On July 30 and 31, the second round of Democratic debates took place. Four candidates have dropped from the race since the last debates, still leaving us with a rather large group of 20. Both nights were a circus, featuring almost six hours of debates, personal attacks and the nearly constant refrain that, "We have to Beat Donald Trump."
I'll do my best to summarize the stand out issues, candidates, and moments in both nights of debating.
Of all the opening statements delivered on the first night, Elizabeth Warren's is the most memorable. She declared that the problems we face could not be solved with "spinelessness" and that theme seemed to carry her throughout the night, especially when dealing with the small-time, moderate Democrats. Most of the night ended up focusing on health care, which leads to Senator Bernie Sanders' stand out moment. When Rep. John Delaney of Maryland stated that Sen. Sanders didn't know how the bill worked. Sanders responded with, "I do know, I wrote the damn bill."
Warren again, was one of the other stand out candidates, asking her opponents why they were running for President if all they wanted to do was talk about the things they couldn't change. Her health care bill was prominently discussed, as well as her bill to tax the upper class.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg stands out as well. He spoke passionately as a veteran on gun control and reminded his peers on stage that they were all going to be called "crazy socialists" no matter what they did, so they might as well do the right thing.
The surprise of the night was Marianne Williamson. She called out the American system for it's "collective hatred" regarding situations like the Flint water crisis. However, she didn't seem to offer any real plans when she was asked how she would prevent another crisis like that from happening again.
If there were any losers, it would be Rep. Tim Ryan, Rep. John Delaney, and Gov. Steve Bullock, all three of whom were absolutely stomped on by Senators Sanders and Warren. The others, among them Rep. Beto O'Rourke were simply there, and not particularly memorable.
This round of debates was slightly calmer than the first, although, in other ways, it wasn't. Former Vice President Joe Biden spent most of the night name dropping Obama, Sen. Booker called out Vice President Biden for only dropping his relationship to the former President when it was convenient. In fact, he took a lot of heat on the stage that night, from Rep. Harris as well, and Sen. Gillibrand. While CNN and crew claimed that the former Vice President had won the debate, it seemed that he could hardly string a sentence together at times.
The surprises of night two were Andrew Yang and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii. The latter asked Rep. Harris about her dubious background as a California Prosecutor. Mr. Yang spent the first half of the debate being rather quiet and sheepish, as he had in the first round. While he may have had sparse speaking time, however, Yang's answers were always strong, especially his
calling the debates a "reality tv show" and insisting that we be laser-focused on the issues at hand.
Former Secretary Castro also stood out that night, truly anchoring himself as a Presidential candidate.
But the most memorable moments of the night were certainly Yang's closing remarks and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's remarks to Rep. Harris.
Now, the candidates must qualify for the next round of debates, and eight of them already have. By August 28, the race will be narrowed down, and we will have slimmer pickings for the Democratic nominee.