Live Blog: Democrat Presidential Primary Debate #10 in Manchester, NH

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Time: 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET

Place: Saint Anselm College, Manchester, NH

Hosts: ABC and WMUR

Moderators: George Stephanopoulos, David Muir and Linsey Davis (ABC), and Adam Sexton and Monica Hernandez (WMUR).

Candidate Line-up:

Joe Biden (Former Vice President )
Pete Buttigieg (Former Mayor South Bend, Indiana)
Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota Senator)
Bernie Sanders (Vermont Senator)
Tom Steyer (Squillionaire)
Andrew Yang (Entrepreneur)
Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts Senator)

Podium order:

How to Watch (or Listen):

The debate will air live nationally on the ABC Television Network and locally on WMUR-TV.

ABC News will livestream the debate on ABC News Live featured on Apple News, Roku, Hulu, AppleTV, Amazon Fire TV, Xumo, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and the ABC News site and mobile phone apps.

WMUR-TV will also livestream the debate on and WMUR’s mobile app.

I’m sure readers will have their own suggestions.

* * *

I don’t think there’s any point trying to game the debate out (although the placement of Sanders next to Buttigieg, presumably decided before Iowa, is interesting). So I think I’ll take this space for some musings on two topics that I could not get to in Water Cooler. First, election reform; and second, party politics generally.

On election reform, I hate this debate format with the fire of a million suns. And after Iowa, it’s clear that the entire ballot “supply chain” of our electoral process needs to be blown away. So I thought I would hoist this comment of mine, slightly modified:

I like the idea of a campaign trail, because it tests the candidates’ stamina and ability. But we’ve had a year of this thing and we’ve only had their first vote?

Something like:

1) 90 days for the campaign

2) Regional block voting

3) Publicly funded (private funding 100% excluded)

4) Only print advertising (yeah, subsidy for local newspapers. And?)

5) No polls published in the last 30 days

6) League of Women Voters sponsors and moderates debates.

7) Hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public, with uniform national standard for ballot design and counting process

Does that cover everything?

Now, this is very much a “you start coding and I’ll go find out what the requirements are”-style of thing; I didn’t from first principles, but from an attempt to eliminate all the niches in which power players and bad actors live and feed. So these ideas may not be thought through. How about the more worldly-wise among our readership try to figure out how the political class would game this?

I’ve also been meaning to get to this article, tossed over the transom by alert reader CC about political scientist Rachel Bitecofer’s theory of parties: “An Unsettling New Theory: There Is No Swing Voter.” An extract:

[T]oday her model tells her the Democrats are a near lock for the presidency in 2020, and are likely to gain House seats and have a decent shot at retaking the Senate. If she’s right, we are now in a post-economy, post-incumbency, post record-while-in-office era of politics.

Bitecofer’s theory, when you boil it down, is that modern American elections are rarely shaped by voters changing their minds, but rather by shifts in who decides to vote in the first place. To her critics, she’s an extreme apostle of the old saw that “turnout explains everything,” taking a long victory lap after getting lucky one time. She sees things slightly differently: That the last few elections show that American politics really has changed, and other experts have been slow to process what it means.

If she’s right, it wouldn’t just blow up the conventional wisdom; it would mean that much of the lucrative cottage industry of political experts—the consultants and pollsters and (ahem) the reporters—is superfluous, an army of bit players with little influence over the outcome. Actually, worse than superfluous: That whole industry of experts is generally wrong.

Bitecofer’s view of the electorate is driven, in part, by a new way to think about why Americans vote the way they do. She counts as an intellectual mentor Alan Abramowitz, a professor of political science at Emory University who popularized the concept of “negative partisanship,” the idea that voters are more motivated to defeat the other side than by any particular policy goals.

In a piece explaining his work in POLITICO Magazine, Abramowitz wrote: “Over the past few decades, American politics has become like a bitter sports rivalry, in which the parties hang together mainly out of sheer hatred of the other team, rather than a shared sense of purpose. Republicans might not love the president, but they absolutely loathe his Democratic adversaries. And it’s also true of Democrats, who might be consumed by their internal feuds over foreign policy and the proper role of government were it not for Trump.”

Bitecofer took this insight and mapped it across the country. As she sees it, it isn’t quite right to refer to a Democratic or Republican “base.” Rather, there are Democratic and Republican coalitions, the first made of people of color, college-educated whites and people in metropolitan areas; the second, mostly noncollege whites, with a smattering of religious-minded voters, financiers and people in business, largely in rural and exurban counties.

I’m not quite sure what to think about this. Intuitively, the “bitter sports rivalry” makes sense; I and many others have been complaining since at least 2003 about politics having been reduced to what jersey you wear. At the 30,000-foot level, it would seem that the best way forward for the country would be to outlaw political parties entirely — after Iowa, under RICO? — and figure out some other way to populate government offices, since parties have become wholly destructive to policy making. (One cannot, for example, using Bitecofer’s model as described here, give an account of the destruction of the Whigs, the rise of the Republicans, and the role of Abolitionists with a “party as sports team” model.) Since parties have as much justification to exist as a professional sports team does, but serve the wholly negative function of brain-damaging voters (see RussiaGate, or Birtherism — ironically started by the same political faction), why not take away their franchises? Somewhat closer to the ground, one notices that Bitecofer’s model doesn’t consider class, and so doesn’t consider the majority of the population who, not being able to purchase either tickets into the stadium or Pay-per-View, don’t root for any team. That majority is disproportionately drawn from the multiracial working class. The Sanders campaign only won the popular vote in Iowa because they focused on the “satellite caucuses” — the famous Ottumwa meatpackers — which were, too, disproportionately working class, because they, unlike the main caucuses, allowed people who couldn’t make the 7:00pm caucus to attend (no child-care, the night-shift, etc). One can only wonder why the Sanders campaign was the only campaign to focus on them. Perhaps their theory of change, which demands that the electorate be expanded from the working class? I don’t see how Bitecofer’s theory gives an account of how the electorate is to be expanded, how the Sanders campaign is trying to do that, or — perhaps most important to her — why the party establishments are so obviously unwilling to do so. Don’t they want more fans?

NOTE To be fair, Bitecofer seems to have been effective at predicting results with her model, and good for her.

* * *

As usual, this post does not update; readers may track the debate in real time in comments. Please keep your comments as informative and analytical as possible. There are no points at NC for context-free one-liners (“Boo ____!” or “Oh!”) that only those who are also watching can make sense of; that’s for Facebook or Reddit. I think it adds more value if you take a moment, use your critical thinking skills, then comment, and readers can discuss what you say. That way, those who cannot watch the debate — or can’t stand to do so — can get a good idea of what really happened by reading what you write. This is what the NC commentariat is so very good at, after all. Last time, the times before that, and this time. Thank you!

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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. chuckster

    [T]oday her model tells her the Democrats are a near lock for the presidency in 2020, and are likely to gain House seats and have a decent shot at retaking the Senate.

    Can someone please tell me where I can bet against her. The PMCs will be enthralled.

    1. a different chris

      I wouldn’t be that quick. But in any case, you’re missing the biggest tree in her forest (reversing the old axiom):

      The parties don’t win elections for the reasons the cognoscenti, which includes at least pretty much everyone important in the Democratic Party – and a lot of the Republican Party too if you recall all the gnashing of teeth about Trump in 2016 – believe.

      I know Trump didn’t win because of “racism, period” for example. The Dems somehow do (hey, your candidate was white, morons) and weirdly enough, sifting thru Trump’s recent verbal diarrhea (ewww), I think the Republicans think so too.

      It’s comical in a horrifying way how the people voted to be “representatives” in this “representative democracy” actually have no idea what the people they are supposedly representing actually think. That has pretty much brought us to this “voting against” stage, b/c nobody says anything anybody really wants to vote for.

    2. Carey

      Agree. “New ways to think about..”? Puh.

      Bitcofer (sp) sounds like yet another paid-to-not-see type.

    3. richard

      The dems have a very good shot with one candidate, and virtually no shot at all with any other
      it’s win or whig
      the ghost of 2008 still hangs over everything
      no dem will ever again win a national election without a clear repudiation of that betrayal
      that time is done dog

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well, if the Bitecofer model can be further tested by using it to make further predictions, and then see how many or few of those predictions occur as predicted; then we can discover something about the Bitecofer model as against just thinking something about it.

      Could one improve the model by accepting the existence ( if they exist) of other rejection-based factions besides just “Democrats” and “Republicans”? For example, if the SanderBackers are abused badly enough, and presented with a disgusting-enough nominee; they will vote to reject it in whole ( by voting Trump) or in part ( by voting Third Party or voting Blank).

      Can the Bitecofer model handle such finely granular nuance-ification?

      1. Lil’D

        She has previously made predictions and her batting average is excellent
        She may be right accidentally rather than because her model is good, but it’s better than saying that “trump voters are stupid [or racist, or deplorable…]” even though some are

        1. Carey

          >her model tells her the Democrats are a near lock for the presidency in 2020, and are likely to gain House seats and have a decent shot at retaking the Senate.

          Any thoughts on these particulars?

          1. Kurt Sperry

            That’s a great question. My gut says there’s an opportunity for a stompdown victory over Trump but a lot of pieces have to fall right for that to happen. Bernie seems the safest bet at this point, but a weaker candidate might still with some breaks.

              1. Lambert Strether Post author

                > What constitutes a victory?

                It means replacing Trump with a Democrat, removing whatever Trump policies have bad optics, and leaving the rest in place. That’s exactly what happened when Obama took over from Bush.

                Why do you ask?

                1. CoyoteMoon

                  The hoi polloi have been sufficiently conditioned to believe living in the richest country currently on earth means we should get single payer universal healthcare, primarily paid for by the government.

                  To many of us, this would be a victory.

                  1. Jim

                    But what is the source of government money? MMT works great until people no longer believe the dollar will hold its value.

                    1. notabanktoadie

                      MMT has an answer to price inflation:

                      Tax the non-rich! (Since the rich don’t consume enough to matter).

                      So instead of “tax and spend” we get “spend and tax”. Huge improvement, no?

                      To be fair, “spend and tax” is better since it should close the output gap but it’s disgraceful, since they won’t consider de-privileging the banks, that the big names of MMT refuse to do better.

  2. Jason Boxman

    On 3) Won’t dark money groups just attack? (And coordinate on Twitter or whatever, hilariously. I suppose credit where it’s due. That’s a baller move.) It seems like we need to completely outlaw money in politics.

    This is slightly outside the box (1-7), but elections ought to be national holidays, and everyone must be registered to vote by default. Of course each party might have to actually try to represent citizens, so clearly a no-go, but in a functional democracy, shouldn’t everyone have both the right, and the opportunity to vote?

    1. chuckster

      but elections ought to be national holidays,

      That will be great for the people who have professional/Management jobs. When was the last time you saw a WalMart close on a holiday so that their employees could spend some time with their families? Mail in ballots take 10 minutes to fill out and return.

      1. jrs


        people don’t even realize what a privileged solution “national holidays” is, yea and even if you get them you will lose a days pay in most jobs, unless it’s a middle class full time job, not that common these days.

        1. Carey

          >people don’t even realize what a privileged solution “national holidays” is

          Mmm, only in USA USA; in most un-exceptional countries it’s a given.
          Check OECD stats under “National Holidays” (paid ones, IME..).

          It’s only difficult because the Few *make it* difficult.

    2. PPTIME

      Absolutely on absolute access to voting.

      Wouldn’t a good forcing function for this whole issue of negative partisanship be to require everyone to vote? No issues with turnout versus policy belief. What other issues come about from compulsory voting – corrupted ‘eligibility determinations,’
      -ability to affirmatively abstain?

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Australian model? My freedom of speech is also my freedom not to consent like that, or it rubs me that way.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Nobody here (Australia) objects. It should be a citizen’s duty. It also means it’s less likely a fringe faction with views outside the mainstream gets traction. Centers on the bell curve.

        2. Kfish

          The only thing that’s compulsory under the Australian model is showing up and getting your name crossed off. You could ‘vote’ by wiping your arse on the ballot and putting that in the box – might run foul of public decency laws, but you wouldn’t be ticketed for failing to vote.

        3. The Rev Kev

          Another difference is that in Oz, you only register to vote. None of this rubbish about registering as Democrat or Republican or whatever. How can you really enjoy secret balloting if you have to state your party affiliation in order to vote?

          Another difference is that paper ballots are hand-counted. I have worked in a dozen or more elections and after we closed the doors, we sorted and counted the votes with Party observers watching us. The only technology involved was the mobile phone owned by the supervisor to call in the count.

          Wait, I will amend that. The last election they started to use tablets but they only had a list of voters to tick off instead of the cumbersome books used previously.

        4. rosemerry

          You don’t actually have to vote for anyone, just turn up and go into the ballot box and write whatever you like there! At least you are expected to know what is going on. Australia also has preferential voting (also called ranked choice)which gives you a second choice if the one you prefer is eliminated. Fairer than the UK first past the post for election of members of House of Reps.
          Probably the reason so many do not vote in the USA is their assumption that their vote makes no difference.
          The “voluntary abstention” in the recent French Presidential election was much higher than normal and this probably happened because of Macron and Le Pen being the two candidates in the second round). Most people wanted neither.

      1. Iowan X

        I think you have to add redistricting reform to the list. Having said that, I have NO idea how to implement it.

  3. NoOneInParticular

    Do Bitecofer/Abramowitz get into a detailed account of who does not vote and why? I want to understand the demographics and the reasoning of non-voters. And I want this over multiple election cycles without resort to numbskull questions like “is the country going in the right direction?”

    1. a different chris

      I think you mean “who didn’t vote and why”. Because what she’s saying, I think, is that elections are driven by who shows up when.

      To expand: she is saying something like (making up numbers): 90% of the voters show up for every election. But they split 45/45. The 10 percent that remains are not “non voters” per say, or even stupider “swing voters”, but different people.

      Bob isn’t a swing voter. Mary isn’t a swing voter. Bob votes “A-ish” when he votes, Mary votes “B-ish” when she votes. What matters is which person is driven to show up on a given election.

      I am not saying Bob and Mary aren’t both underinformed idiots. Or that there aren’t even bigger idiots that swing vote based on logic that no sane human can comprehend. But it’s mostly Bob and Mary that determine this crap.

      1. flora

        We have the Iowa caucus as an example that who votes, and whose votes get counted, and how those votes get assigned isn’t straight forward (and can be wrong). So if she isn’t looking at the machinery she might be missing a big part of the picture.

      2. JTMcPhee

        Were there not a significant number of people nominally of Team D that held their noses against the stink of Caliban Clinton and voted for seemingly less stinkyTrump, just because he made “less evil” noises and less stinky baggage, and at least talked about “making America Great Again”? I’d call those swing voters too.

        This is all too complicated, I think, for even a spreadsheet representation of all the stuff pumped into and processed and hard-learned by experience and actuating the people who actually vote. I was a long-time D person but my “team” sense told me that Clinton was not a “team player” on my team (the notion I carried forward from growing up with the benefits of the New Deal in mind). She was just a free agent looking for the maximum personal payday, with a side order of more effing war — of which I had more than enough thanks to a long-ago D president. Who nonetheless effectuated some good socially beneficial policies, the sucker bait that kept me “on-side” through another couple of presidential cycles.

        But “fool me twice:” I voted for Bill Clinton his first go-round, and Obama even though I read his policy papers and saw he was going to do a sellout to corporate interests, especially in health care. (But I voted for third party candidates against both those loathsome Ds’ in their run for a second term.) So shame on me. I do not like the “option” of just sitting on my hands and not voting. And it’s unfortunate that all hope for any progressive change now rests on the sloping shoulders of one Bernie Sanders. Who will get my vote even if I have to write him in.

        I’d observe that the evidence kind of shows that there is no Unified Field Theory in the realm of electoral politics, order that matter when it comes to understanding (well enough to move the Juggernaut in a healthier-for-mopes direction) of “political economy.

        So it seems the only rule I could acknowledge has real, fairly demonstrable validity, is that warped version of the Golden Rule: “Them as has the gold, rules.” The events where the Gold People get some come-uppance (1789 comes to mind) are few and far between, and pretty uniformly result in just another Restoration Rulership. Because there are power centers economically aligned with the Looters outside the polities where revolts have occurred, so the Bourbons can move back in to re-take the territory after the heads have stopped falling off the aristocrats.

        Might one posit that Russia is maybe an exception to the rule, under its current leadership? Our briefcase bandits took a shot at looting, but it seems that (with lots of exceptions, to be sure) that “sanctions” have helped Russia toward immunity to the imperial payments system and blackmail. And their elections are, by all accounts, freer and fairer than our own “Uniparty of the Rich” shambles.

        Hey, I’ve got it: let’s put the problem to a nice AI stack of code! That should give us some REAL answers to all the hard questions!

        There may be some fundamental understanding in all our hearts and minds of what humanity ought to be doing, different from what we are collectively doing now with just a few profiting off extraction, pollution and oppression of working people. But the whole thing is steered by the many levers of power, of which manufactured demand and manufactured consent are just two.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > “Them as has the gold, rules.”

          I could not intergrate Fergusons et al.’s industrial model into the piece because I did not have time. Perhaps in a subsequent piece.

      3. truly

        I don’t think we should assume that non voters are uninformed, or poorly informed. When I canvassed for Obama in 2008 (hangs his head in shame) we only went to houses that were friendly to BO. We had walking sheets and only went to certain houses. It became a game to try see if there was something on the outside of the house that would indicate “hostiles”. An oversized jacked up truck, a Semper Fi sticker, or the house being a McMansion were tell tale signs. But then I started to notice Peace Gardens, anti war signs, Ying and Yang symbols in the garden. And it struck me I was walking past houses with folks who were “hostiles” due to being to the left as much as being to the right. And it occurred to me that we shouldn’t talk to those people because they might dissuade us from supporting BO. And it struck me that these people wouldn’t vote and it wasn’t out of ignorance.

        1. philnc

          One of the most astute anecdotes I’ve read in a long time. Makes me even sadder about how I failed to draw out the two Warren people who came to our door last weekend. My wife would have done better because she’s more empathetic, which is why she’s going to be a great VC for Bernie (was on the call last night).

  4. sd

    On election reform, two thoughts.

    1. Include vote by mail. As someone who frequently travels for work, I have no control of where I will be on election day and whether or not I can actually make it to the polls.

    2. Make the election day for the president a federal holiday.

    1. Jason Boxman

      Yes to both. Met someone last night, and that person was from WA and thought the vote by mail system there was great. I’ve voted absentee before, in Florida, and that seemed to workout, as near as I can tell. But then I never looked later to see if my votes were ever actually counted. (Maybe I’ve never had a vote counted in my life and don’t know it?) Going to vote in person this year, early.

      1. Carey

        >But then I never looked later to see if my votes were ever actually counted.

        heh- welcome to California.

        1. Jason Boxman

          I’ve only been once. Unsuccessful interview at Google before they were evil. I can see why people want to live there; it’s nice. Or was in 2004.

          1. Carey

            Butti getting so much speaking time. Loathesome with that word salad of his (and the likely paid-content applause).

  5. Potted Frog

    The debate format I’d like: candidates sitting around a table talking over the subject of the night. No moderators. Duke it out.

    1. Rhondda

      I think even just eliminating the audience would be useful. It would really change the dynamic. But I love your idea of the candidates in an agonistic setting with no moderators. I would include some decent quantities of crap whiskey and good beer. And perhaps a bonfire. Heh.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Not a fan of an un-arbited round table. Watch the talking-head programs on the Teevee. Who is going to shut up the Loud Talkers-Over? And I’ve seen more than enough of those programs to recognize that many women are at a distinct disadvantage, because they are too polite to “talk back.” Please, let Shirley Chisholm and AOC become the model for women participating in the fray.

        Besides, so much of what counts is not the performance in whatever format the debates take, however much those of us who studied forensics and wer on the Debate Team might like to think. It’s the off-stage scrum of money and “coalitions” and Bernays Sauce that carries the day.

        1. HotFlash

          How about a timeclock? Or a facilitator (not ‘moderator’, that word has too much baggage, = director) to keep things orderly? Many consensus organizations have procedures for this sort of thing. Although I am too young to remember how the debates sponsored by the League of Women Voters went, and who knows if any of them remember how to do it, anyway, but how about them? Or a bunch of Buddhist monks — on second thought, Myanmar, maybe not. One problem is that the TV folks are looking for ratings, not to inform the public, and another is that they may not be impartial. Well, aren’t.

  6. Calypso Facto

    re: Bitecofer Hypothesis, one of my few fundamental beliefs about Americans is that in the main they* motivate in opposition rather than for something. Thus idioms like ‘put 10 people in a room and you may not have a leader but there will be someone everyone hates’ and the performative battles that make up identity but curious lack of cohesive and concrete goals and plans and actions in service of something (think of Paul Ryan raging for years against entitlements and once he got into the seat of power he had zilch in terms of actual policy otherwise).

    Sports is the usual repository of hopes and dreams after they have been crushed by the inhumane and boring system we live under. It would be “funny” if those same dynamics were harnessed to re-ignite political will and interest among the working classes who checked out long ago.

    *: I am American but have an Aussie parent and spent part of my childhood in Perth and as a consequence still have the outsider’s view at times. I probably have this trait in some areas as well.

    1. JTMcPhee

      My dad’s copy of the WW II Navy’s Officer’s Manual actually includes the admonition to be sure there is some Sad Sack in the unit that everyone else can feel superior to and direct their emotions toward.

      In my own experience of Army Basic Training, that dynamic was also very apparent, an exacerbation of a very human trait of scapegoating.

  7. Deschain

    Here’s my theory of how the primaries should work.

    10 weeks of primaries
    5 states each week
    The order in which the primaries are held is determined as follows: rank the states in the order of the winner’s percent margin of victory in the prior election. The closest states go first, the biggest blowouts (in either direction) go last.

    Doesn’t it make sense to figure out who has the most support in the 10 or states that actually matter in the case of a close election? Who cares what California thinks, they will always vote Democrat (or if they don’t, the election is lost anyway). I say that as a Californian:

    1. John k

      Yes.. if a party wants to win above all else, like its more important to beat trump than to suppress progressives, it would want to find out who the swing states prefer.
      Ca, ny, tx not likely to flip, but rust belt, Fl are. Let the flippers go first.

  8. Pavel

    I had to mute Tom Perez as he was almost yelling like an evangelist preacher about the supposed glories and successes of the Democrat party after he just presided over (and contributed to) the greatest fiasco in recent US primary history.

    Meanwhile Chris Christie, who should have been in jail for BridgeGate, is now commenting on debates. How typical of American politics and media.

  9. Potted Frog

    “I don’t see how Bitecofer’s theory gives an account of how the electorate is to be expanded, how the Sanders campaign is trying to do that, or — perhaps most important to her — why the party establishments are so obviously unwilling to do so. Don’t they want more fans?”

    The management of both teams (ruling class) are happy with the standoff that benefits the status quo. Change is risk and risk is – wait for it – disruptive.

  10. Jason Boxman

    Despite the magic of the Internets, I had to duckduck a lot to find out that I can stream the debate on CNN for free. ABC wanted me to pick a provider or some nonsense, and I don’t pay for cable so I don’t have Verizon or Comcast or whatever to login to. Blah.

  11. Chauncey Gardiner

    Re: … “[I]t would seem that the best way forward for the country would be to outlaw political parties entirely — after Iowa, under RICO?”

    Excellent suggestion, Lambert.

  12. Jason Boxman

    I gotta say, I’m surprised to see Biden public admit his vote was wrong on Iraq. Good for him. Sadly tons of people are still dead, but here we are.

    The Veteran’s healthcare thing is always astounding to me, though. Congress really just discards these kids to die, whether it’s unnecessary wars, or getting poisoned at bases in the United States.

    Oh Pete, foreign interference in our elections! I bet we’d have better elections if the Russians ran them, wow. Just look at Iowa.

    And I have this loading spinner stuck on my screen, ugh.

    Warren, that’s great, you’re fighting for our troops! She fights!

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      And it only took him 17.5 years and polling telling him its a huge negative. There is no “good for him” at this point. Kerry and Clinton have both lost Presidential elections.

      1. Carey

        >And it only took him 17.5 years

        Yes- strategic admission. What is he *doing* up there, other than making a fool of himself? Must have to do with the Party, and maybe his misbegotten son.

  13. Jason Boxman

    Why Biden, is ISIS going to invade America? I don’t understand this overwhelming cowering to fear. Our policy is nonsense. Why counter terrorism, Klobuchar? Which allies are more vulnerable if we don’t have troops in the middle east? Why are these countries allies?

    I guess this is the foreign policy part of the debate. Are we going to cover climate change this time? Sigh.

  14. richard

    klobuchar: “It’s not real Bernie! 2/3 of the senate is against it!”
    ahem, madame senator, if i may suggest, perhaps it is the 2/3 of the senate that is reality challenged?
    m4a over 60% in virtually every poll i’ve seen in the last 5 years, we could probably put it over 80 if dems actually pushed for it
    reality my spotted a#@

    1. jrs

      Oh and Amy is going to accomplish so much good with a Republican Senate, well I guess she might do harm with them ..

      1. Gregorio

        No more pie in the sky than Amy believing she’ll get Republicans to vote for overturning Citizens United.

  15. nippersmom

    ABC being appalling, blatantly biased. These people get more brazen all the time. And #ciapete is just a liar.

  16. Biph

    I get her point, and it gels nicely with my thought that this election is likely to be a close win for either Trump or the Dem nominee (the only corollary I would add is that Bernie might be able to turn it into a comfortable Dem win by siphoning some Trumps working class support and bringing new/infrequent voters to the polls). The Wisconsin vote in 2018 shows that split voters still exist and can have a potentially big effect on the vote, Evers beat Walker by 1% point in the governors race but Baldwin beat her Republican rival by almost 11% in the US Senate race. In raw numbers Baldwin got about 150K more votes than Evers and her Republican challenger got about 110,000 votes less than Scott Walker.

  17. Hamford

    Who said it: “We cannot solve the problems before us by looking back, we have to turn the page”?

  18. Fern

    Why doesn’t Bernie emphasize that the individual taxpayer will pay less on premiums, deductibles, lost wages because of employee health care costs than they would in individual tax increases under a single-payer tax system ? Why doesn’t he just say that you pay for this one way or the other, and the average taxpayer will pay less under a single-payer system that does away with the middleman?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Perhaps because we don’t have the language for it?

      What if health insurance premiums were called a “privatax” because we have to pay them to stay eligible for coverage? And what if taxes paid to government itself for governmentally paid-for coverage ( or government-agency care) were called “govertaxes”?

      Then Bernie would at least have the discreet language-tools ( actual words) to be able to say which would cost more, the current privataxes or the prospective govertaxes.

      1. Carey

        >Perhaps because we don’t have the language for it?

        I can’t agree. It’s not difficult, unless perhaps you’ve received intimations about your
        family’s well-being..

        Bernie Sanders is one serious Stud.

  19. Carey

    Klobuchar going on about leadership and impeachment, yadda-yadda.

    Sanders finally getting another chance, and very on-point on healthcare.

  20. chuck roast

    Lots of applause for Amy’s impeachment rap. That tells me that the audience is loaded with apparatchiks.

  21. richard

    or mayopete-klobuchar
    turned the sound off for a bit (why on earth would you do that richard) and the facial cues between them seemed to betray hidden confidences

    1. Jason Boxman

      Doesn’t seem that way! I may have finally found a stream that doesn’t break up, from YouTube.

  22. nippersmom

    Mr. Steyer, you can’t talk about the economy without talking about healthcare.

    And when does Yang get to speak?

    1. mrsyk

      True that. But I do appreciate Mr. Steyer pointing out that Mayo Pete doesn’t have the goods to beat Trump.

  23. Carey

    Very good stuff from Yang right now, not that I trust his remedies.

    Biden: “we can’t afford to pay less for healthcare!; it’ll cost too much”

  24. nippersmom

    Excellent, Yang. Trump is definitely just a symptom. I can see why he has so much appeal to the “Yang gang”.

    1. Chigal in Carolina

      and after he convincingly articulates that it’s not all about Trump, commercial break and then the moderator asks the candidates to express their views on impeachment. whomp! opportunity missed for an intelligent conversation.

      I was so disgusted I turned it off. why are the moderators given the power to lower the level of the debates? somebody oughta sue the networks for malpractice on behalf of the american people.

  25. Jason Boxman

    Gotta love Yang: “Look forward, not back!” Sounds just like Obama. What a bizarre thing to say.

  26. Monty

    It’s obviously going to be 4 more years of Trump. It’s just a matter of how many states he wins, will he beat Reagan’s record? None of these guys stands a chance.

    I can feel my energy draining away every moment i watch this trash.

    1. Wukchumni

      There’s a German term that describes tonight’s debate festivities:

      Toten Hosen: ‘dead trousers’ or nothing going on, boring.

      1. richard

        dead trousers
        those germans are deadpan hilarious at the same time as having absolutely no sense of humor

        1. rowlf

          Good stuff, German-to-English literal translations, a wonderful field of humor:

          English is a world language and it is the first foreign language Germans learn in school. Thus, most Germans can speak and understand English to a certain degree. Some Germans even make fun of the English language by spoofing it. The spoof is that they translate German compound words or phrases word by word. This spoof might derive from reality because Germans who are not that competent in English simply tend to verbalize the extra-linguistic world with their linguistic knowledge of German, that is, they make use of (unconscious) language rules that perfectly function in the German language but which should better be not applied to English. – By the way, scientifically it is a matter of fact that a native language does always influence the learning of a foreign language.

          1. Ignacio

            Gerglish, Enfrench, Itaman, Portignol, Arabhili, Jachin, Hinarsi, … infinite languages spoken outside there are.
            Who is not to like it?

    2. dk

      This “debate” format is ridiculous. Everything becomes a platitude when it can’t be expressed completely in relation to context. One doesn’t even need a complete concept to “compete” here.

      1. Jeffk

        Yeah, but this time it seemed a little better because the moderators weren’t constantly interrupting and being all bitchy about the schedule…but yeah, you can’t expect complete rational discussions in the political horse race. It’s flawed, we’re flawed, and right now this is as good as it gets. If you don’t believe me, pull up some 2016 GOP debates on YouTube and watch some what-the-s**t nonsense.

        1. JBird4049

          When I was reading the Lincoln-Douglas Debates I use to think that they were overly long. Now, I see the word salad and cliched BS that is called debating today and I think that both teevee and the interwebs killed it.

          It was true that these very long speeches were considered “entertainment” and hey, baseball was invented back then, but then I use to enjoy baseball and can’t stand watching these so-called debates.

    3. Carey

      To your last sentence: I felt, truly, that bludgeoning us with Trump!!! was really the
      goal. “We’re slightly less hellish Dems 2020!”

      It’s one long psyOp now, in my opinion, and is likely to remain so until full collapse.
      Dems™ get the lead role *only* because they have this bare touch of believability, for the moment, which is not likely to hold long.

  27. Carey

    Sanders going on about Trump!, and now Steyer doing the same. Don’t like this, the pervasive repetition on Trump!. Glad Yang provided a bit of pushback.

    Buttigieg courageously standing for™ Hunter Biden. So cool

  28. Jason Boxman

    Wow, that is some sick f* s* there. Wow Biden. He made sure the blob knows who he stands with!

  29. nippersmom

    Sorry, Pete, but I think Hunter deserves to be investigated. I also think you would not hesitate to weaponize Trump’s family relationships if you thought it would benefit you.

  30. lordkoos

    Biden on “the politics of the past” was pretty incoherent. The politics of the past is exactly how we got to this.

  31. nippersmom

    Amy, you win in a red district because everyone in your state realizes you actually support Republican policies.

      1. sleepy

        The state is historically blue, but the red districts are red districts–Michelle Bachman’s old district for one.

      2. Big River Bandido

        Minnesota damn near went Republican in 2016. HRC had the worst showing there of any Democrat in decades.

          1. Carey

            On a tangent, but I’m still trying to get that too-vivid HRC image (from her self-promoting thing, linked in WC) out of my head.. tough to unsee.

            oh dear

      3. Alternate Delegate

        Minnesota will go for Trump in 2020, if anyone but Sanders is the nominee.

        I wouldn’t mind that part so much, but it will also screw up the State’s internal functioning. Every time Minnesota winds up with an R Secretary of State or Legislature they mess everything up trying to stop everyone from voting, or prohibit alcohol before Prohibition even happened, or make it a crime to turn out the lights at a public dance (yes, that was a crime until recently in Minnesota) or what have you. Volstead was a Minnesotan …

        Can we please have an acceptable nominee so Minnesota doesn’t have to go through yet another Red phase?

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If the Dems nominate yet another puddle of putrid disgust to run for President, why would so many F L Democrats who wanted better not even come out to vote at all? Why wouldn’t they come out, leave the “President” line blank so Trump can win by default, but vote for all the other
          acceptable Dems or whatever further downticket, so they don’t have a statewide redphase?

          Don’t they think about that?

          1. Big River Bandido

            Because the down ticket candidates are just as bad. Klobuchar is the perfect example of what the system coughs up.

            1. Carey

              The debate tonight, and the ones from the recent past, really exemplified that: the “normalizing” of insane policy positions
              via pervasiveness (clumsy; is that the right word?) and repetition;
              and Klob [Biden] are most exemplary in that way, IMO.

              Our Elites: “Always be Closing.”

    1. lyman alpha blob

      I thought I heard the same thing and then thought maybe it was just me. Maybe it wasn’t…

  32. Carey

    Now Sanders talking “look forward, not back” too. Odd how we’re always looking forward, then, but going backward (for the 90%%).

    Yet more time for Butti now.. do not like that dude.

  33. Rhondda

    Thanks, Lambert. I did like that Bitcofer lady’s office nameplate! She’s a sassy wench, and I always like that. And her “Chuck Todd theory of American politics” is a hoot! and a bracing and well-deserved slap across the groomed jowls of the consultant class: “The idea that there is this informed, engaged American population that is watching these political events and watching their elected leaders and assessing their behavior and making a judgment…it is just not true.”

    Debate? Whatever. I’ll vote for Bernie. Or write him in. Decision made a long while ago. MayorCheat, VP Burisma, Bloomberg, etc can all go soak. See, more proof for She Who Came to Slay.

      1. urblintz

        He mentioned her by name in hoping that everyone would be united against Trump no matter who wins the nomination. Very crafty…

  34. urblintz

    Pete, the CIA candidate

    Bernie disappoints with the Putin characterization… but makes a more important point about cooperation as opposed to assassination

  35. Monty

    Steyer with the only sensible statement of the night!

    Maybe his game is to use his loot to save our asses? Hats off.

      1. Monty

        Yes, I agree but the feeling I get looking around me is that Americans generally don’t. They like to hear about how they are the best and the strongest and the most civilized and deserve it all etc.

        1. Carey

          >I agree but the feeling I get looking around me

          Is that a representative sample?

          The sample I see around me seems pretty good, in spite of our Betters’ efforts.
          They’re not done though, lazy and out of shape as they are-

  36. Fern

    Gems from Biden on foreign policy: “We need NATO to keep a kleptocracy from taking over Europe”.

    “We need allies to protect us from failed states”. Failed states we created?

  37. Rod

    Sanders follows up Steyer with a great comment on unity necessary to combat climate change calls out fossil fuel ptb

    1. Carey

      Yeah, when Poor Joe Biden said “NATO is in big trouble” I thought “sign me up!”.

      This is what a dismal, exceedingly short-lived empire running on its last fumes looks like.

  38. chuck roast

    I vaguely remember my first political science class, but there is one phrase that I have never forgotten. Probably because I see it every day in spades…”glittering generalities”… Indeed, PB is the Ace of Spades of glittering generalities.

    1. Carey

      Butti is a execrable speaker who probably got an A triple-plus in that class.

      Go back and watch JFK, and weep.

      1. Carey

        I wish to amend this slightly, to: “Go back and watch even JFK, and weep.”

        Butti’s useful as a measure, though.

  39. JohnnyGL

    Mayor Pete would like to respectfully disagree with his website on the appropriate policy regarding opioids.

    “de-carceration” vs. “decriminalization” is, apparently, a pointed disagreement

          1. neo-realist

            Multiple candidates in a debate format tends to be a sh*tshow regardless of party-see previous comment re the republican debate in 2016.

  40. Jason Boxman

    Ugh, we have to “pay for it”. How awful. Always gotta pay for domestic stuff.

    It’s called writing a cheque. I wish I could do that. Only the federal government can do it.

  41. Bill Carson

    They just set Bernie up on the gun question, giving lots of *ammunition* to Trump and the NRA in the general. This helps them make their argument that he will be unelectible.

    1. Shiloh1

      Gun question?

      My gun question to Bernie would be people in Vermont and New Hampshire have more guns than Chicago and St. Louis, but fewer criminal shootings and murders – What’s the secret?

      1. JBird4049

        Aside from the concentrated poverty, corruption, as well as militarized and abusive policing focused on control instead of protection and justice creating a traumatized, fearful society that cannot trust the government and leaves justice to the individual? Who knows?

        Seriously, while guns make it much easier to kill, the level of violence and death in a society is usually determined by how functional it is. If you look at many Latin American countries and Brazil that do not have more guns than the United States, but the level of dysfunction is often extreme. The fact that the corruption, oligarchies, dictatorships, death squads, and concentrated poverty is often the result of American interference is interesting.

        The same pattern can be seen in the United States. The focus on guns or the implied racism is a deflection from the root causes.

      2. Anon

        The secret is “hand guns” and “ghetto’s”. Vermont and NH guns are for hunting game, not hunting fellow humans.

        1. JBird4049

          Those “ghettos” are a deliberate creation. People do not choose to be poor, discriminated against, and then overpoliced and underserved.

          In those areas, the government does not exist to serve the people, but to control and exploit them, while the police are used to (violently) do the physical controlling and the exploitation. Individuals in those areas are forced to do their own protecting and create their own justice. Unfortunately, it often means the use of violence with the aid of fists, knives, and guns.

          If the white population was similarly treated, they would use those hunting rifles in the same way others use their handguns. Also, I find this race baiting and dog whistling annoying. Feel free to stop.

  42. Carey

    Sanders is having to thread such a fine needle. Disingenuousness on both sides..
    Hats off, Senator Sanders.

    Poor Biden coming off like the loonatic he is. “Here’s the deal!”

        1. petal

          They are blinding in person/up close, trust me. It looks so weird. You can’t avoid them. The rest of him looks in rough shape but then you have those super bright teeth that look brand new. Like putting shiny new chrome on a jalopy, I guess.

  43. Jason Boxman

    Think about all the thousands, and thousands of people, destitute because they can’t file for bankruptcy, because of the evil you’ve committed, Biden. How many people were jailed because of Biden’s tough on crime stance? This guy is without morality.

    That was a solid hit on Bernie, though. He even has me believing that Sanders is terrible on firearms.

    Also, does Biden sound like “Get off my lawn!”?

    1. Carey

      >Also, does Biden sound like “Get off my lawn!”?


      Also, WTF has no one (including Sanders) yet nailed Biden on the Bankruptcy bill?

      Warren makes me want to turn the sound off (as with Butti).

    2. Scoaliera

      I missed it. Am I going to have to explain the PLCAA again, goddammit? After the three million or so times I had to explain it back in 2015/16? (

      Tl;dr: that “liability shield” for gun manufacturers only applies in situations where said manufacturers would not have substantive liability under normal principles of tort law. Where a plaintiff does have a claim under those normal principles, there’s an exception in the statute that allows the case to proceed. Basically, the relevant parts of the PLCAA only tell the courts that (a) Congress doesn’t want them making new law in the area; and (b) it also doesn’t want the courts used to either harass manufacturers or misuse discover to pursue investigations into the industry when there’s no good underlying argument for the lawsuit.

      If you’re passionate about gun control you can disagree, and feel that the courts should be freed to extend liability for gun manufacturers beyond what tort law would impose on other manufacturers, especially given Congress’s paralysis on the issue. Which is fair enough! But what’s not fair enough is to characterize a law that says, “Hey, we treat gun manufacturers’ liability the same way we treat all other manufacturers’ liability” as saying, “Gun manufacturers are special and precious, and deserve protection from substantive liability given to no other manufacturers ever.”

  44. Jason Boxman

    No Biden, there are NOT 3 equal branches of government. Congress is supreme. It’s first in the constitution. It can impeach officials. It approves cabinet officials. It approves justices. This co-equal branches of government thing is such nonsense.

    1. DW Bartoo

      Well, Jason, they do seem to be equally corruptible, equally devoted to protecting the $tatu$ quo, enhancing oligarchy, Full Spectrum Dominance, and the Divine Right of Money.

      A great deal of non sense equally manifest in common – especially during the heady foggieness of “wars” of choicieness …

    1. Samuel Conner

      We can have “nominal growth” through inflation (perhaps hedonic quality adjustments). Actual resource utilization, and especially energy intensity, must decline.

      1. Carey

        Thank you.

        *will* decline, I think. Guessing that many of the battles we’re seeing ATM are proxy ones, over just that issue. Not an original thought, heh.

  45. elissa3

    Is it my imagination, or has the camerawork gone kerflooey? Seems like the shots are out of focus! Pls. don’t tell me I’m having a medical problem?

  46. voteforno6

    I have to say that Tom Steyer, evil billionaire that he is, comes across much better than most of the people on the stage. He certainly has more passion than, say, Buttigieg.

    1. Hamford

      Could Steyer be a Roosevelt? Conservationist like Teddy? I’d take him over Warren at this point.

      1. voteforno6

        I think I saw somewhere that he wants to be Senator…I think that I would prefer him, evil billionaire that he is, over Kamala Harris.

          1. Carey

            Maybe better than Harris, which wouldn’t be hard, but Steyer was all in on impeach impeach impeach, when that looked politically wedge- viable; then jumped to Climate Change as a favored issue. The latter is very real, but requires, for the immediate moment, only posturing…
            perfect as a pol issue.

            Tentative conclusion: same-ol same-ol

          2. Carey

            What, in particular, would make Tom Steyer a “good senator for California”?

            s/ California resident and native

  47. Monty

    WallStreetPete replied, “You say black incarceration was up, but that’s the point…Up is Down. So it actually went down.” *grinz*

  48. Hamford

    Pete with Broken Windows … surprised ABC was so hard on him here about the increase in black arrests under his watch, they even let Warren in for his carrion.

    1. Carey

      limited hangout, for that tasteful™ touch of legitimacy.

      “always be closing”

      Really do not like Buttigieg.

  49. Bill Carson

    ISTM, that for those of us rooting for Bernie, we want Biden, Warren, and Klobuchar to perform well tonight.

    1. Deschain

      I hear what you’re saying, but if Biden collapses it puts a lot of the otherwise clientilist votes up for grabs. Mayo Pete and Mayo Mike are enough to split the centrist votes.

      1. chuck roast

        Tomorrow, Joe “Huffman” Biden’s political career will end not with a bang but a whimper. He will go to the top of a very tall building in Manhattan where he will be instructed by people (average handicap – 14) that you and I have never heard of to immediately drop out of the race and give all the campaign cash he has left to Pete (thank you for your service!) Buttigege. Pete, sporting his Distinguished Service Cross and Air Medal, will be in an adjacent room getting his shoe-shine box in order and monograming his knee pads. Although his handicap is 18 he will tell everybody that it is 8 thus insuring that he will always finish 5 down. They will shower him with large sums of cash, give a new set of clubs and assure him that he is no longer a caddy.

  50. Fern

    Wow. Just Wow. Buttigieg just exposed himself big time with his deflection of the question about his record of disproportionate African American arrests during his administration. He ended up saying that more blacks were arrested because he was targeting violent crimes and gang crimes (and blacks are more violent and have more gang activity).

    1. Basil Pesto

      speaking from the antipodes, pardon my ignorance, but what is the gang violence like in South Bend?

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          From the last time I was there, a lot of the locals do. There were many billboards around town chastising ND for “importing crime” into the community. It was pretty sickening.

  51. Hamford

    Glad ending private prisons is on the menu. Such low hanging fruit, don’t know why others besides Sanders and Steyer don’t jump on.

          1. Bill Carson

            Just go ask Cornpop how progressive I was, swimming in the same pool with those black kids, let them sit up on my lap in the lifeguard chair.

  52. elissa3

    If Biden wasn’t an evil creature, I’d feel sorry for him. He’s clearly flailing and Steyer is, very effectively, taking on the role of Tulsi (sticking the knife in). The surprises for me are: 1) Steyer and Yang have been given some time and are using it to their advantage; 2) No underhanded attacks on Bernie, (who, I think, is doing very well); 3) little time for Warren, relative to her standing.

  53. Plenue

    Some actual journalism snuck up on Buttigieg there, wow.

    Biden getting destroyed on the racism issue.

    Also he brain farted again; “My friend on the end there.”

  54. CarlH

    I really wish Bernie would internalize who these people really are and the damage they are causing to us right now and want to cause to us in the continuing future and stop calling them his “good friends”. They would slit his throat at the first chance, as the past couple of weeks have amply shown, so treat them as the enemies they are. I am not saying he needs to go low, just quit identifying with them on stage. They are representations of everything we hate in the modern DP. Take a page from Trump and distinguish yourself as pointedly outside their circle and a powerful foe to everything they are and stand for. No more beating around the bush and playing footsies!

    1. urblintz

      Bernie, over 5 decades, went from mayor to Senator and twice now leading progressive candidate for president – as a socialist. He’s the most respected member of congress by a large margin. Personally, I’d be loathe to advise him about how to win votes and voters to his side.

    2. Big River Bandido

      Remember also that Sanders will *need* as many dyed in the wool Democrats in November that he can bring along. This is why he’s so careful not to alienate potential supporters (like, say, a certain nominee did 4 years ago).

      1. Samuel Conner

        One of the things that I admire about Sanders is that he appears more interested in persuading enemies than destroying them. He doesn’t seem to hold grudges. A not too long ago article in one of the online media asserted that this mystifies Trump.

        I like a candidate that the opposition simply cannot understand.

        1. Big River Bandido

          Abraham Lincoln was approached by a woman who wanted him to destroy the enemy. “Madam,” he said, “do I not destroy my enemy by making him my friend?”

        2. John Zelnicker

          @Samuel Conner
          February 7, 2020 at 10:42 pm

          “I like a candidate that the opposition simply cannot understand.”

          Me, too. And it’s another good reason why Bernie is the best candidate to beat Trump.

      2. jrs

        He probably also honestly prefers some (and maybe all) of them to Trump. Don’t get me wrong I believe he’s playing to win.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > just quit identifying with them on stage

      The “I like Bernie” moment was really an extremely pointed diss of Hillary Clinton. If I were Sanders, I would certainly collect my winnings on that, along with the implicit message to moderates that he is not a cartoonish villain.

  55. Carey

    So the moderator’s Q is “Why are you better than Bloomberg?” Isn’t that quite a backwards formulation?

    Elites: “always be closing.”

    Sanders 2020

      1. Carey

        Heh! That’s more accurate.

        Gunnery Sergeant Hartmann to Private Joker: “You will learn.. I will teach you by the numbers..”

        Us, to the Few

  56. Fern

    Pete says that the position of mayor doesn’t attract big money. True. I guess that’s why he had to replace BOTH his black fire chief AND his black police chief and replace them with the (white) relative/friends of his two biggest donors.

  57. Plenue

    What is Yang babbling about? And didn’t he start the debate by claiming the US lost four million jobs due to automation? No, Andrew, those jobs still exist. They just aren’t inside the borders of the United States.

    Also Warren is lying.


    1. Carla

      By being a subtle psychopath. In psychoanalytic terms, he’s a “high-functioning” psychopath — and one that’s having a VERY good night!

      1. jrs

        There are people I always assumed would endorse Sanders, maybe after super Tues if Steyer goes nowhere (likely), but I doubt Sanders wants the endorsement of a billionaire. Not warren though, but Yang might, Gabbard I thought but I’m really not so sure anymore, I thought Marriane would but no.

        1. Jokerstein

          I think that depends – if the other billionaires turn on Steyer, the optics are somewhat difference.

          And it’s just wrapped up.

          If the NH vote is strong for BS and is acknowledged to be fair(ish), then he did pretty damn’ well tonight…

    1. Carey

      >Damn, is Steyer going leftish?

      Not bloody likely (lifted from a fine book review of or by Vivian Gornick).

    1. Carey

      Ahh, I remember Shaheen and Hassan well, from 2016- they both presented themselves
      as progressives (whatever that diminished term means), and I stupoidly gave one of them money.

      Won’t be fooled, et c

  58. Jason Boxman

    Wow this intermission thing where idiots talk is incredibly irritating. Is this in the feed for everyone?

    1. lordkoos

      This is the first debate I’ve steeled myself to watch. The talking heads at the beginning were a real test, by far the worst part of it.

  59. Fern

    Steyer must be angling for a cabinet position in Bernie’s administration. Did I detect Bernie finally warming to him?

  60. Monty

    Is it just me, or does Yang seem like a ventriloquists dummy run by the dreaded automation he is railing against?

    1. Jason Boxman

      Gotta agree with the intrinsic value thing, for what it’s worth. In America, you’re worth what you can get paid for. It’s a diseased social order.

      1. jrs

        +1 yes it’s a good case, the right case, 1k won’t get you there of course, but how often is it even said.

    1. 3.14e-9

      I was listening to a congressional oversight hearing yesterday on the VA, at which a deputy undersecretary of something-or-other was the lead witness. His ability to make noises into a microphone that sounded something like speech, with some recognizable words that made it seem like he was answering a question when in fact he was completely avoiding answering the question, was fascinating. Where do they find these guys? Is it part of the job interview?

      Thing is, you almost expect VA bureaucrats to talk like this. When MayoP does it, he sounds like he’s bull$#!77ing his way through a high school book report.

      (Meant to reply to Pbog)

    2. Carey

      I’ve watched CIA Pete enough to really wonder if he’s testing himself, and trying to say less than nothing in the longest-winded way possible. He and they are trolling us.

      Try that hypothesis yourself, and see what you think.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Bernie, lays it down. Bingo! Imagine if the news had the decency to run that on repeat!

        When I wrote “here are no points at NC for context-free one-liners” this comment was exactly the sort of thing I had in mind. So, good question!

  61. Jason Boxman

    Wow. There’s a post debate actually called “Spin Room”. No thanks. I can still rub a few brain cells together.

  62. Joshua Ellinger

    I have a question for the readers… why couldn’t Bernie get more new voters to caucus in Iowa?

    There are 1,000,000 registered democrats and another 1,000,000 independents. Feels like they got maybe 10,000 the satellite caucus sites. Overall turnout was around 170,000 — not the 250,000 that Obama got in 2008.

    We can’t blame an app on the missing 80,000. You can still register at the door. Nobody is disputing that turnout looked like 2016, not 2008. Only theory I have is that Obama poisoned the ‘hope-and-change’ well and maybe we are so far into our late Roman republic period that ‘our billionaire’ Bloomberg has the best chance against Trump.

    Sad to see Sanders change his position on guns — he is right from a moral point of view but he should have taken the hit in the primary to protect himself in the general. Feels like an unforced error.

    1. David J.

      I’m not sure why we’d want to single Sanders out for the low turnout. After all, the turnout at the new satellite sites seemed to favor him, especially when one considers the demographics.

      1. Joshua Ellinger

        Because his theory of change is that he can get new people to turn out. Everyone else isn’t really that interested.

        1. pretzelattack

          he is getting new people to turn out; those meatpackers, for example. in the satellite districts that mayor cheat has such a problem with.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > he is getting new people to turn out; those meatpackers, for example. in the satellite districts that mayor cheat has such a problem with.

            That proves the campaign has the right attitude, since no other campaign tried. What it does not prove is that the strategy scales. It could be, of course, that Iowa political culture just militates against it (they take meeting candidates seriously; those who can’t take the time to do that may have felt shut out).

            1. Dan

              My heart wants it to scale.
              My head can’t make up its mind if it will or won’t.
              My gut says it won’t.

        2. Henry Moon Pie

          The turnout this year was the second highest ever, second only to 2008. Bernie did turn out the youth. They comprised 24% of the turnout, higher even than the previous record in 2008. He also turned out the working class, especially people of color, in the satellites with amazing success.

          I’ve seen analyses on Twitter that indicate the reason that turnout was not higher was that turnout among the oldest age cohort dropped dramatically. My guess, considering that Iowa went for Trump by 8%. is that many of those older people are no longer Democrats.

          I agree that Bernie’s turnout strategy must be evaluated critically at every step. It’s a work in progress that must be continually improved, and they have the people on board, experienced organizers like Chuck Rocha, who can keep making things better.

    2. jrs

      I don’t know though, they are literally voting for a self-proclaimed socialist (I know this can be debated as some will say he’s more a FDR Dem or social democratic, but like I say self-proclaimed) in Iowa, *Iowa*. And gets the majority of the vote admittedly of those who caucus. It’s pretty amazing in many ways.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I wish that Sanders had won more rural voters (apparently the delegate formula weights this heavily). Surely there is a left appeal on agriculture that’s more attractive than whatever bowl of warm platitudes Buttigieg served up?

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          I have no idea what his strategy was with respect to rural voters, but he might have been able to do some campaigning in that part of the state if he hadn’t been tied down in the Senate.

    3. Big River Bandido

      Gee. The caucuses are held the night after the Stupor Bowl, in the midst of an impeachment circus that no Democrat voter gives a rat about. And then they’re bludgeoned by commercials, phone calls, and knocks on the door for months. And then if that weren’t bad enough, people who take their civic duty seriously are forced to sit through these despicable debates which leave the viewer dumber than they were at the start. I have no idea why turnout didn’t increase. /sn

      But youth turnout spiked dramatically — enough to give Sanders the win.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > But youth turnout spiked dramatically — enough to give Sanders the win.

        Youth + satellites (working class).

        The impeachment circus not only kept Sanders off the trail during a critical time, it sucked the air out of the attack on Biden’s social security record (though that just might have been the reason Biden voters did not turn out.

        1. Big River Bandido

          All true. I was only saying that all DC and the corporate media could talk about was impeachment, for weeks. A topic about which voters don’t give a rat.

    4. Yves Smith

      It was a Monday night. Absolute worst night of the week to get people to do anything. Ask any bar or restaurant owner.

      These comparisons to Iowa 2008 drive me nuts. That caucus was January 3 (yes, January, you read that right) and a Thursday night. Think being on a quasi vacation week and a vastly better weeknight weren’t big turnout boosters?

    5. flora

      That’s about the same number that voted in the 2016 Dem caucus. Turnout in 2016 was lower than the 2008 Clinton-Obama caucus race, which set a 50 year record.

    6. Carey

      Mmm, is this another of those subbtle “reasonableness” hit-pieces? Not sure where you’re coming from.

      We don’t know the Iowa turnout, TYVM- or anything else about that election, really.
      Thanks, DNC/IDP!

    7. Stephen The Tech Critic

      If turnout was down, but youth participation spiked, doesn’t that mean that older, mostly moderate voters were the one’s who didn’t turn out? Doesn’t that imply that the moderates are the ones low on enthusiasm? This has been my general (anecdotal) impression.

      Another thing that could have majorly impacted moderate turnout: Demoralization over Trump’s acquittal in the impeachment trial. I know, but try to empathize with them, right? Lots of liberal and moderate dems are really pissed off about that, and maybe not in a “go out and choose from a very mediocre selection of moderate candidates” mood.

    8. HotFlash

      I saw a tweet from one of the IA precinct captains who said nearly twice as many people caucused at his precinct than the ‘official’ report showed. So maybe turnout was better than reported?

    9. Iowan X

      We *still* don’t know the *actual* results, but I read that younger people turnout did increase, and it was a decline in the elderly turnout that brought the number closer to “normal”. Obama was an exception. Iowans didn’t like Hillary in 08, so that drove the exceptional turnout that year.

    1. jrs

      It’s all about how well Pete and Amy did especially Amy. Please, not Steyer did well, but Pandering Amy ..

      1. Carey

        “Pete” “Amy” .. the faux-familiarity is a bad idea; a really bad one.

        Do you *know* these people, personally? Their handlers want you to think you do, for sure.

        Sanders 2020

  63. Carey

    They made sure to get that final footage of Butti hugging his “husband” in there.

    Never going accept a man having a “husband”, thanks.

    Elites: “always be closing.” divide n conquer

    1. Utah

      As a lesbian, I find your comment degrading. Actually, even if I wasn’t a lesbian I’d find your comment degrading. Attack Pete on the lack of content coming out of his mouth, or his “glittering generalities” not on whom he chooses to marry, please. We’re not bad people. We’re regular, just like you. We want to love and be loved, too, and we want to be treated with dignity and basic human compassion.
      Also, I’m gonna plug Bernie here. Bernie gets the LGBT vote because he actually cares about LGBT people. He’s been an amazing Ally since he started his career, and doesn’t have to pander to the woke crowd to get votes because he’s done the work.

        1. Aumua

          You’re the one who is dividing with your prejudice sir. I know these attitudes are difficult to change, so I’ll give you a pass this time.

            1. Aumua

              Oh I’m sure you have no problem displaying your ignorance for the whole world to see. I just wish youd keep sanders name out of your mouth when you’re doing that. I could almost suspect that you are deliberately sabotaging sanders by equating his opposition to buttigieg with such attitudes, but like I said im giving you the benefit of the doubt here.

      1. Carey

        > Attack Pete on the lack of content coming out of his mouth, or his “glittering generalities” not on whom he chooses to marry, please.

        The New Orthodoxy is so interesting, and more totalitarian than anything the mid 20th Century
        even dreamed of..


      1. The Rev Kev

        Don’t agree with him at all but do we really need purity tests to see who should be on Bernie’s side? That may not be the intent but that is how it could play out. I think that Carey’s misgivings may be due to the idea of having Chasten Glezman as First Gentleman of the United States. Personally I would have expected a female President to come along first with a FGOTUS in tow but we will see how it plays out this year.

        1. Plenue

          I think of it more as an asshole test, for the purposes of maintaining quality discourse on the site.

    2. ObjectiveFunction

      Mate, as I go through life I find myself ever more convinced that love is our due recompense for all the pains and disappointments. Thus, love is beautiful, wherever each of us finds it, with lovers and spouses, with family or friends or pets, with God.

      So why would I deprive other human beings of love, or force them to live lies based on my own conceptions of what love ought to be?

      And yes, that includes the Mayor whose last name makes him the butt of so much juvenile mirth. So why not accept it, even if you can’t like it?

    3. Tom Bradford

      I have no problem with anyone’s sexual orientation but, like Carey, do depreciate the use of the word ‘husband’ for the male companion of a male. “Husband” has a specific meaning – the male in a bi-sexual marriage. “Husband’ only exists in relationship to ‘wife’, like ‘ying’ and ‘yang’, or ‘hot’ and ‘cold’. You can’t have one without the other.

      Is Carey his ‘husband’s’ wife? Are they both ‘husbands’ in the same relationship? Indeed the use of the word ‘husband’ in such a relationship makes a false parallel with a ‘conventional’ marriage which this isn’t. It’s something new and overdue with a different dynamic which deserves recognition in its own right with its own nomenclature.


      1. Aumua

        And why is marriage between the opposite sexes ‘conventional’ marriage? That would make homosexual marriage the ‘other’. You see the very language we habitually use betrays the hidden prejudices baked into the system, and hence into each one of us. This is the true meaning of privilege.

        1. Dan

          It’s embedded in the language and thus in the entire conceptual framework. Everything is reduced to, if not a simple binary, then a short list of possible choices. Even where it is recognized and granted that life is a continuum (for lack of a better word), such recognition takes place within the dominant society. And the vast majority of us still have to live in said society.

          Indigenous studies and literature have proven the best antidote for me.

  64. Detroit Dan

    Steyer seems very strong, and is moving the center of the discussion in the right direction.

    Neither Warren nor Klobuchar looks strong enough to sweep the feminist vote, so they will probably neutralize each other well into March. Biden is done, and Buttigieg has a weak hand with minorities, who are critical. Bloomberg will take votes from Klobuchar, Biden, and Buttigieg, but not Sanders.

    1. Jokerstein

      Agree. I’m really intrigued by Steyer, and I’m also looking forward to seeing him and Bloomie on the stage together. I’m wondering if Ol’ Bloomie could even articulate the sort of things Steyer is saying, or if his mind is incapable of getting in contact with even that spark of what looked, to me at least, like a little genuine understanding and empathy.

    2. Carla

      Bloomberg won’t take votes from Steyer? Or are you saying Steyer is gone after NH? Surely he’s got the bucks to stay in.

      I agree, Steyer was very strong tonight. I met him in Cleveland last fall, and never would have thought he’d get this far. But money buys a lot in our “democracy.”

      1. Detroit Dan

        I don’t know much about Steyer, but from what I’ve seen and heard he’s one of the few calling out the military intelligence industrial neo-conservative empire complex for their disastrous record in both foreign and domestic affairs.

        1. Carey

          My impression is that Steyer is merely grandstanding. A few months ago Steyer’s cause was Impeachment, recently he’s onto Climate Change, and so on.

          Maybe I’m wrong, but I think the organizing principle is Tom Steyer.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Bloomberg will take votes from Klobuchar, Biden, and Buttigieg, but not Sanders.

      Probably time to start mapping paths to victory. Presumably Bloomberg is betting on a brokered convention; I don’t even know if it’s possible, mathematically, for him to win outright.

  65. flora

    MSM is MSM. The mod did take Pete down with focused questions on his race relations in South Bend. Actual hard questions. Which he didn’t answer, then lied, then admitted he misspoke. Big hit there. After the past week’s MSM build up of Pete that exchange was a surprise.

    1. Biph

      That may just the MSM’s genetic predisposition to tear things down once they’ve built them up kicking in.

  66. Tim

    Final Verdict:
    Biden is toast, burnt toast. SC will give him a bump then it’s over.
    Sanders clarifies his position of strength in only taking small money, and that he will represent those small donors, not the big donors. Do voters really believe that cause and effect is actually a thing though?
    Steyer making great points but not closing the deal on his path’s forward, and is unelectable by personality.
    Buttigeg did not stand out and took way too many punches, his day in the sun is over.
    Warren, made some good points but didn’t have any wow factor.
    Klobuchar really had a good night, she may have had the best night. I expect her to have Buttigeg like jump in New Hampshire, if anybody from NH was watching the debate. Came across very likeable and down to earth. You feel it would be a complete shock if she were to stab you in the back.
    Yang made some good points, but doesn’t feel effective, doesn’t feel executive, not going anywhere.

    1. jrs

      Klobi does not come across as likable. Maybe it’s some midwestern thing, this west coastal has never found her remotely likable. She’s less likable than say Warren who people often say isn’t. But college professor grandma Warren comes across better than mean girl Klobi though.

      I thought Biden did better than in other debates.

      1. Detroit Dan

        For me personally, Klobuchar evokes Hillary Clinton, somebody I liked until 2016, but have since disliked. Klobuchar’s appeal seems tribal, and I don’t feel like I’m in her tribe. She’ll be splitting the people who liked Clinton with Warren, Biden, Bloomberg, and Klobuchar.

        1. Detroit Dan

          CORRECTION: Klobuchar will be splitting the people who liked Clinton with Warren, Biden, Bloomberg, and Buttigieg.

    2. Plenue

      I’m not sure Biden will even get that bump. Assuming his black support was ever actually real (and who knows), he’s just been so shockingly bad and clumsy. Not only will he not stop lying about civil rights in particular, he couldn’t even disown a racist on his team last night.

    1. jrs

      Yes truly unbelievable, and then Klobi blabbed on for hours and hours in response and they let her, sucking all the air, and letting the lie hang there, and Sanders did not refute Warren though he gave a good speech, but did not directly challenge her. Uh hello.

  67. Bill Carson

    My favorite part of the debate was when Steyer piped up and asked Biden if a hot dog was a sandwich, and then Biden regaled us with stories about he and Cornpop singing spirituals at the lunch counter sit-ins.

  68. HotFlash

    Thank you, dear Lambert, for allowing me to follow the debate without having to actually watch or listen to it. My eyes and ears thank you. Kinda like looking an eclipse through a pinhole camera.

    And thank you for hosting the lovely salon and all the NC commentariat — great company.

    Even thank you, I suppose, to the candidates. And I, most regally, to bed, to sleep off all the nonsense they’ve just said.

  69. JTMcPhee

    On Veteran Pete;

    Bill Maher interviewed Pete Buttigieg a few days ago on January 31, 2019. Bill Maher said, “You are the only military veteran in this.”
    Buttigieg nodded along and said, “Yeah.”
    It was a critical test of character for Mayor Pete, and Buttigieg showed his true colors. Instead of acknowledging Major Tulsi Gabbard — the first female combat veteran to ever run for the presidency, who volunteered to deploy twice to the warzones of the Middle East at the height of the war, who has served in the Army National Guard for 17 years and is still serving today — Buttigieg chose to allow the audience to believe the falsehood that he was the only military veteran running for president because it benefits him politically.
    Furthermore, when Buttigeig’s campaign posted the interview on social media, they chose to cut out the first part of Maher’s statement (i.e.

    “You are the only military veteran in this.”)

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > It was a critical test of character for Mayor Pete, and Buttigieg showed his true colors. Instead of acknowledging Major Tulsi Gabbard — the first female combat veteran to ever run for the presidency, who volunteered to deploy twice to the warzones of the Middle East at the height of the war, who has served in the Army National Guard for 17 years and is still serving today — Buttigieg chose to allow the audience to believe the falsehood that he was the only military veteran running for president because it benefits him politically.

      Would this come under the heading of “stolen valor”?

      1. Samuel Conner

        Maher initiated the theft; PB received the stolen goods.

        Perhaps the analogy is more “fence” than “thief.”

    2. Hoppy

      Wow, just wow.

      There should be a dustbin from which politicians like this are never allowed to return to the public sphere. At least within parties that claim to be better.

  70. Detroit Dan

    Ethos, logos, pathos.

    Sanders’ big advantage is his reputation (ethos). He’s been consistently progressive throughout his career, and the national mood at the current time is populist (we need change).

    No other candidate comes close in terms of ethos, and most are extremely vulnerable in terms of consistency and credibility. I guess some feminists trust Warren and Klobuchar because they are women, some people trust Buttigieg because they trust corporate America and McKinsey types, some people trust Biden because of his connection with the Democratic establishment, and some people trust Bloomberg because they trust Wall Street.

    But progressives united passionately behind Bernie are far more numerous than any one or two of these alternatives, whose followers are generally lukewarm. Anyway, “Not Me, Us”.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > No other candidate comes close in terms of ethos, and most are extremely vulnerable in terms of consistency and credibility

      What’s a little frightening is that all the “other” candidates (excepting Steyer and Yang) have what in another year would be called major “character issues,” and seen as disqualifying. Biden (lying about his record on Iraq), Klobuchar (staff abuse, not just the binder tossing, but pursuing past staffers vindictively*), Buttigieg (race relations in South Bend, amplified in debate; claiming victory before the votes were counted), Warren (American Indian stuff, smearing Sanders on sexism**). You can see Trump eating them alive (not that he won’t try with “socialism ZOMG!!!!” on Sanders, but that’s not a character issue).

      * A fine characteristic for a hatchet-person, but not Presidential.

      * * I believe, with no evidence, that insiders and elites found that episode disqualifying. The bottom line is that the episode demonstrated that no player can have a private lunch with Warren without having it blow up a year later at a time when it is politically convenient for her. That makes her not agreement-capable. Also, Sanders is the Amendment King. He’s worked in DC for years; insider elites know him. I think that they think as I think, Sanders is neither sexist nor dumb (that is, even if his oft publicly expressed view that women can and should be President were mere window-dressing, he would be either crazy or stupid to hand a weapon like that to a potential political rival). Hence she’s getting a bit of the silent treatment; they’re not treating her as a serious candidate because, in their minds, she isn’t one.

      1. Dan

        I like this. Warren seemed different in the debate, though I couldn’t put my finger on what exactly it was, other than to say she simply seemed less confident. I guess Liz forgot that old adage: There is honor among thieves.

  71. Detroit Dan

    Suppose you were trying to stop Bernie. Could you do a worse job than the Dem establishment and their hedge fund donors have done to date? The anti-Bernie vote is evenly distributed among FIVE alternative candidates (Biden, Warren, Bloomberg, Buttigieg, Klobuchar). Would they do such a bad job if they truly believed in their mission to stop Bernie? Or is it mostly a matter of earning a paycheck and moving on?

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      Well, remember that each of the five wants to be the last one standing in this battle royal after they gang up on Sanders and throw him over the top rope. (Or Tom Perez’s favorite, if he decides he has to use his chairman’s prerogative and declare Sanders an “invalid” winner — not sincere in his pledge to the DNC and not Democrat enough to be the D nominee.)

    2. team latex

      the goal is to take as many votes away from Bernie with the gay one, the fake progressive woman, the right-wing centrists male & female the oligarch etc. if Bernie Sanders gets less than a majority of delegates the Superdelegates vote in the 2nd round & install Hillary, Warren, Pete Buttigieg or Joe Biden. It has been the plot all along but we know they cheat & are documenting the rigged elections.

    3. John Anthony La Pietra

      I agree with you both about the “team” goal . . . but I still think it’s very likely that each of the players on the field wants to be the one still standing at the end. And that this could explain at least part of why the stop-Sanders team hasn’t been as effective in working toward their stated-in-the-name goal as they could have been if they all agreed who was going to play at which position in the big game in the fall — and the seasons to come. (Okay — I’m going to make an effort to avoid prolonging this already-stretched sports metaphor.)

  72. mauisurfer

    astonishing, Buttigieg’s proposed amendment

    to the Constitution to change the way S Ct justices are

    appointed/confirmed, some new way that would not

    involve the president or the senate. Buttigieg is NOT proposing a simple

    change in the number of justices as has happened

    historically. Rather it is a new method for selecting justices.

    Buttigieg does not say exactly how a new method would work.

    Perhaps he thinks (some?) justices should be elected?

    There is nothing in his platform about this, is it

    a spur of the moment invention?

    It is childish to believe that politics can

    be removed from the selection of S Ct justices.

    I think Buttigieg should come back 30 years from

    now when his wisdom might have grown to match

    his overactive intelligence.

    1. Biph

      I would like a Constitutional Amendment to change the lifetime tenure of an SC Justice to a single 20-25 year maximum term.

    2. Stephen The Tech Critic

      He didn’t say “elected”. I expect his method is more like: “Let’s select justices using a non-partisan committee of leaders and experts from the fields of business, law, and foreign policy.” I.e., they’ll all be vetted and approved by McKinsey and the CIA, for our own good.

      1. Pat

        If you think the Federalist Society will remain outside the room where it happens* in that circumstance I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

        *Apologies for the Hamilton reference, couldn’t resist.

    3. HotFlash

      After the debate, which I admit I ‘watched’ through a pinhole camera, I am left with an odd, spidey-sense kind of thing. Is our Mayo Pete a closet libertarian, in the Silicon Valley mould?

      1. inode_buddha

        …I am left with an odd, spidey-sense kind of thing. Is our Mayo Pete a closet libertarian, in the Silicon Valley mould?

        YES! you nailed it. I had a suspicion about him for the longest time, and I couldn’t quite identify what it was… essentially all the canidates are actually “acceptable right-wingers” for the DNC, save for Sanders.

  73. Jessica

    I think that short campaigns are better in Parliamentary democracies because each party actually stands for something and the leader selection process is separate from the election. In the US, the effect of a 90-day campaign would be to reduce the chance of an outsider (Sanders, McGovern, Carter, and yeah Trump) getting the nomination.
    Also, the party nomination process needs to be regulated to end the nonsense of the Democrats being a private entity.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > In the US, the effect of a 90-day campaign would be to reduce the chance of an outsider (Sanders, McGovern, Carter, and yeah Trump) getting the nomination.

      Right now, we’re at two years (and very profitable it is, too, so unlikely to change). What length would you suggest? I do think that primaries should test the candidates, but two years is way too much…

      1. Pat

        Maybe regional divides with five or six regions and a six to eight week campaign period per region? With the timing for regions rotated, say the Northeast first, Pacific second, South third, Middle North fourth, Southwest fifth but for the following Presidential election the Northeast moves to the end behind the Southwest and the Pacific region goes first.

  74. Big River Bandido

    PMC technocrats have a fetish for “data”, technology, and complex systems of any kind. Past generations of these types (1980s and 90s) at least succeeded in creating the image of competence, but ventures from Theranos to Uber to Facebook to Acronym, as well as the Democrat Party brass, indicate a complete collapse among the leadership class — not only of competence, but of morals.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > a complete collapse among the leadership class — not only of competence, but of morals.

      Add in Boeing. And the health insurance industry, while we’re at it. Maybe the CCP?

      1. Samuel Conner

        In the aftermath of the GFC, I had the intuition that there might be widespread failure of leadership in institutions of all and every sort.

        Another example: education. The immiseration of college and university teachers through “adjunctivitis” comes to mind. It also appears to me that teaching methods for elementary skills such as reading and maths have been needlessly (and unhelpfully) tinkered with, almost as if the educational methodology theorist “class” is using the education system for profit the way the political consultants use the party system.

        It looks like sociopathy at the top of hierarchies and “iron law of institutions” has run riot everywhere.

  75. deplorado

    Saw the highlights of the debate – a disgusting gangup on Bernie, common sense, and human dignity.

    At this point, I think Bernie should ask Steve Bannon for help. Bannon helped defeat the dem partocrats once. Bernie is too nice. He needs to employ the services of someone like Bannon – ruthless, effective, who despises the party at Davos and DC and knows how to punch it in the mouth – and who despite being an adventurist I suspect actually respects Bernie (I see commonality with Joe Rogan, I would guess, although I have not studied either character closely).

    Curious to hear what others think about that angle.

    Im afraid it’s only goingto get rougher from here.

    1. Carey

      Deplorado, I think you have it right. I think Sanders could benefit from talking to
      [horrors- the left might win!] Steve Bannon, just talking. OTOH, Sanders has to think
      of trying not to be being assassinated, or his family being put in danger.

  76. sd

    As a side note. At a bar this evening that was running a Fox channel during Prime time. Every. Single. Commercial. Break included an ad from Tom Steyer.

  77. CoryP

    I did a search of this thread but I saw no mention of the “nibbling around the edges” line used by Bernie and Yang. And Nina Turner on Twitter.

    Ratmode reference ?

  78. p. fitzsimon

    Get rid of the TV talking heads and replace them with a panel knowledgeable on a particular subject, foreign affairs,economics, racism, whatever. Debates would be one subject at a time and after an introductory question all panelists would get a followup question. I haven’t figured out how to select the panel.

  79. Darthbobber

    Over at the 538 debate blog, one of them described Steyer as your generic warm fuzzy liberal friend who likes several of the options and happens to be on stage with all of them.

    OTOH, there was a piece up on NYT a couple days back which made one of his prominent South Carolina endorsements look mighty transactional in a gilded age sense. He gets the endorsement of the high-profile black legislator, who in turn gets 15,000 a month for three months to consult on the SC campaign.

    Not Hunter Biden numbers, but not such a bad haul.

  80. mauisurfer

    at 2:30


    “Mayor Buttigieg, you have signaled that you’d be open to the idea

    of expanding the court. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggested leaving

    the court as it saying, quote, nine seems to be a good number. In fact,

    she said if the number of justices is increased, quote, it would make

    the court appear be partisan. It would be one side saying when we’re

    in power we’re going to enlarge the number of judges to have more people

    who will vote the way we want them to. Is Justice Ginsburg wrong?”

    B answered:

    “Well if all we did was change the number of justices I agree that could be

    the consequence. What I have called for is not only reforming the number of

    justices on the bench but also structural reform so that some of the justices

    are not appointed through a partisan process. We cannot allow the supreme court

    to continue to become one more political battlefield as we are seeing today.

    The time has come for us to think bigger. Not just reforming the makeup of the

    court as america by the way had done several times in our history. But also

    remember that the founders gave us the power to amend the constitution for

    a reason and we shouldn’t be afraid to use it.

    Buttigieg is so ignorant.

    In the first place, the Constitution does not specify the number of justices,

    so there is no need to amend the Constitution to change the number of Justices.

    In fact, this has been done by legislation a number of times in US history.

    More importantly, there is NO WAY known to eliminate the politics involved

    in the selection of a Justice. We already have open Senate hearings which are attended

    and advised by every organization with an interest, including bar associations.

    Politics is THE ESSENTIAL PROCESS of democracy.

    As Harry Truman said,

    “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

    1. Oregoncharles

      “What I have called for is not only reforming the number of

      justices on the bench but also structural reform so that some of the justices

      are not appointed through a partisan process.”

      Changing the way judges are chosen would require a constitutional amendment. It would also make the Court even MORE un-democratic.

  81. Culp Creek Curmudgeon

    Thanks for the commentary, everyone. I wasn’t able to watch the debate last night, so I’m glad to be able to read this.

    It’s apparent Sanders did well and I’m becoming more and more impressed by his ability to stay on topic and not make this personal. It’s true that Sanders is going to need the votes of lot of the other candidates supporters and he seems like he’s making it a point not to alienate those supporters.

    I’m curious if this is the beginning of a Buttigieg backlash by the MSM. I think it’s also important how little speaking time that Warren got (I saw list somewhere of speakers’ times). I get the feeling she’s done for.

    Finally, I thought Bloomberg was going to be there last night. Was there any reason given for his no show?

  82. Louis Fyne

    For Pete’s sake…who are the geniuses scheduling these debates? Why bother even having one if it’s on a Friday night!?!

    just saying.

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