“Liberals and moderates clash in Detroit” ?? Is that really where the US Democrat leadership debate is at ??

Jul 31st, 2019 | By | Category: USA Today
“Debate attendees line up outside of The Fox Theatre during the first night of the CNN Democratic primary debate on Tuesday in Detroit, July 30, 2019.” Tanya Moutzalias | Mlive.com

[UPDATED AUGUST 1, 2019]. The first striking fact about the first night of the CNN Democratic primary debate in Detroit on Tuesday, July 30, 2019 is that it was held in the Fox theatre – one of the truly great legacies from the golden age of the American motion picture.

(It was “opened in 1928 as the flagship movie palace for the Fox Theatre Chain,” and 60 years later “designated a National Historic Landmark in 1988.”)

Beyond this almost all the early commentary has stressed the “Liberals and moderates clash in Detroit” theme. More exactly : “ Sanders, Warren fight back at US Democratic debate against moderate rivals” ; “Two against the world: Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren take on all comers” ; and “Sanders and Warren defend progressive policies in US Democratic debate.”

Or, as succinctly summarized by Stephen Colbert : “It’s hard to sum up what happened tonight, but most of it was a bunch of guys with no chance to win the Democratic nomination, yelling Republican talking points at the people who can – it was like watching the Seven Dwarves offering Snow White a poison apple.”

Stage of Fox theatre in Detroit set up for part one of CNN’s 2019 Democrat leaders’ debate.

For a few further angles, try : “Fox News [not to be confused with the much older Fox theatre in Detroit!] Trolls CNN Democratic Debate With Praise for John Delaney, Marianne Williamson” ; “John Delaney: I believe in capitalism, but we should make it more just” ; “The Democratic Debate Over Medicare For All And Middle Class Taxes, Explained” ; and “These 4 questions may determine how Democrats go from 2 dozen candidates to 1.”

We are not at all sure ourselves that the “Liberals and moderates clash in Detroit” theme qualifies as a serious summary of the current state of the US Democrat leadership race. The second installment of the midsummer debate on July 31 – where the presumed leader of the so-called “moderates” (Joe Biden) may or may not strengthen his hand from the last debate – could suggest a different summary headline.

Meanwhile, we can report a much more radical thought from our technical support contacts in the vast new American liberal heartland of California. Here there are progressives contemplating a 2020 President/Vice-President Democrat ticket that includes both Elizabeth Warren and (Joe Biden’s nemesis from the first 2019 debate) Kamala Harris!

This at first struck us as altogether impossible … but we do live in crazy political times. And the more we think about Warren-Harris or Harris-Warren, the more we wonder if it just might make as much sense as anything else in the age of Donald Trump?? (And could possibly be the kind of crazy Democratic alternative finally needed to defeat Mr. Trump’s crazy Republicanism??)

“Democratic candidates for president take the stage for the first of two primary debates hosted by CNN, Tuesday, July 30, 2019, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (Paul Sancya/AP).”

Some in any event do say Elizabeth Warren was the ultimate winner on July 30, 2019. Can Kamala Harris do something similar on July 31, 2019? We’ll be watching part two in our office communications room ourselves. And we’ll report back if any further thoughts of consequence descend upon us.

Meanwhile again, to us the very bottom line still does seem to be that Democratic primary voters will not actually see any action until the Iowa caucuses on February 3, 2020 – still some six months away. And a week is a long time in politics, etc …

UPDATE AUGUST 1, 2019 : According to Chris Cillizza at CNN the winners from the second night of the Democrat leader debates in Detroit (July 31, 2019) were Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Julián Castro, and Tulsi Gabbard. A number of observers (including Mr. Cillizza) felt Kamala Harris under-performed.

Seating inside the vacant Fox theatre in Detroit.

Still others have more simply concluded that “Biden performed better in the second debate” and “Biden fends off attacks from all sides.” Damon Linker at The Week has gone on to explain “How Joe Biden won the second night of the Detroit debate.”

According to Linker, “the simple truth is that Joe Biden won the second night of the Democratic debate in Detroit for one simple reason: He came into the event with a massive lead in the polls and he did nothing …to change that. If Biden can repeat this performance throughout the debates between now and the start of the primaries, he will be in a very strong position to win his party’s nomination.” (But for a contrary point of view see T.A. Frank in Vanity Fair : “Joe Biden stumbles in second Democratic debate.”)

Like some others again (and as in the first round of debates earlier), we were most impressed ourselves by the sheer abundance of Democratic political talent on display at the Fox theatre in Detroit on July 31 – as in “Every one of the 10 candidates had a standout moment tonight.” We especially liked the George Will favourite Michael Bennet, Jay Inslee, and Andrew Yang. Whatever else, there are the makings of a strong and sensible Democratic cabinet or governing team here. And that could be what the American people wind up wanting most in 2020.

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