Thursday, June 27, 2019

I Read 43 Stories and Columns Recapping and Rating Wednesday’s Debate and Dial-Flipped Through Cable News

Stipulating that reporters and pundits don’t actually know how voters will be influenced by the debate itself and the multi-platform aftermath coverage…

My take (summarizing the takes of some others, with which I concur): Nothing really happened to change the contours of the race; Warren was fine-to-good but/and her presence fell off in the back half of the night; Castro stood out; Klobuchar and Booker stood out some, but not enough; notable that Trump was mentioned less than expected, and Biden not at all; most Democratic candidates are more left-wing than in past presidential races, worrying centrists and delighting Team Trump.

One of the World’s Shortest Debate Previews

Joe Biden

Best case: No references to anything that occurred before the invention of the iPod Nano, plenty of references to specific ways he would help families as president.

Worst case: Attempt to focus on Trump and stay above the fray culminates in a senior moment.

Bernie Sanders

Best case: Reminds people who voted for him in 2016 why they did – and rekindles their belief that he is the only true revolutionary in the race.

Worst case: Fails to attract new supporters because the viewers have heard it all before.

Kamala Harris

Best case: Delivers (with steel and a smile) rehearsed A+ anti-Trump lines as if she thought them up on the spot.

Worst case: Momentarily fends off a tough question with her “that’s something that should be discussed” dodge – and gets called on it by a leading rival.

Pete Buttigieg

Best case: Wows voters getting a first look at him with passion, intelligence, knowledge, and humor – and raises a million bucks online off of it.

Worst case: Has one of his rare off-key moments at a critical juncture.

Kirsten Gillibrand

Best case: Takes advantage of the big stage to talk her way back into the conversation based on her energy and intellect.

Worst case: Blocked out of her fair share of time by moderator focus on the Big Four.

Michael Bennet

Best case: Shows passion, talks sense, and elevates above the ideological spats – simultaneously intriguing the voters and reminding the donor class why he’s an Obama and Clinton favorite.

Worst case: A performance that consistently confuses boring for thoughtful and smiley for compassionate.

John Hickenlooper

Best case: Convinces viewers that there is a Colorado Miracle that he could bring to all 50 states.

Worst case:  Acts more goofy than solid, more baffled than confident.

Eric Swalwell

Best case: Reassures older voters, inspires younger ones.

Worst case: Says absolutely nothing that distinguishes himself.

Marianne Williamson

Best case: Couples her spiritual strength and straight talk with surprising chops on federal policy and national security.

Worst case: Doesn’t give voters any reason to envision her sitting in the Oval Office.

Andrew Yang

Best case: Uses humor, brains, and distinctive policy plans to force the spotlight to find him and then linger.

Worst case: Gets minimal time from moderators worried that he will hijack the debate.

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In other news…

Bernie Sanders earns Wall Street Journal op-ed space to say Trump is a bad type of socialist.

Reporting is mixed on the chances of trade progress with China out of the expected Trump-Xi weekend meeting.  The Wall Street Journal is bearish; Secretary Mnuchin is bullish.

Top sports story: Vanderbilt beats Michigan to win their second College World Series  


Top business story: FAA finds new software problem on troubled Boeing 737 MAX


Top entertainment story: Roku’s streaming device to reach 70% of market share by the end of 2019


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Big Four


Steve Bullock says he can get progressive things done.

New Hampshire

Sununu vetoes bill on zero emissions for state vehicles.

South Carolina

Graham locks down home state support — and seeks to lock out primary challengers.

Tribe’s push to build casino spurs Carolinas political fight.

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