Live Blog: Democrat Presidential Primary Debate #1 in Miami (First Night)

The Debate starts in one-half hour, at 9:00PM EST. Please add your comments as the debate proceeds! (Also, I assume there will be any number of live feeds besides NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo, so I hope readers will recommend any they find especially smooth. This may vary by region!)

* * *

Here is the cheat sheet on the debate mechanics and participants that I posted earlier today. However, I didn’t cover two critical topics: Drinking games and the issues (lol).

Drinking Games

I think alert reader Flora and I jointly came up with the best suggestion: Hoist a glass whenever a candidate use’s a word from Leary’s Keywords (the list). Like: “Innovation!” [sip]. I say “sip” because those keywords are so invasive we’ll hear them a lot, and [drink], let alone [gulp], [guzzle], or [swill] might leave readers incapacitated. (Apparently, people don’t drink alone but at watch parties; Fortune has a report).

Here is a game from Spectator USA. “Finish your drink and order another if…”

… Beto O’Rourke says ‘f*ck’

And a second from AM New York. Take a drink if:

Biden says “folks.”

Sanders wags his finger aggressively.

Holy moley, what are you people trying to do to me?

Finally, here is a quiz game from Paste, which could be easily converted to a drinking game. A highlight:

7. Who will be the first candidate to be critical of Medicare for All or universal coverage in general? (This includes saying something along the lines of “If people want to keep their private insurance, I won’t say no.”)

Oh, The Issues

I will select only two.

First, climate. I hope the Florida Everglades being on fire will provide Inslee with the sort of news hook he needs to pull himself in from the edge:

Second, RussiaRussiaRussia. Maddow is a moderator, so full compliance will be expected and enforced. (I suppose “Putin” should figure in drinking games as well.

Good luck, America! Readers, enjoy!

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Synoia

    You’d be wise to take a couple of dozen drinks in advance. It many be difficult to keep up in real time.

  2. JohnnyGL

    This is Gabbard’s chance to take on a Russia-gater directly, if she chooses to do so. No other candidate has been more resistant to the Russia-gate story than Gabbard.

    I’m curious if she decides to go hard against Maddow’s craziness.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      The only way Gabbard will get to speak will be if one of the other candidates donates a little chunk of his/her time to Gabbard.

      The only person who might even THINK of doing that would be Sanders. After a time of Gabbard being relentlessly ignored, Sanders could wait till called on and say, ” you know, people have had a chance to hear from me tonight. But no one has had a chance to hear anything Gabbard has to say. I wonder what Gabbard thinks about ( whatever the topic is). I donate this turn of mine to her.”

      If Sanders has any people reading this live-blog, and Sanders’ people think this is a good idea, they can get word of it back to Sanders right there in real-space real-time.

      1. Geo

        I’m sure they’ll ask Tulsi a question like: “Why do you support tyrants?” or “What compromat does Putin have on you?” then give her five seconds to answer before cutting her mike and going to commercial.

  3. beth

    Where do I find the debate w/o paying for it. I don’t have a tv.
    I’m having trouble finding it. Never have before.

        1. beth

          I tried googling the debate several times in dif ways. I clicked all the nbc and msmbc and youtube and none worked. I had to click on a more defined link live the Rev’s above. Also, if I tried to select a dif tab during the commercial I lost my link to the debate.
          One page I got listed all the cable links and the monthly cost of each.They expected me to sign up for a monthly TV charge really?

          I hated to see Gabbard so overlooked. She handled it well as anyone could.

    1. Laughingsong

      “Free markets” and similar Miltonisms are too much for a chug, they require you mainline that Martini… oy I am so not making it to work tomorrow…

    2. beth

      Cory Booker voted against allowing Americans to buy RX in Canada and now he says it is against letting pharma sell at the high prices. He doesn’t think we noticed?

    1. polecat

      Is she cowardly lyin or what ?

      At least she has a brain .. unlike some of the other contestants.

  4. ChiGal in Carolina

    I am liking Warren’s emphasis on systemic and structural change as well as corruption.

  5. ChrisPacific

    If at any point we get into a neocon dick-measuring contest, such as who will be toughest on Iran, then either take a drink or play a few bars of “Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better).”

  6. ChrisAtRU

    Wow … amazing to see post 2016 election cycle that errrrbody’s talking about wealth concentration … not all are sincere but … wow … thanks Bernie …

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        She did not crawfish, but I would still like to see her explictly endorse a bill by name. This debate doesn’t have any “path to” stuff, but it’s still out there….

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          As a Louisiana Cajun, can you not say crawfish and pelosi in the same sentence…

          Thankssssss, dat would be grrrrrrrreat ;-)

    1. ChrisAtRU

      Did you check the look on Booker’s face when Warren explained that the business model of the Insurance industry is “to collect as much as they can in premiums and pay as little as they can [to providers]”? ;-)

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Beto does seem a little “narrow between the eyes.” I wish he’d break into Spanish more. I’d just hate to think that earlier moment was canned.

      2. Annib

        And Beto breaks into Spanish again.
        Ok I get it, but it seems somewhat phony .

        Gabbard has spoken twice. Edwards five, by my count. Klonachar four, others three. Tulsi is being squeezed out at this point

      3. beth

        As someone who has been critical of Beto, I will say that he has improved his speaking ability, although it is still a little forced. He and his wife have been on the charter school movement. Also, I don’t think he is really into health care, it suddenly became important when he decided to run. In the beginning he was passionate about anything except being happy go lucky and being grateful to big oil.

    1. beth

      I think you are saying she is not charismatic. She knows that is a little reticent because of that.

      So you want your presidents to be charismatic and forceful. If she has passed 200 bills to improve our country, I’ll drink to that.

      1. nippersmom

        But has she? She may have passed 200 bills but I am skeptical as to how many of them improved our country.

  7. Lambert Strether Post author

    Warren #MedicareForAll.

    Medical bills -> bankruptcy even with insurance.

    Health Care is a basic human right.

    Notably, none of that “path to” crap.

  8. dcblogger

    I am following this on Twitter, and I can’t tell who is having a good night, except mebbe Warren. Usually Twitter is indicative of these events, but tonight there are too many Trump trolls to judge.

  9. Lambert Strether Post author

    Warren, waiting sharklike to jump in, overrides the others, and…

    The insurance companies “sucked” $23 billion in profit out of the system before you get to overhead….

  10. antidlc

    i don’t think they are giving everyone a chance to weigh in.

    I think the moderators need to do a better job letting everyone have a chance to talk.

  11. Earl Erland

    Corey Booker wants to appoint Judges to implement legislation that he does not propose.

    I might have not heard this correctly, but what I heard Gabbard say is we attacked those who attacked us on 9/11. It’s an NBC feed, so it may not be my ears, but GE’s feed.

    Once again the Dems are virtue signaling on reproductive rights. Warren calls for federal legislation. I heard Pelosi and Hoyer fart in unison.

    Pharmaceutical companies are to blame for acting like the rest of rapacious capitalists. Something!!!! needs to be done.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Something!!!! needs to be done.

      That’s true. The issue of vivid descriptions of problems and solutions that are not at all proportionate to the scale of the problem is not unique to Warren.

      1. Carey

        Yeah, team dem have all learned well from Bubba Clinton. “I feel your pain! [and I’m not going to do a damn thing about it!]”

  12. andrwrf

    you can see clear favorability for Warren, especially when they reference her in the questions asked to other candidates.

  13. Chris

    Fun feed to follow for this:

    Michelle Malkin

    So far nothing I’m seeing or hearing is changing my thesis. The set up and the story tonight are all to help Warren. Tomorrow the set-up and the story will be how Sanders is irrelevant and getting too much coverage given his position in the polls.

      1. Chris

        We could also do better. But we won’t. And if it’s Trump vs. Warren, Trump will way her alive.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          we shouldn’t buy into the establishment’s weaponization of Warren against Sanders or do the vice versa ourselves.

          together they can grow the left.

          1. Chris

            Oh, I don’t buy into the “Warren vs. Sanders” Schtick anymore than I bought into the “Biden vs. Sanders” Schtick. But Warren is that most rare of unicorns, a moderate Republican. She held conservative economic and social positions on key topics for most of her life. She’s a capitalist to her bones, right? She is not going to grow the left.

            That doesn’t mean she couldn’t be a good president. It just means I have my doubts about her sincerity towards her current opinions and multiple plans. She doesn’t have enough enemies to make me think she’s serious about fixing the problems she says she’s going to fix. I think Team Blue thinks she will play ball and take orders. They’re probably right.

            Also, as far as I can tell, we haven’t markedly changed the law from when we busted people for the S&L scandal or Enron. We used to be able to put banksters in jail. Now we just don’t. So what good are her plans to pass new laws if we won’t use the current laws we have? I just don’t believe her. But, as you say, we could do a whole lot worse.

      2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        OMG I am so excited! We can get a Dear Leader whose selling point is they are “less worse”. Kind of like how Trump was less worse than Santorum.
        I can’t decide which would be faster, a plastic bag over my head or just running my truck in the garage with the doors shut

        1. Adams

          Probably plastic bag, but it depends on your truck. Contact me for specifics, if I have not emigrated

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      oddly, from the feed you posted:

      Tomorrow night will be rigged in favor of Bernie Sanders. I think they’re throwing Biden to the wind. In the end it’ll come down to Warren and Sanders and neither of them can beat Trump.

      lots of Trumpers on that feed!

  14. sleepy

    Many of these candidates seem to be mouthing leftwing positions. I trust none of them, but it’s a strategy I didn’t necessarily expect.

    1. dk

      > This isn’t a quiz show.

      Well it shouldn’t have been, but it really sounds and looks like one, with thee times the practical number of contestants, and the yee-haw elements in the audience seem to be on board.

      DNC showing its austerity chops. Let’s do this as efficiently as possible, Americans have jobs to get back to!

  15. Earl Erland

    Castro: fix the damn immigration system. Lifted from Whitmer. Still nothing. Marshall Plan for central america.

    Booker responds by speaking spanish. Anyone know Esperanto? Castro retorts repeal of section 1325. Booker says we need better Judges.

    DeBlasio does a crude imitation of a Progressive. Unfortunately, in English

    Beto tries to remember the first thing he would do, in his crude Spanish, his first day as El Presidente

    1. 3.14e-9

      Thanks, Earl! I had my back turned to the TV and could’ve sworn Booker responded in Spanish, but wasn’t sure. So wouldn’t it be fun to hear Booker and Beto slug it out en espanol?

  16. nippersmom

    It would be nice if someone would address changing our foreign policy so we stop creating situations in these asylum seekers countries that cause them to flee in the first place.

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          She nailed it when correcting Tim Ryan, “The Taliban did not commit 9/11, Al Quaeda did.*”


        2. dcrane

          Sent Tulsi more money today…we need her in this race even more now with the nation being forced to the brink of regime change war again.

  17. mistah charley, ph.d.

    what is the point of interspersing spanish and english in this sporadic way? surely if people need spanish there should be a channel with spanish voice-over

  18. anon in so cal

    My Twitter consensus is that the debate is rigged in favor or Warren. She’s had numerous turns, to Tulsi’s one.

  19. Clark

    So, re: M4A, did Booker renounce his ties to PhRMA? Did he say that? I thought I heard him talk about high drug prices but I tuned in late.

  20. SlayTheSmaugs

    I like Elizabeth Warren’s performance.

    I think Beto and Castro are demonstrating irrelevance

    I think Klobochar is being mediocre

    A couple of 1% people are having good moments but whether it registers is unclear

    I appreciate what DeBlasio has added so far, but he’s clearly irrelevant as a candidate.

    I find Booker hard to watch.

    I look forward to poll results from surveys done in mid-July.

      1. Which is worse - bankers or terrorists

        With all of the left wing ideas Warren is espousing she will have to court the military industrial complex in earnest to actually get the nomination. I bet she is planning her first Middle Eastern invasion right now.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Warren looked decent.

      De Blasio too.

      Gabbard looked a lil starstruck but nailed it.

      1. Yves Smith

        I hate to be critical but Warren has looked way way better on recent Senate videos.

        1. WTF with her hair? Any woman and even some men of the non-metrosexual persuasion would have noticed it looked dirty. And she had that distracting duck tail.

        2. Her makeup was bad. She looked older than usual and her color was flat. The networks pretty much always do makeup for talent, and the makeup artists ought to know the lighting and adjust accordingly. Did Warren have bad luck or worse get someone who had it in for her?

        1. Eduardo

          I have to agree. Plus, the background was more distracting behind her than other candidates. Maybe something to do with her height and where the colors changed behind her image. And, the purple jacket did not work against the background.

          Does not matter to me, at all, but I think it impacts the casual debate watcher.

        2. Carla

          Yes, I agree, Yves, Warren has looked way better. I thought she seemed querulous (“fretful, whining”) and frail. I’m afraid Trump would wipe the floor with her.

  21. Earl Erland

    De Blasio. Health care is good in Guantanamo. Does not comment on torture. I think the US already has that health plan.

    1. SlayTheSmaugs

      I’m not praising DeBlasio’s record, or suggesting that his performance will move the needle in polls. Just, in the dynamics of the night, I just appreciate him challenging people: ‘How can you defend the insurance industry’? And I appreciate his talking about what Democrats should stand for. Etc.

      1. Phenix

        Booker is a Clinton loyalist. He will support who the Clinton’s/DNC support…Elizabeth Warren. Or anyone but Bernie.

  22. Earl Erland

    inslee: dreamers can get a free college education in Washington state despite Trumps personal threats to me. I’ll take him out to an alley and give him the whatfor.

    1. Dita

      This is the sort of answer that makes people angry – the perception is that illegals have access to free college, free healthcare, etc at the expense of hard pressed citizens. DeBlasio Dan into this by offering a special i.d. card that included free access to assorted museums, all etc, that wasn’t originally including everyone. He corrected it quickly after bitter complaints but the damage was done.

    2. jrs

      you do realize bernie supports M4A for illegals right? Or do you think they should have medicine but not college?

      1. Phenix

        He supports a universal program that would include illegal immigrants just like you are covered in other countries with universal benefits.

      2. Yves Smith

        The argument for medical for “illegals” is that not taking care of them = a public health risk. What if we finally have that long expected outbreak of a super contagious disease, like Spanish flu lite or not so lite?

        1. Spring texan

          Britain’s NHS for decades treated everyone, certainly for emergencies. Very do-able. And you save overhead with no citizenship-provong. And reason is what Sanders said: “the undocumented are human beings.”

  23. andrwrf

    “what would you do on day one”
    “What would you do in the first 100 days”

    Has any administration followed through on what is obvious PR debate BS?

    1. Geo

      “On day one I will begin bombing campaigns over Pakistan.” – Obama

      He didn’t say that? Oops.

    2. KFritz

      As I recall, FDR moved decisively in his first 100 days, back before 100 days became a meme.

      James Polk almost always did what he said he’d do.

  24. Earl Erland

    Booker: I’ll secure ummm Iran

    Klobuchar: I can rhyme Iran and Uraniam. Anyone care for a pasty? They are tasty

    1. Adam

      Considering how clear cut she is on the nature of the regime change, I was disappointed that she didn’t verbalize it when talking on Iran and tie it back to our nasty history in the area.

      1. Porteño

        well said. she had an opportunity to tie together immigration with her brand of foreign policy – anti regime change/noninterventionalism (to include Venezuela, how quickly we forgot with Iran) in central america when that issue was being discussed.

        missed opportunity – the moderators obviously aren’t going to lob her a question there, so she really should have inserted herself in there. i think it would have been enormous.

    2. dk

      Easily the least nervous layer candidate, and relies less on pandering than most (so far, fingers crossed). Not really a surprise to anyone following her. I hope she gets a boost in July polling as SlayTheSmaugs mentioned.

  25. Earl Erland

    Gabbard: talking in a way about Iran that will get Clintonites and Maddowites asking about Putin’s influence. I swear NBC changed an answer.

  26. m. sam

    Haven’t been watching closely, but every time I pay attention they all seem to be in agreement on everything and stating the same opinions as one another. Have any of them actually distinguished themselves from their rivals? (Or is that maybe the point? They want to leave the impression democrats all really believe the same thing, so you can just forget all about that silliness Bernie Sanders?)

    1. sleepy



      .@NBCNews and @MSNBC should be ashamed of themselves for having such a horrible technical breakdown in the middle of the debate. Truly unprofessional and only worthy of a FAKE NEWS Organization, which they are!

      1. JohnnyGL

        I bet Trump told Pompeo to have the CIA hack NBC and screw with the debates…he’s hoping Maddow will blame the Russians!

  27. JohnnyGL

    Booker says he won’t get back into the Iran deal….he’d try to get a better one!

    Who’s that sound like?!?!?!

  28. Dwight

    Gabbard did well on Iran and regime change war in general. I’m glad she is on the stage.

    I hope she brings up the costs of war again as part of her response on climate change. Military has huge carbon emissions and money spent on war is money not spent on emissions reduction and adaptation to the climate change already baked in.

  29. Clark

    This has been said before, but I really hate the whole unserious gameshow/sports spectacle that these “debates” have become. And the primaries are so far away! …

    But I guess the spectacle is what the people want. However, I do like the translucent podiums. …

  30. Art

    Anyone hear or know what the mics were picking up during the technical problem a few minutes ago? Anything scandalous? I couldn’t really hear what was being said.

  31. Christopher Fay

    There’s polling and then there’s polling. Does the candidates real polling say something about M4A that Warren is supporting the term clearly tonight? In this primary the idea of middle of the road isn’t going to hold any ground, are we finally at this point?

  32. JohnnyGL

    DeBlasio: I’m raising a black son and I’ve got to teach him to be careful with police.

    That’s ultimate team dem….he’s the mayor and he’s somehow powerless to fix the police in NYC!!!

    BOLD LEADERSHIP!!! It definitely doesn’t involve investigating, prosecuting and firing anyone in the police force!!!

      1. JohnnyGL

        The mayor can’t possibly do anything about the police in his city! It’s not like it’s a position with real power!!! The police are just kind of on auto-pilot. But, we’re totally living in a democracy and our government is accountable to the voters. And we definitely have strong rule-of-law here, too!

        No one is above the law…except cops who murder people while caught on video. They get a pass.

        1. Dita

          But but…The cops were scurred , they’re entitled to “protect” themselves from nonviolent, unarmed, overweight asthmatics

        2. Lukas Bauer

          Would make sense in my country.

          All our police is federal police, and the only politician to boss them around is the secretary of the interior, who until recently was basically a neo nazi.

          And, while there are problems, even under him our police did not make it a habit to murder unarmed people in the streets.

          Maybe cities having their own independent pice departments actually makes things worse?

  33. Earl Erland

    Climate change and big beach homes Waiting for someone to say that the insurance you are buying that is subsidized by the government is not adequately priced. Then baldy proves why you would never trust a Dimmocrat to deal with the horror of climate change.

  34. Earl Erland

    Klobuchar: Estoy woman senator Trump sucks African American Women are being killed in maternity wards. I will stop that.

  35. 3.14e-9

    All you need to know about Inslee’s commitment to the environment:

    I was among those who wrote to his office, arguing on scientific evidence against methanol as a “greener” fuel. His office was uniquely condescending. He ignored tribal protests. Then he decides to run for president and suddenly sees the scientific evidence.

    Same thing with super delegates.Bernie won Washington something like 71%. Inslee endorsed Hillary anyway. His attitude was nothing short of “F you.” If he doesn’t listen to voters in his state, he’s not going to listen to voters in the country. I’d vote for the airhead before I’d vote for this guy.

    1. Wellstone's Ghost

      As a resident of Seattle I totally agree with you. Inslee is corporate DNC all the way. Even after they told him to STFU about climate change. Jay Inslee’s idea of leadership is to lick his finger and see which way the wind is blowing.

        1. Sharkleberry Fin

          To be fair, the hijackers did receive their training in Afghan camps. The Taliban gave refuge to Usama Bin Laden after Sudan, and the rest of the Mid East, grew tired of his antics. It is from Afghanistan, where AQ was able to fund and execute the plan, because Pakistan used the Taliban as a threat to destabilize India. On the other hand, the hijackers lived in the US for a year, and the command team / pilots spent their adult lives in the West. I may even be as so bold as to say 9-11 was an act of domestic terrorism. In the vain of the Red Army Faction being pissed-off kids in Germany, trained in PFLP camps of Syria, and ultimately funded by the Soviet Union.

          The current Afghan strategy, for better or for worse, is to wait out the Taliban affiliates. Because every insurgency devolves into a [weaker] criminal network, whether or not the insurgency’s political objectives are realized. More compellingly, at least for CentCom, Afghanistan is a useful outpost from which to conduct operations against Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and China. Not to mention following opium, the must-have drug for any warlord, along the Silk Road.

          1. Anon

            The “Afghan strategy” is in full violation of International law. But, who the hell cares about “the law” when you have an indifferent population willing to spend billions on foreign wars but unwilling to spend on local social programs that they themselves avail. Political idiocy abounds in the land of the Free.

            (Given the SCourt recent decision on gerrymandering and the institutional gerrymander (EC) of Presidential elections, the idiocy is maintained by a minority of the population.)

          2. rd

            I think the Taliban have been thoroughly vaccinated against having another al Qaeda show up in Afghanistan looking for safe haven. If they take over everything in Afghanistan, they will just shut down their borders (except for opium traffic) and just go back to a millenium ago.

    1. JohnnyGL

      She seriously just verbally spanked Tim Ryan like a naughty child on the issue of Afghanistan. Some quotes:

      Ryan: “We must stay engaged or Taliban will grow and take over
      Gabbard: “Tabilan was there before us, they’ll be there after us.”
      Ryan: “But they attacked us on 9/11”
      Gabbard: “No, Al Qaeda attacked us on 9/11”
      Ryan: “But they helped Al Qaeda”
      Gabbard: “Saudi Arabia is actually their biggest supporter”

      I was seriously jumping up and down and cheering!

      1. JohnnyGL

        Big FAIL from the Guardian’s coverage!!!

        Tim Ryan says it is important to stay engaged. You don’t just pull out troops. Tulsi Gabbard hits back – she was in the military – and seizes on his stay engaged comment. We need to get out of the Middle East. It descends into a rather petty spat.

        Couldn’t be more wrong…

      2. Summer

        Gabbard: “Saudi Arabia is actually their biggest supporter.”

        Sorry, I missed that part.
        Did moderators change the subject right after that?

        1. jrs

          Well I have no idea about the interests of NBC (but they probably align) but actually it seems Dem orthodoxy to hate the Saudi’s now or at least pretend to (not that they don’t deserve it of course).

          Ever since Trump started cozying up to the Saudi’s, plus Khashoggi, Dems suddenly became extreme critics.

    1. nippersmom

      That was a truly terrible answer. If I knew nothing else about him, that response alone would have eliminated him from consideration.

  36. Earl Erland

    Dim Ryan Full support for endless war. Criticize Trump. Dead man walking into a faceless desert w/o names and water in Iran

  37. JohnnyGL

    Tim Ryan seriously just said “we have to stay engaged” in Afghanistan. He’s ready to make it the 51st state!

    1. anonymous

      “Engagement” is a keyword!!!! Drinks all around!!! Its all about the benjamins johnnygl!

      1. polecat

        I’m gonna pass on the shots and just eat a MoDo bar before crawling under the bed .. well, not really.
        Good night all.

    1. Joe Well

      Bill DeBlaz the only one to touch on Russiagate.

      By the way, has New York State ever produced top-tier presidential candidates (no, Clinton doesn’t count)?

      1. Jessica

        Robert Kennedy was a senator from New York when he ran in 1968.
        Al Smith
        FDR (as Lambert mentioned)
        Nelson Rockefeller
        Giuliani {you didn’t say good candidates, just top tier}
        Cuomo the Elder would have been.
        Seward (rival to Lincoln, bought Alaska from Russia, governor of new York)

      1. Clark

        Tulsi is merciless when someone tries to take over her wheelhouse. Ryan looked like he’d been clocked for a second.

        1. Carey

          Yes, that was good. “Just the facts.”

          Can these “folks” (eg Ryan) really be this unprepared, or is it just MIC water-carrying?

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      only diBlasio out of all of them named Russia as the biggest foreign threat to the US.

      I’ll take it as the smackdown of Maddow I was hoping to see ;-)

  38. Carey

    Gabbard seems sincere, and I can recognize a fellow introvert when I see one, too.

    Not easy.

  39. chaco

    Booker, Castro and Gabbard held their own.Ryan, Deblasio and the bald, red head guy at the end on the right were no-shows. O’Rourke and Warren are too ungainly and weird to rise to the top. Klobachur a nullity. Thanks for playing our game.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      for an introvert, which pretty much rules out charisma, she did pretty damn well I thought

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        My friend, who hadnt seen Gabbard before, thought she did well and even put her in her Top 5. I corrected her, saying that the DNC doesn’t take kindly to Anti War candidates.

        My favorite part of the debate was Tulsi being a BADASS.

      2. Yves Smith

        She is exceedingly good looking and even more so by political standards, which for a lot of people is plenty charismatic. And she has a nice voice.

        Plus her introversion, or perhaps more accurately, mannered-ness, is her using military-speak. People who have spent a lot of time in the service but not gotten to a policy/advisory level (think Wilkerson) often use language in a way that screams “active duty soldier”. Anyone in a community where you run into people in or ex service would recognize it. So I think she comes off a lot better to real people than the glossy top 10% types would ever understand.

        1. Oh

          She speaks well when she gets the opportunity and has clear policy positions unlike most of the others except for Sanders Warren. And she’s a beautiful person in all ways. She’s the only cadidate that I would vote for.

    2. ocop

      Unfortunately have to agree (although she was best shutting Ryan down on Afganistan). Hopefully she can sharpen the debate communication for the next one. Too many platitudes in her limited opportunities.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I don’t think she was above the baseline for platitudes. I do feel she missed a chance to hammer home her win on Afghanistan in her closing, which was platitudes.

        1. Dr. Robert

          I think she was trying to avoid being a one-note candidate. Whether that’s a good strategy or not is another question. She’s a strong personality if she can manage to get a media airing.

  40. Joe Well

    Bernie campaign sent out a solicitation email:

    We’re at the halfway point of the first debate and this much is clear:

    It’s a debate on the issues Bernie popularized — the issues people called “too radical” and “fringe” for a long, long time.

    Candidates are actually talking about raising taxes on the rich and on corporations that don’t pay their fair share. They’re talking about raising the minimum wage to a living wage. They’re talking about ideas like free college and guaranteeing health care as a right in this country.

    Make no mistake about it — they are talking about these issues because we have led the way.

    But we can’t stop now. And Bernie can’t do it alone:

    Can you make a $27 contribution to our campaign before this debate ends and before Bernie takes the stage tomorrow night?

    A lot of candidates are talking like Bernie, but what makes us different is that we know it will take a political revolution in this country to make these ideas happen.

    Thank you for being a part of that.

    Not me. Us.

    Faiz Shakir
    Campaign Manager

  41. Louis Fyne

    Any more Spanish soundbite patronizing and Trump has his second term locked. Identity politics is going to self-destruct the American left/liberals/progressives.

    Just saying. Understandably, your mileage may vary.

      1. Joe Well

        30% of that vote went to Trump last time, and if they keep this up, that figure won’t change.

        They seem to keep forgetting that most Latinos may be immigrants but most Latino *voters* are not immigrants and may not like being pandered to in this way (though admittedly, many do).

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Seems like the media campaign really cranked up. I don’t want to sound too callous, but ever since the Iraq ventilator babies, I’ve never trusted imagery of dead children. Syrian fakes reinforced it, and looky here, there was such a photo from the Mexican border a day or two ago.* So that’s the focus of the faction of the political class running the debates, and hence the focus on the dustup between Castro and Beto (though I grant Castro is more impressive than Beto, that’s not a high bar).

          NOTE * That is, I don’t believe for a minute this is organic.

      2. Arizona Slim

        One of my best Tucson friends is a native of Mexico and a naturalized American citizen. She’s a Republican through and through, and, yes, she speaks Spanish.

        But don’t try pandering for her vote. Just don’t.

  42. Lambert Strether Post author

    My hot take:

    Cory Booker
    Bill de Blasio +
    Julián Castro +
    John Delaney
    Tulsi Gabbard ++
    Jay Inslee +
    Amy Klobuchar +
    Beto O’Rourke
    Tim Ryan
    Elizabeth Warren

    + Helped themselves

    – Hurt themselves

    Gabbard (++) Makes her foreign policy views sound commonsensical

    O’Rourke (–) Narrow between the eyes

    Warren (–) For whatever reason, she didn’t dominate. I don’t think the moderators helped, but she didn’t jump in

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      hmm I thought she got a lot of airtime and was very strong without being strident

      bet she gets a bump

      but Tulsi should get more of one, given probably many didn’t even know her before


      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I was multitasking, so I heard tone and airtime much for than substance. I thought that Warren had a strong opening, but I expected (given her debate background) that she’d dominate. I didn’t hear — did I miss it? — her on foreign policy or climate. Those are big topics to miss. It’s no excuse to say it’s not her turn. Break in!

        Klobuchar has this kinda weird asymmetrical look (although none of them looked especially good). However, I liked her Midwestern affect, especially in the closing. She is, as the saying goes, “comfortable in her own skin.” So she helped herself. That doesn’t mean I agree with her!

        1. jrs

          it’s why I have a hard time getting into Tulsi, I agree with her on foreign policy, I may just not be prioritizing it to the degree she does (and rationally I don’t’ know why, ok maybe it’s not quite as big as environmental collapse, but otherwise it IS a big issue, I don’t know why I can’t prioritize it, I suspect it’s because on some level I don’t think it’s a winnable fight, we couldn’t even stop the Iraq war, but then as if any decent fight was not long odds).

          But I think she did really well, came off strong, as a fighter.

    2. Phenix

      They protected Warren on immigration, foreign policy and her flip flop on M4A. I hope she has to face off with Tulsi and Bernie next time. She’ll have no where to hide.

      It also seems like they wanted to resurrect Booker. I think he’ll be out soon if he does not get a major bump from this debate.

      1. jrs

        and actually protected Warren on climate change too, although she would have just said corruption causes climate change or something.

      2. Joe Well

        It seemed almost like he was bragging that the city he was mayor of still has a major gun violence problem.

        If he had moved heaven and earth to stop that, maybe he could raise that subject, but I don’t think he did much in Newark in retrospect.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > They protected Warren on immigration, foreign policy and her flip flop on M4A

        Protecting her by not asking questions seems an odd strategy. Why not throw softballs?

    3. Joe Well

      Oh, come on! Tim Ryan was debate roadkill, which was amazing considering how little time any of them had on stage and how low a profile he had going into it.

    4. Levi

      One of your minus signs for Warren should specifically be for her answer on the gun control question. Really Liz? Your solution is the one solution that doesn’t address the problem at all but that guarantees more jobs and public money flows to the professional class? Why am I suspicious that every one of her other plans does the exact same?

      I really like Tulsi’s views and she has my vote as long as she’s in, but I don’t think she did so well. For me her only shining moment was the exchange with Ryan on Afghanistan and she got cut off by the moderators when she was just getting going, though it was nice (and a surprise) to hear the glitterati cheering her points. I think interview-Tulsi needs to show up at the next debate, less rehearsed, more off-the-cuff. Still hoping for a post debate bump to maybe 5%?

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > One of your minus signs for Warren should specifically be for her answer on the gun control question. Really Liz? Your solution is the one solution that doesn’t address the problem at all but that guarantees more jobs and public money flows to the professional class?

        One the one hand, it was awful. A study, really? OTOH… Americans tend to think there’s always a solution. Maybe there isn’t one.

      2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        Tbh, as a former enlisted soldier good at ‘boards,’ Gabbard acts like shes permanently talking to Generals during a review.

        I think shes a perfect candidate for Military Fans and appeals to the anti war libertarians the ‘Left’ should be allying with to bring down The House of the Horse and Elephant.

    5. nippersmom

      I’d have to give Klobuchar -. As a native of the Midwest, I found her “I’m not part of the ‘in’ crowd” shtick disingenuous. Anyone who thinks an incremental approach to healthcare is bold is part the establishment. I can’t think of a single answer she gave that had me nodding in agreement, or that even set her apart from the crowd (at least not in a positive way).

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I am a native of the midwest. I’m only talking tone, trying to throw everything I know away (and react like a normal person).

        Adding, I should really give Warren credit for raising her hand on the #MedicareForAll question. All her crawfishing is on the record, so that won’t go away, but she did raise her hand, so kudos. But if the criterion is “Did she help herself,” and I’m forgetting everything I know about policy, that doesn’t matter.

  43. Fiery Hunt

    Gotta say DeBlasio had the best debate night.
    Ain’t gonna get him schit but…

    Tulsi proved she’s a one-item shop…going nowhere but thanks for calling out the Blob.

    Warren was fine but not a big national blip.

    Sanders vs. Biden.
    There’s your election, right there.

  44. RopeADope

    I am somewhat surprised that no one gave the correct answer on Mitch McConnell. You request that Ron Paul move to Kentucky and primary the Grim Reaper out of the Senate.

  45. Conchobar

    Loved the post-debate interview with Warren. Brian Williams says they need to “take care of some business” and will be right back.
    Anti-M4A ad. And we’re back!

  46. nippersdad

    FWIW, my take on the debates were that Sanders was everpresent, to the obvious dismay of the guy on the far right who used the phrase “impossible promises” as a leitmotif.

    Tulsi walked away with it for her slam of Ryan on Afghanistan, with a close second to Castro talking about Black Lives Matter and “saying their names.” Beto would have been far more memorable had he jumped up onto his lectern and sang God Bless America whilst gesticulating wildly.

    I’m not sure why the rest of them were there. Credibility being the coin of the realm, they might have been better off going to the beach.

    1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      A Booker, Beto, Castro, and Amy pump and dump scheme?

      Gabbard got more time than i thought, and Warren couldve dominated the minutes had she talked for more than half the debate.

      1. Cal2

        Tulsi’s being deliberately ignored of course.
        BUT, when she speaks, people pay more attention and are more likely to remember it.

        She did well. I actually was impressed with a couple of the also rans, but Bernie+Tulsi is the winning ticket against Trump.

  47. SlayTheSmaugs

    I think the debate was a good beginning; the candidates performed unevenly, some much better than others, and that’s helpful.

    I wonder how many people saw some/all of it or will in the next few days through clips etc. I see graphics of who got googled most, but have no idea how the absolute # of googlers stacks up to other debates.

    I don’t know that much ‘news’ was made, and given that Biden & Bernie & Butti are on tonight, it may be that last night just vanishes.

    I’d like to see whether there’s any debate impact on polls or fundraising that lasts into mid-July.

    What I most appreciated about Warren was her consistent problem definition in structural terms; problem definition sets the range of solutions. It’s why Bernie’s re-definition of the problems has been so powerful in changing the range of possible solutions. So I’m less worried about Warren’s being less bold on solutions. Presidents have more impact on problem definition/issue framing and prioritization than the do on actual legislative content. I was less visually put off in some ways than others, but I didn’t like the eagerness to shine, the I know I’m a good debater, I’m going to really answer well vibe in her face. Even as her answers weren’t patronizing or elitist, there was a hint of a risk of visual off-putting there that will probably never rise to an Al Gore sigh, but still wasn’t great. I dunno how much it hurt that she disappeared in the second half because I dunno how many people stayed through the end.

    What I appreciated most about Tulsi was her foreign policy sanity obviously founded on knowledge and experience. Plus she has charisma.

    I thought the guy from Maryland wouldn’t get much traction with the primary electorate, but I think New England Republican friends of mine might have really liked him.

    I thought Ryan was doing ok until Tusli owned him.

    I was much less impressed with Castro and Booker, maybe because I don’t see either as serious candidates. 2020 won’t be won on immigration and compassion, I don’t think the primary will either. I think Warren is closer to the right zeigeist in focusing on corruption, though corruption isn’t evocative like The Swamp. She also has the advantage of being not-Bernie–I have Facebook 10%er friends who hate Bernie beyond reason but think favorably of her.

    I think Castro is kind of hard to look at and Booker always seems a cross between used car salesman and Hollywood starlet.

    DeBlasio’s good entertainment value and message reinforcement for the problem definition, but he’s not a serious candidate.

    I agree with someone who said Klobachar is running for Biden’s VP. If Biden implodes, not sure any other ‘top tier’ candidate would consider her VP material, and she doesn’t seem plausible as a primary victor.

    Beto I think had the worst night of all. He seemed so empty.

  48. John

    I did not watch the debate, but I did just read the live blog from beginning to end. Given how the media has tried its best to deny that Tulsi Gabbard exists, I was pleased to see the impact she made. The note about her topping the Google searches is significant. I suppose we can expect the DNC et al to redouble their efforts to exclude her.

    Sanders- Gabbard

    1. Heliopause

      If you look at online polls, social media chatter, Google searches, etc., recognizing their limitations, Tulsi was one of the big winners, if not THE big winner, last night. If you consume elite media news stories and pundit reaction there is a near 100% ban on even mentioning her at all, positive, negative, or neutral. It’s a remarkable contrast.

      1. hemeantwell

        Didn’t watch but greatly appreciate this thread as a summary.

        I am not at all surprised that Gabbard’s performance barely got footnote status at the Times.

  49. rod

    I watched(really just listened so as not be visually distacted), on the even though it distorted the faces a bit.– good viewing overall–2nd half B team distorted the prior format of A team thus becoming more selective in who they directed to; imo–also–did anyone notice that many audience chairs were empty with some rows having ‘folks’ in every other chair??–
    lastly-imo-half of Bernie Sanders Cabinet and Advisors were on that stage and I think I will see the other half tonight because everyone recognized and acknowledged wealth disparity in it’s many forms and manifestations is shredding our humanity.
    Even Rep Delaney-who was delegated to prop status–

  50. Eureka Springs

    I know Yves is beyond busy, y’all loathe requests and there is much time ahead in this primary season, but I’ve often wondered these last few weeks what your latest thoughts on Warren might be.

    I don’t get any TV channels nor can I stream, so these threads are greatly appreciated. Thanks to you all.

    My thoughts haven’t changed – Tulsi and Bernie are the only dynamic duo who might govern with some decency, competence, and beat Trump. No one else in the Dem line-up should be allowed within a hundred miles of the red phone.

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