The first Democratic candidate debate made some laugh, some cringe, still others consult Spanish-English dictionaries, and our president yawn. There were winners--Tulsi Gabbard, the Hawaiian congresswoman who served in a field medical units In Iraq and Kuwait, was the most searched candidate after the debate, according to GoogleTrends. She alone had a breakout performance.
The idea was that selection for the two groups of ten debaters was egalitarian--unlike four years ago when Republicans did the real debate first, then let the also-rans rant on night 2. Not true. These were the lame horses.
Elizabeth Warren projected the most presidential air of any of the candidates, but considering the cast of characters, it's no reason for her to rejoice. Julian Castro was annoying but firm, Amy Klobuchar came off as level-headed and well informed, though she was embarrassed to admit that President Trump had helped her pass a diversity bill. Cory Booker, while overly emotive, showed charisma. For an attention hound, he's almost likable.
Others didn't fare so well, some of whom aren't even candidates. The NBC technical crew bobbled the audio after switching debate hosts, which was in itself a poor decision. Most viewers didn't know more than couple of the ten candidates beforehand, and then had to adjust to the different styles of the rotating NBC and MSNBC hosts.
The worst of the candidate lot was John Delaney, who, when he finally got 30 seconds to speak, finished abruptly and smiled at the camera, looking remarkably like Elmer Fudd. Robert He-Whose-Nickname-Shall-Not-Be-Spoken-By-CD-Media's-Political-Editor O'Rourke, apart from his Spanish speaking display, was listless and timid, an attitude reflecting his falling poll numbers since March. He needed to explode, and he fizzled. Jay Inslee was combative, and Tim Ryan looked out of his league.
Bill de Blasio proved that the only reason he ever won elected office is his ability to tell a good story, in this case about his father in World War II. If only de Blasio had demonstrated his love to his dad by keeping the name he was given, Warren Wilhelm, Jr., instead of ditching the scary German for his mother's more ethnic-sounding Italian surname (which polled better among New York voters).
Bottom line for a guy who never should have been allowed on stage: the #1 trending story about "Big Bird" de Blaz in the past 24 hours, according to a media analytics firm in San Franciso, is how he dropped beloved groundhog Staten Island Chuck--New York's answer to Punxatawney Phil--and the unfortunate weather predicting beast died a few days later. 81,000 hits. The NY Post titled their article on the matter, "Bill de Blasio can’t wash groundhog blood off his hands."
Of note: a total of three candidates and one moderator spoke Spanish at some point in the debate. With all the illegal immigrants pouring across the border, perhaps they were previewing plans to make the US a bilingual nation.
Winners and losers are always touted in articles like these, which often end up sounding like red carpet award show fashion reviews. More important than that are two categories: 1. Who rose the most and who fell the furthest, and 2. who is still in the contest, and who can we categorically rule out.
Breakout prize: Tulsi Gabbard's stock is way up.
Biggest loser: Robert O'Rourke lost the most places on the board.
Still alive: Castro, Booker, Warren, Klobuchar, Gabbard.
Dead: de Blasio, O'Rourke, Ryan, Inslee, Delaney
The second panel of ten will be on NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm EDT.
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