DFA on #DemDebate: Biden flops, Harris pitch perfect, Warren dominates
We’ve got three top-take-aways from the last two nights, but, first, some news: Immediately after tonight’s debate, Democracy for America launched the third iteration of 2020 Presidential Pulse poll.
- The poll is available here: https://poll.democracyforamerica.com/
- The poll is slated to run from tonight through July 14, which gives us enough time to see who progressives thought did well during the debates AND who is able to capitalize on that momentum during the first two weeks of the third quarter.
- In addition to being able to compare these results to our December 2018 Presidential Pulse Poll and our April 2019 Presidential Pulse Poll, this new poll will also be asking progressives which policies are most important when choosing the candidates they support.
All that said, here are top three takeaways from the first round of Democratic Debates from DFA Chair Charles Chamberlain & CEO Yvette Simpson:
- Harris brought the heat in a pitch-perfect performance, Warren dominated, Castro earned a second look, Booker stood up and stood out
One thing is clear about this first round of debates: Women won.
While Elizabeth Warren delivered a dominant performance on Wednesday that will undoubtedly help her build on her growing momentum over the last few weeks, Kamala Harris’ pitch-perfect strong performance tonight will catapult her to a new level in the race. Harris was adept on policy, repeatedly connected issues like Medicare for All to the lives of real people, and her hits on Biden were poignant and will be brutally effective with progressives watching this race closely.
It’s also worth noting that Julian Castro had a strong performance on Wednesday, and will likely earn a second look from primary voters that could vault him into a new tier. Cory Booker also showed he wasn’t a pushover and delivered smart and strong responses on issues like gun reform and equity.
Biden Flopped.Joe Biden walked in the door tonight with more experience on big debates stages than just about anyone, but delivered an often fumbling performance that will likely be best remembered for his visible anger when Kamala Harris called him out on his history against busing. Biden may have entered as the front runner, but the blows he took tonight made it clear that blood is on the mat and a number of other candidates are poised to capitalize on his failure to understand the clear, bold, inclusive populist vision of the future that Americans are looking for in 2020.
- Progressives now know who the real Medicare for All candidates are.
The “raise your hand” question on for-profit health insurance on both nights and the extensive discussion of Medicare for All tonight made it clear who’s really in the fight for Medicare for All and whose been posturing. While corporate Democrats have convinced themselves that the only way to improve healthcare is to continue bending to the will of the health insurance lobby, Warren and Sanders each made their own strong pitch for an everybody in, nobody out Medicare for All system that we expect will be a continuing point of discussion in future debates and a key rallying point for progressives.