Top 10 Candidates for the Democratic Nomination – Post 3rd Debate Edition

I watched the third Democratic debate last night from start to finish.  I also watched some CNN, listened to a couple of podcasts and read some articles with various pundits’ thoughts on how the candidates did.  I wrote last night about my thoughts on who did well and who didn’t.

But, as promised, I need to update my top 10 for the candidates.  Just my preference, not who I think will win necessarily.  I did look at how I saw the tiers shaping up in my last top 10 post.  I think there might have been some movement there.  I’m ready to demote Harris from the top tier (Biden, Warren, Sanders).  I’ll put her in tier 2 with Mayor Pete.  I’m thinking after last night that I can make a tier 3 – candidates who have a chance to break into tier 2.  That’d be Beto, Booker and Klobuchar.  Newly created tier 4 is everyone else.  Yeah, that means one of my favorites – Castro – is getting demoted.  He’s joined by Yang, Bullock and Gabbard.  There are other candidates out there, but I’m not ready to discuss them unless they can make some more waves.

  1. Elizabeth Warren – Staying steady.  Senator Warren didn’t have her best debate, but she held her own.  She’s MY favorite for the nomination and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
  2. Kamala Harris – Staying steady. She didn’t have a great debate last night, but she went after Trump a lot and that is something I want to see in my candidate.  She’s still too inconsistent to get the nomination at this point, but she’s my second choice if Warren doesn’t get it.
  3. Cory Booker – up 5 spots.  Senator Booker has been very good in all of the debates.  He would be an excellent choice for the top spot.  He’s got a good combination of policy ideas and kumbaya sensibility.  He’s benefiting here from Castro falling down my ranking.
  4. Beto O’Rourke – I like his focus on guns and I think he’s gotten the fire back.  He was number two on my debate ranking, but number 4 on this list for him is going to be precarious.  He’s got to show something in the next month.  I need more from him than this debate.
  5. Pete Buttigieg – down 1 spot.  I like Mayor Pete.  He’s trying too hard to stay in the moderate lane.  But when he’s on, he’s got a great combo of youth, military experience and faith that will serve him well against the Republican nominee.
  6. Joe Biden – down 3 spots.  Biden looked good in the beginning of the debate, but then faded.  Too many word salads in his answers.  I see him getting too flustered against Trump in a debate.  I just worry that, at age 76, he can’t do what needs to be done.  I like Joe, but he’s not the right nominee for 2020.
  7. Amy Klobuchar – staying steady.  She’s consistent in her moderate lane.  She might make a good VP candidate, but I just can’t see her in the top spot.
  8. Julian Castro – Down 3 spots.  I’ll be very interested to see if his gambit attacking Biden moves him up or down.  I still like him, but he’s just a potential VP in my book.  Warren/Castro 2020.
  9. Bernie Sanders –  staying steady. He didn’t have a great debate.  Warren does what he does, but better and without the baggage of the socialist label.  I’m all in on a younger candidate getting the nomination and Bernie is older than Biden.  Kudos to him for moving the conversation to the left in a lot of areas, but he’s the wrong guy to run in 2020.
  10. Andrew Yang – newly on the list.  I needed to put someone at 10 and I chose Yang over Bullock.  He has some good moments in the debates and has been able to change the range of discussion in some areas.  I see him neither in the top spot nor as VP.  Maybe Bullock would still be a better choice for this slot, because I see him at least as a VP choice and even a very remote dark horse possibility in the moderate lane if Biden implodes.  It’s still 10th out of 10, so probably doesn’t make much of a difference at this point, so I’ll keep Yang here for now.

Others: 11 – Steve Bullock; 12 – Tom Steyer; 13 – Tulsi Gabbard.



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