Winners and Losers from Thursday’s Debate

You know the drill: let’s jump into the winners and losers from the second night of Democratic debates.

Losers

Marianne Williamson

Love her or hate her, she’s one-of-a-kind. Marianne Williamson, the author and spiritual guru was all over the map last night. At least she made a name for herself.

Bernie Sanders

It was a bad night for established front runners, and the Vermont Senator was no exception. He was once the passionate outsider arguing against Hillary Clinton. Now, he’s one of a number of far-left candidates in a party that values intersectionality. Being the loudest and angriest of the progressives is not a path to victory in the modern Democratic party.

His roughest moment of the debate came when he claimed a quote from him was a “mischaracterization…” and got called on it. Oooof. Sanders did himself no favors last night. Expect him to slowly slide out of the race as more interesting progressives like Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren sap his base.

Joe Biden

You knew it was coming. Former Vice President and current front runner Joe Biden needed a flawless performance to meet his expectations Thursday night, and he was far from that. Even so, he might have been fine, at least until this happened:

Senator Kamala Harris devoured Biden alive in this moment. She absolutely had him on the ropes, and when his response looked to federalism as an excuse for his voting history, it was clear how shaken he was. That won’t play in the Democratic party these days, and eventually, neither will Biden.

Winners

 Kamala Harris

Harris not only had the best night on Thursday, she shone the brightest of any candidate on either night. Her moment with Biden will fuel her campaign for weeks (her campaign is already selling “that girl was me” shirts). But her success went well beyond that.

“She was calm, poised, knowledgeable and, yes, presidential,” said Chris Cillizza of CNN. She was also responsible for the other best moment of the night when she cut through the fracas of her peers and said “America does not want to witness a food fight, they want to know how we’re going to put food on the table.” Sure, the line was prepared. But so was Harris. And she rightfully should be seen as the winner of the debates.

Pete Buttigieg

Pete Buttigieg, or “Mayor Pete,” as he is affectionately known, also looked polished and presidential. His most poignant moment of the debate came when he addressed a police shooting in his own town, South Bend, Indiana, and took responsibility for the situation not getting any better.

Buttigieg will also get a lot of credit and notoriety for his comments on religion, which were a stern rebuke of Republican hypocrisy. Whether his critique was right or not, he will earn plenty of credit for his courage. Mayor Pete may have moved up a tier last night.

Marianne Williamson

Love her or hate her, she’s one-of-a-kind. No one, and we do mean no one, is being talked about as much as Marianne Williamson this morning.  That alone is an accomplishment.