With all of the hoopla over the ongoing impeachment inquiry, you might not have even realized there was another Democratic debate last night. If so, you didn’t miss much.
Overshadowed by Ambassador Sondland’s often stunning testimony earlier the same day, the remaining Democrats vying for the White House in 2020 met in Atlanta for their fifth scheduled debate.
Notable perhaps, only for the fact that it featured 4 female moderators — Rachel Maddow, Andrea Mitchell and Kristen Welker from MSNBC and Ashley Parker of the Washington Post — the debate quickly settled into the same old same old, with each of the candidates trying to take potshots at one another, replete with personal attacks, perhaps the most testy of which was between Sen. Kamala Harris of California and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, which started when Gabbard criticized the Democratic Party, and ended when Harris presented receipts which “proved” that Gabbard was never really a member of it.
There were the usual gaffes and stumbles by former VP Joe Biden, who at one point described that we had to do something to curb domestic violence against women, by “punching at it, and punching at it…”
Emerging frontrunner Mayor Pete Buttigieg had the most to gain coming into the debate, but he failed to land the kinds of blows he needed to in order to come out on top. For the most part, “Mayor Pete” missed the opportunity to set himself apart from the front tier of candidates and generate even more of the momentum initiated by his surge in the latest polls. Mainly, it was quite evident that Buttigieg still struggles when it comes to addressing matters of race. The fact that Buttigieg couldn’t make the most of this debate when he came in so strong in the polls, could signal his inability to put the race away later on in the campaign.
So, who won the latest Democratic debate? Many think it was Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. She seemed to finally gain some traction in that “middle lane,” where Biden, and now Buttigieg have been the strongest candidates thus far. She had her best performance by emphasizing her experience, productivity, and electoral successes. She also emphasized the fact that women are judged by a different standard than men, citing her criticism of Buttigieg’s lack of experience while he was being hailed as a front-runner last week.
Does that mean the debate will elevate Klobuchar to frontrunner status? Hardly, however, the senator will get another look from voters due to her steady and successful performance, which means she leaves the debate in a better position than coming into it – which is more than could be said for anyone else on the stage.