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February 20, 2020 09:58 AM UTC

Warren Utterly Dominates Vegas Debate--What's Next?

  • by: Colorado Pols
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Persisting).

Although we are predominately concerned with Colorado politics in this space, our upcoming Super Tuesday date with destiny has all eyes in Colorado squarely focused on every development in the Democratic presidential primary–and last night, by all accounts, something dramatic happened at the Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas that could have far-reaching effects on the race. Politico:

The Vegas debate stage had the feel of a late-night party suddenly crashed by an unwelcome visitor. [Sen. Elizabeth] Warren, who often says she “grew up fighting,” seized the role of bouncer from the earliest minutes, when the TV audience is often largest, by describing Bloomberg as “a billionaire who calls women ‘fat broads’ and ‘horse-faced lesbians.’” She later moved on to his record on civil rights (“You need a different apology here, Mr. Mayor”), accused him of “hiding his tax returns,” and performed an impromptu prosecution of Bloomberg’s use of non-disclosure agreements.

“Democrats take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another,” she said. [Pols emphasis]

When Warren wasn’t filleting Bloomberg, who stood directly to her right — mostly expressionless except for a dramatic eye roll during the NDA exchange — she turned to her left and delivered a rapid-fire series of attacks on Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar, often in the same 90 seconds of her allotted time to answer a question.

The Daily Beast’s Erin Gloria Ryan captured some of the emotion from the epic “beatdown” delivered by Sen. Elizabeth Warren last night, mostly to former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg but ably knocking down everyone else on stage–not even fully sparing Sen. Bernie Sanders as she’s developed a reputation for. Warren took a rare shot at Sanders, calling out his campaign for “relentlessly [attacking] everyone who asks a question or tries to fill in details about how to actually make this work.”

The Vegas crowd went wild, as Vegas crowds are wont to do during a beatdown.

After that, Bloomberg spent the rest of the debate with about as much gravitas as a ventriloquist dummy without a lap to sit on. Elizabeth Warren, meanwhile, turned in her strongest debate performance yet, striking Bloomberg over and over again like a viper with a grudge. Bloomberg was annihilated. He was decimated. He was degloved. Everything that a Democratic voter might find distasteful about Bloomberg was laid bare for everybody to see.

Warren didn’t just turn her sights on Bloomberg. She diminutized Mayor Pete’s health-care plan by calling it “a PowerPoint.” She called out Amy Klobuchar for having only two paragraphs explaining hers. She called out the idea of being a moderate in the first place. “We can’t be so eager to be liked by Mitch McConnell that we forget how to fight,” she said in reference to the moderates Joe Biden and Klobuchar, to thunderous, Vegas-y applause. By the time it was all over, it was clear that she’d won this one like Secretariat won the 1973 Belmont Stakes. Like a tremendous machine.

Sen. Warren is headed to Denver on Sunday for a rally at the Fillmore Theater, and her field campaign is fully engaged chasing ballots which are already in the hands of Colorado voters. The effect this powerful debate performance could have on the result, inversely proportional to the damage it may do to Bloomberg, is limited only by the audience for presidential primary debates and post-debate coverage of the extent to which Warren shredded the entire rest of the stage. Warren needs this to be a turning point, and Bloomberg needs the Democratic electorate to develop mass amnesia.

With that, we’ll turn it over to our readers: did Warren end Bloomberg last night? If so, did she distinguish herself enough to pull support from the rest of the field in time to stop Sanders’ widening delegate lead? The growing recognition that there can be only one Sanders alternative, and the persistently undecided nature of primary voters right up until the last minute this year, creates space where anything seems possible.


35 thoughts on “Warren Utterly Dominates Vegas Debate–What’s Next?

      1. The only sure thing — Fast report of viewing on NBC says 10 million watched everyone take down Mike Bloomberg.  I'm thinking his inexorable polling rise may have been … uh, detoured.

        1. Time to celebrate.  Let's throw him out of the party and make him back Republicans.  That'll show him.  Thank God we have "fighter" in Warren who is willing to go after other Democrats for her vain glory.  It's such a relief.

  1. I am looking at Elizabeth Warren in a very different light after last night.

    I am seriously considering voting for her. I never thought she had that in her. I was very pleasantly surprised!

    You would think that some of the $400,000,000 Bloomberg has spent so far would have gone to debate coaches and spin doctors to prep him for the inevitable questions about the non-disclosure agreements which everyone knew would come up.

  2. What's next is maybe, just maybe, the other candidates will ask Sanders and Warren how much taxes will be raised to fund their $50 Trillion and $25 Trillion plans.  Pete mentioned it once last night re: Sanders' $50 Trillion, but didn't pursue it.  Sanders keeps talking about how other industrialized nations provide health insurance, tuition, etc.  But, what are the tax rates in those countries?  I'll bet Trump will have the answer…..

    1. Bernie said we will figure the price out when we get there.

      None of this really matters since there will not be enough votes to get either Warren or Bernie's health plan through the House, let alone the Senate.

      Even AOC is starting to see the virtue in compromise. We will end up with a public option. There just may be a lot of yelling and screaming along the way. On both sides.

    2. Itlduso, would you please provide sources for your claims about the costs of The Sanders /Warren Medicare for All (MFA) plans?

      The only sources I’ve found close to those numbers are right wing propaganda outlets like the Washington Examiner.

      The Washington Post, a more reputable paper, cites a libertarian study that projects an additional 2.8 trillion per year for MFA. Over 10 years, that would be 20.8 28 trillion – close to your Warren scare figure. 

      Newsweek, also an edited reliable source, projects cost savings of 450 billion a year over the public health care status quo.

      As far as how to pay for the proposals, Sanders bill, which Warren also supports, and which has undergone extensive debate in the House, has laid out 12 different revenue sources to pay for MFA. 

      Your guy Buttigieg , as far as I know, is the only one promoting the idea that Sanders is concealing costs for MFA. What are Buttigieg’s sources? Or Klobuchar’s, for that matter? 

      (Updated to eliminate typo error)

        1. Yes, mike.  But while the math is impeccable, the politics require eliminating the health insurance industry.  They won't go gently.  And $10 billion a year — a tenth of their profits — buys a lot of congressmen!

  3. What's next is figuring out the inevitable outcome: no-one goes to the convention with enough delegates to win, and we wind up with a brokered convention. Who benefits from that scenario? It's not likely to be either Sanders, who will likely reach the convention with the most delegates, or Bloomberg. Where is the comfortable middle? Lots of people say they like Warren second; will this performance boost her enough to get her a consideration for the brokered compromise?

    1. How would the brokers justify defying their own process and choose down list?

      Electoral math and Senate coattails would have to be compelling.

      I am not convinced Sanders will necessarily be delegate leader in Milwaukee. Though my math was way off.

    2. I think it would be interesting to see what, if anything, happens with the party and the election if Bernie has a clear delegate plurality, but lacks a majority, and the party chooses a different candidate.

      1. You mean, “interesting”— like a thermonuclear explosion?? . . . 

        . . . we used to teach all about that kind of thing in grade school . . . 

        . . . all, except for the most-important step of kissing your little $!? goodbye!

      2. Imagine two scenarios:

        (1) Biden and Bloomberg have delegates adding up to 55%, while Bernie and Warren have 45%
        (2) Bloomberg & Biden have 45%, while Bernie and Warren have 55%.

        How should the second round go?

        In either scenario, I see Warren as the candidate never-Bloomberg and never-Bernie could consolidate around. 

        1. What about the other candidates? 538 has the average outcome for delegate numbers (not chance of winning) as:

          38% Sanders
          22% Bloomberg
          21% Biden
          7% Buttigieg
          6% Warren
          3% Klobuchar

          So, Bloomberg and Biden would have 43% and Sanders and Warren 44%. If the most average of worlds happens. Not likely, since depending on how candidates over or under perform in the upcoming contests they'll get more attention from the press for good or ill. And someone may drop out and endorse another candidate. If Klobuchar does badly in Nevada does she drop out? Etc.

          The thing is that it seems likely that both sides will have a narrative about victory. Sanders by coming in first, the moderates by adding all of them together to say moderates got 53%.

          Though if he overperforms and the moderates are all still in the mix he becomes a stronger choice to unite behind. If it is Sanders 42%, say. On the other hand if he's down in the low 30s and someone, say Biden, is at least close then the moderate argument is stronger.

          The second round depends very much on what the individual candidates do. If Buttigeig stays in until the end and does get that 7% instead of dropping out to endorse someone else does he then say at the convention, "Hey, support Bloomberg, he's my kind of guy." Do his delegates then listen to him? If it really is open. And someone is not trying to make a deal and get votes before the convention.

          1. Yeah. So there are a couple of observations, given the possibility of a brokered convention:

            (1) In the end which candidate has enough delegates to make a difference?
            (2) As a candidate drops out, who gets the proxy votes?
            (3) Who will the super-delegates support?

            Proxies can be traded, and super-delegates can make choices. I presume supers will reflect the establishment of the Democratic Party. 

            I can understand that the establishment might not be able to stomach Sanders, but it would be extraordinarily stupid if the establishment put their thumbs on the Bloomberg scale.

            Who will the compromise candidate be?

            Given the projection numbers above, can they NOT give the nomination to Sanders? I think if a huge part of the Party would revolt if they gave it to Bloomberg. Does that mean Biden is the default compromise? Yuck!

            By further splitting the moderates, Bloomberg is totally screwing the establishment wing of the Party, isn’t he?

            1. Super Delegates are in no way a uniform block of thinkers.  Wikipedia has a list and the "announced endorsements" at the present time. A few over 200 have announced a preference — ~50 for candidates with "suspended" campaigns.  Leader is Biden, at 70.  Bloomberg & Sanders are tied at 23, Warren has 21, Buttigieg 13, Klobuchar 9.

          2. Bloomberg will drop as people get to know him more.
            He appears to be a weasel – that thing Warren did and is doing with the nondislcosure agreements is gonna hurt.

            He’s not that likeable and his accomplishments are mostly not D attractive.. But he has money.

            There is no rule that a second ballot to be about any of the candidates with delegate.
            The convention could nominate Gavin Newsom or John Kerry.

            Forget NV or SC.
            They are all in through March 4.

            Then – if enough of the not Bernie/Warren crowd drop, a NBW candidate could emerge. Pete, for example.

            Vote Blue

      3. Pluralities suck. Majorities, now there's something useful. I'd argue that for a primary process, something like Schulze ranked choice voting is "best" – nominate the consensus candidate that will bring the party together, rather than letting the extremist non-majorities battle it out for the final W.

        1. The current DSP almost guarantees a plurality

          All delegate selection boundaries are proportional – there is no winner take all.
          Many jurisdictions are making it easier and easier to vote/preference poll. (In Colorado, there will be a significant number of Trump in the general voters who will vote in the D primary (ies) just because they can. I think it helps Bernie)

          Maybe next time, the D primary can be all on one day. Or week.
          And everyone votes.
          Or the national election can mirror CA. or Maine.

    3. Won’t matter.  The Democrats are so stupid at destroying each other that by the time they get to the convention none of them will be electable.  The debate should have been a referendum on Trump.  The candidates could have communicated with each other like the Impeachment managers and coordinated their messaging during the debate but no they took the TV bait to destroy each other and went at it with a vengeance.  If I was Bloomberg I would just say “Fuck You” to Democrats and start backing Gardner.  You don’t want him on your team then be ready to face the consequences.

        1. Also of course Money, which goes to extraordinarily well-paid staff (as in double what the others are able to pay), and very well-paid endorsers.

          Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stones magazine points out the extent to which Bloomberg is buying endorsements. Bloomberg has provided lots of money to journalist-wife non-profits, black thought-leaders and black congress member campaigns.

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