Well, it is finally show time, the first round of debates for Democrats seeking to become the party’s presidential candidate. As of now there are 23 officially declared as candidates, with possibly two more waiting in the wings. This is bigger than the 17 Republican candidates who ran in 2016.
In a way, this race among the Democrats reminds me of the Triple Crown in horse-racing. The first race, the Kentucky Derby, historically supports a full field, crowded at the gate. This is greatly reduced over the remaining races, the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. I suspect we’ll see the same in the Democrat debates.
NBC will host the first debate at Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, next Wednesday and Thursday, June 26th and 27th, accompanied by their sister networks MSNBC and Telemundo. This makes sense as NBC has long been the media outlet for the party for quite some time. It will be hosted by five NBC personalities: Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie, Chuck Todd, Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, and José Díaz-Balart of Telemundo.
No more than ten candidates will appear each night. In simple terms, in order to qualify, candidates must either have received more than 65K donations, or a minimum of 1% in a qualified national poll. There will likely be twenty candidates qualified for the first round of debates.
So, what can viewers expect? There will, of course, be the ceremonial bashing of President Trump and the Republicans. They will be accused to mishandling everything from the economy, to immigration, to trade, defense, etc. It will be interesting to see how the moderators address the subject of presidential impeachment which will inevitably come up when the Mueller investigation is mentioned. All of this is to be expected.
Beyond this, the most interesting part of the debate will be how the other candidates will try to take down the front-runner, former VP Joe Biden. This will likely be led by Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Corey Booker, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, all of whom need to take Mr. Biden down in order to further their candidacy. Sen. Bernie Sanders won’t be bashful either, but he will likely leave the main attacks to the others and extol the virtues of his socialist agenda.
Look for Mr. Biden to take a lot of heat for reversing his position on the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of federal funds to subsidize abortions except for special circumstances (e.g., rape, incest, life threatening). Mr. Biden originally supported the amendment back when he was a U.S. Senator, but recently reversed himself to gain political favor from abortion advocates. Look for this issue to ignite an ugly squabble between the candidates, leading to other issues where the candidates differ.
As I have reported, the Democrats have turned decisively to the left. This is most certainly, NOT your father’s party. As such, they desperately do not want to hang on to the past, and why they no longer want Joe Biden. At 76 years of age, the former vice president will be portrayed as past his prime and essentially no different than Hillary Clinton, which the left has long deserted following her defeat in 2016. The far left of the party wants something new and refreshing, which certainly is not Mr. Biden. It may also not be Sen. Bernie Sanders, who will turn 78 in the Fall.
So, in terms of Round 1 of the debates, Yes, we will hear the usual bashing of the Republicans and the President, but the real story will be how the party turns on one of their own. They may preach unity during the debate, but watch them swarm against the front-runner.
Keep the Faith!
P.S. – Don’t forget my new book, “Tim’s Senior Moments” now available in Printed and eBook form.
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