I'm nor sure why I watched another Democratic debate last night. Having watched the previous debates, I didn't expect to learn anything helpful. Yet I decided to watch it anyway. It's sort of like not being able to not watch a replay video of a train wreck – morbid curiosity? Everyone who also watched will have their own viewpoint, but here's mine. To start with, in evaluating candidates, I think you have to keep in mind the distinction between those whose views you identify with or who strikes you as an authentic person and that of the different question: Can they beat Donald Trump for the office of president? As I've said before, it's like the country western singer Bobby Bare's song Numbers where the cowboy rates women on a scale of one to ten and concludes "There's flaws in all of them." Not one of them has all the features, abilities and viewpoint to be a perfect candidate to beat Donald Trump and, in addition, be a great president while dealing with an obstructionist senate. Let's also bear in mind, no matter how skillful and talented the person elected president might be, they cannot accomplish what needs to be done without the cooperation of the senate. Until that changes the politics of the country will largely be in a locked down state. Here are my observations.
JOE BIDEN No candidate has more political experience, both nationally and world wide. No other candidate had eight years of experience as vice president of the United States. No other candidate has as much legislative experience. But, Joe is too old for the job. He demonstrated several times confusion during the debate. He wouldn't be too old if politics today hadn't become total warfare between the political parties. But, things are never going to be civil again in this country for a very long time. Fighting Trump during the campaign will involve brutal hand-to-hand fighting. Joe isn't equipped for it. Joe's lifetime of political civility will make him totally vulnerable to the Donald Trump style of personal attacks, lies and cheating. In addition, no matter who is elected, they are likely going to have to deal with Moscow Mitch – the one man Senate dictator and his crew of robots. There will be no Senate negotiation with a Democratic president. It will be obstruction on every issue. Whoever is elected had better be equipped to use political strength, punishment and reward in dealing with an uncooperative obstinate Senate. Joe is not the kind of person who knows how to use political strong-arm tactics which will be required. Elect-ability: He is the most likely of all the candidates to be able to defeat Trump. Joe has a lifetime of political knowledge and experience. He is the only candidate on the Democratic side who has the advantage of offering someone who is a respectable and honest experienced politician and who has already been vice president. I rank him as the most likely candidate to be nominated.
CORY BOOKER Booker very bright, strong and articulate. Of all the candidates I thought he was the most presidential in the debate. He was always calm and showed knowledge about the big picture regarding issues. Booker was the only candidate during the debate who understood the difference between political speeches on the road and responses during a debate. Everyone else used every question, no matter how simple, as a reason to make political speeches,ignoring the question and rambling on past their allotted time. The people who refused to stop talking past their time only ended up to be seen as rude and self-centered. The other candidates failed to focus on the issues in plain, simple and short sentences. Instead, they talked about "their plan" and themselves. One of the primary reasons Donald Trump beat the other candidates during the last election debates was that while they made political speeches and did exactly the same thing, he used short, simple and understandable responses no matter how complex the issues. He understood the importance of not sounding like a typical Washington politician making another long winded political speech. Among all of the candidates in the debate last night only Booker correctly appreciated this fact by his responses. Furthermore he made sense, has a leadership demeanor and has the toughness to take on Trump and the Senate dictator Moacow Mitch. Elect-ability: Unfortunately Booker has been unable to generate the kind of political support necessary to be nominated. Unless that changes he is unlikely to be the candidate even though he would be my number one choice.
PETE BUTTIGIEG This bright young politician continues to be impressive with his calm presence and analytical mind. He has a good grasp of issues and is quick on his feet with responses. He is a very impressive candidate. I think he would be able to stand up to Trump's kind of dirty campaigning. But, I don't think he has enough political experience to deal with the political warfare he will face with the Senate if elected. His lack of political experience is also a drawback regarding both domestic and foreign issues. In my view he should be running for the Senate and after gaining political experience try for the office of president in the future. Elect-ability: I don't think he can be elected. I'm not sure America and the conservative religious are willing to vote for a man involved in a openly gay relationship either. His youth and inexperience together with his marital status and sexual orientation make it unlikely that he would be nominated.
JULIAN CASTRO I admit that I have a negative reaction to this man's physical appearance. My immediate impression of him is that of a an actor in a gangster movie. That may be unfair, but it's a liability when impressions are so important in politics. He seems bright and informed. I think he is also strong. But, he strikes me as being overly aggressive in his responses during the debate. In a previous debate I was offended by his inappropriate attack on Joe Biden. I think he would be capable of standing up to Donald Trump, but I question his ability, skill and experience to be the kind of president we need. Elect-ability: I don't see this candidate is having a real chance of being elected in a campaign against Donald Trump
TULSI GABBARD I think she does an impressive job during debates. I like her courage and her calmly taking on others at the debate she disagrees with. I like most of her views on the issues as well. Unfortunately she lacks the kind of political experience that is so badly needed in our next president. I would certainly vote for her remaining in the Senate and think that she has good political judgment.Elect-ability: I think there is little chance that she will be nominated.
KAMALA HARRIS She continues to offend me as she has in every debate. She exhibits a Hillary Clinton kind of attitude of entitlement and arrogance coupled with self centeredness. She inappropriately attacked Joe Biden in a previous debate. She has fallen back on citing her African American background and tries to enhance her importance by talking about her past public service in California. In fact, she was subject to extreme criticism over her ethical conduct there. She unquestionably is a bright woman and with her Donald Trump like narcissistic courage would stand toe to toe with him in the election. She has political experience, but I remain troubled about her narcissistic demeanor and lack of character, Elect-ability: I don't think she would be capable of defeating Donald Trump in election. In addition, both she and Booker have the issue of voter racial bias.
AMY KLOBUCHAR The problem Is that I don't have any particular reaction to her. She seems very vanilla to me. Her overall impression is that she is a strong intelligent woman but does not exhibit the characteristics and qualifications you expect for the office.Elect-ability: I don't see her as having any significant chance of being the candidate nominated.
BETO O’ROURKE He continues through this and all of the debates to appear to be a very bright young man who is genuine and of good character. He is well informed and would be a candidate for political office under normal circumstances. I think he is capable of handling Trumps underhanded style of campaigning. However, his lack of political experience required for the office of president makes him unqualified in my opinion. I remain convinced that he should be running for the Senate and gaining political experience before taking on a campaign to be president. Elect-ability: I think there's little chance that he will be nominated, but I anticipate both he and Buttigieg will be very successful politicians in the future.
BERNIE SANDERS Bernie's political positions remain totally consistent through all of the debates and his campaigning. His message never varies. He has targeted the issues that are the most significant in this country. He is a genuine and highly moral individual who has the country's best interest at heart. Unfortunately, his viewpoints are extreme in the view of the average voter who worry about taxes to fund his ideas. Worse, his recent heart attack and his age make him even more unsuitable to be elected president at this time. I think Bernie should retire from the race and deal with his health. Elect-ability: In spite of everything that has happened Bernie remains a highly electable candidate. If his health holds he can't be counted out. I rate him third behind Biden and Warren as likely to be nominated.
TOM STEYER This "mystery" billionaire candidate has articulate and well reasoned positions particularly on climate control. Originally a backer of Jay, he decided to enter the race himself. By using targeted mailings and advertising he was able to meet the requirement for participation in the debate. To my knowledge is totally lacking in political experience. While well-intentioned I cannot imagine him being qualified to be president. Elect-ability: I think there is virtually no chance he will be nominated.
ELIZABETH WARREN She has become the front runner in the race. She is very courageous. She is extremely bright and very knowledgeable about the issues as well. She certainly isn't intimidated by Donald Trump and of all the candidates she is the most qualified to deal with him and his obnoxious conduct. However, I have gone from being her early supporter to someone I would not want to see as president. I don't see her being able to achieve cooperation with the Senate and Republicans. Her extreme viewpoints are a liability for election. In debates she is the worst offender of making political speeches in a patronizing and long-winded manner. Instead of short simple responses she uses every question to make a political speech. She has become just like Hillary Clinton in that regard. That simply doesn't work against a candidate like Donald Trump who uses quick, short personal attacks or answers to complex issues. Worse, long winded answers don't work with most Americans who don't want politics as usual. Her viewpoints are almost identical to Bernie which makes her views as extreme as Bernie's which does not sell well to the moderate voter. While she is politically knowledgeable and capable of dealing with Trump, I don't see her style as having any benefit in dealing with with Moscow Mitch and the Senate should she be elected. Elect-ability: Irrespective of the polls, my personal view is that she is probably number two behind Joe Biden and in front of Bernie Sanders.
ANDREW YANG Yang is another "mystery" candidate. He has virtually no political experience. Before running for office no one outside of the tech field knew who he was. Yet, he continues to qualify for debates by the support he is able to gain. Frankly, he impresses me. He's very bright, totally unflappable and would be in sharp contrast as a calm professional against an arm waving out of control Donald Trump. For the most part he has solid ideas and is very well informed. However, his lack of experience makes me think that he should run for the Senate and get political experience before running for this office. Nevertheless I have a favorable impression. Elect-ability Barring some kind of miracle I don't see him as having any real chance of being the candidate.