former Vice President Joe Biden, will do so on Wednesday. Candidates did their best to put some distance between themselves and their rivals, with questions from CNN moderators more designed to generate clicks, views, likes, and retweets than actual substance. A host of issues were addressed, but the theme of this night was fear.
While it would be foolish to extrapolate an entire football season after week one, it can often be revealing as to which teams are moving in which directions. The first debates of the 2019-20 presidential primary season must’ve had quite an effect on the pollsters, donors, activists, and staffs. The playoffs may not start until next year, but there has already been considerable movement in each area— and at least one semi-major candidate is ready to push the panic button.
The advice to “dance like nobody’s watching” has featured prominently on dorm room walls and Etsy merchandise for years. Perhaps the ratings will bear this out, but former Vice President Joe Biden may have wished no one was watching his debate performance Thursday night. In the main event, following Wednesday night’s undercard, Biden looked every one of his 76 years, and then some— even compared to the spry, 76-year old democratic socialist from Vermont. It’s a long way to Iowa and New Hampshire, but Joe has a long way to go.
It was derided as the kids’ table debate, and it’s safe to say Wednesday night’s opening act lived down to the hype. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and nine challengers in single digits took the stage in Miami for NBC’s first Democratic debate of the 2019-20 presidential campaign. Emphasizing their similarities, few stood out positively from the field. The first group of ten (with ten more coming Thursday night) debated health care, immigration, foreign policy, and how to run against an unpopular president when things are going well.
A gaggle of presidential hopefuls gathered in suddenly-relevant California this weekend for their first big audition. The better-than-bakers’ dozen served as headliners in San Francisco for the California Democratic Party’s state convention. A crowd of 5,000 delegates heard the pitches and policies, and may be the best look yet at what the national party’s base of activists and partisan primary voters are looking for from their presidential standard-bearer next year.
Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) announced his run for the presidency on Tuesday. He did so without the endorsement of Montana’s Democratic Senator, Jon Tester, and while struggling to name an accomplishment he was most proud of in his six years as governor. Democrats had hoped he would run against Montana’s other Senator, Steve Daines (R-MT), and are reportedly still pleading with him to change his mind.
Gov. Bullock is now the 22nd candidate to announce a run for the Democratic pennant, with more possibly on the way. Not all of them can be the nominee, and with several potential candidates currently polling at 0%, it’s questionable how many of them really want to be.