On December 19 seven of the eight qualified candidates for the Democratic nomination for president took the stage at Loyola Marymount University in LA for a debate sponsored by PBS News Hour and Politico. While Cory Booker might have shot someone on Sunset Boulevard for a place on the debate stage, Kamala Harris thought so little of the opportunity that she dropped out before the event. The absence of senators Booker and Harris meant that only one participant was not white and Asian is not exactly suggestive of a party that welcomes all.
The almost all white nature of the event indicates that the viability test of potential voters for who can beat Donald Trump has effectively ruled out blacks and Hispanics. That's how warped this process has become: The president who stands shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand with white supremacists cannot be defeated by a minority candidate at least in the minds of Democratic voters.
The surviving candidates are: Former VP Joe Biden, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, entrepreneur Andrew Yang and billionaire Tom Steyer.
Having reviewed a number of post-debate analyses I have come to the conclusion that there exists no objective assessment of presidential debate performance. It is entirely subjective and dependent on the analyst's pre-existing opinions.
I too have opinions. I am a progressive. I believe the problems facing this nation are so severe and immediate that we cannot afford another four to eight years of a moderate in the White House. Yes, we are all screwed if Trump is re-elected. At least we know as much. But we are also screwed if we elect someone who believes the challenge of climate change can be met with compromise. The working people from the poorest among us to what used to be called the upper middle class are also screwed with either Trump or a moderate in the Oval Office. Those who need or will need significant healthcare in the next decade are also screwed in either event.
Given my predisposition, I am delighted by the war between the moderates: Klobuchar versus Mr. Robot. Yes, I have come to the conclusion that Pete Buttigieg is a robot. He delivers every answer with a prepared speech. He rarely stumbles or falters. If he is not prepared for an answer he deflects and seamlessly moves on. It seems clear he has been groomed for this campaign. It seems clear he has polished his act. That is the problem. He is too prepared.
When accused of lacking the experience to qualify for the presidency, Buttigieg fell back on his military experience, replete with an expression of indignation. When the audience did not respond with the expected applause, Mayor Pete learned an important lesson for his political future: You can only go to the same well so many times before it loses its impact.
Mayor Pete's military experience may be admirable but it hardly qualifies him to be commander-in-chief.