The Winners and Losers of Tuesday’s Democratic Debate


Jordan Katz


Donald Trump


Tuesday night didn’t help put away the narrative that the Democratic party was split down the middle. The debate was a screaming match, highlighting the divide between the moderate branch of the party and the increasingly progressive and left-wing side of the party. In summary, it was all that President Trump could want out of a Democratic Debate as he looks to secure his re-election bid.


Numerous flaws were exposed in potential adversaries in the eventual general election, more than in any of the other debates by far, and those will surely stay uncovered to harm the Democratic nominee in the future. Even with all candidates taking the pledge to support the eventual nominee, it’s hard to imagine the sincerity that will be in that following this vicious debate. A possible trend that could continue as the primaries and caucuses continue, the biggest winner of this debate was Donald Trump.


Middle of the Road:


Joe Biden


After failing or coming in the lower middle tier in basically every other debate so far, former Vice President Biden needed to grasp onto some semblance of a victory to keep himself relevant in the race. Once thought to be the frontrunner among his fellow candidates, he has recently seen himself fall to third in delegates and with his campaign running on fumes. While he didn’t blow anyone away with his debate performance on Tuesday, he did well enough that he can be placed firmly in a middle spot. While having a reputation in the past few debates as being too passive and this being a factor in his dropping numbers, he acted more aggressively in South Carolina.


Much of his attention focused on going after both Sanders and billionaire Steyer, going after the latter to gain the black vote that has slipped away and to Steyer, knowing that not winning South Carolina could mean the end of his campaign. However, an exciting aspect of his debate was constant annoyance at the moderators, who at times struggled to keep candidates from speaking above their allotted time and interrupting each other. He exuberated confidence during the debate, and maybe it’ll even be enough to keep him afloat. .Biden must secure the victory in South Carolina this weekend to stay alive.


Pete Buttigieg


It’s clear that Mayor Buttigieg had only one thing in mind as his game plan heading into the debate, and that was to beat up on Senator Sanders. Holding the second-highest amount of delegates entering the discussion, it could be considered a pretty viable strategy to go after the frontrunner in the hopes of exposing weaknesses and slowing their momentum. He took part in the constant interrupting and attacking that appeared to be a common theme in the debate, using most points as an opportunity to go after Sanders.


Much of his argument relied on the idea of the risk that came with nominating a self-proclaimed democratic socialist and the division of the Democratic party in uniting against Trump. While the attacks against Sanders could undoubtedly be considered to have been effective by many viewers, what seemed to be a lack of promotion of his policies are what knocks him down to the middle ground in this list.


Amy Klobuchar


Out of all of the candidates on the stage, it’s fair to say that Senator Klobuchar was the most stagnant. For the most part, it is just as a result of not having any crushing attacks against her that allows her to hold a spot in the middle tier. Primarily, this can be cited as to being due to her being the calmest and collected candidate on the stage, which can both be taken as a positive and negative. While not engaging in rampant screaming and interrupting with her colleagues, it’s safe to say that not too much of the audience truly heard Klobuchar’s voice.




Bernie Sanders


Sanders is on the border and could easily be shifted to the middle, but it feels like he has to be pointed out as a loser. This was easily the worst debate out of all of the ones so far for him, having his policies and history questioned and criticized by nearly every other candidate on the stage. It was to be expected after winning both New Hampshire and Nevada while coming in second in Iowa, riding the momentum to a probable Democratic nomination.


Despite this, it did not appear that he prepared necessarily to counter some of the attacks that came his way. It was all piled onto him in South Carolina, whether it be the amount that would be paid for his proposed Medicare for All plan, his praise for elements of the Castro regime in Cuba, the recent news of Russia aiding in his campaign against his desires and the accused alienation of part of the Democratic party. Overall, Sanders had a lousy time defending against everything being thrown against him, which, admittedly, most if not all would have trouble dealing with. It’s hard to envision Sanders not being a frontrunner to win South Carolina and even just being the Democratic nominee in general, but it’s hard to keep a straight face and say that the debate did more good than bad for him.


Michael Bloomberg


It would be crazy to look at former Mayor Bloomberg’s troubled history and say that the Nevada debate would be the last of him being clawed at. Judging from how much he has floundered at contests so far, it might be a fair assessment to say that money can’t buy an election after all. As was the case in Nevada, Bloomberg’s primary opponent was once again Senator Warren. Bloomberg was the center of what was probably the biggest hit against any candidate onstage during the debate when Warren accused him of telling one of his pregnant workers to “kill it.” He vehemently denied saying this.


In addition to this, a continuation of a prior debate topic of nondisclosure agreements that he had female employees under revealed that Bloomberg did release a number of them. Despite this, a large part of the rally against him revolved around derogatory comments he made to employees in the past and support of Republican legislative candidates in the past, although he made note that he has since reformed and aided Democrats more recently.


Elizabeth Warren


After absolutely crushing the debate in Nevada and having a near-consensus declaration of being one of the top winners, Warren struggled to keep up the momentum that she had been granted. While her grilling of Bloomberg once again proved successful, it overall didn’t help her own status through the entirety of the two hours. Minus her interaction with the billionaire, her participation with other candidates was limited, and it was a relatively bad showing after such a great competition in Nevada.


Tom Steyer


Similar to Klobuchar, Steyer found himself unable to make a significant impact on the stage. In contrast to the senator though was that he engaged in scuffles on the field that seemed to end with him on the bottom. The greatest example in this was a back-and-forth with Biden around Steyer’s historical investment in private prisons and how late he was in changing that viewpoint. In the end, there wasn’t particularly a fascinating case that could inspire more support to come that way and could even result in some leaving in favor of another option.