It's a relatively rough time to be an American, especially as Election Season begins to rear its ugly head. With the 2020 Election being only 381 days away, it's becoming increasingly more obvious of just how hard Democrats are going to have to work in order to present a united front come election night. And with the fourth of twelve Democratic Debates happening last Tuesday, this struggle to unite was put on full display as trailing candidates flung attacks at front runners and tried desperately to make at least one news-worthy statement.
With this debate being the first debate to follow the official start of impeachment inquiries, it became clear just how much our current president was going to dominate the conversation. As both a Political Science major and a Democrat, I often find myself constantly bombarded with news about our current President, and the impeachment inquiry certainly isn’t helping. Even with this constant deluge of Trump news seeming to dominate our day-to-day lives, I was optimistic to see how Democrats would use his general horribleness to push conversations about meaningful legislation or even just basic policies to ensure we never get a greedy narcissist in the White House again.
Instead, what we were left with was a bunch of complaints about the President, and one extremely uncomfortable exchange between California Senator Kamala Harris and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. Senator Harris’ repeated attempts to focus the conversation on President Trump’s Twitter account and Twitter’s seemingly brazen disregard for its own rules. This exchange was clunky and forced, and one that Senator Warren refused to engage in.
Speaking of refusing to engage in things, Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard. After “threatening” to boycott the debate as part of a fundraising effort, her presence at the debate felt very much like she had actually boycotted it. Any chance she was given to answer a question or respond to another candidate was met with either forced-out talking points that often didn’t fit, or simply asking the other candidates questions with very little relation to the topic at hand. There were times that Representative Gabbard acted more like a moderator than a candidate.
This was a bold move from Gabbard, who was the only candidate before the debate to have a negative net favorability according to FiveThirtyEight. Her chances of gaining the nomination are slim, especially now that Hillary Clinton considers her to be a Russian Asset; This is not made up, by the way. Personally, I give her until Halloween before she declares her departure from the race, but that also might just be wishful thinking. 19 Democrats is about 16 too many, and with most pulling low single digits, all they’re accomplishing is muddying the waters as we approach 2020.
Another candidate who will hopefully be out of the race before Thanksgiving is former Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke. Many people see him as a strong candidate, as he managed to mix some blue into the predominantly red state of Texas during his (failed) Senate run against Ted Cruz. However, his performances in the primary have been less than ideal, and has seemed to betray the idea that he can win states like Texas for the Democrats. He was, after all, running against Ted Cruz in the election.
Had he run against a senator people actually liked, he probably would have lost by a much larger margin. And after his comments in the third debate about taking away people’s guns sparked some negative outrage, he needed this debate to be a home run in order to have any hope of making it to November. Instead, he was schooled by Pete Buttigieg, seemed more focused on attacking Senator Warren than pushing forward any actual policy, and barely provided a plan on how law enforcement was to go about “taking away” the assault-style weapons that continue to be utilized as weapons of domestic terror. His inability to distinguish himself from any of the other candidates made this debate a disaster for him, and will certainly guarantee the rapidly approaching end of his candidacy.
So what’s next? Debate four is now under our belts, leaving eight more debates between us and the Democratic National Convention. Who will we see make it that far? If all goes as hoped, only three will make it to the home stretch. Those three are Senator Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Warren and Buttigieg are easily the two strongest candidates, while VP Biden will most likely just hang on until the end, only to lose the nomination come July. Warren will most likely secure that nomination, and we’ll all get to breathe a sigh of relief at the end of the Convention, knowing we will only be a few short months from November 3rd, the day this national nightmare will hopefully end.
Will this be the outcome? Only time will tell. But for many of the candidates, their continued efforts to claim the nomination are only proving to be detrimental to the stability of the party. Besides, nobody’s heard from John Delaney in a while, so him ending his campaign will at least be confirmation that he’s doing okay.