DFA on DEM DEBATE #2: “The real winner of tonight’s debate was Tuesday night’s debate.”

Statement from Democracy for America CEO Yvette Simpson following the conclusion of Wednesday’s Democratic Debate in Detroit:

“The winner of tonight's debate was Tuesday night's debate.

“On Tuesday, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren not only delivered strong performances, they teamed up to articulate a bold, inclusive populist vision for the future of the country that Democrats need to beat Trump AND deliver a transformative win in 2020.

We didn’t get that tonight.

That said, we did notice a few other things:

  • Joe Biden repeatedly showed that he’s our party’s past, and failed to get the big win he needed to solidify his status as the frontrunner. He was embattled by many challengers, which led to forced errors that will be difficult to recover from.
  • Kamala Harris struggled and will likely emerge from Detroit weakened by her failure to fully defend her record on criminal justice reform and her overly-complicated, ‘Medicare for All’ plan that was easily attacked from all sides.
  • If any candidate had a good night, it was Cory Booker. Booker delivered on his plans to take the fight to Biden on criminal justice reform while keeping his focus on unity. He also showed he was more comfortable and authentic than he has in any other moment in the contest so far.
  • Kristin Gillibrand, Julian Castro, Bill DeBlasio and even Andrew Yang had a few good moments, but it’s hard to see how they rise above the disjointed back-and-forth that dominated the night.
  • An interesting and important movement of the evening was the protest that occurred drawing attention to the injustice that is still occurring in NYC with Eric Garner's murder. That moment led to accountability and the chance for engagement of real issues that are rarely addressed on a debate stage. It also showed the importance of movement and civil disobedience to address issues of racial and social justice.

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