The Winners and Losers from Wednesday Night’s Democratic Debate


Matthew Levine

The Winners and Losers from Wednesday Night’s Democratic Debate
By: Matt Levine and Andrew Villardi
In many ways, Wednesday night’s Democratic Debate in Nevada was the most entertaining of the debates thus far, but it was polarizing at the same time. With some candidates entering the night with their campaigns hanging by a thread (notably Elizabeth Warren), viewers at home could feel the visceral dislike some candidates had for one another. Below are our winners and losers from the night: 
Elizabeth Warren
Warren, who has fallen behind in the polls, knew this could be one of her final debates and she came out swinging. Warren went after Michael Bloomberg countless times throughout, opening the debate with, “I’d like to talk about who we’re running against, a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians, and no I’m not talking about Donald Trump, I’m talking about Michael Bloomberg.” That comment was just the beginning of countless attacks she levied at Bloomberg throughout the night, with nearly all of them landing. The most devastating comment Warren landed was when she demanded Bloomberg release all of the women from nondisclosure agreements they had signed with his company – a request that Bloomberg had no answer for. 
Additionally, Warren battled the other candidates on the stage on issues that she is especially passionate for such as climate change and the growing need for groundbreaking legislation in that area – a topic that many Americans, young and old, can get on board with. Along with fellow Senator Bernie Sanders, she fought hard for a popular progressive policy: Universal Health Care. 
Warren’s performance Wednesday may give her a boost in the caucuses this weekend. 
Pete Buttigieg
“We shouldn’t have to choose between one candidate who wants to burn this party down and another candidate who wants to buy this party out. We can do better,” Buttigieg said Thursday night on the debate stage referring to Bernie Sanders and Michael Bloomberg. 
Buttigieg is the most charismatic, poised candidate on the debate stage, and he showed it again Wednesday night. Buttigieg was not afraid to go after current polling leader Sanders as well as moderate and rival Amy Klobuchar. Specifically, Buttigieg and Klobuchar showed hatred for one another Wednesday night, as they look to win over the same moderate, working-class Democratic voters. With wealthy donors contributing to his campaign, it’s safe to say Buttigieg is in it for the long haul. 
Bernie Sanders 
As Sanders looks to maintain his double-digit lead in the ABC News/Washington Post poll released Wednesday morning, the Vermont Senator had a good night considering his precarious position. He survived more attacks than Bloomberg although Sanders was severely scrutinized by his fellow candidates after telling Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press:, “We’ll have to see” about how much universal health care will cost Americans. Sanders also faced scrutiny for The Culinary Workers Union refusal to endorse Medicare for All, but that controversy calmed as the attention of the other candidates transitioned towards Bloomberg – a big loser of Wednesday’s debate. 
Because most of the attacks were targeted towards Bloomberg, Sanders escaped the debate in good shape. While the caucuses Saturday will show the opinions of voters, Sanders should be confident about his position at this point in the race. Sanders, like always, made a strong case for his progressive platform playing the greatest hits of Medicare for All and The Green New Deal that his loyal base loves. Sanders was the only candidate on the debate stage to state that the most popular democratic candidate should win the nomination, a path that is likely to win him greater support among anti-establishment voters.
Middle of the Road
Joe Biden
Joe Biden was present Wednesday night, but his relevance in the race for the Democratic nomination is a question mark. After a decent performance Wednesday, some are gaining hope that his campaign finds momentum with a second-place finish in Nevada this weekend and a huge win in South Carolina next week. Biden is a polarizing candidate that has been erratic in debates, but his performance Wednesday showed a glimmer of hope. 
Michael Bloomberg
Bloomberg could not escape the controversy that followed him into Wednesday’s debate. Bloomberg faced harsh criticism regarding his policies when he was Mayor of New York, like Stop and Frisk, Redlining, and his past behavior with women in the workplace. 
Stop and Frisk was a topic that no candidate was afraid of discussing. Sanders and Warren alleged that racial bias towards minorities had factored into his decision to institute the policy. Although Bloomberg tried to argue that it had lowered crime rates, his counter’s against their criticism were mostly in vain. The heaviest criticism towards Bloomberg came from Warren. Multiple times throughout the debate Warren brought up Bloomberg’s history with women, invoking phrases he has used in the past to describe women such as “fat broads and horse-faced lesbians.” The most severe blow to Bloomberg, however, was when Warren brought up the multiple nondisclosure agreements he has with women, stating that their stories should be heard if he is to be President. Bloomberg refused to comment on this issue, a stance that led the crowd to boo.
If Twitter is any indication of what Americans are thinking, then Bloomberg is just about done. 
Amy Klobuchar
Senator Amy Klobuchar, in a night to forget, struggled greatly in Wednesday’s debate. Despite her strong past performances fueled by her authenticity as a candidate, Klobuchar’s lack of knowledge on foreign leaders among other things hurt her image. Although she received criticism for the lack of action taken towards police brutality during her time as a Minneapolis prosecutor, along with her vague healthcare plan, Klobuchar’s image suffered greatly from a recent controversy involving her and the president of Mexico. In a recent interview with Telemundo, Klobuchar admitted to not knowing the name of Mexico’s current president. Buttigieg used this against her, claiming that forgetfulness is not a desirable trait when handling foreign policy, especially when Klobuchar is on the committee that oversees border security and trade. Despite trying to make amends, Klobuchar pronounced the name of Mexico’s President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, incorrectly during the debate. The harsh criticism coming from Telemundo moderator Vanessa Hauc and candidate Buttigieg clearly inflamed Klobuchar, who had until now been praised for her composure on the debate stage. In a race with Buttigieg to win over the moderate Democrat and Midwest vote, it seems that, barring a miracle, Klobuchar will soon have to drop out of the race. 
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