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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.