First of all, nobody stole the show in last night’s first “debate” in my opinion. Other than Elizabeth Warren, those doing best in the polls battle tonight, so she was the favorite in the betting, so to speak. As such, she had the most to lose, and I think she held up well enough.
This is mostly a wait and see for me. Wait and see who the polls show got a bump and who got a trip, like to stumble. The long shot candidate that caught my eye (as well as that of my friend Tom located at a separate viewing site) was Tulsi Gabbard. She had a confident presence on the stage, especially when Middle East policy came up. Deployed twice in the area when in the National Guard, the Hawaii congresswoman looked formidable despite only getting about seven minutes of talk time (Cory Booker got the most, 10 minutes).
I wanted to hear more from her, which wasn’t my reaction to most.
As it turns out, the sample size impressed by Gabbard was much larger than Tom and I. According to Fox News she was the most googled of the candidates nationally after the show, while Warren had been most googled prior to the performance.
Another point of interest was how much more male candidates interrupted others to speak. That gave the boys more speaking time, which prompted David Leonardt of the New York Times to criticize the panelists for letting the men get away with it.
It makes me ponder how much we interpret rudeness and bullying as strength (anybody in particular come to mind?) I also wonder how Kamala Harris, a former district attorney not shy to interrupt, will handle that tonight.
As for this evening’s round of candidate promos, Charlie Sykes, a conservative with a conscience, sums up the likely plot with admiral succinctness:
“This is Joe Biden’s debate and race to lose. He must come off not doddering, not vague and not defensive.”