The Democratic Party, along with Comcast's
There were a few major and minor winners from the first night. Representative Tulsi Gabbard stood out in a great way. As the pro-peace candidate, she offered her antiwar message in a strong and moving manner. She warned that the Trump administration's escalating tensions with Iran could cause a war far worse than the Iraq war. Warren also did well, spelling out her vision of social democracy that lifts up all Americans. She gave her reasons for taxing the rich more and ensuring universal healthcare through Medicare for All. Finally, former Housing Secretary Julián Castro also found a breakout moment when he revealed his proposal to decriminalize illegal entry into the US in order to ensure the border internment camps are abolished. New York City mayor Bill DeBlasio and Washington governor Jay Inslee also performed decently, telling viewers their messages clearly and effectively.
There were a few major and minor losers too. Representative Tim Ryan absolutely embarrassed himself. He looked unprepared and confused most of the time. His exchange with Gabbard over what to do with remaining troops in the Middle East made him look weak and ignorant. O'Rourke also fizzled out, first with the random Spanish pandering and then with his exchange with Castro over immigration reform. Castro told O'Rourke to do his homework, and O'Rourke could not muster a good comeback. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) did not flop, but he had a few strange moments. He spoke broken Spanish after O'Rourke, and he came out as the only candidate against the 2015 Iran deal for no good reason. He also seemed relatively light on policy details, which looked bad as he stood next to policy wonk Warren. Representative John Delaney and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) failed to make any big impressions regarding personality or policy.
Overall, the first night of the first Democratic debate was a fun event with some surprises. Unfortunately, the NBC moderators did some things wrong too. First, they did nothing to enforce time limits, letting some candidates ramble on way past their time limits. Second, they refused to tell the audience to quiet down when candidates spoke. Third, they showed clear favoritism among the candidates. Some candidates like Warren and Booker received numerous questions and over 10 minutes of total speaking time, while others like Gabbard and Inslee were relatively ignored. Finally, I predict that Ryan and Delaney will drop out by next month's debate, and Gabbard and Castro will rise in the polls.
The author is an independent voter sharing his own opinion.