USA Politics


And I should contemplate this change
Staff member

Democratic Debate - Night 1 (2019)
Format: Youtube Livestream

1. Bill DeBlasio: If anyone is running a vanity campaign, it's this guy. He doesn't have much of a national profile and his reputation in New York City (where he is mayor) is not good. His campaign announcement was a complete joke and he hasn't really done anything since to indicate that he is serious about running. With that being said, I thought he came off OK. He was really trying to position himself as progressive while also being qualified with executive experience (something most people on the stage did not have). He took a couple of jabs at other candidates but wasn't as combative as I might've expected. I think his campaign is still a non-starter, but he could've been worse. 7/10

2. Tim Ryan: Oh man. So it's not like his campaign wasn't already dead on arrival, but Tulsi Gabbard pretty much came in and set fire to any of the remains. The gaffe of blaming the Taliban for 9/11 was a campaign killer on its own but the well deserved thrashing from Gabbard pretty much ensured that this soundbite will be the only notable thing to come out of the Ryan campaign. The rest of the debate was OK I guess but at this point it doesn't even matter. He's done. 3/10

3. Julian Castro: Julian Castro was a rising star in the Democratic party but the low profile he kept after his time in the Obama administration really hurt him going into this race. It's crazy to think he went from being one of the top choices for Hillary's VP to being a low polling candidate. With that being said, he really shined tonight and probably reminded everyone why he was seen as a favorite future presidential candidate a few years ago. His immigration policy seemed to be the marquee issue and he really hit it out of the park. He was weak on other issues but made up for it with his charisma. I'll be interested to see how his polling shifts (if at all) following tonight. He was also the only candidate who's Spanish didn't come off as cringeworthy pandering. 8/10

4. Cory Booker: Similar to Castro, Cory Booker was a rising star in the party who kinda landed with a dud when he announced. It's an interesting situation. On paper, he's the perfect candidate. Very charismatic, obviously qualified, profoundly articulate. As a young African American, he also checks a lot of demographic boxes. On the other hand, he has some shady ties to pharma and wall street. Sometimes he comes off as a standard cardboard cutout politician. Prior to this debate though he had some of the best one-off moments of any candidate. He responded very gracefully to a question about voting rights for felons that had stumped Bernie just a few days earlier. He also probably got the best jab at Biden during the latest round of gaffes. We got a lot of that political dexterity again tonight. He came off really strong. I wouldn't count him out of this thing. 9/10.

5. Elizabeth Warren: Obviously going into this, most eyes were on Warren as the only real frontrunner on stage. Unsurprisingly, this was her night. She was clear, unapologetic, and direct on every single issue. She did the least amount of sidestepping and, out of all the candidates on stage, she was the only one who I could seriously see taking on Trump. She avoided unnecessary jabs at other candidates (there was speculation that she might target Biden, but she really didn't). Her polling has been trending upwards, depending on how Biden performs tomorrow I could see her starting to hold a lead in some polls. 10/10

6. Beto O'Rourke: Man some of the opening statements were pretty bad but Beto took the cake. His was so bad that I had to pause so I could get all the laughter out of my system (hence my post from earlier). The forced spanish, completely ignoring the question, the incoherent desperate attempt at a soundbite. That was a real Little Marco moment and he's lucky there wasn't a Chris Christie on stage to bully him. That being said, did anyone notice that Beto was a bit of a punching bag for other candidates tonight? It was all pretty cordial for the most part, but I got the impression that they really don't take Beto seriously. Julian, DeBlasio, and I think Booker all either directly or indirectly took shots at him. Beto tried to go on the offensive toward Castro but it backfired bigly. His campaign was already floundering but I think this is it for him. Once you've become a meme there's no going back. 2/10

7. Amy Klobuchar: I thought Klobuchar came off OK. She had enough soundbite material to improve her polling and maybe do enough fundraising to stretch the campaign out a bit more. Out of the "moderate" candidates who are trying to run on ending the dysfunction while not totally upending the system, she makes the strongest case and comes off the best. She sells herself as a unifying force who also won't compromise with a hostile opposition. She also had one of the best oneliners of the night when she went after Inslee. That being said, she isn't nearly liberal enough for this election. The only one who is going to get away with being a moderate is Joe Biden and even he is struggling with it. Her policies make her pretty much unelectable in a primary. 6/10

8. Tulsi Gabbard: This is a strange one. I like Tulsi and I know she has a small cult following, but I don't think she was the firebrand that some may have been expecting. Foreign policy was clearly her strong point but I felt she was pretty understated through a lot of it. That seems to be her natural style, but in this type of enviornment, that's not going to work. However, none of this matters because the only thing the media is going to latch on to from Tulsi is the confrontation with Tim Ryan. That's going to be her big moment. Whether she capitalizes on the momentum in the coming weeks or eventually drops off again remains to be seen. I think she is almost a given in the next democratic administration as a SOD though. 6/10.

9. Jay Inslee: Jay Inslee was a real mixed bag. He had some solid moments and actually exceeded my expectations as a single issue candidate. He did his homework on all the issues, which I did not expect. That being said, he pretty much immediately disqualified himself in my book when he said Donald Trump was the biggest threat to the United States. Are you fucking serious? You're going to run a campaign with climate change and then when asked what the greatest geopolitical threat to the united states you don't say climate change? Not to mention Donald Trump is the dumbest answer possible. Yea it got great applause and will play well as a soundbite maybe, but it's just such a dumb answer. And it looks even dumber after several other candidates after said climate change. The abortion comment and Klobuchar's retort also really hurt, that could be a campaign killer. Meh/10

10. John Delaney: I think he did fine but was mostly boring and didn't offer anything policy wise. He was similar to Ryan in that he tried hard to push his credentials as a representative in the midwest but he didn't do anything to stand out among the crowd. I really don't understand why he's running. At least he isn't going to get an onslaught of bad press like Ryan, but people forgetting that he was even on stage isn't going to help either. I think he is pretty much done. 2/10.

Overall, it's pretty clear who the serious players are from this group. I'm looking forward to seeing the herd thin in the coming weeks. One thing I appreciated is that most candidates tried their best to make it about the issues and not about Trump. When Trump did come up sometimes it was relevant and sometimes not, but overall it feels like most of the candidates are aware of the bigger picture. Looking forward to night 2!

Rating: 85%


Yorktown-class aircraft carrier
Staff member
I mostly agree with Mosh's summary. I think DeBlasio did worse and I think Inslee did better, but otherwise, yes, that's pretty much it. They gave Warren an easy crowd and she ran over it, mostly.


Ancient Mariner
  • Warren came off better than I expected. Her shrill, manic schoolteacher vibe is pretty offputting to me, but she seems to have the most passion and substance of the candidates from tonight, and when you listen to her for a while I think you get past that negative first impression. But the Pocahontas nickname stuck, and Trump will beat her to death with it if she gets the nomination.
Out of this batch of 10 I’d prefer Klobuchar or Warren.

Did you get any of that vibe with Warren last night? It almost seemed to me that she purposely stayed out of the fray to avoid that characterization. I have liked her policies for years but like you have been very skeptical of her as a presidential candidate. Although recently she is starting to change my mind.

We should do a survivor for the Dem candidates.

After last night, the only ones I would keep are Warren, Booker, and Castro.


Cannibal Of Rust
Did you get any of that vibe with Warren last night?
Yes. I think she always comes off as shrill and manic because that’s just how her voice and mannerisms present themselves. I think that’s a barrier for a lot of people. But like I said, when you get past that I think her message is effective if you agree with her policy positions.


Ancient Mariner
de Blasio is a moron ....

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) apologized Thursday for quoting infamous Argentine revolutionary figure Ernesto “Che” Guevara in saying “Hasta la victoria siempre” at a Miami rally.
The phrase from Guevara, who is widely disliked by Miami’s large Cuban population, translates roughly to “Ever on to victory.”

But de Blasio apologized on Twitter hours later, saying he "did not know the phrase...was associated with Che Guevara."

"I did not mean to offend anyone who heard it that way. I certainly apologize for not understanding that history," he wrote. "I only meant it as a literal message to the striking airport workers that I believed they would be victorious in their strike."

De Blasio’s remark was widely panned, notably by Florida’s Democratic Party chairwoman, who called on him to apologize.

"Mayor Bill DeBlasio does not speak for Floridians or the Florida Democratic Party and he would be wise to apologize,” Terrie Rizzo tweeted.


And I should contemplate this change
Staff member

Democratic Debate - Night 2 (2019)
Format: Youtube Livestream

1. Marianne Williamson: Why is she running? How did she even hit the threshold? Yet another prime example of a candidate who is wasting everyone's time and taking focus away from the real issues. Not only that, but she had this really odd almost creepy vibe. She kinda reminded me of a character from The Office almost. Most of her answers were completely ridiculous and meaningless. 1/10

2. John Hickenlooper: Hickenlooper was the last governor of my state. I like him. He largely took the Jay Inslee approach of touting his executive experience, which is definitely an asset. Unfortunately he is going about this the completely wrong way. Running on "socialism is not the answer" is an awful idea. It feeds into GOP talking points/propaganda and obfuscates his message. He never articulates what he opposes when he says he's against socialism. He never directly references another policy or something another candidate is proposing. He touts Colorado as being one of the most progressive states, but most of the progressive achievements in CO are things that the lefty candidates are proposing. So what is he trying to run against? The GOP uses socialism as a hollow attack. There's one self identified socialist running and he doesn't even really qualify as a socialist. It just doesn't make sense and seeing Democrats fall for the propaganda is disappointing. 4/10

3. Andrew Yang: Wow he really bombed. People actually laughed at his UBI plan, which is the entire basis of his campaign. He didn't do a very good job selling it (he didn't even use the term freedom dividend). I've seen him on one-on-one interviews where he does a great job articulating his plan. In a way I feel bad for him because it's hard to sell your platform in 30 seconds, but that's just the way it is. This was his one chance to have a breakthrough moment and he blew it. 2/10

4. Pete Buttigieg: Had he not seen a surge in popularity leading up to this debate, after tonight we would be seeing Mayor Pete as another no-name candidate without any substance or purpose. Very disappointing showing. It seems fairly obvious that he's trying to run in the moderate lane but still wants that progressive vote as well. The result is that he is very vague when it comes to policy. He was able to offset that with charisma and personality, but none of that came through tonight. I'll be interested to see how the general public/media received him. This was really a critical moment to take his surging popularity to the next level. I imagine instead his polling will either stagnate or even decline. 5/10

5. Joe Biden: Joe didn't do nearly as bad as I thought he would. He spent a lot of time touting his experience, particularly within the Obama administration. He spent a lot of time defending the Obama era policies and really set himself up as a third Obama term. I think within the context of this particular debate, it worked. A couple problems though. First of all, being anti-Trump isn't a platform. I don't like when a candidate is asked about what their day one priority and the candidate responds by saying it's to take out Trump. This is about when the candidate has won the election. Trump isn't there anymore and there's some real business to take care of. The other problem is his confrontation with Kamala Harris. I don't think he was effective in defending himself there and if that's the clip the media runs with, he might be in trouble. Honestly though, besides that moment, I thought he did fine. He's still one of my least favorite candidates. I can't say absolute least favorite anymore though after really meeting all the candidates this week. 6/10

6. Bernie Sanders: Man I was really coming around on Bernie but I don't think he came off very well tonight. He's not a strong debater apparently, especially when he's in a huge group like this. Part of the problem is that his ideas, which were radical in 2016, are now just commonly accepted in the current party. Commonly accepted to the point where opposing some of them is a liability. He won the battle of ideas, but now his political relevance is in question. The question he got about higher taxes early on was actually really unfair. There's a nuanced answer to this, which Bernie has explained in previous events: the rise in taxes is ideally going to be offset by the fact that the middle class will be paying less for insurance. That's his plan at least. When explained that way, medicare for all makes a lot more sense. It's disappointing to see the so-called "liberal media" intentionally obfuscating here. But Bernie also didn't do a great job of explaining that. It's kind of the Yang problem again. You really need more than 30 seconds to explain some of these things. But Warren somehow managed to do it. 5/10

7. Kamala Harris: Easily the best showing of the night. She's the only one on stage who acted presidential. She kept her cool, didn't engage in the dumb shouting matches and desperate attempts at getting attention. When she was given a chance to speak, she did so eloquently and really came off as someone who would wipe the floor with Trump in a debate. She was the only one who was really able to put a dent in Biden. Really impressive, honestly the only person on stage who was worth watching. She did the whole "Trump is the biggest geopolitical threat" thing which I still maintain is pretty dumb, but I thought the context and reasoning was better than when Inslee said it. Still not a fan of that though. 9/10

8. Kristen Gillibrand: She was pretty aggressive about getting time to speak, pretty similar to fellow New Yorker De Blasio. Honestly that's probably a necessity when you're polling as low as some of these candidates. I thought she did OK. She has a pretty narrowly focused campaign, mostly focused on women's rights (particularly with abortion). IDK, I thought she did fine but was largely unremarkable. 5/10

9. Michael Bennet: Another Coloradan basically running off the back of a viral moment he had on the Senate floor during the shut down (he even referenced his medieval wall rant at one point). Don't really know why he's running. He didn't put forth any real policy proposals and was just really agreeable toward everyone. He had that Coloradan friendliness. I look forward to seeing him continue to be an understated force in the Senate. meh/10

10. Eric Swalwell: Another single issue candidate (guns) with the worst one liners in the entire race. He went after Biden for being too old really early in the debate and, honestly, he looked like a dick doing it. Mayor Pete is doing a much better job at making the argument for generational change. Other than those things though I think he did surprisingly well. When he's actually talking policy and not trying to create a soundbite, he is a really smart and well articulated guy. I saw him on Pod Save America and really liked him. He seemed down to earth and genuinely caring about the issues of gun violence. When he gets on stage though it's hard to take him seriously. Great example of a politician who should really spend more time building a national profile before running for president. 5/10

Jesus christ what a shitshow. So much talking over each other, very little actual debate, and very little policy substance. While having the debate participants selected by lottery the way the DNC conducted it seemed like a good idea on paper, I'm starting to think it may have been a better idea to do a junior varsity/varsity style setup instead. There were just way too many low polling candidates trying to suck all the air out of the room and taking time away from the candidates who actually have a chance. That wasn't really a problem in the previous debate, but maybe that's because most of the candidates were polling low. In tonight's debate the frontrunners were desperately stepping over each other while low pollers were disrupting. There was also very little time for any candidate to really make their case.

There were very few standout moments compared to last night and the candidates didn't come off well in most cases. There were a few people who I thought would look strong going into this debate and they just ended up falling flat. Others had good moments in town halls and such but couldn't recreate that success on the debate stage. Again, the only one who really made a positive impression on me was Harris.

The moderation was also not good. No control over the candidates or the obnoxious crowd jeering. Questions that were framed to be traps. Overall just a disaster.

Overall rating 50%

As far as who I would like to see take the nomination, I'm between Warren and Harris. Slightly leaning toward Warren. I really want to see those two and Biden on the debate stage together. Bernie, Booker, Biden, Mayor Pete, and Castro also deserve more time to really make their case. Everyone else needs to go IMO. Really hope to see a mass wave of dropouts in the coming days. I think we'll see at least a few.
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Diesel 11

As you scream into the web of silence...
If there’s one thing I disagree with, it’s Yang and Pete. Yang was doomed from the start because they barely gave him any time to speak (though to be fair, when he did speak he wasn’t truly gripping). Pete meanwhile made a very good impression, at least on me, and is one of my favorite candidates now. Tulsi, Booker, Buttigieg, Harris, and Warren are my five favorites from the twenty we saw and I’d like to see a lot more of them going forward.


And I should contemplate this change
Staff member
Reading some of the reactions online and I seem to be in the minority with Pete. That’s fine, I can see where I might’ve missed what others saw in him. I still maintain that he is mostly style without substance (probably intentional).

It’s true that Yang wasn’t given enough time to speak, but when you’re running a single issue campaign I don’t see why they would call on him. He didn’t use his 30 seconds wisely. He could’ve also been more aggressive about getting speaking time the way Bennet was, for example. The fact is that he isn’t qualified for office and the only purpose of his campaign is to promote UBI. That’s fine and I think he has a good message. But he failed miserably in delivering it. Other candidates were able to succinctly get their ideas out there in a short amount of time.


Cannibal Of Rust
Night 2 thoughts:
  • Williamson is a kook.
  • Yang didn’t make as much of an impression as he needed to.
  • Swalwell’s early slam on Biden calling for passing the torch 30+ years ago had me laughing out loud, but after that Swalwell just came off as annoying.
  • Hickenlooper came off as awkward and out of place without much of a message.
  • Bennet was moderately more engaging than Hickenlooper, but his presentation isn’t really presidential, and I’m not sure what his motivation is here.
  • Gillibrand came off as desperate for attention, constantly interrupting. I don’t think she did herself any favors tonight.
  • Buttigieg was well-spoken as usual, but aside from looking like the smart adult in the room, I don’t know that he moved the needle much.
  • Harris got a lot of rave reviews from the press tonight, but I wasn’t quite as impressed. She’s not as crisp of a speaker as she needs to be, and she’s not really putting forward a compelling argument for why she should be president. That said, she had multiple strong moments tonight — the food fight comment (which she undercut by trying to interrupt multiple times later on), and her exchange on busing with Biden. I think she has a good chance of securing the VP nod in the end.
  • Sanders was exactly what you’d expect if you were paying attention at all in 2016. Either you like his schtick or you don’t. I kind of like his angry grandpa persona, and I like the fact that he’s a chronic kick in the balls to the party establishment.
  • Biden came off like a candidate past his prime. Slow on the uptake with a lot of flubs, and Swalwell and Harris landed some serious hits on him. I liked Biden in 2008, but these days Trump’s not wrong when he calls him Sleepy Joe.
Out of this batch of 10 I like Sanders and Buttigieg the best. Harris is OK, but she needs to tighten up her delivery and give me a reason why she should be on the top of the ticket.


Ancient Mariner
I agree with what you (Jer) mention about Harris. I like her, but she always seems to underwhelm. However, what is going to be remembered is the universally favorable coverage of her performance and that few minutes when she destroyed Biden on busing. Biden is polling way stronger among African Americans and she wants to get in on that. That being said, I could easily see a Biden-Harris ticket in the end.

Putting politics aside though, the best ticket for us Maidenfans would be the Steve-Harris ticket!
(Steve Bullock-Kamala Harris)


Chasing Ponce De Leon's Phantoms
I only watched half of it, I got bored and listened to some Alice in Chains.

Here are my thoughts.
  • Who is the spirit guide and why is she running for president?
  • Biden is past his prime. Swalwell and Harris got the better of him.
  • Promising to cancel private insurance for 180,000,000 people will not win the presidency.
  • Gillibrand was annoying.
  • These types of debates have degenerated to a point where we might not be able to come back from. Instead of offering solutions to real problems, it's become a contest of who can grab the biggest headline. When Bernie says he will implement Medicare for All he says this with no actual basis. When specifically asked how we would implement it, he dodged the question. Then when asked again, he said it would be done through a revolution. Like Trump, he has no plan. Keep in mind, I didn't watch the whole thing. Yang was the only person who seemed to have any solutions. Automation is very concerning, and his plan to implement UBI seemed very sound. Unfortunately from what I've heard, he didn't get the talking time he deserved.
  • From the other night, Tulsi seemed to be the clear favorite as she gave the impression that she was the only one on stage who was anti-war. Meanwhile, Warren gave me an impression that she was an angry elementary teacher playing the role of politician. An unfortunately for her she wouldn't stand a chance against Trump anyway.


Ancient Mariner
The issue with a lot of the debates is the endless stream of promises (medicare for all, cancel all student debt, change immigration, etc) .. all pretty false promises given they need votes in Congress for any of this and that is impossible ... thankfully

The Flash

Dennis Wilcock did 9/11

I haven't watched the debates yet but it seems to me like you are evaluating the chances of the candidates from a libertarian perspective. That's well and good as to whom you like personally, but not a good way to establish who is the favorite to get the Democratic nomination. Tulsi's anti-war platform is appealing for a libertarian who doesn't see in others candidates what he's looking for in terms of policy, but not much of a needle-mover in terms of getting the nomination.


Ancient Mariner
I can find a couple things with each candidate I appreciate, but a lot more that I do not like ... if I had to pick the 4 I could live with the most, it would be Hickenlooper, Tulsi, Biden, and Booker ... and a few I cannot stand (Bernie and Warren come to mind)