Three Breakout Stars Last Night as Front-Runners Stumble
Author: Greg Valliere
October 16, 2019
DEMOCRATS ARE FACING A NIGHTMARE: A vulnerable President Trump without a compelling challenger — the party’s two front-runners showed their flaws last night, as three insurgents further complicated the nomination outlook. Our quick take-aways on the debate:
TIME TO GO: The back of the pack will thin out soon — it’s time to exit for Beto O’Rourke, Julian Castro, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Tom Steyer and the mystifying Tulsi Gabbard. All six had a few standout moments last night, but they’re in the 2% category; the dropouts will begin, mercifully, by Thanksgiving.
THE THREE BREAKOUT STARS: Amy Klobuchar won the debate, hands down. She’s determined to rescue the party from the loony left, and while she won’t be the presidential nominee, she’s a clear VP pick. The eloquent Pete Buttigieg had another strong night, a little edgier than past debates, and he could win 10% of the vote in Iowa. And then there’s Andrew Yang, who’s a cult hero among young people — he speaks their tech language, and dinosaurs like us don’t get his appeal.
JOE BIDEN HAD SEVERAL STRONG SOUND BITES, especially on his age, but let’s face it — he can’t get the words out very well; he never could, and debates aren’t his strong suit. But Biden turns 77 next month and has not dispelled the whispering that he’s too old. He gets a B-minus in most of his debates, not terrible — but pit bull Donald Trump could devour Biden in a one-on-one.
ELIZABETH WARREN DIDN’T HAVE A BAD DEBATE, but one message was loud and clear — her agenda is too radical and expensive, and she has no defense for that. We sense a ceiling in her support, especially since Bernie Sanders looked solid last night. A bonus for him is the endorsement by radical Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, a sign that Sanders will stay in this race well into the spring. Is the air seeping out of the Warren balloon? Maybe, to the relief of financial markets.
WHAT A GIFT FOR TRUMP, suffering from the worst stretch of his presidency. He probably will face either the stumbling Biden or the out-of-the mainstream Warren, whose flaws were apparent last night — and those flaws will be highlighted, relentlessly, by the remaining challengers.
THERE MAY BE ONE LAST PLEA to Michelle Obama to jump in — she would become the instant favorite — but we spoke with someone this week who knows her well. She’s having a blast hiking in southern California, Martha’s Vineyard and Hawaii, he said, far from the political world she despises. She’s apparently content to ignore the party, which faces a nightmare: possibly losing — once again — to Trump.
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