Fifth Democratic Debate in Atlanta Overshadowed by the Impeachment Hearings
The tense debate stage set against the backdrop of an illuminated White House served as MSNBC’s Potemkin design of arranged civility, allowing presidential contenders to engage in discourse surrounding the topics of impeachment, healthcare, etc. The bright lights clashed with the makeup of the candidates, striking their figures and facial features in resemblant comparison to those of sheen wax figures. The three center podiums constructed the scaffold and pillory of the three contending frontrunners- their positions bringing about public indignation and unwanted limelight. Joe Biden’s position on the scaffold brought about a resemblant image of an antique and petering porcelain puppet, grounded by the puppet’s determinants of history. Prod the porcelain puppet too forcefully, and it shatters itself. The puppet’s strings move in the hands of the Democratic establishment, rearranging its position to appear “electable.” Biden’s ancient aura presented itself on full display Wednesday night, his cracks becoming bare after struggling to answer basic questions. The puppet has started to crack and chip away, not able to withstand the batterings of the opponents and moderators. The history of the Biden puppet roots itself in the calculated political maneuvering of former president Barack Obama’s campaign. Biden’s white antique figure served as the yin to Obama’s yang. The old moderate is a neanderthalic nudnik pulling the Democratic Party into the gravitational orbit of centrism. The forces of inertia bind Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders together into an accelerating force of progressivism. An inertia unseen since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the almighty labor movement led by Frances Perkins. The old guard has made itself weary, tipping and toiling off the heady brew of corporatism, enshrined in the golden chalice containing liquidated Democratic bundler funds. The other candidates clawed at the scaffold of the frontrunners, not aware that each of their fates as a frontrunner would result in their hands and heads clasped in the pillory. Pete Buttigieg brandished his rhetorical tools as weapons, drawing blood from Tulsi Gabbard and puncturing the organic life force of progressives such as Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
The gravitational orbit of centrism characterized itself in the shaky (no pun intended) moderates such as Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg. Pete has put his lips to the golden brimmed chalice of Democratic Corporatism, drinking the heady brew of bundling and moderation. The brew has turned Democrats into eunuchs, serving the masters of Wall Street, masking the lenitive side effects with the word “pragmatism.” Mrs. Klobuchar’s prairie mom appeal works on moderate voters who have found themselves afraid of the inertia force fueled by Elizabeth Warren’s wonkier “big structural change” policy proposals. Kamala Harris has stretched herself taut between the two-party forces, attempting to balance her policy proposals in the middle. Her vacillation relegated her podium to the side of the three behemoths, eclipsing her once praised light in the Democratic primary. Mrs.Harris has proven to abstain from risk and authenticity, exampled by her honeycombed Medicare for All proposal and rehearsed applause lines thrown out like dog treats to the waggery cast of Saturday Night Live. The fifth debate allowed the former prosecutor to accentuate points in language mirroring words of her campaign. Mrs. Harris’s spicy diction sours the bland taste of contemporary political jargon, making her role as the one-liner on the debate stage obtrusive to her serious policy chops. Cory Booker followed in the footsteps of the middling Harris, using his speaking time to dig into the frontrunner, Joe Biden. Again, the canned lines delivered by Booker seemed rehearsed enough that they failed to deliver an ounce of authenticity. Booker tore into Biden’s comments about marijuana, claiming that “I thought you may have been high when you said it.” The sharp attacks seem inconsistent with Booker’s overall campaign message built on the theme that channels the anima mundi spirit of love. Booker failed to domiciliate his policies through a cohesive thesis. This may be the reason why Booker spent much of the night in a state of reminiscence, riffing on scenes of his old Newark neighborhood. Booker is a practitioner of manipulating the audience’s emotions, often failing to deliver logical explanations on policies and reasons for his candidacy.
In stark contrast to the hyperdramatic Booker, Pete Buttigieg has mastered the political technique of logical rhetoric. Pete’s grounded statements and defense of the contrived “Medicare for All Who Want It” plan holds itself together in the logical explanations of pragmatism put forth by the mayor. Pete’s demeanor exhorts cerebral elitism, supervening his appearance as an underdog and more of a supercilious politician. Tulsi Gabbard trained her target on the mayor, failing to strike a measured shot injurious enough to lower Pete’s poll numbers. Instead, the shot backfired, throwing the candidate into a state of disarray and confusion. Tulsi, the Malefactor, loomed over the debate stage like a hunched rapscallion waiting to pounce on the next poltroon that laid in her path. The mysterious figure found herself ambushed after coming under the fire lines of Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg. Mrs. Harris ripped into Tulsi’s questionable statements surrounding Bashar al Assad, her decision to criticize Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and her cozy relationship with Fox News. Tulsi’s chaotic debate performance turned sour after failing to deliver a succinct line of attack on Pete Buttigieig’s statement about sending troops into Mexico. The statement from Mrs. Gabbard proved to embody the characteristics of slander, misrepresenting the mayor’s comments about fighting drug lords in the southern country. Another clash of candidates occurred after the histrionic Booker took issue with Mrs. Warren’s Medicare for All proposal, decrying the plan as unpredictable and unpersuadable. Mrs. Warren shot back, focusing on the positive outcomes that the state-run program would deliver to the country. Joe Biden’s dentures clattered away as he failed to deliver a persuasive and nonetheless cohesive sentence on his healthcare plan. The geriatric Bernie Sanders proved to deliver a more youthful performance than that of his rival Joe Biden, after tying his Medicare for All policy to a message of generational change and revolution.
The debate displeased those who yearned for a new drawing of boundaries between the campaigns. Biden’s cringey gaffes have not lowered his poll numbers, and his meandering performance the other night will probably not affect them. Biden’s statement about domestic abuse demonstrated how his mind fails to work in coordination with his mouth; his answer compared to that of a trainwreck, hard for audiences to look away. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have each delivered consistent and sharp debate performances. Despite the persuasive showing of progressive ideas, each has failed to bolster their polling numbers wide enough to trump the frontrunner Biden. The impeachment hearings took away from the audience viewership, judging from the public’s exhaustion of politics and presidential primaries. The lower viewing numbers could also signify the tide of the winter lull before the Iowa caucuses. The winter lull is coming, and the debate marked the origin of a new lethargic primary.
Bernie Sanders: A+
Funny, jovial, best defense of Medicare for All, revolutionary tone has come back again, stronger performance than his progressive counterpart Elizabeth Warren.
Pete Buttigieg: A
Defended himself against attacks, Kamala Harris did not ignite a spark of indignation after failing to go after him on his questionable stance with black voters. Succinct campaign message delivered.
Elizabeth Warren: B+
Does not draw blood from other candidates, keeps message singular on middle class, cohesive, strong, policy wonk, needs to jump in to debate more after moderators gave her a few questions.
Amy Klobuchar: B
Strongest debate performance, had sticking punch lines that finally went over well with the audience, strong defense of women candidates, good line about Nancy Pelosi beating Donald Trump every day.
Kamala Harris: B-
Improved debate performance, more aggressive than past jovial tone, aimed attacks at Donald Trump, strong attack line against Tulsi Gabbard, delivered a few viral moments.
Cory Booker: C+
Meh, I have seen better. Clashing themes when attacking other candidates and fails to parse his campaign theme that is individualistic, muddled attack on Medicare for All, relies too much on his credibility serving as mayor of Newark.
Andrew Yang: C
It’s not his fault that the media doesn’t focus on him like a serious candidate, or maybe it is. His warped policy proposals are confusing and technologically out of touch with democratic establishment operatives and left wing progressives. Forgetful performance,
Joe Biden: F
Ouch, rough night Joe. Cringeworthy debate performance yet again, finally laid off of his legacy serving as Vice President. Blafrican Americans? Punching at the issue of domestic violence?
Tulsi Gabbard: Strikes me as a closet Republican, planted by Russian operatives to take down any rising Democratic presidential contender. Gadfly Gabbard needs to go back to Hawaii.
Tom Steyer: Billionaires who can buy democratic power should be banned from the debate stage.