Nevada Debate: The Night Five Democrats Stop-and-Frisked Mike Bloomberg

“Mayor Bloomberg, there’s a lot for you to respond to there.” -Moderator Lester Holt, just five minutes into last night’s debate

Like antibodies attacking an invading virus, the five Democratic candidates who have actually campaigned and won delegates in early states aggressively defended their party from an interloping billionaire. And it didn’t take long.

The Nevada debate was, without question, the testiest debate of this primary cycle. Below, I’d like to share with you my ten favorite lines. (Transcript here)

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Des Moines Debate DeReview

If you suffered through that snoozer of a debate on my recommendation, you have my apologies. Rumors of kitchen sinks were greatly exaggerated.

In the end, no candidate tried to make this debate part of their final push to win Iowa. Why did they refrain from sink-throwing? I’ll have my answer at the end of today’s post.

Muted and mixed debate reviews abound across the internet. I think I’ve seen five of the six candidates declared as the “winner” of the debate (all but Tom Steyer), whereas I’ve seen every candidate declared the “loser” (very much including Tom Steyer). Only polling will be the true judge, but my expectation is that polls will not be too affected by this uninspiring final debate before voting begins.

Anyway, here were my main takeaways for each candidate. (Transcript here.)

Tom Steyer

Right around 10:00 I dozed off for ten minutes, and I’m almost positive Tom Steyer is the reason why. He often starts a response with, “I agree with _________,” which, I recall, was my go-to line while I sat on my home town’s Board of Education and didn’t know what to say. (Similarly, I also led the Board in “Seconding” motions. The only motions I initiated were the ones to end the meeting.)

His penchant for staring right through the camera also jumped a level. During one response, the control room director got creeped out a bit and went to a different camera, and it took Steyer about 0.45 seconds to go find the new one and lock eyes with it. One of these days he’s coming through the TV screen like that girl at the end of The Ring.

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Des Moines Debate DePreview

Here we are, less than three weeks from the Iowa caucuses, about to watch the last debate before Democrats actually vote. With only six candidates on the debate stage, it’s getting real.

Some candidates have thrown everything but the kitchen sink at each other, but “last debates” are a great time to break out the sink, too. Since tonight’s debate is in Des Moines, Iowa, it’s an ideal opportunity for candidates to start making the final case for themselves and against others. If you skipped every debate so far, you might want to break that streak tonight. (Of course, airing on CNN at an obscenely late 9:00 PM, you could be forgiven for just reading about it later. Let me know if you’d like me to recommend a website.)

What should we look for from those six candidates? Allow me. Here is each candidate’s situation and, consequently, what their debate strategy should and/or will be. They are ordered in reverse order of national polling average.

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Saturday Special: PPFA’s December Debate Review

The busy holiday season is here, which, combined with a hectic day at my real job, dashed my hope for a Quick Hit Friday review of the sixth Democratic debate. With an extra day to piece this together, please accept this extended Saturday special instead.


If you had 9:22 EST in your office pool for when Thursday night’s debate would move from snoozefest to slugfest… congratulations! You nailed it. The first 80 minutes or so produced polished talking points but few sparks. The next 80, however, practically engulfed the stage in flames. We’re starting to see the Iowa caucuses rising in the horizon, and this is the first debate where candidates most visibly jockeyed for position coming into the home stretch — three candidates in particular.

Here are my takeaways from the last Democratic debate of 2019. (Transcript here.)

Tom Steyer had his best debate… and perhaps his last.

Steyer found ways to be more direct with his messaging on Thursday. In fact, as I took notes on him throughout the night, I kept summarizing his responses with, “I’m different!” This theme culminated with his closing statement, which actually started with the words, “I’m different from everybody else on this stage.” All night, he emphasized that he’s a true liberal who also has experience growing considerable wealth in the private sector, which is indeed a unique resume for the debate’s candidates and, he suggests, the necessary Democratic response against the Republican billionaire in the White House. (Notably, he had to include the words “on this stage,” because we know there’s a looming billionaire who sees Steyer’s so-called wealth of just 1.6 billion dollars and responds with some version of, “That’s adorable.”)

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Sixth Democratic Debate… If There IS One… Preview

Another month, another debate in the 2020 Democratic Primary. Starting with its late June debate, the DNC has generally maintained a monthly debate schedule. That pattern will continue for at least one more moon cycle; last week, the DNC announced a January 14 debate in Iowa. There will then be three February debates across the other early states — New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina — shortly before each votes. None of these new debates have qualifying thresholds yet.

That being said, whether there will even be a debate this week is uncertain. Candidates are supporting a striking labor union that is scheduled to work the debate at Loyola Marymount University. All candidates, in solidarity with the workers, have pledged to not cross the picket line. Perhaps LMU will resolve the dispute by Thursday, or perhaps the DNC will get creative and hold the event elsewhere. If neither occur, we’ll be forced to get some sleep on Thursday night instead.

In the eventuality that there is a debate, however, PPFA is contractualyl obligated to preview it. Before I get to this debate’s seven candidates (yes, just seven!), there are some “major” candidates who won’t be on the debate stage:

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PPFA’s Fifth Debate Preview–and thoughts on Bloomberg(!), Patrick(??), and… Hillary Clinton(?!)

We’re two days from another Democratic debate. Two weeks ago, when I started writing this post in my head, I expected to tell you that this would be the last debate with a double-digit number of candidates. I don’t think … Continue reading PPFA’s Fifth Debate Preview–and thoughts on Bloomberg(!), Patrick(??), and… Hillary Clinton(?!)