JAZZMAN CHRONICLES: DEFEATING TRUMP.
A LONG & WINDING ROAD TO THE WHITE HOUSEROUND TWO OF THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES
Narrowing the Field
It is fascinating to watch the spectacle of talking heads, editorials and columnists opinionating on the relative success or failure of the candidates based more on their views and biases going in than on their performances on stage.
It is admittedly difficult to avoid bias in assessing a debate especially a debate among twenty contestants over two nights with as much organization and structure as a demolition derby. The event tends to reward the loudest voice though anyone perceived as rude and obnoxious will suffer the harshest consequences.
Both nights produced clear winners and losers despite the chaos. Elizabeth Warren won the first night in a relatively calm event and Cory Booker won the second amidst outbreaks of anarchy. Beyond that no candidates distinguished themselves in any positive way.
NIGHT ONE: TIM RYAN, BETO O'ROURKE, AMY KLOBUCAR, ELIZABETH WARREN, MARIANNE WILLIAMSON, JOHN HICKENLOOPER, PETE BUTTIGIEG, BERNIE SANDERS, JOHN DELANEY, STEVE BULLOCK.
NIGHT TWO: MICHAEL BENNET, KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, JULIAN CASTRO, CORY BOOKER, JOE BIDEN, KAMALA HARRIS, ANDREW YANG, TULSI GABBARD, JAY INSLEE, BILL DE BLASIO.
ABSENT: ERIC SWALWELL.
It is tempting to say that Eric Swalwell won by dropping out. Having made a name with his sharp attacks on the misdeeds of our president, Swalwell should have been the impeachment candidate. Instead, he gave his "pass the torch" rant and bowed out like a timid prote'ge' who spoke out of turn. Sorry, Mr. Biden, someone had to say it.
In his place we got Governor Steve Bullock of Montana and the question is: Why? He joins the ranks of Tim Ryan, John Hickenlooper, John Delaney and Michael Bennet. They're all here to tell us they too are members of the Democratic Party and they're younger than old Joe Biden. They know how to do "folks" speech.
Michael Bennet gets the award for quote of the night when he said to Julian Castro: "We actually agree on this. You just said it better than I did." Well, Gov, that's the problem. There are others who say it better. Let me introduce you to Amy Klobuchar. Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the year of the moderate. This year we only have room for one: Old Joe Biden.
On that note it's time to say goodbye to Congressman Tim Ryan and former Congressman John Delaney both of whom managed to make pragmatic sound bombastic. No one demands more attention for less than 1% support than Delaney. Goodbye Delaney. You will not be missed.
Goodbye governors Bullock and Hickenlooper. We hardly knew you. Goodbye Marianne Williamson. I for one enjoyed your spiritual perspective. Goodbye Mayor De Blasio. I understand how hard it is to see a mayor of South Bend, Indiana, advance while the mayor of the Big Apple does not but that's how it played out. Hopefully, NYC will take you back.
Sadly, we must also say goodbye to Senator Klobuchar. Sadly, because she should have been the challenger to Joe Biden for the moderate wing of the party. Sadly, because she never got the chance to be on stage with old Joe. She's sharp. She knows what she's talking about and she doesn't stumble over own thoughts. She's what a moderate should look like but it looks to me like she's gone.
According to the Times of New York only seven candidates have met criteria for the next round of debates: Biden, Booker, Harris, Buttigieg, O'Rourke, Sanders and Warren. Three more are close: Yang, Castro and Klobuchar. And three have an outside chance: Newcomer Tom Steyer, Tulsi Gabbard and Hickenlooper.