About Last Night: Democratic Debate Live From Las Vegas

Andrew Donaldson

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home.

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116 Responses

  1. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    I don’t want either of them to be president, but I really want to watch Trump debate Sanders.Report

  2. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    Off-topic, but this tagline for OT really speaks to me:


  3. My take:

    1) Bloomberg was terrible. He would occasionally make a good point and remind us just far from reality this field has drifted. But he was unprepared for this.

    2) Warren had a good night … if you only consider her attacks on Bloomberg. Other than that, same old stuff.

    3) Sanders was Sanders. He was defensive and angry. Won’t hurt him but won’t help him either.

    4) Klobuchar and Buttigieg are dead and don’t know it. Both had poor performances and spent more time sniping at each other. But are big on empty phrases. Their both just clogging the moderate lane now.

    5) Biden had the best night by mostly disappearing. No one attacked him. He made a few points. He had a chance at a rebound but it’s uphill now.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Michael Siegel says:

      Biden needs a very strong showing to keep his prospects alive. After two abysmal results, he’s bleeding support, especially minority support in his firewall states, where Sanders is catching up to him. He needs to be attacked by the other candidates and then handily repel those attacks, to show he’s got what it will take to stand up to Trump in later debates. Absent that, a lot of big money folks aren’t going to be confident enough to open their wallets, and Biden will continue to lag in fundraising. He’s looking very weak and hardly being involved in the fireworks doesn’t help him.

      Warren is widely regarded as the winner, but a different take from the other side of the aisle is that she turned the debate into a raging dumpster fire that left no survivors. None. Maybe her frustrations compelled her to set off a bomb in the Fuhrerbunker, but cutting all the candidates off at the knees may prove a decisive mistake for herself and her party.

      And of course in the zeal to destroy Bloomberg, the rest of the field, along with the audience, ended up booing capitalism. Trump probably can’t stop laughing.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to George Turner says:

        I don’t think anybody boo’d capitalism – they boo’d a boorish capitalist who is trying to buy an election like he buys french fries. They Boo’d a man, who like the President, sees women as objects d’arte and outlets for his masculine desires but can’t fathom them being leaders deserving of his respect. they boo’d a politicians (also like the President) who happily switched political Parties because he thinks its easier to buy the presidency that way.Report

        • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Philip H says:

          I don’t get this hate for Bloomberg spending his own money on his campaign. Bernie Sanders is trying to buy the election with $50 trillion of taxpayer money. What’s wrong with Bloomberg spending a bit of his own?Report

          • “Bernie Sanders is trying to buy the election with $50 trillion of taxpayer money.”

            Oh, man. I’m totally stealing that.Report

          • Avatar Philip H in reply to Brandon Berg says:

            Well let’s see – Bloomberg is a socially conservative, misogynistic authoritarian bigot who like tax cuts for the rich and isn’t a Democrat. Kind of like the socially liberal misogynistic authoritarian bigot who likes tax cuts for the rich in the White House who is not a Republican.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Brandon Berg says:

            From *MY* perspective, I’m not upset that he’s spending his own money on his own campaign. I *AM* flabbergasted that the Democratic Establishment (e.g., the DNC) has demonstrated that it is willing to be bought by Bloomberg’s own money and do stuff like “change the rules” oh his behalf.

            In this case, we got lucky because they changed the rules on his behalf, he got on the stage, and immediately imploded.

            But I still want to see what happens on Super Tuesday.

            Because Bloomberg ain’t on the ballot in Nevada. And him doing poorly in Nevada can be immediately spun by pointing out that what matters is Super Tuesday. And March 3rd is an eternity away.Report

  4. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    Buttigieg: “He also has a weird habit of being so smooth with the perfect answer every time, but when someone hits him he just sort of blinks it off.”

    This was pretty much what happened in the first debate, where he told us that he was very very sad about Eric Logan being shot, and very very sad that the police chief didn’t fire the cop, and when asked “why did you, as mayor, not immediately fire the police chief”, he blinked twice and reiterated how sad he was that Eric Logan had been shot.Report

  5. Avatar Marchmaine says:

    “one gear and three answers” … is how one wins a presidential election.

    I am not a Democrat, but watching Bloomberg’s answers to meat-and-potatoes economic questions gave me two consistent thoughts:

    1. A single vote would be one too many for him.
    2. If this is really a significant faction in the Democratic party… the Democratic party is untenable.

    The pure dismissiveness of economic issues (which are, at this point, grievances) – rather than grappling with them in “alternative” ways – the hand-wavy Neo-Liberalism is awesome you people are just too stupid to see how it benefits me, er, us. That will lose sooo hard in a general election that I can’t even.

    My contrarian add-on, is that Bloomberg actually makes Klobuchar/Biden/Buttigiege look bad, becuase their “moderate” lane now looks like enablers for Bloomberg.

    I’m not saying y’all should nominate Sanders, or that he would win… but man, even the suburbs have meat and potato concerns.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to Marchmaine says:

      that’s why a great many of us are rejecting him. Remember, just like the President used to be a Democrat until he decided to run, Bloomberg used to be a Republican. And a rich republican at that. He’s even less “one of us” then Sanders . . .Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Philip H says:

        I hear you… but then I drop down to my contrarian point: its like Bloomberg is saying all the “Moderate” things you’re not supposed to say out loud… and in such a way that even moderates start to think… is that really what we’re trying to say? That’s the crisis of the establishment writ large. And, once the establishment goes… well, anything can happen.Report

        • Avatar InMD in reply to Marchmaine says:

          Are you saying you aren’t even a little titillated by the idea of a new corporate god-king sending troops in APCs on soda sweeps in ruralia and opening fire on anyone smoking within 50 feet of a building? How can we not afford Operation (Mountain Dew) Code Red?Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Marchmaine says:

      1. I suspect Bloomberg will not get the nomination.

      2. The overwhelming majority of people do not vote on policy. They vote on personality largely. This is true across parties. Trump’s personality repulses me but it is clearly a positive for many Republicans. People are also heavily influenced by advertising and Bloomberg’s 60 billion can buy a lot of it and not dent his fortune that much. According to my brother, a family friend has Sanders as her first choice and Klobuchar as her second. If people thought about policy that makes no sense. It would be like a Republican in 2016 deeclaring themselves for Trump and then Jeb!

      2a. Lots of Democrats really hate Trump and want him gone. More so than Bush II in my opinion. How to achieve this is anyone’s guess and people are being seduced by Bloomberg’s fortune in that way. He is an actual billionaire who created a real company. As opposed to Trump who probably has negative net worth and some kind of neurological decline condition. Possibly syphilis combined with dementia.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        1. Agree, I’d be astounded if he does.
        2. Yes and no… they don’t vote on Policy in the way Warren thinks people do, but they do vote on policy the way Sanders thinks they do.
        2a. I too would like to see Trump gone; don’t fish it up. Of course, I’ll likely want whomever you replace Trump with gone… but baby steps.Report

  6. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I feel better about Bloomberg today than I did yesterday.

    One thing that occurred to me about Bloomberg/Trump in the last week or so: neither one of these guys has any peers in their personal life. They have no one who they recognize with the authority to tell them “No!” They haven’t had one since their father died.

    And that’s a long time to go without a viewpoint that you respect that disagrees with you.

    These guys literally are not used to being disagreed with.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

      Bloomberg seriously punted the stop and frisk question. If I’m his adviser, I’m telling him that no matter what you do when that question arises, do *not* apologize for the policy. Say it was the product of consultation with experts in the field based on best-evidence at the time. Say that when it was implemented it was supported by members of NY city’s black community. Say that during his term new evidence and concerns arose and because of those valid criticisms he changed the policy. But don’t apologize and don’t say you made a mistake.

      What did he do? He apologized for making a mistake. And worse, he stumbled, fumbled, bumbled his way to lost yardage. It was almost like he was caught off guard by a question about the biggest topic of his tenure as Mayor. Yikes!Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater says:

        Good points… that’s a very solid approach to dealing with that objection. Might not win universal approval, but its a position he could defend and acknowledge that given what he knows now, he wouldn’t(?) advocate for such an approach in 2020… plus, he’s not running for mayor.

        Here I’ll wonder whether the current make-up of the “Democratic base” would allow for such an answer…Report

        • Avatar Philip H in reply to Marchmaine says:

          Not likely as its too authoritarian. the Never Apologize approach is a theme that we get from the President all the time. We got it as well from Bush II (really Cheney). And when Obama did it in several instances (like Japanese internment and the A-Bomb) he was eviscerated from the Right.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Philip H says:

            {{The problem with apologizing for public policy positions is that it makes you look like an incompetent public official}}Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Philip H says:

            I don’t see that as either “authoritarian” or “never apologize” that’s baseline objection handling.

            I don’t recall Obama talking about Japanese Internment or A-Bomb… but if he did, it was stupid because those aren’t *his* policies. So if he was “eviscerated” for that, it was an own goal.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine says:

              There’s a difference – a big difference – betweeen apologizing for a prior policy instituted by someone else, and apologizing for prior policy positions you implemented/supported. Hillary never recovered from her Iraq War vote but she amplified the distrust to even greater heights by apologizing for it as a mistake. Obama apologizing for Japanese internment camps – a US policy he had no role in bringing about – is a different animal, seems to me.Report

          • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Philip H says:

            The opposing party is going to try to eviscerate you on every position you take. That is why they are an opposing you. The trick is to make them look worse in the doing.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

        It was almost like he was caught off guard by a question about the biggest topic of his tenure as Mayor.

        This is the problem. It’s not that he had a crappy answer to the question. It’s that he was surprised by it.

        Like he told his handlers “they aren’t going to ask me about that” when they told him “we need to work on this question”.Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

        It was almost like he was caught off guard by a question about the biggest topic of his tenure as Mayor. Yikes!

        From his point of view it was a small issue. It’s like a University President who increases enrollment, standards, endowments, makes multiple new buildings… and he’s being asked about how the Football coach handled some player when everyone at the time thought it was a good idea.

        It was a popular idea for a serious problem, it’s now an unpopular idea.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

      I sort of expected he’d explode on the launch pad and wish I’d predicted it here for exactly the reason you lay out- he’s been surrounded by yes men(and women) almost all his life now. Thank goodness for debates.Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to North says:

        I think this (and similarly Saul’s comment below) is true for people who actually watched the debates or are inclined to read about them. My bet though is when all is said and done way, way more people will have been exposed to his advertising than will have watched him get his clock cleaned last night.

        Point being I’ll feel better that he is in fact DOA once he starts losing states.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to InMD says:

          Me too. I want to throttle Bloomberg and whatever parasites are urging him into the race so they can enrich themselves off his ego. Fishing idiots; do they WANT Bernie* to be nominated?

          *Obligatory note: I will crawl over broken glass to vote Democratic even if Bernie is the nominee.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

            There are other options, you know.

            You can purchase a t-shirt where Vermin Supreme is strangling Baby Hitler here.

            “Fighting The Past To Protect Our Future”

            No, it doesn’t come in 3XL.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

              Err.. pass.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

                Your loss.

                There are a ton of candidates out there that will allow you to not have to apply iodine when you get home from voting for them.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

                I have a sister who is pre-menopause living in the ‘States and I’m a gay man, married to a black gay man. Throwing my vote to some entertaining purity candidate is not in my interests.
                And while I don’t particularily like Bernie nor do I think he’ll win I don’t feel any need for an iodine bath to vote for him. A President Bernie would accomplish pretty much none of his crazy socialist schemes in the event he somehow won. He’d need Congress and the Senate which those schemes simply wouldn’t be able to get through.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

                One number I’ve been wondering about is 3.28%.

                The Libertarians got 3.28% in 2016. More than tripling their highest percentage to that point. In 2012, Gary Johnson got .99% (almost 1!) and, in 2008, Bob Freaking Barr got .4%. (I voted for Charles Jay that election.)

                So the Libertarians seem to have a hard floor of .4%.

                So let’s remove that from 3.28.


                Where will that 2.88% go come the First Tuesday after the First Monday in November?

                Or is a better comparison to Gary Johnson’s almost 1%?

                So we’re dealing with a mere 2.28% now. Where will those folks go?

                They were obviously willing to throw their vote to some entertaining purity candidate in 2016 because they were unwilling to crawl over broken glass.

                So I’m wondering how much broken glass there is in front of Vermin Supreme and how much in front of the Democrat.

                I don’t even know how to start comparing the amount of broken glass that would be in front of Bernie for the median Team Gold nutter versus in front of, say, Bloomberg or Buttigeig.

                Versus how much would be in front of Trump, having witnessed 2017-2020.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

                I’d assume they’ll all vote libertarian again. Trumps not going anywhere and that contingent all has deep and probably unchanging reasons not to support the Dems.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

                That’s true for the .99%. No doubt.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to North says:

                A President Bernie would accomplish pretty much none of his crazy socialist schemes in the event he somehow won.

                Just like Trump will never be able to build a wall. The President has a ton of power which doesn’t depend on Congress and/or which has been delegated to him by Congress.

                A President Bernie could mess with the economy on an impressive level, these abilities would not be well used. He wouldn’t be able to impose socialism, but he could and would do a lot of damage. Further if “the people” are screaming for socialism to the point where Bernie’s past is an advantage, then a Congressman’s first duty is to be reelected.

                I’d vote for Bloomberg. I haven’t voted for Trump yet, but against Bernie I’ll vote Trump and be happy about it.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Dark Matter says:

                I don’t think a President Bernie could mess with the economy much more than Trump has. What would he do? Start a trade war? Been there. What can he do beyond that? Not a ton. Nationalizing the means of production or whatever would require congress. Sure Trump has tried to end run around Congress but so far he hasn’t really accomplished anything beyond a bog standard slate of Republican judges and a bog standard Republican deficit financed tax cut on the wealthy.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to North says:

                GW Bush and Trump have obliterated any credibility of the “Republicans are good stewards of the economy” schtick.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                U.S. Economic Confidence at Highest Point Since 2000

                At this point, that talking point is just bullshit. At it is really sad that you keep repeating it, thinking it still works.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to North says:

                President Bernie might, oh, personally direct government aid to favored industries to pick winners and losers:

                “President Trump vows new farm bailouts as China purchases appear weaker than promised”


                President Bernie might shower his favored constituents with cash from the Treasury in the form of tax cuts, thereby exploding the budget deficit.

                Truly, such a madman should never be allowed near the levers of power.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to North says:

                What would he do?

                The President appoints the heads of all of our regulatory agencies, many of them can effectively create law. Obama let the head of the Education department force Universities to restructure how sexual investigations are handled resulting in presumption of guilt. Trump has let ICE run wild and fired up a trade war.

                Those are very limited examples because they come from administrations that were/are sane and normal other than these issues, a real socialist would be setting their sights a lot higher.

                A President Bernie could force any company which has a union trying to organize to let them organize. He could appoint people who want to restructure worker pay and impose problems on any company which does business with the government who has a CEO/worker pay ratio over a certain amount. He could let the EPA get very serious about believing Carbon Dioxide is a pollutant and effectively outlaw economic activity. He could have the FDA not approve new drugs unless they’re “available for everyone”. He could vastly expand the regulatory state by taking the most permissive view of what each agency can do and control.

                Misusing the regulatory equipment which already exists in an effort to create a socialist utopia is the lower bound for what he can do.

                The upper bound is he gets Congress to pass at least some of his agenda… and unfortunately that’s the way to bet. I get that as a Venezuela style socialist he doesn’t believe he’s trying to trainwreck the economy, but that is the agenda.

                On a side note Bernie claims Trump’s trade war and immigration policies don’t go anywhere close to far enough, that Trump is “soft” on these issues. I seriously doubt a President Bernie would be an improvement even there.Report

  7. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Is it too little to late for Warren? Nevada and South Carolina are happening soon and Super Tuesday is two weeks away. Granted that Bill Clinton in 1992 was the last person with a slow built momentum but this primary cycle might be an exception to current rules. The whole 2020 election is going to upend a lot of traditional narratives on politics one way or another.

    What I find perplexing is that everyone is sticking to traditional methods of evaluating a race even though anything involving “Donald Trump is President of the United States and running for reelection” should indicate that traditional factors should at least be given a grain of salt. These are supposed to be intelligent people with graduate degrees and they are still saying “Well if the economy is good and this and that….” Let’s look at the fact that Donald Trump spent his post-impeachment weeks doing all the things that normally give him a brief rise in polling and then a crash. Just like 2017-2019.

    You could be right. 538 has Warren at a 1 in 100 chance of cinching the nomination but Silver is usually worse with primary predictions than general election ones. But the view of actual Democrats seems to be that Bloomberg was pummeled and Warren was on fire last night.

    I concede that Warren’s base is probably more for intensity than actual numbers within the party and I am part of her core base.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I’ll sit moodily in the corner with you. Biden is doddering and elderly and Pete&Amy spent the whole debate at each others throats. The two of them are literally destroying each other even though, between the three of them, they pretty much are the majority of the party but there’s a genuine danger that they’re going to cancel each other out and let Bernie slowly walker his way over the finish line with, not a revolution but a fishing plurality. Whereupon he’ll probably make Corbyn’s performance look like a first place finish at Le Mans.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to North says:

        Here’s one of those tea-leaves indicators I don’t usually put much stock in but struck me anyway: when (ardent Bernie supporter) AOC publicly said M4A was a pipedream and she’d settle for a public option, Bernie didn’t even give her the courtesy of a head-fake before running in the other direction. So the hope that he tempers his policy proposals in the general strikes me as (increasingly) empty…Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Stillwater says:

          Yep, which is why I think that if he somehow “revolutions” himself to a nomination win that (even though I’ll vote for him) he’ll lose and quite possibly take down the House Majority with him. His entire candidacy is premised on turning out hordes of energized young voters who have, so far, not materialized to support his nomination fight. Why the fish should we expect they’ll materialize in the general?Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to North says:

        I really don’t think that Bernie Sanders is going to make Corbyn’s performance look like a first place finish at Le Mans. We aren’t going to have a McGovern or even Mondale style wipeout. The country is less white and more polorized than it was in 1972 or 1984 and Trump much more hated than Nixon and Reagan.

        My guess is that every Democratic candidate would win the popular vote and the issue is whether they can get enough electoral college votes. I’ve seen polling on LGM that all Democratic candidates are doing well in Michigan and Pennsylvania compared to Trump but all are losing in Wisconsin. Even the moderates like Klobuchar and Buttigieg are losing Wisconsin very handily in this poll. So that is both good and worrying at the same time. There isn’t a big middle available anymore to fight over. The issue is can you get your base out and have the other base stay home. There isn’t a magical Democratic candidate that can thread the needle and unite all factions. Not even Warren despite what her fans say. Klobuchar and Buttigieg piss off the liberals too much.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to LeeEsq says:

          Piss off online liberals maybe, but real liberals? And enough to pass on voting against Trump? I have serious doubts.
          Meanwhile Sanders is promising to take away everyone’s health plans and has even less justification about it than Warren did. Somehow I think he loses more centrist votes than the centrists lose Liberals.

          All that said, I think you have a point on polarization. But we don’t need a wipe out to lose large. RGB is not getting any younger and the conservative wing of the Supreme court is broadcasting pretty clearly that they’re hankering to judicially nullify the ACA and Roe vs Wade if the voters put Trump back in office again.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to LeeEsq says:

          I think we should also remember that the difference between the “moderate” Dems and “Progressive” Dems is vanishingly small. M4A versus a public option, that sort of thing. The narcissism of small differences.

          But the gulf between Dems and Republicans is vast, and the desire to turn out Trump is a lot more potent than the desire to see any one candidate win the nomination.

          If you look at places like Virginia and California, the legislatures there aren’t rabidly progressive, but are moving pretty effectively on things that please the progressives.

          From a legislative standpoint a Klobuchar Administration probably wouldn’t be dramatically different than a Sanders Administration. Regardless of who wins the nomination, I don’t see any Dems sitting at home because of it.Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            Virginia Governor’s Bill To Ban Assault Weapons Fails, With Help From His Own Party.

            “Virginia’s Democratic governor seemed poised to make broad changes to his state’s gun control laws, but was dealt a stinging blow by his own party Monday when a state Senate committee blocked a bill that would have, among other things, banned sales of assault weapons. Four Democrats on Virginia’s Senate Judiciary Committee broke ranks with their party handing the Republican minority a victory”

            Vanishingly small in CA is slightly opaque in VA.Report

            • Avatar InMD in reply to Marchmaine says:

              I was in Winchester last weekend. Ace hardware is going to have to take down all those ‘get em while you can’ billboards.Report

              • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to InMD says:

                Dude… so was I… but then I practically live in Winchester.

                My favorite Ace is in Stevens City… they doubled the gun section and tripled (at least) the AR-15 offerings. Was there for some timber equipment on a Saturday… and man was it hopping.

                Though the legislature probably did them a favor… they just tabled the bill for a year… so a WHOLE YEAR more to advertise.

                Next time you’re in Winchester, should come on down to the property… I’ll get you a MAGA day-pass to cover your MD plates.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Marchmaine says:

                We went through the same bonanza here prior to the AWB going into effect, though only at gun shops, not hardware stores as far as I know. I think more ARs were sold in the 9 months leading up to it than ever before in the history of the state. I could go into details on the ultimate (in)effectiveness of the law but as a gun owner up here I’m sworn to secrecy. Not that any of it would surprise you.

                Anyway both my wife and I got a kick out of the signs. I’m not saying there wasn’t anything like that out west or on the eastern shore but it was a novelty to us who have always lived within 15 miles of a beltway.

                And I just may take you up on that invitation. Shenandoah is a beautiful place. We find ourselves in the Purceville area often enough and it isn’t that much further.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            Plus, most polls show that rank and file not online Democratic candidates like Bernie Sanders and really everybody else just fine. The entire cult following of each candidate online isn’t really reflective of political reality.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to LeeEsq says:

              This surprised me:
              “There is a high level of interest in voting in this primary, suggesting there could be record turnout. If this pans out, it is likely to include a relatively high share of Latino voters, a group that is particularly friendly to Sanders,” said Murray. The survey findings are based on a likely voter screen that results in an electorate that is 49% non-Hispanic white, 31% Hispanic, 11% black, and 7% Asian.”

              I wouldn’t have imagined Sanders being a top pick of Latino voters, since the stereotypical Berner is a white college educated male.
              But maybe this shows the gap between the online people and real people.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

        North, lots of rank and file Democrats like Sanders even those who might prefer one of the moderate candidates get the nomination:


        I think any Democrats chance of winning is about as good or bad as any other including Sanders. He is not going down in a Mondale or McGovern level of defeat. The people who dislike him have a centrist bias:

        “The other reason Democratic insiders disproportionately oppose Sanders is that party elites and the journalists with whom they interact tend to distrust radicals of any stripe. “A quarter-century covering national politics has convinced me that the more pervasive force shaping coverage of Washington and elections is what might be thought of as centrist bias, flowing from reporters and sources alike,” the former Politico editor John Harris recently observed. “This bias is marked by an instinctual suspicion of anything suggesting ideological zealotry, an admiration for difference-splitting.” Pundits may not always express this fear of extremism as openly as MSNBC’s Chris Matthews did earlier this month, when his discussion of Sanders’s candidacy morphed into a broader indictment of socialism and of unspecified people who, Matthews said, would have cheered on “executions in Central Park” had “the Reds had won the Cold War.” But the centrist bias that Harris describes skews elite perceptions of public opinion. It keeps party and media insiders from recognizing that Bloomberg, a former Republican now running as a centrist, is a far more divisive figure among ordinary Democrats than the putatively radical Sanders.”Report

        • Avatar InMD in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          I think what the establishment really lacks is an appreciation for how far authenticity, or at least the perception of it, goes. Even where support for his policies is iffy at best he comes off as a human. Reminds people of that wacky old teacher with the wild ideas who was legitimately popular with the students.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to InMD says:

            One of Donald Trump’s assets when running for the Republican nomination in 2015 was authenticity. His base looked at him and knew he was a real deal authoritarian bastard rather than a pretend authoritarian bastard like the other Republicans. That’s why he inspires more loyalty than other Republicans.

            Establishment types do not appreciate how popular authenticity is because it comes across as unprofessional to them or they have different ideas of what constitutes authenticity. To a Democratic insider, somebody like Klobuchar or Bloomberg comes as authentic because they have their stuff together in a nice organized corporate polished way.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to LeeEsq says:

              It’s the agent problem. Can I really trust him to do X, especially when most people think it would destroy the republic?Report

            • Avatar InMD in reply to LeeEsq says:

              Tempting analysis but IMO totally wrong. Really I think any analysis of Trump that tends to confirm priors is probably incorrect, including by his supporters.

              Trump’s authoritarianism is perhaps a difference of degree from the last 2-3 administrations but not really in kind. Not in any objective sense anyway. He’s just a much uglier face on it and much less respectful of the norms that allow it to be done up pretty for public consumption.

              His real trick is he knows how to actually convince a core voting constituency that he understands their interests and is on their side. He does this regardless of what he actually believes, if he even believes in anything other than his own aggrandizement that is.

              Bernie also possesses this capability whereas I don’t think the rest of the frontrunners quite make it click. Warren is a bit of an exception but unfortunately her core constituency of upper middle class urban/inner suburbanites aren’t the excitable types, aren’t as important in presidential elections, and are smart enough to know her plans involve a lot of taxes on them to beef up systems that have never worked too well in America. Even if it can be done its a hard sell, even for people who agree with her.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Here’s what I saw about Warren’s appearance: “Huh. She does belong up there…”, which means that she’s going to do better on day-of in Nevada/South Carolina than on early voting that happened prior to the debate.

      Which, oddly enough, strikes me as likely to result in more split votes.

      Buttigeig did really well in Iowa and New Hampshire. If Warren does well in Nevada and Biden does well in South Carolina… what does that mean for Super Tuesday where Bloomberg will do reasonably well?

      And we few, we happy few, eat these debates up like Pixie Stix but there are people who don’t even know that there was a debate last night who will vote on Super Tuesday continuing to not know that there was a debate last night.

      If everybody has a reasonable claim to staying in because, hey, they’re polling within the margin of error of 20%… Then we get to get to the convention with the guy we haven’t yet mentioned having the most votes/delegates.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

        Well a Warren rebound is the best I can hope for since she’d most likely eat into Bernie’s campaign if she accomplished it. If the moderate lane is gonna remain fractured a Warren resurgence would be salutary.Report

  8. Avatar Aaron David says:

    Bloomberg will be out before too long. There is no room left in the D tent for anyone that centrist. Its why PETE and Special K are flailing (Biden was just a place holder)

    There just isn’t any lane for that type of moderate centrist at this point. Which is deeply sad. Hugely.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

      Sure there is. Biden, Amy K, Buttigieg and Bloomberg are together gobbling up a much higher percentage than Bernie.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

        There was a minor kerfuffle a week ago (an eternity ago) that showed that Biden/Klobuchar/Buttigeig are polling much higher, if you add their numbers together, than Bernie. More than 50% to 30-something.

        There were two main arguments that I noticed:

        1. This means that my two less-preferred candidates need to drop out and the fact that they aren’t is damaging to Democracy or some crap like that.
        2. Bernie is a lot of people’s second choice so this isn’t a good comparison.

        I don’t know how true #2 is.

        But Trump was a lot of people’s second choice.

        And their first choice wasn’t “Clinton”.Report

      • Avatar Aaron David in reply to Stillwater says:

        No. Bernie is polling at 27.8, and Warren is at 12.3. Her votes will go to him as the progressive wing solidifies its hold.

        PETE is at 10.3, Special K at 6.4. Both are dropping like stones. Bloomberg is at 16.1 That is the falling centrist vote. And as the NYT even admits, the party moved left under Obama. There might have been room at the start of the race, but they are all done as the left Feels The Bern.

        Biden’s numbers will go to whomever wins this particular race, as he is just a place holder for generic D.

        (All numbers come from RealClearPolitics.)Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Aaron David says:

          That’s over complicating it. Sanders and Warren are (mostly) the progressive wing though Warren does have some more centrist and feminist support. But lets throw you a bone and give the progressive wing all their supporters even though Warren is probably 50% centrist. That puts the progressive wing (generously) at 40.1% of the party and the non-progressive wing at 59.9%. If all but one of the moderates and Warren vanished into thin air then Bernie would get crushed. There’s plenty of room in the Democratic Party for moderates. In case you forgot they nominated and elected forty some moderates and a big whopping three progressives in 2018.Report

          • Avatar Aaron David in reply to North says:


            Joe isn’t a candidate, he is a place holder. And while I think you can get the “women’s” vote for Warren, they still go to Berne after the fall and the remaining aren’t going to Bloomberg. That leaves PETE! to get them, who will have the same thing happen to him.

            All the dominoes falling lead to a progessive party at this point.

            The 2018 moderates will get trounced by Trumps machine, as that 61% econimic approval will play out with those districts as the party reforms around The Bern.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Aaron David says:

              Uh huh. But if the Dems were/are as progressive as you claim they’d never have nominated those forty candidates in the first place.

              You can hand wave furiously at Joe Biden all you like but you can’t just assign his supporters to the progressive wing because you have a need to exaggerate how far left the party has moved.

              Progressives support Bernie and to a lesser degree Warren. So that puts the progressive contingent of the Democratic Party at somewhere between 27-40% (I personally think it clocks in around 30% which is also around the support the Warren/Bernie candidates have pulled in with actual voting).

              I do agree, however, that if Bernie is the nominee it’ll present a major problem for the moderate candidates in their races (and I also think Bernie will lose). Which is why I don’t want Bernie to get the nod.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to North says:

                Biden has no supporters, not in the real sense. As I, and many others around here, have said, he is just a place holder for generic Dem. That is why his numbers have been falling faster than a falling star, as he was a recognizable name. And I am not just assigning his supporters to the Progressive wing, I am assigning them to whom ever wins the primary. Those are the people who are gonna vote D (if they bother to vote) no matter the final choice. Low-info but generically pull the lever for Democrats.

                One of the issues I have with the leftward story about ’18 that the never take into account midterm politics, which are always local. There is no national conversation to that election, unlike the presidential race. In other words, Trump and whomever is on the left side of the dial aren’t on the ticket, but the lady running for county commissioner is. And combining that with the lack of a wave in the last midterm, tells me that it was nothing to really do with Trump, but that it was who is gonna get the local spoils. (You can tell it wasn’t a wave as the left lost ground in the Senate.)

                As far as Bernie goes, I think his policy ideas are destructive, demeaning, and downright stupid, but I do think he is the only honest candidate on the left. The rest are a bunch of hucksters and grifters at this point.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Aaron David says:

                Lack of a wave? It was a huge wave, way past regression to the mean. It was the third largest change of seats since the Watergate era and the 9 million vote spread between the two parties was the largest in history. Yes they lost two senate seats, which is pretty good considering it was the most unfavorable to the Dems Senate map in history as well. The GOP enormously under-performed by getting only 2 seats.

                As for Biden, he’s my #3 choice but I think it’s ludicrous to assert he’s simply a default choice. He’s got a lot of supporters, especially minorities, who affirmatively support him though I’m not one of them personally.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to North says:

                Trump’s strength is that he is amazingly adept at seizing the headlines, every day, and turning nearly any occasion or issue- the Superbowl, Christmas, wildfires, a school shooting- into a story about himself.

                Its also his weakness. Trump is the dominant thing on everyone’s mind, every day and every election from Senator to dogcatcher revolves around him.

                His other strength is that he has a hard floor. No matter what he does, there is a large number of people who will vote for him regardless.

                His other weakness is that he has a solid ceiling; No matter what he does, or is able to bring himself to do, he hasn’t been able to enlarge his base by any significant measure.

                I don’t think anyone is voting on issues this November. It will be a battle of turnout and enthusiasm.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I think if Uncle Bern is running it’ll severely test that theory because he has a good number of positions that are both very shabbily rationalized (beyond revolution!) and will really get the attention of certain historically rather swingy constituencies of voters.

                And the supposed Bernie turnout sure hasn’t shown up in the primaries so far. He’s running based on the assumption that youngsters will turn out en masse- historically that’s been a good way to lose a national election handily.

                I don’t agree with his positions and I don’t agree with how he argues and campaigns. I think he’s way to risky and I think he could cost us the House too. I’ll vote for him if I have to but there’re a lot better candidates.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to North says:

                Yeah i’m still waiting for bernies giant youth turnout to show up. It would be great if it did and he will need it. His assumption that it will happen and power him to pressuring congress to do what he wants is sketchy. If we dont’ see it then he is a bit of long shot to win. Betting on people who havn’t shown up is a risky play in general but who knows. I’ve also yet to see how his ardent followers will be winning people over but that is biased by seeing the on line version of them. In person they may be better.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to North says:

                You lost ground in the Senate.

                No Wave.

                Anyway, Biden has the problem of, well as you put it, being 3rd choice. He was never anyone’s first pick, but he was a recognizable name. Thus, place holder.

                But hey! Keep up the school spirit!Report

              • Avatar North in reply to Aaron David says:

                By that definition the GOP takeover in 2010 was no wave either and that was the second largest change of seats since Watergate. It’s nonsensical, but you do you.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to North says:

                In 2010, the Republicans picked up 6 Senate seats and 63 House seats.

                In 2018, even though they lost 41 House seats, Republicans picked up 2 Senate seats.

                And of course a great many of the 2018 House seats the Democrats picked up were thrown away on Nancy’s impeachment fiasco.Report

              • Avatar North in reply to George Turner says:

                They didn’t take control of the Senate though, so no wave.

                As for the 2018 seats being lost? That remains to be seen.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David in reply to North says:

                But they gained ground in the Senate. That is the qualifier for a wave.

                And you are right about ’18 seats lost. But we shall see.Report

  9. Avatar Jaybird says:

    McMegan has a tweetstorm:

    I found it interesting.

    Even though she said intemperate things about anti-war protesters in 2002.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

      “Buttigieg and Klobuchar bickered with each other over trivia so arcane that it seemed as if they were really trying to settle which one Mom loved best.”

      kinda my cringey feeling at the time too.

      But by Mom, we finally realized it meant Bloomberg (or a peer).Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

        A million years ago, Ted Cruz threw a Hail Mary and announced that his ticket would be Cruz/Fiorina. So, in the primaries, you knew exactly what your final ticket would be.

        Now, I think that this was a good idea with horrible execution. There are probably people he could have taken as his running mate that weren’t Fiorina that would have worked better. Maybe he wouldn’t have *WON*… but it strikes me as a good play to have made. Canny.

        Biden/Klobuchar would be a smart play. Warren/Buttigeig would be a smart play.

        There are smart plays that remain to be made.Report

        • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

          I think this illustrates the structural issues we’re facing.

          What incentives (costs or benefits) are there for any of those folks to take the Junior position? It’s precisely the weakness of the Parties that makes this consolidation impossible. There’s no loss for losing, nor win for stepping aside.

          Increasingly I’m seeing the parties as empty vessels that we squabble over because we only allow these, on only these two vessels to participate in the Presidential Election. They aren’t parties… and increasingly not even meaningful brands… just vehicles on election rails. If your band of pirates captures the ship, you win the ship.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Marchmaine says:

            Yes, both parties have become considerably weaker over the years as they’ve reformed their processes to include a lot more voter decision making in their nomination process. The GOP basically imploded before Trump in 2016. It remains to be seen if the Dems will do the same before Bernie this year. There are a few differences in degree though:
            -The Dems don’t have quite the same gap between their party apparatus and their rank and file as the GOP suffers. Democratic leadership and elites generally want the same things as their various voting constituencies; they just disagree on how to get them and to what degree of extremism they want it.
            -Also the Dems have a very popular former President who could really swing the races, though it remains to be seen if Obama is willing to actually involve himself in politics. He may elect to simply remain aloof and uninvolved- it’s his very favorite posture. If the GOP’s former President had involved himself in the race it would have been the kiss of death for whomever he supported.Report

          • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Marchmaine says:

            The incentive to take the 2d spot to Biden is Biden’s age.Report

            • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to CJColucci says:

              I’d suggest that’s a reason to accept a VP offer, not an incentive to drop out of the race.

              In this context I’m using incentive as a thing the Party can do to change behavior even in the event Biden loses the general, or worse, doesn’t even get the nomination.Report

  10. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    She may be a long shot to win…but nevertheless, she persisted:
    “Warren Trolls Sheldon Adelson With Ad In His Newspaper Criticizing His Wealth”


    “The ad, which comes days before the Nevada caucuses, says that Adelson would pay $2.3 billion under Warren’s wealth tax in the first year, which amounts to less than 6 percent of Adelson’s net worth of $39.6 billion.

    The ad also claims that with the “small wealth tax,” more money would go toward Nevada families when it comes to issues such as student debt and child care.”Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      That’s a good illustration of Warren being a moron. Working class people can do financial math really well, and it they were faced with losing 6% a year of their capital, they’d make that lump of capital disappear before the government could get a hold of it.

      If faced with losing 6% a year, Adelson’s money wouldn’t go to the government, it would end up in Switzerland or Japan or China or some bank in the Caymans. Every big pot of money would do the same, effectively de-capitalizing the US economy as all the assets get sent overseas. Everybody would pull their money out of the stock market because the ROI would be negative, and then stock prices would plunge, and we’d have another Great Depression with 40% unemployment. Tax revenues would of course plummet. Even sanitation workers can game this out, but Warren apparently can’t.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

        She’s going to drain the swamp and strike back at the elites.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          She’s going to give you a sock.


          • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

            Well, there’s certainly a lot of magical thinking involved. ^_^

            So she’s going to shutter the sock factories (because they’re capitalist) and just use magic to make the socks?

            It reminds me of a joke Soviets told. Ivan and Tasha see their neighbor Vladimir trudging through shin-deep mud with just one boot on. They holler “Vlad, you’ve lost a boot!” Vlad grins back and joyously hollers “No comrades! I have found one!”

            Perhaps Democrats should eschew advice on economic policy that comes from writers of woke fantasy shows.Report

  11. Avatar Marchmaine says:

    “The Dems don’t have quite the same gap between their party apparatus and their rank and file as the GOP suffers. Democratic leadership and elites generally want the same things as their various voting constituencies”

    Oh dear, this one’s gonna leave a mark…

    Just wanna say that your OT community will be here for you… not to console you… but to say WTF.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Marchmaine says:

      Hey I’ll happily defend that line! I wouldn’t say they’re hand in glove close but they’re a lot closer than the GOP elite vs their voting masses. The GOP base is pretty luke warm on tax cuts and pretty bullish on tax hikes on the rich- their elites and politicians cut taxes no matter what and weight it overwhelmingly in favor of the wealthy. Until Trump the Elites were pretty squishy on immigration, basically the opposite of what their base wanted. I could go on but why bother?

      I am not thinking of many issues where the Democratic Party and its elites want the exact opposite of what their voters want. Maybe a given small subgroup on a small subject (Like the arch liberal fringe wants to abolish capitalism but the party doesn’t for example) but the majority of their base? I don’t see that same rift. That’s why the Democratic base doesn’t hate their party leaders the way the GOP base hates/hated theirs. Look at Pelosi vs Boehner or Ryan. There’s disagreement at times but the vitriol ain’t there.Report

  12. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Speaking of crawling across broken glass… I got invited to go to the Trump Rally a couple of weeks ago. My boss asked me if I wanted to go and my immediate response was “but it’s outside…” and then I thought about it and how I’d throw it past Maribou and whether I’d get a good post out of it…

    And I came to the conclusion that I would get a good post out of it. Which brought me to throwing it past Maribou. I told co-workers “if I go to the Trump rally, she’ll serve me with papers!” (an overstatement) but immediately thought of how I’d sell it to her: “Baby. It’s either Trump or Bernie. Either Bernie’s going to get half my stuff or you will. And I love you!”

    Anyway, I mentioned going to the rally to Maribou and she pointed out “you know it involves leaving the house, right?”

    And I called my boss and asked if I could have one of the tickets to the rally, assuming he had an envelope with 6-8 tickets in it. And I was told that the tickets were free, they had festival seating, and they’d already given away more tickets than the building would hold. But I could download them from the site and we’d all leave early from work that day and wait in the parking lot.

    And I didn’t want to write a post *THAT* much.

    But there were people camping in the parking lot.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird says:

      So ya think Trumps gonna flip Colorado then? It is a purple state. Senator Gardner will be awfully relieved.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to North says:

        Dunno. Denver has been fully Californicated and we no longer balance Denver out. Fort Collins and Boulder might balance each other out still but Colorado Springs and the Western Slope would need to be in lockstep to balance out Denver and I’m not sure that that would happen.

        But there is enthusiasm that exists in 2020 that didn’t exist in 2016. (And the priors that resulted in the Cruz incident that marked the Colorado Caucus back in 2016 don’t seem to be operative in 2020.)Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

      (Oh, and the World Arena seems to hold 8,099 people. Which means that they gave away at least 8,100 tickets and people were waiting in the parking lot to make sure that they’ll be part of the 8,099.)Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

        I’ve read pieces from lifelong Democrats who went and they say they’re a blast, and everybody there gives Democrats extra hugs. Based on the data from recent rallies, about 25% of the turnout is probably Democrats.

        Also, Trump rallies might be some of the last large public gatherings before corona virus turns the country into an apocalyptic B movie staring Sandra Bullock, Emily Blunt, Woody Harrelson, and featuring Sissy Spacek as the wise old woman who warned everybody that hugs would be the death of us all.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Yeah, that looks like I’d have gotten a post out of that.

      “Have you ever gone to a pro wrestling show? Well, back in the late 90’s, we went to the house shows at the World Arena whenever they came to town. The house shows usually had between a third and a quarter empty seats. (Hey, it was a house show.) This rally? The house was *PACKED*.”Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        I talked to my boss to get a report from him about what happened.

        Sporting a sunburn, he said that he stood in line for 5 hours and he didn’t get in.

        They turned away 10,000 people, he told me. So they turned away more people than they let in. And getting there 5 hours early was not getting there early enough.Report

        • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

          As the venue was filling up and near capacity… they should have thrown broken glass in front of the entrance and told the crowd of 10,000 that last 500 open seats were available to those who would crawl to them.

          Just to test an hypothesis.Report