5 Key Takeaways From Last Night’s Debate

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Kira Davis: 5 Key Takeaways From Last Night's Debate

From left, Democratic presidential candidates, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.,former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., stand on stage before a Democratic presidential primary debate Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, in Las Vegas, hosted by NBC News and MSNBC. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Last night’s debate from Las Vegas was the most lively Democrat face-off we’ve seen so far. It seemed that Bloomberg – having finally bought his way to the stage – lit a little fire under the last men and women standing. Perhaps they were afraid of a surge. Perhaps they all coordinated to make sure Bloomberg doesn’t buy his way into a nomination. Perhaps they don’t like the idea of Bloomberg splitting any votes. Whatever the reason, Bloomberg was the catalyst for a fresh injection of energy into a flagging field. He was also the main target.

Of course, that didn’t mean the nails came only for “Mini Mike” and his “stop and frisk” issues. All of the candidates took some pretty pointed shots at each other. It was actually quite refreshing to hear Bloomberg finally be the first person to challenge Bernie Sanders on his wealth and multiple homes even as he rails against rich people. You can look at some wrap-ups here and here.

At this point in any race no one is actually saying anything new or surprising. Debates now are all about exciting the base and damaging the opponents and Las Vegas had plenty of both. While the cycle is beginning to feel a bit tiresome, here are some of my key takeaways from last night’s debate.

1.Joe Biden is a great candidate as long as he doesn’t talk much and just has to stand around listening to other people fight. 

Biden put in a decent performance…and by that I mean he didn’t devolve into any cringe-worthy moments or incomprehensible stories about lifeguarding and knife fights. But that is how low the bar is set for the former Vice President right now. Sadly he is having trouble even jumping over that low bar these days but he succeeded last night. He endured a couple of mild attacks but for the most part limited his talking to the designated times and resisted butting into most of the fighting. As a result Biden looked like more of the statesman he is known for and less like a bumbling, political dinosaur. That’s as good as a win for him at this point.

2.Mayor Pete’s charm has probably reached its peak.

For a moment it looked like the mayor of South Bend was becoming the “boy next door” of the Democrat race. He has an easy, boyish but steady demeanor and he has a knack for chopping up “politi-speak” into digestible terms. However, last night it became quite clear that Buttigieg’s charm offensive had taken a turn into typical manufactured campaigning. If I had to pick a headline to encompass his performance in a few words I’d pick, “Pete’s Platitudes” because that is about all he did all night. Not even the five o’clock shadow he was sporting helped make him seem any more serious. I think he may have hit his wall this election cycle.

3.Bloomberg is completely and utterly unprepared for the debate process, let alone the presidency.

The former mayor of the Big Apple was an abject disaster. There’s no other way to put it. He should have just stuck to his strategy of flooding the zone with ads and cash. It took him months to get the opportunity to be on the debate stage and when he finally got his chance he seemed perplexingly unprepared for the myriad of attacks thrown at him. Did he not have a team to prep him for questions on sexual harassment NDAs and “stop and frisk”? What have they been doing all this time? Either someone needs to be fired or someone needs to get real honest with the man real quick. What an unholy failure.

4.The biggest problems Democrats face from here on out is Trump’s record.

Unsurprisingly last night was filled with all kinds of predictions about what doom and gloom will befall us if we allow Trump to win a second term. Obviously that’s the only tone to take when trying to oust an incumbent. What was notable was how some of the things they were championing are the very things Trump has already accomplished. Justice reform was on the docket and while the candidates spent 10 minutes decrying the fate of minorities in our “broken” justice system and how we need to reform it for their sakes, no one mentioned Trump’s recent criminal justice reform victory and the fact that he has pardoned some very high profile (minority) cases so far…cases Obama wouldn’t even dare touch. When they complained about the need for more minorities to have access to business opportunities and funding for small businesses, no one mentioned the opportunity zones currently in action thanks to Senator Tim Scott and Donald Trump. We’re already doing the things they are saying we need to be doing. Of course, the ignorance is deliberate. It would be foolish to run on admitting Trump was right. But what strikes me most about it all is that it is clearly going to become increasingly difficult to pretend Trump isn’t succeeding at solving the things they keep saying are problems. When the winner has to meet Trump head on in the generals, it will be impossible.

5.The commitment to diversity is still just a talking point. 

Hey, I get it…we’re all trying to claim the mantle of diversity. It’s a valuable political strategy. Even conservatives do it. However, Democrats actually run on it and that’s what makes it the height of hypocrisy. From the fact that they have only white candidates left to their cringe-tastic arguments about who has more black friends during debates, the Democrats are very much struggling to hold on to their “diversity” bonafides. It was especially pathetic when debate host NBC invited Telemundo anchor Vanessa Hauc to join the moderating team. Presumably this woman has years of experience in journalism and television behind her. Telemundo is one of the most watched networks on the planet. Obviously she has earned her pedigree. Yet, instead of letting her be a regular and valuable part of the moderating, she was limited to just a few questions on Mexico and immigration. Does Ms. Hauc have nothing important to say or ask about on any other issue? Are we to believe these are the only two things she and other Hispanic voters care about? There is no way she was happy with such a limited role. NBC should be embarrassed for relegating her to the identity politics. It just seemed like one more pathetic piece of evidence that at the end of the day it’s all talk.

Super Tuesday will shake a lot of this out, and it will certainly be interesting to watch unfold.

Personally, I’m just glad we no longer have to endure 22 candidates on any given debate stage.

Kira Davis

Kira is a freelance writer and Editor-at-large for RedState. She has appeared on Fox News, OANN, The Blaze and The Dr. Phil Show. Kira is also a regular guest host at KABC radio in Los Angeles. Her podcasts”Just Listen to Yourself” and “Smart Girl Politics” are heard by tens of thousands of listeners across the country and the globe. Kira lives in Southern California with her husband and two children. She is a dog person but has been known to tolerate cats from time to time.

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