Consensus: Bennet Did Pretty Well, But…

Michael Bennet, John Hickenlooper.

Surveying the commentary following last night’s Democratic presidential debate featuring both of Colorado’s entries into the race, Sen. Michael Bennet and former Gov. John Hickenlooper, there’s a consensus emerging that Bennet in particular did as well as he could have hoped for–perhaps even enough to transit from the 1% pack into the middle tier of candidates in this packed field. CNN’s Chris Cillizza, a good barometer of the center left, calls Bennet a qualified winner:

Michael Bennet: Look, I don’t think that the Colorado senator is somehow going to shoot from 1% to relevance in the polls based on his performance in this debate. He wasn’t that good. But, for someone who a) no one knew going into this debate and b) had limited speaking opportunities to make his case, I thought Bennet performed well. Bennet’s incredulity with Biden’s belief that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would start working in a bipartisan way if the former vice president won the White House felt genuine — and was powerful. In short: Bennet came out of this debate looking better than he went into it. Which is a win.

The Denver Post’s Nic Garcia from Miami:

The Coloradans left the South Florida art complex where the debate was held just after midnight each saying he took his chance to say what he needed to say.

Bennet, however, had a little more pep in his step.

“I was glad I was able to make the case that we desperately need universal health care in this country,” the senator told The Denver Post in an interview. He slapped the backside of his right hand into his left palm as he compared Sanders’ Medicare for All plan with his own legislation.

Colorado Public Radio notes Bennet’s decent outing but keeps things in perspective:

“Bennet got in a few good moments,” said Seth Masket, a political science professor at the University of Denver. “He definitely got across his points on some of his political reforms. He got in some pretty solid critiques of President Trump and those seemed to get some support from the audience.”

…According to trends from Google, Hickenlooper and Bennet were the least searched candidates during the second Democratic presidential primary debate. Near the end of the night, one New York Times reporter quipped “Only so much room for two Wesleyan grads from Colorado.”

Ouch. No really, if fellow Coloradans want to take offense at that kind of bullshit Ivy League snobbery, it’s allowed. But there’s not much either candidate can do about it. It’s fully expected that both Sen. Bennet and Gov. Hickenlooper will stay in this race through the next round of debates set for July 30 and 31 in Detroit–debates they have already qualified to participate in. After that, of course, the next round of debates will have a higher standard for qualification. At this point, failure to make that cutoff will mark the practical end for a number of presidential campaigns.

For both Colorado’s presidential aspirants, it’s all or nothing now with the latter still the most likely outcome. But it does appear that Bennet took better advantage of last night’s opportunity to get on the radar, and that’s to his credit. Now he’s got one month to turn that crack into an opening.

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  1. kwtreemamajama55 says:

    Hick would have done better if he had had any response to questions other than:

    "We don't need socialism!"

    Didn't matter what the issue was – climate change, reproductive rights, health care, immigration – that was his Tourette's-like response.  All rightee then.

    • unnamed says:

      I saw Seth Meyers A Closer Look segment where he critiqued Hick's constant refrain about not needing socialism and not wanting Republicans to call Dems Socialists and Seth said, "they're going to call you socialists no matter what."

      Regardless of what Dems take a stand on, that is what Repubs will do. Stop being reactive and call them out for the fascists that they are.

  2. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    Ohh, Noes!  Alva not only wrotely kindly about Bennet, he quoted Chris Cillizza to do it!

    somewhere out on the prairie, Zappatero is practicing "Ride of the Valkyries" o n his Jews Harp so he can storm the blog and lay waste to the land!

    It will not be pretty.

  3. Diogenesdemar says:

    Sticks and stones . . . 

    . . . I frequently wonder where this State might have been after those eight lost years if Hick’ hadn’t been so completely terrified of ever being labeled “tax and spend” and “a Democrat”??

    . . . 

  4. JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

    The July debates use the same criteria as the June debates — but Bennet and Hickenlooper, who qualified only by polling, are not sure things.  Maybe the FEC donor report that closes on June 30 will add to their qualifications.   If not, 538 pointed out

    since the DNC announced who made the first debates, one more candidate has met the polling requirement: Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, who fell one poll short the first time around. This means that we could find ourselves in a situation for the July debates in which the DNC’s tiebreaking rules are needed.

    Two others have made steps toward qualification by polling:  Messam has 2, Gravel has 1.  So those at the bottom could be pushed into an awkward calculation of tie-breakers.

  5. JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

    538.com & Morning Consult did a pre-post poll of the same respondents.  Good news — both Colorado debaters doubled their support from the debates.  Less good news — Hick went from 0.3% pre-debate to 0.6% post-debate.  Bennet did 0.2% to 0.3%. 

    Favorable / Unfavorable for Hick went from 17.1% / 9.6% before to 27.1% / 19.4% after.   Bennet moved from 16.0% / 7.4% before to 27.2% / 17.6% after.  So, more familiar, but about the same relative favorability.

    On the favorable / unfavorable scale, 10% gains were pretty typical of the lesser known.  Exception on the first night was Castro, who popped from 29 / 9 to 48 / 9. The second night had the more widely known who didn't move much.  Most of the others moved up, with favor/unfavor gap remaining the same.  The exception: Marianne Williamson, who made an impression:  from 13.4% / 9.2% to  23.5% / 25.8% — the only candidate who emerged "underwater" on the scale.

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