This article is slightly liberally biased.
We’re jumping on the bandwagon and posting thoughts of the performances in this week’s Democratic presidential debate from Miami, Fla., which was spread over Wednesday and Thursday evenings.
Being an instructor, I’ll include grades, too. These go in descending order.
We start with Part 1, or the Wednesday night matchup.
Julian Castro: A+
Castro did a fabulous job. He was able to call out specific immigration law he wanted to change, and really grilled Beto, putting him on the spot for his views on criminalizing illegal immigration. Castro also put his background as a highlight but didn’t pander. He only spoke Spanish at the end, and did it appropriately. He appeared qualified, learned, and confident. He’s one of my top picks at this point.
Elizabeth Warren: A
While I wish Warren had spoke more, what she did say, she delivered powerfully. She again was able to outline her healthcare and economic plans in a way that felt relatable, but assertive. She didn’t need to pander, and really hit home her issues. I disagree with her on guns, but she did a good job on that, too. Big disagree with Warren on quite a few issues, but she made me way more likely to vote for her. I was really shocked by how well she did.
Amy Klobuchar: A-
Klobuchar, from my perspective, did very well. She moved left a bit, but maintained her stance as the bipartisan, effective type. She has the record and credentials that a Delaney type doesn’t. I love her alternative to free college (free community college, and aid to current students). I don’t like free college because college is impractical for most people, but community college isn’t, and would let people get their feet wet and develop skills.
Jay Inslee: B+
Inslee was going to get an A- from me, but everyone apparently hates him, so I’ll drop him a letter. Inslee for me is important in the sense that he pushes climate change as the important issue it should be. No other candidate is really as passionate about climate change and I worry, once again, the disastrous future we’re careening towards will be left unsolved by candidates who don’t realize its importance. Inslee got totally cheated out of speaking time, and I feel bad for him.
Tulsi Gabbard: B+
I liked Tulsi, and she certainly advocated well for foreign policy, but she wasn’t nearly talkative enough and didn’t evoke a sense of strength in that sense. She pulled the veteran card a lot, which I didn’t like, so she was both annoying and mousy at the same time. I really liked her approach to Afghanistan (get out) and her view on Iran though.–
huge gap here…. and now our bottom 5
Bill DeBlasio: C+
I disagree a lot with DeBlasio, and his performance didn’t convince me to change those views. I thought he demonized the rich far more than he should have, as well as shilling for free stuff. Maybe this is just my political opinion, but he didn’t change my views, so he goes here. I found him very forgettable.
John Delaney: C
Everyone rips on this guy, and I’m no exception (I mean, come on, he’s barely passing), but I don’t think he was the worst. I think his ideas of bipartisanship are admirable, but he doesn’t have the cred to back it up. He seemed like an all around nice guy with nice ideas, but got totally walked over by the other candidates. He’s way too milktoast for this election, way too moderate, and he got put in his place. Nothing interesting, solid C.
Beto O’Rourke: D
Ah, Beto. I’m disappointed in you. I had high hopes for Beto, but he dodged every question. It was pro dodgeball with this guy. Castro also smoked him on immigration, his signature issue. Also, I speak Spanish. I understood Beto’s Spanish, and it wasn’t anything complex or insightful. He didn’t add to the conversation with it. It was straight pandering. Castro handled the Spanish issue correctly on all fronts, Beto did not. He came across as a wishy washy demagogue and I’m disappointed in him.
Cory Booker: D
I’m seriously irked that everyone thinks Booker did a good job. To me, he was one of the worst, if not the worst, and one of the most disappointing. He played identity politics like he was in the Olympics. Every single comment was “In my poor black neighborhood this” and “I live in the inner city” that. It really bothered me that every thought was connected to some pander point of his. Which brings me to the worst of all… his Spanish. Again, I speak Spanish. I can tell you that his content was simplistic, and his pronunciation was atrocious. “Inakkkkceptahbleh” anyone? Cory isn’t Hispanic. He’s done nothing specifically for Latino people. He should not be up there pretending to speak Spanish with the likes of Beto (a proficient speaker) and Castro (a native speaker). If you want to speak Spanish as President, great, I support you 100 percent. However, don’t try to present yourself as Mr. Spanish when you clearly aren’t. Will not be voting Booker.
Tim Ryan: F
Yeah… everyone’s got this guy already. Looked awkward as hell, nobody’s heard of him, mixed up Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and all around was just annoying. I get he was trying to be the Midwestern moderate, but that seat’s taken, buddy. He should drop out tomorrow.