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  • When the Dust Clears: Five Takeaways from a Night of Combative Leftists

    Surge Summary: The first night of the second round of Democratic debates unrolled last night: it was comabative and revelatory about the radical state of today’s Democratic Party.

    I suppose what you’d have to label “Centrist Democratic” contenders went mano-a-mano with their liberal counterparts Tuesday on night number one of the second phase of the Democratic debates.

    (Don’t lose sight that today’s Donkey Party “centrists” or “moderates” would have been considered radical Lefties just a few short years ago. Talk host Steve Deace summarizes well: There were no moderates on that stage last night; there were some adults, however. In the words of Patriot Post’s Nate Jackson it was “Left vs. Far Left”.)

    The Hill’s Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easely note:

    The debate featured 10 candidates, including progressive stars Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) going toe-to-toe against more centrist candidates like Montana Gov. Steve Bullock.

    Here are five takeaways from what the publication calls a “testy night” in the Motor City, Detroit.

    1. Debate puts Democratic divides on display

    A fight has been brewing for months between the Democratic primary field’s moderate candidates and progressive contenders.

    [F]ormer Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) … fired the first shot.  … [H]e bluntly asserted that “we cannot go down the road that Sen. Sanders and Sen. Warren want to take us.”

    Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper delivered a veiled but unmistakable criticism of the two liberals [Sanders and Warren], saying that while he considered himself a progressive, he’s “a little more pragmatic.”

    Make no mistake, every candidate – every one, including the alleged “moderates” — took great pains all evening to confirm a) they disdained Donald Trump; and b) they were generally in agreement with the Progressive wing of the party on the basics.

    Moderates argue that only a compromise-minded candidate can appeal to the voters that abandoned the Democratic Party in 2016 to vote for Trump. Progressives, on the other hand, say that only bold, transformational ideas can compete with the president’s own message of political change.

    2. Sanders gets lots of time, but Warren gets biggest moment

    [T]here was no fight between the two progressive standard-bearers. Instead, they found themselves forming a united front against a spate of attacks from the field’s moderate candidates, providing backup for one another …most notably, Medicare for All.

    Pssst: that would be socialized, government-controlled health care.

    Sanders was assertive … getting perhaps more speaking time than any other candidate … . He scored a standout line after Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) suggested that he didn’t know just how comprehensive the health coverage provided under his Medicare for All legislation would be. The Vermont senator’s answer was pointed.

    “I do know that,” Sanders said. “I wrote the damn bill.”

    It was Warren, however, that had the biggest breakout moment. Responding to Delaney’s assertion that he was not pitching “fairytale policies.”

    “I don’t understand,” she fumed,

    “why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for.”

    3. Bullock has big night.

    “Who?”, you ask?

    Don’t worry, you’re not alone in that.

    Bullock is the former Montana governor who announced his arrival in the Democratic primary Tuesday night. He fell short of qualifying for debate number one.

    Though barely registering in the polls thus far, that could change for the northwestern chef exec after what some consider Tuesday PM’s strong debate showing. Other Senate Democrats might not be pleased with that prospect.

    [M]ost view him as having a far better shot at unseating Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who is up for reelection in 2020, than winning the party’s presidential nomination.

    Which, it should be noted, is a realistic assessment.

    Still, there are signs Bullock, who practically sent out a conservative-ish — i.e., not utterly insane – vibe, could make his mark as a “centrist” – i.e., not a communist — who also happens to have won elections in a deep-red state.

    Bullock was the first to speak on Tuesday night and wasted no time warning that the “wish list economics” of the progressive wing of the party would be a surefire loser in the Trump states that Democrats are trying to win back.

    To Bullock’s credit, he allowed a dash of sensibleness to leaven some of his otherwise decidedly liberal pronouncements,

    refus[ing] to back down on the key issues of immigration and health care that have divided the centrist Democrats and the progressives.

    When Warren advocated for decriminalizing border crossings and giving health care to those in the country illegally, she made the case that Democrats “must not play into Donald Trump’s hands.”

    “But you are playing into Donald Trump’s hands,” Bullock fired back.

    [H]e locked horns with Sanders on Medicare for All, … that Democrats would so readily abandon ObamaCare for a system that would require a whole new health industry overhaul.

    “It used to be Republicans who wanted to repeal and replace, now it’s Democrats,” Bullock said.

    Bullock regularly referenced Barack Obama as like-minded on his stances regarding immigration and health care, concerned the Dems are drifting too far left. He closed with the kind of populist tone that had previously well-served both Donald Trump and Sanders in 2016.

    4. Williamson’s ‘dark power’ comment breaks internet and keeps her in race

    New Age author and guru (guru-ette?) Marianne Williamson lassoed some attention with her dramatic phrase about Trump’s “dark psychic force”.

    The Hill claims it “became the biggest internet moment of the night.”

    The crowd in Detroit erupted in cheers, Twitter went into a frenzy and she immediately surged in Google searches.

    Earlier in the night, Williamson lamented that the “amoral economic system has turned short-term profits for huge multinational corporations into false gods.”

    Later, she made the case for reparations, “payment of debt that is owed,” as the only way to address the “emotional turbulence” of slavery.

    And, indeed, a frontal, full-throated case for reparations it was. A bit startling, if not much else.

    [T]he language Williamson uses is steeped in self-help and occasionally new age lingo, and she delivers it unapologetically, helping her to stand out from the crowded pack of candidates.

    The unique style has turned her into an internet sensation. It might propel her into the fall debates and help her outlast some of the more traditional politicians seeking the nomination.

    1. Beto sags; Buttigieg doesn’t leave big impression

    Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) was hoping for a breakout moment. South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg needed a standout performance. By the end of the night, neither candidate got what they had hoped for.

    After a “meteoric” rise as a 2018 Senate candidate unsuccessfully challenging GOP incumbent Ted Cruz, O’Rourke appeared determined to revive some of that previous energy.

    He invited three Lansing, Mich., high school football players who were disciplined in 2017 for kneeling in protest during the national anthem as his guests to the debate … [and] … insisted that his home state of Texas was a “new battleground state.”

    Ultimately, though, his performance fell flat; he did not stumble, but he didn’t get the breakout moment he needed to re-energize his presidential campaign.

    Buttigieg made few waves in the debate. Like O’Rourke, the South Bend mayor didn’t stumble, but the Tuesday night appearance is unlikely to be the catalyst that he needs to extend his momentum.

    Buttigieg is still polling among the top five candidates, and inspired more financial support than any Democrat in 2019’s second quarter. Some might assert the Army veteran turned in a solid, confident and amiable performance Tuesday night; one which could appeal to left-leaning voters otherwise put off by the perceived loopiness of the more fire-breathing frontrunners.

    That said,

    his poll numbers have stalled somewhat in recent weeks, prompting speculation that his rapid rise may be starting to slow down.

    Of course, Buttigieg drew roaring applause at one point when he insisted that Democrats should “stop worrying what the Republicans will say” and embrace transformational proposals.

    “Let’s just stand up for the right policy and go out there and defend it,” he said.

    Donald Trump, ironically, has demonstrated Americans like that kind of feisty chatter. Many a frustrated citizen, those both Left and Right, is looking for a fighter.

    It can’t be emphasized enough: every person on that stage Tuesday is functionally a pretty hard Leftist. Some have trimmed back the ragged edges a skoche. It remains, nonetheless, all of them are pushing policies and a philosophy which would hurt the United States in the long run.

    This column has been updated. 

    Image: Screen shot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUOwxFwg_sQ


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