It was messy, but it managed not to be a train wreck, and some things were clarified. I’ve been browsing through opinion pieces on the debate, and no two people agree who the winners and losers were. What I think, from worst to best:
Tim Ryan and John Delaney should not have been there, and I fervently hope they drop out before the next round of debates in July so they don’t continue to waste space. Delaney especially must have realized he had a problem when he expressed support for Nancy Pelosi’s opposition to impeachment and the crowd, which had been cheering a lot, was silent.
Beto O’Rourke needs to re-think his decision to run for president instead of for John Cornyn’s Senate seat. And he needs to do that really soon, because as a presidential candidate his image is deflating like a leaking balloon.
A lot of commenters want Jay Inslee to drop out, but I don’t mind him staying in a bit longer to keep reminding us that climate change is the paramount issue we’re not facing.
People found Bill De Blasio either surprisingly effective or really annoying. I expect him to get a little bit of a bump in the polls, but I fervently hope not enough of a bump to put him in the next round of debates.
Tulsi Gabbard was, to me, better than expected, but she’s being tagged by many as a debate loser nonetheless. If she gets no bump from the debate she might as well close shop and go home.
I think Cory Booker helped himself, but we’ll see. A lot of debate viewers may have been seeing Booker for the first time, and IMO he’s very likable. Maybe he’s not the strongest candidate on the stage, but whenever I see him on the teevee I feel an urge to take him home and cook him a nice dinner. Don’t ask why.
Amy Klobucher is still a contender. She’s still too moderate for my taste, but she did well last night.
Lots of people are calling Julián Castro the night’s big winner. He may move into the top tier.
Liz Warren is still far and away my favorite candidate of this group, and I think her momentum will continue. Her endorsement of Medicare for All was one of the most interesting moments of the evening.
So tonight the lineup is Marianne Williamson, John Hickenlooper, Andrew Yang, Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Michael Bennet and Eric Swalwell. It may be a very different evening from last night.