Live Blog: Democrat Presidential Primary Debate #2 in Miami (Second Night)

Whoops, sorry for the early posting. Military time always gets me; I’ve missed trains this way! I did the time arithmetic twice, too! –lambert

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 live blog from the first debate, and here is a cheat sheet.

* * *

For me, the last debate had several unexpected turns: I expected Warren to dominate, but the moderators protected her on climate change and foreign policy. Will the moderators protect Biden, who seems to be avoiding press scrutiny?

Nor did I expect Beto to break into Spanish (an issue in California), and I also didn’t expect immigration policy and the border to emerge as a top issue (although I suppose that should have been obvious from the media/NGO build-up beforehand).

Of course, that segment was pure virtue signaling, since in less than 24 hours, this headline appeared: “House passes $4.6 billion border bill as leaders cave to moderate Democrats and GOP. Since the “Democrats will debate on doorstep of Miami’s black community”, a similar issue on which the Democrats could virtue signal on and then not deliver would be reparations; if that happens, we might get an indication of how Sanders and his staffers are working together.

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. The Rev Kev

    Now lets see who gets the most Google search traffic during the debate and how Sanders does in it. Hopefully Google has fixed their search algorithm so there won’t be another embarrassing result like happened yesterday with Gabbard.

    1. Monty

      An inside source tells me most of last night’s debate searches were actually variations of “Tulsi Gabbard Bikini Pics”.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Nah, it was actually “Tulsi Gabbard Bikini with M60 Pics”. Second most was “Beto O’Rourke/Cory Booker with Spanish Phrasebook Pics’.

      2. Geo

        If true it’s not ideal but it worked for Sarah Palin. One minute all the old white guys I knew were sharing photoshopped bikini pix of her, the next they were diehard Tea Party loons ranting about the Kenyan Marxist coming for their guns and bibles. If Tulsi can rally the nation’s idiot bros and lonely old men around her policies and ideas that would be wonderful. Never underestimate the power of sex appeal on the minds of men. It can make us walk off a cliff and not have a second thought about it. Sad, but true.

        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Gabbard is sexy. Those black pants fit mighty nice. Heres to hoping Duffel Blog riffs on that.


    I wonder how Ms. Hillary Clinton feels right now…hmmm

    From twitter I can see Gabbard’s comments about war really got a lot of attention.

      1. inode_buddha

        That is an excellent idea, we should all make sure there are independent recordings of bernie when he is before the public. Do an end run around the media.

    1. Michael

      That’s 75,836 unique page views. The stream itself only pulled in around 17k people, and a third left when they found out the pre-debate show consisted of a bunch of jawing staffers.

      The campaign seems to be missing the point of the platform, which is one-on-one interaction. If instead, Sanders had somehow been placed in front of a cheap webcam with a headset on, the viewers would’ve lost their minds. Well, there’s always next time.

      Also, the stream started 15 minutes late, played the US national anthem, then (hilariously) 10 seconds of the Soviet (or Russian?) anthem. The dangers of Youtube autoplay.

      1. Monty

        Yes, it would be much better if Bernie got on there personally and live chatted about current events, setting the record straight and re framing issues which are getting distorted in the MSM. Similar to how Trump uses Twitter. This first stream was not what I hoped for at all. The presenters were anodyne, nobody wants to watch another young turks style thing. The chat was funny though!

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Bernies going after gamers…

      Smart Move. They can help mobilize in the upcoming months.

  3. Chris

    Let’s see if they can keep Bernie in the same cage they put Tulsi in. I can’t imagine they’ll be helpful or even polite to him. I expect “debate” questions such as:

    Senator Sanders, are you current in your communist party dues?
    Bernie, when did you last speak to Vladimir Putin?
    How often are you wrong about FDR?
    Is your wife still laundering money for beach houses through small liberal arts colleges?
    Do you know how to pay for anything, or do you regularly leave restaurants without paying your bill?
    Bonus question: explain why anyone should continue to pay attention to you when your views are shared by everyone on stage?

    1. Geo

      This one: “explain why anyone should continue to pay attention to you when your views are shared by everyone on stage?“

      This is the one that baffles me. In any slightly sane society a person that transformed the entire platform of a political party overnight would be the obvious choice for leader of that party. Only the Dems are dumb/arrogant enough to portray that person as a fringe loon and rally behind Biden who hasn’t had a relevent idea in 40 years.

      1. Chris

        I don’t know either. But it’s been the main stream party line for a while now. “Bernie should drop out because he’s old, white, male, and his opinions are not unique. He’s not even a real Democrat. And he doesn’t support the party. So why is he running for president as a Democrat and picking fights with Biden/Warren/Beto?”

        The one that gets me is Bernie the Bomber. Somehow when the pundit class talks about Bernie and Tulsi, it’s only to mention how they coddle dictators.

        1. Geo

          Coddle (the wrong) dictators. Real Dems coddle our CIA approved dictators. Bernie and Tulsi coddle those filthy democratically elected “dictators” that want to retain natural resources for the benefit of their own nations and not for the enrichment of multinationals. They’re monsters!

          Seriously though, only the Dems would have a superstar like Bernie and put all their efforts into sabotaging him. Even the RNC and right wing media was willing to suck it up and get behind Trump when it was clear he was going to win and had a huge base of support. But, as is said often now, “the Dems would rather lose to a Republican than win with a progressive”.

          1. rowlf

            Is the CIA’s purpose to protect national security or financial security? They seem confused at times on their purpose and if they were disbanded would the country notice? Doesn’t the Defense Intelligence Agency do most of the heavy security lifting?


              Protecting Big Finance is only the latest thing.

              Looking at the CIA actions from the Dulles Brothers onwards, I would say that it is to protect and support all members of the Oligarchy of Money from the 1% to Big Oil to Big Finance from that pesky Democratic Government and the troublesome Rule of Law.

              Actually protecting the United States and never mind Americans themselves is like #47 on its to-do list.

              1. Bill Carson

                Did you notice the shift in Bernie’s message tonight? He said they needed to have the guts to take on Wall Street, the Military Industrial Complex, and Big Pharma. I didn’t hear him complain about big banks. I think he’s been compromised!

            2. rob

              the cia has been the same thing as wall st , since the beginning. . From the days of wild bill donovan and the OSS. Wall street families, have been the decision makers at the cia.
              After all…. they figure their security IS national security.
              They have all been council on foreign relations members from the beginning, and/or other establishment card carrying members…
              So what are they protecting us from anyway? The FBI?(as most terrorist attacks on this country@2/3 involved FBI informants and or their counterparts)

      2. Inode_buddha

        The reason why is simple: the party is not about politics, nor is it about the will of the people or anything else. It is about power and money. It is about keeping the donors happy. It is ethically bankrupt. That is what their true purpose is. Sanders and Gabbard rock the boat and the party establishment will never forgive them for that.

        1. polecat

          Then the Democrat Party has no recourse but to DIE, taking with them their powdered wigs and rouge into oblivion !

    2. shinola

      In spite of the short time they gave her, I think Tulsi punched well above her weight.
      I was pleasantly surprised.

      Suppose any of tonights “no names” can do as well?

      1. Chris

        I really don’t know. I think people will take enough time to paint Bernie as a front runner so that they then comment on how he didn’t meet expectations for his debate performance. And then they’ll go back to ignoring him and Tulsi. I don’t think any of these no-name tonight are worth a second look.

    3. sleepy

      If anything, the msm appears to say that Biden is the tough guy who can give Trump a rough time.

      Maybe Bernie will come out like a wildman and throw a chair Biden’s way to prove that wrong. j/k of course.

  4. richard

    have the words “but what do you say to…?” ever been followed by anything intelligent in the history of people talking?

  5. Bernalkid

    Seems like Biden has internalized the decaying petrochemical landscape from the railcar DC to Wilmington I guess. Sad.

  6. nippersmom

    Glad Sanders refused to let her framing of the question about Medicare for all resulting in increased taxes stand.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      yeah, but he needs to quit with the repetitive old testament exhortations.

      thank God she gave him a second chance to answer the question, cuz then at long last he said people WON’T PAY PREMIUMS OR COPAYS OR DEDUCTIBLES so even if their taxes go up they will pay LESS than they do now for healthcare

      he almost blew his chance to make that point

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        The stump speech sentences need to be cut down to phrases. It’s a different medium, and heaven help us, don’t we have twelve of these things to go?

  7. cripes

    At least Kamala pushed back against the ‘how will we pay for it” meme. Even if she doesn’t plan to do anything about it.

    But, no question, Bernie set the agenda for everyone.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      yeah, and that’s not gonna do it: it’s not just Bernie who is openly stating the last 40 years have got us where we are

  8. Knifecatcher

    Oh noes! The Republicans will call us socialists!

    News flash, Hick – THEY’LL DO THAT ANYWAY! They called frigging Obama a Socialist.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      I am still waiting to hear from all those tea party patriots about the deficit. You know the ones that that the media had on speed dial during the Obama administration. Where did you all go??

    1. Annieb

      Hickenlooper is known as Frackenlooper in Colorado. He supported oil and gas against citizen initiatives during his entire term as govenor

  9. cripes

    Capitalism is Okey-Dokey, but greed is bad?

    “Capitalism is the extraordinary belief that the nastiest of men for the nastiest of motives will somehow work together for the benefit of all.”

    1. richard

      the dumbest thing said so far
      no wait
      “pass the torch” “pass the torch”
      oh and biden responds and gets even stupider

  10. timotheus

    Why are there two empty suits from Colorado? Isn’t one enough?

    Gillibrand bulldozing in, trying to wedge herself into existence.

    Buttigeig starts speaking with “So.” Is that because he’s under 40?

    1. Bill Carson

      There are more than two empty suits from Colorado (my home state), but only two are on the stage right now.

    2. ChiGal in Carolina

      that’s a geek to layperson thing as far as I can tell. first noticed it in my sister, who is 50 and an astronomer. then I started hearing it from scientists being interviewed on shows like NOVA on PBS.

      1. Deschain

        This is exactly right. I’m guilty of this, 48 years old, and I have to do a lot of expert explaining to laypeople in my job.

        It’s condescending as heck and I should probably cut it out of my mannerisms.

        1. Bill Carson

          Nah, just wait. It’s okay to be condescending once you turn 50. It’s just unbecoming in whipper-snappers like Buttegeig.

  11. Patricia

    I’d decided that if Mayor Pete didn’t do a spanish bit, I’d not cross him off completely. But nope, he just had to do, didn’t he?

  12. cripes

    Yang just blanked out.

    Then said we’ll take money out of homeless services and health care?

    Replaced with VAT and $1,000 bucks a month.

    VAT is $3,600 a year per household?

    1. richard

      then he went all russia russia russia
      no evidence none zero
      what do people see in this guy?

        1. richard

          that’s pretty cheap
          especially when it ends up partly paying for new costs/taxes
          and sours the water for other, much preferable concrete material benefits
          he didn’t put enough material into his material benefit

  13. nippersmom

    Why do people keep bringing up this specter of subsidizing rich people’s kids’ college? How many billionaires’ children attend state universities? I am sure we don’t have any at the university I work for.

      1. ChrisAtRU

        Also they never read Veblen. The rich have no desire to “mingle with the poors” … ;-) If state colleges and unis became free, I’m pretty sure the wealthy would literally build a new elite set of tertiary education institutions to satisfy their need to differentiate themselves from the proles

    1. Geo

      Personally, I think we’d all be better off if Billionaire’s kids went to public universities. Might humble them a bit and expose them to how the rest of us live. So, I’m all for it. If billionaires want to get a free education amongst the unwashed masses, let’s encourage it.

    2. Dita

      It goes to a fundamentally punitive streak in the U.S., but publicly funded college with no means testing would truly level the playing field…

        1. Heraclitus

          I think rich kids go to all sorts of schools, public and private. In the South, it’s common for the elites to go to their state universities. Or to regional private schools of no particular academic distinction. In my observation, the rich mingle with the proles quite well.

          Contrary to popular belief, the change over the past sixty years has been that more and more very smart people from across the country go to Ivies and Ivy equivalents. This was a reaction to Sputnik. Before Sputnik, the IQ of a Harvard freshman was only about two points higher than a State U. freshman. Today, it’s probably twenty points. This change has lots of implications.

        2. skippy

          As someone I knew in Boulder liked to say when the lady’s did not take to his shine – were did you go to school …. followed by … at least I went to a real University … Vassar …

          Must have been where he picked up the epic Coke and Booze binge groundhog day thingy too ….

      1. rd

        Canadian kids don’t have a lot of student debt when they get out of college and they don’t have to worry about health care costs. But that is not possible in the US because we are exceptional.

    3. Punts Pete

      Why doesn’t someone point out that all high school children get free public education. The same argument could be made – that we shouldn’t be giving government subsidies to the rich by paying for their high school education? The rich don’t attend ‘public ‘ high schools, they attend exclusive private prep schools just as they largely attend private colleges.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        actually they do, cuz of the way schools are funded. enclaves like the North Shore of Chicago and Palo Alto, CA have fabulous public schools but you gotta be able to afford the property taxes.

    4. Big River Bandido

      They’re desperate for any way to limit the program. The more limited, the more you need gatekeepers and complicated rules to keep people *out* of the program. And the more you do that, the more unpopular the program becomes…

      …so it’s easier to kill it later.

      1. Carla

        “The more limited, the more you need gatekeepers and complicated rules to keep people *out* of the program.” And the more elites get jobs as gatekeepers — a very important element of the grand plan!

    5. SlayTheSmaugs

      Hey, my local public school is good, and the rich kids in the district are happy to go it for ‘free’–I mean, we all pay school tax (directly through property tax, whether we pay that or rent to the landlord who pays it.)

      If the price of the administrative simplicity of having one system for public schools (rather than means testing everyone) is that some rich people don’t have to pay tuition, so what? Why would I rather invest my tax dollars in the administrative infrastructure to screen out rich people (and who’s the rich? The top 0.1%? top 1%? top 10%? The top 20%? Do you have to pay partial tuition at certain income levels? I’d much rather let my tax dollars provide free education for some rich kids at public school than pay for that headache.

      I feel the same way toward the people who whine about the unfairness of wiping out the student debt. Sure, it would be nice to have a credit for those of us who paid off their loans, or rewarded us for choosing less debt. But 1. college used to cost much less, so the debts aren’t comparable 2. college degrees used to produce more income so the debt trap was as deep and 3. the economic stimulus unleashed by wiping out the debt would help everybody, much more effectively than the ‘stimulus’ of tax cuts for the greedy rich.

      1. fdr-fan

        Beautiful argument. I was unconvinced by the idea of forgiving debt. You convinced me.

        Bernie should pick up your three simple points!

        1. turtle

          Agreed. You should be able to get the message across to the Bernie people. Join the Bernie volunteer Slack channel and you should be able to get in touch with actual employees of the campaign.

    6. Bugs Bunny

      Moreover, how many “billionaire” parents take out loans to send their kids to college? The list could probably fit in the space below:


  14. ChrisAtRU

    I’m in!!!! :-D

    Someone get Gillibrand a clue!!

    ” …when capitalists care more about profits than people …”

    Someone find that Joan Robinson quote.

  15. Robert Valiant

    Watching these abrasive clowns makes me fume. I had to turn it off. Kakistocracy isn’t quite the right word… moronocracy?

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      is it my imagination or has there been a lot more chest-beating tonight as compared to last night?

      led by Gillibrand and Biden

  16. Bill Carson

    Kirsten Gillibrand’s trap door has malfunctioned. Someone get the shepherd’s crook.

    1. polecat

      So, she’s a spider ?? Who knew !

      Better watch to see if her pedipalps are moving ..

  17. Lambert Strether Post author

    Moderator calls on Sanders, Gillibrand tries override him, Harris takes over… with “foodfight” line…

    Buttigieg: “Who allows the phrase ‘Medicare for All’ to escape their lips….

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      …has a responsibility to explain how we get there (and pay for it)”

      …now, about that war I was in

  18. The Rev Kev

    LIVE: Democratic Presidential Debate – June 27 | NBC News at

    Just saw an idiot presenter ask about how health care can be done when the States can’t do it. Sanders took a brick bat to him and said the rest of the world are already doing it in an extended answer. The idiot presenter then asked the same question again. Jee-zuz!

  19. anon in so cal

    As Joanne Leon tweeted, “this is a sh*t show”

    It’s stacked against Bernie Sanders. People are also noticing the audience is packed with primarily Biden and Harris supporters.

  20. Democrita

    How many of those people on stage are already on a government health insurance? Right? As senators and whatnot….

    1. jrs

      privileged people and their health problems. Sanders not about self, good noone wants to know his health problems, they want healthcare.

  21. cripes

    Kamala is a phony, but she’s pretty good at repartee.
    Manages to insert canned “pwogwessive” sentiments at just the right moment.

    Gillebrand still pushing Pubic Option, “pay a percentage they can afford”, just like Obamacare.

    Buttegieg pretending M4A advocates never said how they’d get there, should read the Medicare for All Act of 2019″

    Bernie reminds bullshitters that Every other country pays 50% of American Health costs.
    Tell the insurance and the drug companies their day is gone.

    Kamala thinks $5000 deductibles at the emergency room is bad.

    Everyone raises hand for healthcare for undocumented immigrants. We’ll see about that. Hell, citizens can’t get it.

  22. ChrisAtRU

    I still wish Bernie would just go #FullMMT (how do you pay for … ?) … I guess I’ll have to wait for the #AOC presidential run … #AOC2028

    1. jsn

      I enjoyed him letting strapped student debtors off the hook as long as they don’t make $25K.

  23. nippersmom

    Biden suddenly wants to hold big insurance and big pharma accountable . Wonder why he had no interest in doing so when he was in office.

    1. Bill Carson

      His idea of holding big insurance and big pharma accountable is the same as his idea of holding the big banks accountable, which means that they increase regulations that act as barriers to entry to competition and make it unlikely that small companies and startups can compete with the established firms.

        1. Carla

          No, he will assure them that nothing whatsoever will change. And if he is president, that is a solid-gold guarantee!

  24. timotheus

    Interesting how everyone chimes in to trash health insurance companies (thanks Bernie) but then 8 of 10 insist that they should be protected.

  25. Bill Carson

    This “debate” is just awful. I’d rather they bring the candidates out one-at-a-time for 12 minutes each. That, or make them compete in something akin to Battle of the Network Stars.

    1. Charles Leseau

      I’m so full of loathing right now watching this, it’s enough to drive me mad. My god, the horrendous levels of glam and trash in the lighting and the show and spectacle aspects of it. The commercial breaks, and their frequency… kill me. And I really find myself wishing these were filmed with no audience at all, but that wouldn’t do, would it?

    2. Big River Bandido

      I didn’t bother to watch either night; we don’t have teevee and finding a functioning live stream didn’t seem worth the effort. The very nature of these “events” — lamestream “moderators” who are corrupt and owned by their corporate media employers; the format; the fact that they are staged by the DNC and corporate media; and especially all those useless, pathetic, unserious “candidates”…rendered the whole night a complete, utter joke. A waste of time, unless you were looking for a great excuse to get stoned or drunk — and if you did, there’s probably no better buzzkill.

      After these last two nights, maybe a whole bunch of the non-serious campaigns will have to fold up. Gee, that’ll be a shame.

  26. Clark

    I don’t believe that Good Ole Joe would be willing to put anybody from PhRMA’s C-suite members in jail. Not for a minute do I believe this.

    1. anon in so cal

      From Twitter @RonPlacone

      “It’ll be awkward for Joe Biden putting insurance industry execs in jail right after he has a fundraising dinner at their houses:

  27. cripes

    So, will the next “debates” exclude the first ten who didn’t “make the cut?”

    No wonder they’re so desperate.
    Biden is especially…flaccid.

    These sound-bite sized responses don’t favor Bernie, who actually has something to say.

    Moderators making sure to feed questions to Kamala The Prrrogrressivvve.

  28. nippersmom

    Harris sounds all teary-voiced. Awww.

    I should not have eaten before watching this.

  29. shinola

    Hmmm… seems like quite a bit more comments tonight than at this point last night
    (seat of the pants est.)

  30. Lambert Strether Post author

    Gillibrand: “Trump has torn apart the moral fabric of this country.”

    That said, I’m not sure Gillibrand’s immigration plan was all that bad…

  31. timotheus

    “We [Americans] open our hearts to the stranger.” And give them jobs in cotton fields.

    1. Bill Carson

      But now we are enlightened, and we prefer to offer them jobs in their home countries.

    1. lordkoos

      After watching a few recent appearances, I have the impression that Biden is on some kind of drug regimen, he just seems kind of foggy. Robotic, almost.

    1. shinola

      I agree.

      So far, too much “not-trump” & not as much policy. Although the mod’s question seem to be leading that way.

    2. jrs

      on average I think they are nicer people, at the very least more polite people. I’d rather have a beer mostly with the people in the 1st debate, they wouldn’t scream at me and talk over everything I said.

  32. Monty

    Marianne Williamson seems like she has a clue… also seems like she may have take a few DMT fueled vision quests!
    right on healthcare ✓
    right on trump ✓
    right on foreign policy ✓
    right on vaccines?

        1. Bill Carson

          The fact that she was an alien occurred to me while she was on the stage. This thread just confirms it.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      100% not joking I would vote for Williamson before Biden. She’s my 7th or 8th choice on this stage. Hickenfracker and Swalwell, Bane of the Old were straight up embarassing

        1. Bill Carson

          It seems to me that having six-figure student loan debt ought to be a disqualifier of some sort.

          “I borrowed over $100,000 to attend the University of Maryland Law School, and all I could get was this lousy government job.”

  33. nippersmom

    Biden refuses to see the connection between Obama’s foreign policy (i.e. Honduras) and all these refugees.

    He also seems to think all those 3 million people deported during the Obama/Biden administration were criminals, since they otherwise shouldn’t have been deported.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Yeah, Biden’s kind of an open borders guy, now, it seems. Trump will feast on that one.

      Bernie missed a chance to pound on Obama’s pro-coup policy in Honduras and link that to the refugee problem.

      Senator Sanders, you don’t bring military dictators to the table to discuss anything but their resignation and transition to an elected government. Step it up! You know better!

      1. nippersmom

        Bernie needs to pound on anti-militarism more in general, on every a available opportunity.

        1. Bill Carson

          Bernie’s weakness in ’16 was foreign policy, and it will be interesting if his ideas are any better.

          1. lordkoos

            Maybe he’s biding his time on foreign policy… look how the media has ignored Tulsi Gabbard. Being anti-war seems practically taboo these days.

    2. Clark

      Obama’s foreign policy–which includes HRC’s intervention in Central America–is not something that a tool like Joe will touch.

  34. Geo

    Side note: I stepped outside for a bit and my neighbor has Fox News on at a high volume (as she does every night) and they’re talking about the Barr investigation into the Russiagate investigation. Listened for about 10 min and no mention of the debates.

    Gotta love our narrative bubbles. Makes me extra thankful for NC and all you do to pop our bubbles with a diverse delivery of news every day. I’ve actually started reading American Conservative somewhat frequently thanks to this site. Don’t always like what I read there but good to challenge my preconceived ideas now and then to keep myself honest.

    1. Aron Blue

      I too have been introduced to American Conservative via nc – I certainly don’t agree with every view but they do put together an intellectually rigorous bog.

    2. Bill Carson

      Larison is one of the best foreign-policy journalists out there, but I suggest that Dreher be avoided at all cost.

      1. jsn

        Dreher is an articulation of a clean conservative viewpoint with which I disagree, but unlike Unz, whom I believe he replaced at TAC, there are many points outside his core values with which I could make workable compromises, like his keeping Larison and Giraldi in his stable.

    1. JohnnyGL

      They’re barely in control….I think it’s partially because the candidates don’t want to get treated like a child the way Delaney was. Plus, Chuck Todd’s just terrible.

      1. Kurtismayfield

        Who is Chuck Todd related to? There is no way this is the best NBC can find for a political reporter. He must be a “legacy hire” like Chelsea Clinton and the Bush daughter

  35. Monty

    Just think, enough people voted for Michael Bennet to make him a Senator of Colorado! Democracy in action!

    1. Bill Carson

      We used to have another senator just like him—Mark Udall. But he was so unexciting that the Democrats stayed home in 2014 and elected Cory Gardner.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          it looks like he’s ready to nurse–someone get that man a bottle of warm milk!

  36. cripes

    I’m noticing a lot of time given to non-entities to talk, but not bernie.

    Is anyone reminded of that 1st grade class with the front row kids straining and jerking their hands up for the chance to speak.

    Oh lord, Yang worried about Russia “hacking” democracy.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        sometimes–but sometimes he’s just long-winded, repeating what he has already said a million times, instead of unleashing a zinger

  37. Annieb

    This is truly awful on somany levels. Worse than last night. They are all yelling. Except Yang.

    Did Biden try and fail to put together a word salad just before the break?

    1. Qrys

      Yes, Biden went completely incoherent for that whole response. Seemed back to form after the break though, although too much Obama worship going on overall with him…

      1. JohnnyGL

        I think he got rattled when Harris went at him pretty hard. I think Bennett got a good shot in, too.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          yeah, he was a deer in headlights after Bennet called out on making the Bush tax cuts permanent

    2. Spring texan

      Yes the yelling made me dislike everyone even ppl I like. Awful moderators. Horrible.

  38. zagonostra

    Pathetic, the whole scene is pathetic. What a way to run a putative democracy, bring back the league of women voters to run the debates…and that idiot with the graphs during commercial breaks while watching this online, I want to break his freaking head…sorry.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      his sleeves were rolled up, so you know he is a hardworking guy just like you, and can thus be trusted

    2. jrs


      yea online and a bunch of polling graphs, as if polling on donald trump and stuff is just so interesting …

      1. Ford Prefect

        I believe the objective of the networks is to turn the debates into The Bachelorette and Big Brother.

  39. polecat

    So, is it time to switch over from shots of liquor .. to bath salts now ?? Krocodile ?? Peyote ?? .. cuz this ‘debate’ seems, saddly, rabbit-hole unreal, with or without enhancements !

    1. Wukchumni

      I can see the Datura growing about 20 feet away from my window, and if forced to watch a couple more hours of this drivel, might consider usage.

  40. Punts Pete

    Moderator muddied the water. Instead of asking point blank what the greatest geopolitical threat was, he said four of last night’s panel cited China. Then he asked the panel what to do about China. Two panelists said not China, but Russia, Russia , Russia. It’s 10:00 PM and still no mention of global warming.

    1. jrs

      They better not have only been brought up climate change last night only to please Inslee. But I think it’s coming.

      3 people said climate change last night (copy cats and posers but).

    2. Kurtismayfield

      Nor not one mention of CENTCOM… Who likes to go into Middle Eastern countries and create refugees

  41. Cpm

    Just before 9:30 break, Biden who was tossing his word salad , look desperately to moderators and asked if his time was up.
    I think his time was up a while back…

  42. Utah

    My two cents- Moderators seem to be propping up Buttigieg and Biden tonight. Ignoring and attacking Bernie.

  43. Lambert Strether Post author

    Williamson is such a wild card! She brings in reparations, and Harris grabs the ball and runs with it…. And then goes for Biden for his blessings of segregation and opposes busing!

    Biden says Harris mischaracterized what he said! And then plays the Obama card.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        “Please let these two destroy each other.”
        you have described the brightest timeline

  44. cripes

    Harris pulls race card for talk time.
    To say she couldn’t play with white neighbors.
    On a police abuse question.

    Gets around to fingering Biden for swapping spit with segregationists.

    Biden reminds Kamala she was a prosecutor.

    She’s hitting him on busing and federal enforcement.


  45. Wukchumni


    Many generations ago, yo!
    Somebody related to me deserves dough
    They ain’t around though
    I’ll be your huckleberry

  46. Bill Carson

    It appears that Gillibrand has been tasked with riding Bernie’s policy-coattails and drawing votes away from him so that the establishment will prevail.

  47. Qrys

    Bernie’s attempt to pivot diversity to income inequality was really awkward there. Dead silence.

    1. JohnnyGL

      yeah, I winced at that. He didn’t even try to connect black issues to inequality or anything.

  48. cripes

    Bernie’s first question in half hour is a setup on “diversity.”

    He gets about 30 seconds to respond.

      1. flora

        He worked in Medicare for All in his answer.

        The moderators really don’t want to give him time.

  49. anon in so cal


    @caitoz on Kamala Harris:

    “Harris is smashing this debate, and she’s the perfect tool to carry out oligarchic agendas: charming, commanding, and completely unprincipled. Watch her campaign closely.”

    @caitoz on Bennet:

    “Bennett says Russian memes are the greatest threat to US national security and isn’t laughed out of the building because people have been trained to believe such psychosis is normal.”

    1. sixpacksongs

      Insufficient time for him to properly explain, From Inquisitor:

      “However, Sanders is extremely open to making major reforms to the Supreme Court’s current structure. The first possibility Sanders notes is enacting term limits, an idea that has circulated down both sides of the aisle for years. This would address the rather undemocratic lifetime power given to high-powered justices. According to Vox, having justices serve limited terms, in a staggered schedule, would mean frequent turnover, and a less-desperate power struggle.

      One of the more surprising proponents of this reform is actually Chief Justice John Roberts, who, in a 2015 New York Times interview, noted that, “Setting a term of, say, 15 years would ensure that federal judges would not lose all touch with reality through decades of ivory tower existence.”

      If term limits are not an option, Sanders suggests, an alternative would be to rotate judges to the appeals court, rather than having a set number of Supreme Court justices always locked in. This so-called “panel solution” — previously proposed by scholars Ganesh Sitaraman and Daniel Epps — would have justices be composed of a “panel,” selected at random from a pool of associate justices, for a period of only two weeks. Once these weeks were up, a new, equally random panel of judges would replace them.”

      Thanks for hosting this, Lambert!

    2. Democrita

      Right? Whoa!

      But then, maybe it’s like packing the court….doesn’t explicitly say you cant.

      Agree that overall tonight seems worse than last night.

      Someone will explain it tomorrow.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Its a bit different idea. Rotation of judges goes to a system of reform (not that I think its worth the effort). Court packing is playing under existing rules.

        If memory serves, there have been proposals in the past, but “the Supreme Court” is separate from the other courts Congress might establish. I’m fairly certain without a Constitutional Amendment any kind of non-permanent Supreme Court wouldn’t meet Constitutional standards.

    1. neo-realist

      Narrow down the candidates first then there will be less of a mess. More time per candidate and more clarity to the positions instead racing to get comments out.

      Trump sucks way too bad to get a landslide even in the absence of a great democratic candidate.

  50. SlayTheSmaugs

    I appreciate Harris schooling Biden on race and bussing and the role of the Federal government v. state’s rights in the civil rights movement.

    I don’t know who is watching this debate. But how well does Biden play in South Carolina if her schooling gets wide play?

      1. SlayTheSmaugs

        Thanks, good to know.

        24 million viewers between TV and livestream, and surely more people after that

        It’ll be interesting to see if either debate moves the poll or fundraising needles

  51. shinola

    Biden seems to be having a few “deer in the headlights” moments tonight.
    Also seems to think getting louder makes up for lack of substance.

  52. sixpacksongs

    Insufficient time for him to properly explain, From Inquisitor:

    “However, Sanders is extremely open to making major reforms to the Supreme Court’s current structure. The first possibility Sanders notes is enacting term limits, an idea that has circulated down both sides of the aisle for years. This would address the rather undemocratic lifetime power given to high-powered justices. According to Vox, having justices serve limited terms, in a staggered schedule, would mean frequent turnover, and a less-desperate power struggle.

    One of the more surprising proponents of this reform is actually Chief Justice John Roberts, who, in a 2015 New York Times interview, noted that, “Setting a term of, say, 15 years would ensure that federal judges would not lose all touch with reality through decades of ivory tower existence.”

    If term limits are not an option, Sanders suggests, an alternative would be to rotate judges to the appeals court, rather than having a set number of Supreme Court justices always locked in. This so-called “panel solution” — previously proposed by scholars Ganesh Sitaraman and Daniel Epps — would have justices be composed of a “panel,” selected at random from a pool of associate justices, for a period of only two weeks. Once these weeks were up, a new, equally random panel of judges would replace them.”

    Thanks for hosting this, Lambert!

    1. Bill Carson

      I wonder if Bernie knows what I learned in law school—that federal judges’ asses weigh a ton. I think it would be easier to solve climate change than to successfully get a member of SCOTUS to vacate the rarified air of the Supreme Court chambers and to move to a thankless and anonymous job on the Court of Appeals.

      1. JBird4049

        When the Supreme Court started to threaten to stop the entire New Deal (IIRC the public works programs the most) FDR threatened to pack the Court changing the Nine into something like the Twelve or the Fifteen. Of course FDR’s Democratic Party was both in charge of Congress and supported him.

        1. divadab

          A switch in time saves nine.

          Then they shat out the execrable Wickard v. Filburn. The precedent for the disgraceful Gonzales V. Raich decision.

          The Supreme Court has been a corrupt joke for at least 90 years.

        2. Big River Bandido

          Actually, the Democrats did NOT support the “court-packing” scheme, which is why it went nowhere. Roosevelt was stymied by the same coalition of conservatives (Democrats and Republicans) that have always stood in the way of reform. The entire incident ate up all of FDRs political chits, damaged his credibility, and stopped all political momentum toward reform — not a single domestic initiative of Roosevelt’s passed Congress in his second term, or for that matter, in his third or fourth. Had the war not intervened and Roosevelt served another term (and been elected to a fourth), his historic reputation would have been severely tarnished.

          1. JBird4049

            Looks like I need to do some more reading on FDR! I don’t mind as I already knew that I needed to get a better understanding of the Great Depression as well to get a better understanding of now. Got any reading suggestions?

    1. cripes


      It kinda does, if you’re starting at $0.

      Its demolishing the architecture of housing, medical, childcare, educational access he’d demolish in exchange for a handful of coins.

      1. ChrisAtRU

        I’d argue that most people (who are in debt) are starting at less than zero … ;-)

        $1K just gets them closer to zero.

      2. Foppe

        he wants people to pick between SNAPs etc and his “UBI”, though, and is proposing funding it in part via a (regressive) VAT.

        1. kevin

          Its not really funded through VAT though. I believe he said a VAT would bring in 800 B revenue while the whole plan would cost 3.2 T.

          VAT is more of a throw in to make sure everyone is paying something and is really part of the system.

    2. GramSci

      $1k per month per person. UBI and VAT. Interesting ideas. UBI gets trashed around here but we already have a JG: the military. Yang’s pro-M4A. Too bad he went RussiaRussiaRussia! but then as the representative Chinese minority, he had probably been instructed to follow the party line. And, also too bad, he clearly wasn’t ready for a prime-time foodfight. Those Chinese! So ridiculously civilized.

      1. GramSci

        Mike Gravel tweeted:
        Andrew Yang and Marianne Williamson, two candidates who (whatever your disagreements with them are) are bringing new ideas to the debate stage, should have gotten more speaking time.

        1. inode_buddha

          Thats why they weren’t given more time — because they are bringing new ideas. The party bosses are actually conservatives when it suits them.

      2. ChrisAtRU

        Ah thanks for clarifying …not a fan of UBI … but a BI in tandem with a JG is fine by me. And the military is a de-facto JG, and a horrid one at that. We can do better.


      3. False Solace

        Sorry, the military doesn’t want you if you’re overweight, sick, adult, disabled, never graduated high school, have pretty much any health or psychological issues whatsoever, ever used drugs, or have a tattoo. Single parents who don’t have their own child care can also forget it. (Someone needs to take the kid if you get deployed and the military sure ain’t doing it.) There are waivers for some of this but not most of it. Only about 10% of 18 year olds are actually eligible. And you have to sign up for 4 years or GTFO.

        Do you seriously think a 4 year enlistment is a viable replacement for unemployment, like the JG would be? Ridiculous.

  53. anon in so cal

    Twitter consensus:

    Kamala Harris got more floor time than anyone else.

    Harris ended Biden’s campaign.

    The debate is rigged against Bernie Sanders.

    Twitter questions:

    Did Harris get the debate questions in advance?

    1. Bill Carson

      What did you expect—this was MSNBC.

      Ironically, Bernie would get preferential treatment in a Fox-hosted debate.

    2. Cal2


      Nice Freudian slip in her summary, “…I hope I own, earn your support”

      What keeps you awake at 3.A.M.? Knowing you have any real power to screw things up like you did as A.G. when, as you so proudly stated, you ordered the sheriffs of California to ignore immigration “status”,leading to the slaughter of the Bologna family.

      Also, as state attorney general, she did nothing but favor Mnuchin’s OneWest Bank, ignoring his 36,000 fraudulent foreclosures, but he did give her a donation for her senate race,she let Herbalife hucksters go unprosecuted,
      and she did nothing to defend the people against the multi-billion dollar Bay Bridge construction scam.

      1. anon in so cal

        There was no specific justification given other than some / many of her answers seemed rehearsed.

          1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


            Harris won because the Neolibs focus solely on Identity Politics


            1. jrs

              She will fool far and wide

              executive director of the sunrise movement tweets:

              Varshini Prakash
              I am blown away by @KamalaHarris right now.

              Makes one go hmm. Although I guess some of these people are teenagers and if so, one shouldn’t go too hard on them. Older people have been here, there, and got that the tattoo from believing the rhetoric that didn’t match the reality (not sure I ever voted for O personally but …).=

            2. Spring texan

              We have to care about race, it affects so much. That’s NOT identity politics, it’s reality and plain politics. I have no brief for Harris and support Sanders, but she was the right person to expose Biden’s record, which is IMPORTANT.

        1. rd

          She knew that Biden had a few positions in his early career that impacted her life. So she canned that and rehearsed it. When the opportunities came up, she was just able to turn on the tape and let it play.

  54. Monty

    The first Pharma exec that Jailin’ Joe Biden should jail is the one who said that the dose of Botox, he clearly got in his face, with was appropriate for humans.

    1. rd

      Yes. I observed that his mouth moved during the whole debate, but not much of anything else.

  55. Wukchumni

    …what we have here is a failure to accumulate any interest in the Palookas put up by the donkey show

  56. flora

    Mods ask Sanders a question then try to talk over his answer. Then let other candidates talk over his answer.

  57. SlayTheSmaug

    So it’s really interesting to see how even the most corporate/conventional candidates have to function within the frame Bernie created in 2016, even acknowledging the need to deal with income inequality ‘Bernie talks about’.

    It’s also interesting to see someone like Harris really challenge Biden

    Bernie has fundamentally changed things already

    1. JohnnyGL

      Harris definitely saw her chance and went hard at it with Biden. She’s been fading in the polls and has to try to generate some interest. Warren’s been eating her lunch.

    2. Lee

      Truly. I’m actually enjoying that aspect of the debates and am cautiously optimistic about what that may portend.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Bernie has fundamentally changed things already

      That’s a good point. He was also relentlessly on message. I think also the point is to win the election, not win the debate. If Harris takes out Biden, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Sanders does not benefit.

      1. John k

        Certainly Bernie benefits if Biden falls. He might be hurt, but still leads the race after new polls.
        Kamala helped herself, but she’s turning progressive without Bernie’s army of supporters.
        It had been said she was running to be Biden’s veep, put that to rest.
        To win, or to be somebody’s veep, she presumably has to win SC for starters. Can she do it? Don’t believe biden can.
        Biden down, warren Harris up. Maybe the mayor, too. Bernie?

    4. Big River Bandido

      Please. Bernie Sanders does not talk about “income inequality”. That’s what Joe Biden blathers about.

      Sanders talks about “inequality”, period. The kind of inequality that plagues this country is not caused only by wage and income problems — it’s systemically related to the distribution of wealth, which is not the same as income. Biden uses the “income” language in order to hide his true view, which is that “billionaires aren’t the problem”.

  58. Lambert Strether Post author

    Buttigieg was a driver, for heaven’s sake.

    NBC connection is really bad. Of course, this is America, not South Korea, so we have really sh*tty broadband.

    My favorite part is that if I refresh to get a new connection, they run an ad. So all things work together for good.

    1. Wukchumni

      Over there, Kabul where
      Drive the major here & there
      The air conditioning running
      Pete’s motor pool humming
      Uber there.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel


        Someone needs to ask him about Kandahars poo pond and what it means to be a Fobbit.

    2. Samuel Conner

      Re: the 3rd world level infrastructure:

      “all things work together for good” (to them that love capitalism and are called according to its purposes)

    3. Anon

      Yes, most Americans don’t understand how slow their internet service actually is. My local private service provider touts speeds of 100Mb/s. However, I can access the Internet through the state university system (T1 connection, no choke points) and get full speed, full HD video at 400Mb/s. The difference is incredible.

      1. MichaelSF

        I went from 1.5-3 MB/s DSL (Earthlink) to 1 GB fiber ( (though when I do speedtest it usually comes in around 940-960 MB/s). I actually saved money making the switch, as well as getting more reliable service and not having to talk to India every couple of years. Every now and then I get lucky!

  59. Monty

    ‘”SMart” Gunz! NRA Gud.’

    Ladies and gentleman, your leader in the polls… Joe Biden!

  60. cripes

    That was kinda sucky.

    No one could develop any ideas, if they had any.

    Oh and Joe is the “experience” guy.

    We’ve been warned.

    1. Bill Carson

      The motto, “Love Trumps Hate” didn’t work, so we’ll try “Love Trumps Fear.”

    2. richard

      chapo trap house is in total group love with her now
      well, mostly virgil texas is
      i don’t get even one bit of it
      and keep expecting a ironic reveal, but nope
      he’s just gaga

      1. Bill Carson

        I just started listening to CTH. Not impressed. Give me the jaggoff comedian Jimmy Dore any day.

        1. CoryP

          It’s particularly unfortunate because I feel they had a big influence in getting her on the debate stage, and they’ve had the opposite negative effect on the Gravel campaign by calling it “elder abuse”.

          Usually really enjoy CTH and suppose I still do, but not a fan of this.

    3. polecat

      Gawd, she sounded like Zaneeba talking to Sen !
      Are we experiencing some kind of weird Anime interface ??

  61. Democrita

    Also, gotta call Hickenlooper as one of tonight ‘s losers. Barely knew who he was going in. Not impressed.

    Gillibrand remains annoying.

  62. JBird4049

    “Assault weapons” is an undefined term. “Assault rifles” have a precise definition. So the Maddow throws a slooow softball to the candidate with supposedly the most vehement opposition to the undefined “assault weapons.” Then a follow up question on question to Bernie Sanders, Senator to one of the most gun friendly Blue state in the Union, and so of course Sanders tries to give a response other than all gunz are baaaad and will not annoy his constituents. Which gets him hammered.

    And hello Joe I Ban All Assault Weapons Already Biden! Barf.

    If we turn socialist Trump wins? OMG.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      invoked firefighters too. As a Californian who almost died in last September’s fires, that pissed me off.

    1. anEnt

      We go from admiring “the generals” to admiring “the drivers.” Pay no mind to the actual combat veterans. They might impede the war effort (the effort to start the war.)

  63. cripes


    “Trump is the only President who has embraced dictators.”

    Haw, haw, what a comedian!

    1. JBird4049

      Well, the Obama Administration did overthrow at least one Haitian government and IIRC two Central American ones. Of course, all those governments had been elected under fairly honest elections.


    2. Pat

      I guess he forgot when GWB looked into Putin’s soul. Or all those embraces of Hussein and Pinochet and the Shah and Gaddafi and all those strong men we loved until we.didn’t.

      But ignoring reality is second nature for Joe.

  64. David in Santa Cruz

    Sanders-Harris In 2020

    Warren = Senate Majority Leader

    Gabbard, State; Buttegieg, Defense; Klobuchar, AG; Yang, Commerce; etc

    Bite-me and Gilebrand can withdraw tonight…

    1. Monty

      ‘fraid not. it’s Trump 2020. Near term human extinction well on the cards, and unstoppable, by 2024.

    2. Cal2

      In that case, Donald Trump gets our votes, as well as keeping all the potential crossovers, who had supported Trump last time, and would have voted for Sanders-Gabbard.

      Harris will alienate The Deplorables, the military, the White Working Class or even black people, who know her as Kamala The Cop.

      Sanders-Harris would be political suicide for the Democrats.

      Sanders-Gabbard would be a winner against Trump.

        1. Cal2

          From the link: “Despite not raising her hand”

          To the question, “would you give up your private insurance?”

          She should have said:

          “I have V.A. insurance, that’s why I didn’t raise my hand. That’s what I want to give to every American through Medicare For All.”

      1. Bill Carson

        Can we give Mike Gravel some sort of honorary title? Maybe something like Chancellor of Peace?

        1. polecat

          I say give him his own debate .. with a chair labeled ‘STATUS QUO’ …

          The Internet would be sooo energized, the whole Planet would be glowing blue !

  65. Bill Carson

    Biden could have scored BIGLY just now if he had only had the guts to drop the F-bomb into his closing remarks. “We can do anything,” he said. “This is the United States of F’ING AMERICA!!” He would have been a hero.

    1. zagonostra

      Agree, the only coherent and cogent statement was Bernie’s concluding remarks, the reset was painful to watch.

  66. Lambert Strether Post author

    We’ll see what the press does with this, but I would say Sanders emerged unscathed, Harris* wounded Biden, Biden sounded like a lightweight, Gillibrand seems like a very unpleasant person, and Buttigieg’s sincerity is positively prehensile. Frackenlooper and Swalwell, who cares?

    Also, I hate this format. Just hate it.

    NBC’s Zerlina Maxwell, a vehement Sanders hater, now declaring Harris the winner.

    NOTE * Adding, again, I found that I enjoyed listening the Harris (forgetting what I know, and just reacting in the moment). I’d like to smoke a joint with her (which should really replace “have a beer with”).

    1. Monty

      Agree. She was the only one who would be able to humiliate Trump in the end.

      I am a big Bernie fan, but was not impressed tonight.

      R.I.P. Biden.

      1. jrs

        Bernie did well. However, I think you actually have to know something to get what Bernie is going on about and why his answers were better than many (not that some questions weren’t answered well by others) and well …

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I think you actually have to know something to get what Bernie is going on about

          Presumably the Sanders media operation is pumping out clips even as we speak.

          Did Sanders get his message across? I’d say he did.

    2. Qrys

      Yes, unlike last night in which Warren was clearly the candidate to beat, but nobody really went against her, both Harris and Sanders took the opportunity tonight to contrast themselves with Biden.

    3. jrs

      I warned people Kamala is smooth … she’s underestimated in how well she’ll do. Now she’s not a good person and that’s what I hear from people who have worked for her. But she’s smooth.

    4. Morgan Everett

      Yeah, Harris has a good voice. I thought she came off well (speaking as someone with absolutely no intention of voting for her). Buttigieg is a slick shit. I can see why he was the one that successfully pulled his way out of the generic white guy candidate bin.

    5. shinola

      ” I found that I enjoyed listening the Harris (forgetting what I know, and just reacting in the moment).”

      I would smoke a bong 1st, and then turn it around to: (forgetting what I know…) I found I enjoyed listening to Harris;)

    6. deeplyrad

      C’mon Lambert, seriously, a joint with Harris? I had the idea that your sensibilities were rather more refined than that, knowing anything about or not.
      Her manner of speaking is like someone who doesn’t care, doesn’t take the whole thing seriously. It’s like someone who is cheaply casually condescending on the whole thing, on her having to be there. That’s what I perceived. It is deeply disqualifying from any leadership position. “Food fight”? We at that level now? That makes her cool? My god, what garbage.

      FWIW, Boot Edge Edge’s prehensile sincerity was masterful in my view – shows some real talent.

      I’m just observing this out of academic interest and hope we’ll all have a chance to vote for Bernie in the general. But from tonight, Boot Edge Edge to me stood out as a talent – and everyone else (besides Bernie who was reliably on message and will keep going more or less the same after this) was garbage or unnecessary (Biden is a disgrace), and the first debate was better.

  67. shinola

    Tuned into CNN @2 minutes ago. Current talking heads really down on Biden.
    A good sign (I think).

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’ve said that the first day of a Biden Presidential campaign is always the best one. I’d be surprised if Harris is able to take him down in a single debate, however.

    2. Geo

      Last time the DNC/donor fav was the candidate that lost to Obama in ‘08.

      This time it’s the guy who lost to both her, Obama, and Edwards in ‘08. Heck, he was only one point ahead of Kucinich and behind Bill Richardson in the polls at the time he dropped out.

      But, he’s the “most electable” they tell us.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Debates in an Era of mass literacy are stupid in general, but I’m not certain what the pundits would have expected. I know DC media types are stupid, but did they think Biden would crush literate people in a debate due to his performances against Palin and Paul Ryan? I thought even Ezra Klein figured out Ryan was a moron.

  68. JCC

    Both Biden and Hickenlooper were pretty bad.

    On the other hand Bennet surprised me. I know little about him but I was impressed when he threw in the one liner about the Hyde Amendment. I wonder how many caught it? Definitely another strike against Biden.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      His line about the southern border being a “Symbol of Nativist Hostility” was good but Bernie smacked him down on M4A

  69. JBird4049

    Also, I hate this format. Just hate it.

    Perhaps that’s the purpose of this format? Having it so that there could be sincere, thoughtful, and reasoned debate among a handful of candidates at a time might allow the more reformist like Sanders and Warren, or someone Gabbard to escape that maddening crowd.

    I don’t think the format and the umpteen candidates are not a deliberate strategy. If nothing else, it reduces the debates into snippets of campaign speeches and ad quotes, and not actually produce ideas that might threaten the status quo.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I think it gives the moderators too much power. The setting is like American Idol, and the moderators are like judges. I don’t know a better format, but this is repellent.

  70. scarn

    Bernie did fine. He didn’t interrupt opponents who were shipping his own policies, and his closing was strong. The highlights his campaign released on Insta are sweet.

    Biden was trash.

    Harris, who this Californian believes is utterly disingenuous and evil, looked great, sounded great, and made her mark. I will enjoy watching her eat the livers of the other conservative Dems. I will not enjoy a Harris Presidency at all.

    Buttzheej looked like a 1978 Ken doll.

    Yang was awful in his tiny amount of time.

    Nobody else mattered.

    1. Cal2

      You will not see a Harris presidency. If she’s on any ticket, including as Bernie’s V.P., Trump wins again.

      I’m a rabid Bernie supporter (Twice). As a lifetime Californian and witness to Kamala’s incompetence in San Francisco. I, and at least12 of my friends, would vote for Trump again if the Democrats allow Harris anywhere on the ticket.

      Her boast:
      “So as attorney general, and the chief law officer of the state of California, I issued a directive to the sheriffs of my state that they did not have to comply with ICE detainers…”

      “Suspect Edwin Ramos awaits trial in San Francisco County Jail, a system that released him nearly three months before the slayings. Convicted twice on felony charges as a juvenile, he was protected then from immigration officials because of the city’s [Kamala’s] sanctuary policy.
      Immigration activists have embraced the grieving family, using the June 22 deaths of Anthony, Matthew and Michael Bologna to call for change.”

      Kamala; a fruiting body coming off the rot of Democratic Dynastic politics.

    2. jrs

      I may not have caught it all, but it almost seemed to me like Bernie was the only one who raised his hand on eliminating employer provided healthcare (well I think maybe Gillibrand also). Bernie’s plan may have flaws but it’s an actual bill, not raising one’s hand shows Kamala Harris M4A plan is a total fake.

      Harris will run as left as Sanders, then if against Trump it will devolve into identity politics.

      1. Svante

        Gillibrand wasn’t wired to Bernie? In a Mini-Me outfit? Granted, everyone on that stage was basically doing a weekend at Bernie’s greatest hits retrospective; not unlike Hillary’s, “no, I’m Spartacus” sudden epiphany as to what a Keynesian Democrat used to be, in 2016… until she unleashed the flying monkeys on him, on us all, i guess? I wonder if it’ll be Harris and Beto, now?

  71. Otis B Driftwood

    I think I spent my evening better than those who tuned in to this farce. I watched ‘Network’, every bit as trenchant as it was when it was released in 1976.

  72. mistah charley, ph.d.

    harris is up, and biden is down – and in my view biden is down not just because of harris’s effective attack, but also because it is clear he is losing his edge, his age is showing

    in the post-debate discussion, someone mentioned that biden’s aides are finding it hard to keep his attention during debate prep – that’s not good

    i didn’t have that same impression about sanders – admittedly i’m a bernie bro from last time, a leftist and progressive with the sanders donation receipts to prove it

    facts, interpretive frameworks of facts, policy proposals – all these things which intelligentsia like ourselves chew over – we must not lose sight of the fact that the choice of a chieftain is primarily an emotional matter – and that political discourse in an age of mass media consists of spinning stirring stories – as wavy gravy (hugh romney) told his mirror one morning, “it’s all done with people” – and people are not rational animals, but rationalizing animals

    who knows if it’s good or bad?

    may the creative forces of the universe stand beside us, and guide us, through the night with the light from above – metaphorically speaking

  73. Aron Blue

    Aron Blue reporting from remote California. Where nothing is live ever.

    I had never seen Pete buttigeig before tonight – I’d only been reading about him. I would like to share my first impressions upon seeing him: (1) oh my god Alfred E. Neuman hahahahahahahaha (2) oh. Pete butt-i-judge. I thought it was Pete butt-i-geg for an embarrassingly long time…

  74. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

    For 2024 let’s just have cage fights, contestants show up naked with their names and policy positions tattooed on their bodies, each gets a bucket of slime to smear on their opponent to try and cover them up. Then Sergei Brin’s computer chooses the winner

    1. todde

      Cage fights?

      No! Water Boarding (some say it isn’t torture and forces people to tell the truth)

      I say, if that is the case, why aren’t we already doing this to the people who run for the highest offices in our land.

      *also good for Supreme Court and cabinet member nominees…

  75. Ptb

    Impressions: Harris the winner, Biden the loser, Buttigieg and Gillibrand (despite her annoying interruptions in the first half) made a strong presentation. Sanders ok, he pounded on 1 point, that inequality and politics being corrupt are the fundamental interlinked phenomenon. Also note that basically everyone on the stage was making points that are now in national Dem politics thanks to Sanders 16 and thanks top the “threat of” Sanders 20. So that is good!

  76. Ford Prefect

    When Sanders was going off the rails it was due to his trademark enthusiasm. When Biden went off the rails it was cause he was just kind of going off the rails.

    I think the two septegenarians in the Democratic race should be Sanders and Warren. Hopefully Kamala did a lot of damage to Biden along with his increasing incoherence.

  77. MichaelSF

    Today’s SF Chronicle headlined the debate report as a “free-for-all among top tier” so I guess there must have been a lot of physical violence on display.

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