We’ve got another debate between the Democratic candidates for President coming up on Thursday. The ten candidates who qualified are (in order of my last overall ranking of the candidates): Warren, Harris, Biden, Buttigieg, Castro, O’Rourke, Klobuchar, Booker, Sanders, and Yang. In the national primary, things have started to consolidate into some clear tiers, as I mentioned in my previous post. Warren, Biden and Sanders in a tier by themselves. Harris is down with Buttigieg in tier 2 and the rest are tier 3 (rhymes with VP). Here are some thoughts on what I’d like to see them do or what they should do to breakout. This debate and the one in October are pretty much the last chances for a shakeup in the race before voting begins in Iowa and New Hampshire in 2020.
I’ll be interested to see if the top three go after one another. They will surely be attacked by the other candidates who hope to make a moment. If I had to guess, I think Biden will start to go after Warren a bit.
I think Warren should just keep doing what she’s been doing. Keep on message and don’t punch down. Leave Biden alone and only deal with Bernie if he comes after her first.
I hope Beto goes hard on guns and Castro goes hard on immigration. I foresee Klobuchar staying tight in the middle lane.
I want to see someone just go off on Trump. Bernie consistently calls him a pathological liar, but he’s too on message to deviate from his core ideas. I think there’s room down in tier 3 for someone to have an entire answer devoted to Trump’s corruption. I’m not talking a throwaway line about how terrible he is, but the whole enchilada. Say you’re for impeachment, point out that his campaign staff are now in jail. There are many examples from which to choose. Somebody do this.
I want to see someone build on the successful CNN Climate Change Town Hall and stake out the very left of this debate. It’s an existential crisis and this will be the first priority for his or her administration. The best prospect for this would be Harris, but she may be too middle of the road for it. Warren has a plan for climate change. I think she name checks Inslee if this topic comes up.
I think Mayor Pete, and O’Rourke have the best chances to have break out moments to propel them up in the polls.
I think this might be the beginning of the end of Yang. He’ll be in this and the next debate, but I’m guessing his star will soon start to fall. I also think Klobuchar is the most likely to have been disappointing after the fact.
I’ll be back on Friday, after the debate, to discuss what I got right and what I got wrong. And I’ll update my ranking after the debate too.