To some extent that may be true but it is also true that candidates are made or broken by the early debates. It is also true that no other single event has greater significance than a candidate's first appearance on the presidential debate stage.
Readers may remember when Rick Perry, then governor of Texas, took himself out of presidential contention by calling for the abolition of three federal agencies but could only recall two of them. Oops. In one of the most ironic and revealing moves of the Trump presidency, Perry now serves at the helm of that forgotten agency: the Department of Energy.
The pitfalls are many, the rewards are great and the one who prevails will rise to become leader of the free world.
NIGHT ONE: WARREN HOLDS FIRM
THE CANDIDATES: BILL DE BLASIO, TIM RYAN, JULIAN CASTRO, CORY BOOKER, ELIZABETH WARREN, BETO O'ROURKE, AMY KLOBUCHAR, TULSI GABBARD, JAY INSLEE, JOHN DELANEY.
The first debate in the current season did not produce a Rick Perry moment but they absolutely revealed a great deal about the candidates on stage. Senator Elizabeth Warren secured her place as a policy guru. Senator Cory Booker, former Representative Beto O'Rourke and former HUD Secretary Julian Castro competed in the category of Best Foreign Language. Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii held her ground as the conscience of a party that seems to have forgotten the critical lessons of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bill de Blasio inserted himself into issues without seeming to play the bully. Despite a few one-liners Senator Amy Klobuchar failed to capture the kind of attention she needed to gain ground in the polls. The same holds true for the Green Governor Jay Inslee who seemed determined to emphasize his knowledge outside of protecting the planet.
To the extent that anyone won the first night of the first round of debates it was Julian Castro. He pushed hard on immigration and made Beto O'Rourke appear uninformed. He also won the Spanish speaking debate by virtue of the fact that he is Hispanic.
Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio reminded us why Senator Sherrod Brown should be on stage when he talked about the Democrats needing to be the party of the working people. He lost us when he argued for a continued presence in Afghanistan. His gaff led to a shining moment by Representative Gabbard who had to remind him that the longest standing war in American history is an absolute disaster. She had to remind him that the Taliban was not responsible for the 9-11 attack. Al Qaeda was. Had she more time she might have reminded the uninformed congressman that the Taliban offered to hand over the Al Qaeda suspects to an impartial tribunal but the Bush administration refused.
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