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Second Democratic debate live thread: Biden-geddon

Westlake Legal Group b-6 Second Democratic debate live thread: Biden-geddon tulsi gabbard The Blog second Race Julian Castro harris democratic debate busing booker biden

Last night’s round one of the debate was hard to predict. Would the natural rivals, Bernie and Warren on the one hand and Buttigieg and Beto on the other, go toe-to-toe? (Nope.) Would the moderates, like John Delaney and Tim Ryan, pile on the progressives? (Yep.) Would Marianne Williamson cast a spell stealing the souls of everyone watching and encasing them in a magic crystal, to be freed only after America has safely elected her president? (Yes indeed.)

Tonight’s round two, at 8 p.m. ET on CNN, is more straightforward. The plan for nearly everyone onstage: Get Biden. Hit him high, hit him low, but hit him hard.

The line-up:

Joe Biden
Kamala Harris
Cory Booker
Julian Castro
Kirsten Gillibrand
Tulsi Gabbard
Bill de Blasio
Andew Yang
Jay Inslee
Michael Bennet

Harris is going to take her best shot at Biden, knowing that expectations are high after her breakout performance in the first debate. She pulled some black voters away from Grandpa Joe — temporarily — with the exchange about busing last month. She’s coming after him again, this time probably for his criminal justice bill, to try to further persuade those voters that he’s no friend to black Americans.

Cory Booker’s coming for him too. Spartacus is a desperate man, a marginal candidate to date who somehow needs to elbow past Biden *and* Harris to get black voters’ attention. He’s going to come at Biden for his record on race even more insistently tonight than she will in hopes of finally making his mark. Odds are good, in fact, that the main takeaway from viewers four hours from now will be annoyance that Booker kept interrupting in order to muscle in on the big Biden/Harris rematch.

Gillibrand? Yep, attacking Biden is probably also her best bet. She’s at risk of not qualifying for the third debate; if she doesn’t do something to jumpstart her campaign tonight, she might not have another chance. Landing a roundhouse to the despised centrist Biden’s chin is likely the easiest way to ingratiate herself to progressives.

How about Julian Castro? He had a strong debate last month, winning an exchange on immigration with Beto O’Rourke, but got nothing from it in the polls. He’s in Gillibrand’s boat, needing some immediate buzz. Nothing would do that as efficiently as proving that he’s a more effective left-wing attack dog against Biden than the more celebrated Harris or Booker are.

As for Grandpa Joe himself, he knows it’s coming. He and his campaign have spent the past two weeks all but daring Booker and Harris to come at him. He’s hit Booker hard for the Newark PD’s poor civil-rights record and scoffed at Harris’s fantasyland proposals for how to pay for Medicare for All. Harris got away unscathed in the first debate; he needs to make sure that doesn’t happen tonight. And he needs to look and sound nimble in sparring: A recurring criticism of his stumbling defense from Harris’s busing attack in the first debate was that he looked his age, seemingly caught off-guard. There’ll be no whiny excuses tonight if he stumbles again that Harris desecrated his son’s memory by criticizing him or whatever. Biden needs to prove he’s up to the task. If not, Trump might be taunting him as “low energy” before the debate’s even over.

The dark horse in tonight’s line-up, by the way, is Tulsi Gabbard, whom regular readers know has been landing hard jabs at Kamala Harris. You might think Harris and Gabbard would be more likely to be allies against Biden than Biden and Gabbard would be likely to be allies against Harris. Harris and Gabbard are each a bit further left than Joe, each women of color, each much younger than the former VP, each relatively new to Congress. But for whatever reason, Gabbard has singled her out, including and especially for the bad faith she showed in questioning Biden’s racial bona fides in the first debate. Gabbard might be an attack dog for Biden onstage tonight. And if she is, the theories of why she’s allied herself with him will be flying tomorrow.

CNN is livestreaming the debate on its website (no cable login required) in case you’re away from a television set. The commentariat is preparing for another lackluster Biden performancer, which would throw some new uncertainty into the race tomorrow, but … what if he has a great debate? He’s already back up to a big lead in polling. He could put a chokehold on the race tonight if he embarrasses Harris and Booker. In lieu of an exit question, read this column by Steve Chapman challenging the hypocritical wokeness being applied retroactively to Biden’s support for the Clinton-era crime bill. If crime were as bad now as it was then, argues Chapman, Harris and Booker both would have supported the legislation — especially Harris, a former AG.

The post Second Democratic debate live thread: Biden-geddon appeared first on Hot Air.

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Second Democratic debate live thread: Two socialists enter, one socialist leaves

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Am I not allowed to call Elizabeth Warren a socialist because she claims she’s a capitalist, even though her policy plans are indistinguishable from Bernie’s?

C’mon. By that logic, we’d have to call her a Native American.

8 p.m. ET on CNN, the first group of 10 for the second Democratic debate converges for a three-hour descent into madness. And this group happens to have more in common than just the fact that they all want to give free health care to illegals on your dime. Democratic diversity will … not be on display tonight:

I think Beto counts as 1/1,024th Latino. In case you can’t identify everyone there by sight, it’s:

Bernie Sanders
Elizabeth Warren
Pete Buttigieg
Beto O’Rourke
Amy Klobuchar
John Hickenlooper
John Delaney
Steve Bullock
Tim Ryan
America’s sweetheart, Marianne Williamson, who is certainly not a “wacky new-age nutcase”

Five of those candidates are no-shots and two, Klobuchar and O’Rourke, are once potentially serious contenders who are on the cusp of no-shot status. It may be early but the stakes tonight are high, notes Byron York:

To make it onstage [for the third debate in September], candidates will have to “receive two percent or more support in at least four polls (which may be national polls, or polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada),” according to the DNC. The committee went on to list several specifications for the polls themselves to make sure the candidates can cite support in legitimate surveys.

Beyond that, the DNC says, candidates must show they have received donations from at least 130,000 unique donors, plus at least 400 unique donors in at least 20 states. Together, those rules will eliminate a lot of current Democratic candidates.

Right now in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls, just seven candidates are polling at 2% or higher: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang, and Beto O’Rourke. If they stay that way, they will be in the September debate.

Another way of putting that is that fully seven of the 10 candidates onstage are likely fighting for their campaign’s lives, trying to make enough of an impression to clear the bar for an invitation to debate three. That means they’re all incentivized to let it rip — including Beto, whose hold on two percent is no longer steady and who’s surely hoping to claw back some of the “fresh-faced white guy” bloc that migrated from him to Buttigieg some months ago. We’re past the introductory phase of the campaign. Tonight’s the night to show Democratic voters what you’ve got. It’s basically the left-wing version of “America’s Got Talent,” befitting the fact that we elected a game-show host president last time. CNN’s treating it like a game show too:

The Beto/Buttigieg showdown is one plot line, obviously. The other, even more obviously, is Sanders and Warren sharing the stage for the first time and competing for progressives. Will they attack each other or play nice and let the chips fall where they may among lefty viewers? Warren must be tempted to needle Bernie over his labor troubles lately. And Bernie may have no choice but to come after Warren to reverse the trajectory of the race, which has seen her slowly but steadily gobbling up his support. He’s still second to Biden in the RCP poll of polls but she’s right behind him.

Another question: How much of the debate will be defined by theatrical condemnations of Trump?

[A]fter Trump’s comments about multiple lawmakers of color in the past two weeks, including telling minority congresswomen to “go back” to the countries from which they came, there’s a higher chance that the candidates feel more urgency to contrast themselves with the president, if only in terms of their character.

“It’s in the moderators’ interest to put everyone on the record about that, whether it’s about Ilhan Omar or Cummings,” one senior Democratic campaign official, who like others in this story spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to be candid, told me. “I think campaigns are preparing to respond to those because you want to show that you have the cleanest rebuke of his comments of everyone. It’s really a matter of showing you can hold your own and aren’t afraid to go toe-to-toe with Trump.”

Because Democrats kept their focus on Trump to a minimum the last time around, the president hardly engaged in real time, with “BORING!” being among his few tweets over the course of the two-night debate. But should moderators bring any of Trump’s recent attacks to the forefront, he is likely to punch back from afar.

Attacking Trump may be Beto’s core strategy. His guests at the debate are several black high-school football players from Texas who kneeled for the anthem last season in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick. Beto’s single most “viral” moment from the Senate campaign against Cruz was a defense of the right to kneel during the anthem. His plan may be to avoid squabbling with Buttigieg and the others and try to out-woke them instead, elevating himself by picking a fight with Trump. Probably won’t work but he’s running out of ways to distinguish himself.

Comments are open below. If you’re in need of a rooting interest, root for a breakout performance by Williamson, as her all-you-need-is-love shtick is the only thing that could liven up this exceedingly dreary primary. By the way, the rules tonight call for candidates not to interrupt each other; if they do they’ll be penalized by having their speaking time reduced, although whether Jake Tapper and the other moderators really intend to enforce that rule is anyone’s guess. Why would CNN want to *discourage* angry interruptions at a big game-show spectacle?

The post Second Democratic debate live thread: Two socialists enter, one socialist leaves appeared first on Hot Air.

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