week late debate reflections

03 Jul

I actually feel kind of like a bad citizen and participant in democracy for not actually watching the two-evening Democratic primary debate live last week. That said, I did catch the highlights and have read endless commentary and analysis, which while i know isn’t the ideal, it’s the situation I found myself in and better than nothing.

I probably also should have not waited a week to post my thoughts, but again, there it is. I’ve been reading voraciously, and discussing at length with political-minded friends (which, honestly, is most of them).

As for the fallout, nothing really happened to change my position on my ideal candidate being the impossible creation of a Warren/Harris super-hybrid, though damn if the rest of the world finally sit up and take notice of Senator Kamala Harris. By now, since last Friday morning it was THE STORY of the day, you’ve all seen her masterful takedown of VP Biden, who she, for whatever baffling reason, caught unprepared and flat-footed on the issue of busing/school integration, which has been a very prominent topic in the political sphere for at least a week leading up to the event.

In the days since, stories of her star being on the rise, and talk of chaos in the Biden camp have been the order of the day. I’m glad to see her rising in the polls, because she brings a lot to the table, even if she’s not a perfect candidate (she does legitimately present concerns on her AG/DA record, but I look forward to hearing her defend them), she’s definitely worthy of serious consideration, and definitely rises above the sea of mediocre white guys of a certain age in the bottom tier.

My other big reaction to the Thursday debate (since I talked briefly about the relatively sedate Wednesday evening where Warren maintained her top-tier status pretty effortlessly), is the relative ineffectualism of Senator Sanders. While his positions as expressed in the 2016 primary have definitely shaped the platforms of most of the candidates worth considering this time around, he’s a much less significant factor when he’s not in the position of being the alternative to the annointed frontrunner. When there are a dozen other folks on stage offering variations and refinements of his schtick, he’s not nearly as impressive. I’ve never really been a BernieBro (though I did vote for him in the ’16 primary), but I do appreciate his positions, and he deserves some definite credit for pulling the Overton Window of the party back to the left a bit; because he brought it up, it’s prompted discussion of a lot of very good things.

In any case, I think these unwieldy debates served a purpose in getting the candidates out there for people to see, and helping to winnow down the pack a bit (read some backchannel rumors today that Hickenlooper is likely on his way out, which is fine – he, and O’Rourke, should be running for Senate anyway). Top tier as I see it at this point is basically Biden, Warren, Harris, Sanders, and an outside chance of Buttigeig. Honestly, unless the situation changes drastically (always a possibility), I don’t see anybody else doing it – I suspect Castro, Gillenbrand, and Booker are still in the running, but they’ve got to step up their game soon. The rest? They all just kind of run together.

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