After the first night of the second democratic debate, who are the winners and losers among the presidential candidates? Some candidates stood out as leading the night.
Bernie Sanders was one of them. Once he understood that his first public debate was not lovely or active enough as the viewers were expecting, he increased it and took over the debates. Throughout the debate, he was reactive, feisty and even entertaining with clear and fact-based answers. For instance, when former Maryland Rep. John Delaney started criticizing his health care plan and stating reasons why it, Sanders would reply each time bluntly: ”You’re wrong”. When he was questioned on the ”Medicare for All” plan, he could not take it anymore and snapped saying: ”I wrote the damn bill”. Warren was nonetheless a strong candidate of the night too, especially after her answer on electability.
Perhaps a striking trait of Sanders that comes out this second time around is that he is not afraid to stand up for himself, and in the same way for those (all) that he wants to defend. Viewers are looking for this trait, someone unapologetic and proud to stand up for sustainable and necessary change. A huge shift in the infrastructure is necessary according to Sanders, both on a political and cultural level. In terms of the competition with Warren who was gaining poll votes in the last weeks, it was obvious he outshone her during the debate.
Another Democratic presidential candidate that stood out in a positive way was Montana governor, Steve Bullock. This was the last chance for him to gain credibility and popularity among the voters and move up the ladder. He made it clear throughout his speech that he did not believe Sanders’ and Warren’s statements were ”grounded in reality” and that it would once again cost the Democrats their election. Often criticized by some in the same way, Sanders’ and Warren’s political views and plans were called ”wish-lists” or ”pie-in-the-sky policies”.
Pete Buttigieg was another noticeable candidate in yesterday’s debate. Despite his age, 37 years old, he attempted to show that it should be seen as a sign of strength rather than a sign of weakness. One of his arguments was that those older them him had not accomplished the things they were working for, so why not him? An element that contrasted with the first debate was the fact that the candidates were given the chance at the beginning of the debate to present themselves, layout who they are and what they believed in. This makes a difference when there are so many candidates on staging shouting or cutting each other off.
Some candidates that did not shine so bright were perhaps Beto O’Rourke who did not stand out or take enough space in the debate. At times, we could even forget that he was there on stage with the others. Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota senator, emphasized from the beginning in her introductory statement that she had a record of victory in campaigns. Well, this did not seem very obvious last night.
Some would argue that Warren should be in the ”loser” category for other opposing reasons. One would be the fact that she did not articulate and express as well her liberal positions in the way Sanders did. Her embrace of decriminalizing illegal immigration might be the reason why she is not electable in a general election.