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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, December 20, 2019

D Debate

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the early stages of the 2016 campaign, when many candidates were unknowns.  The update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.  We are concluding the early stages of the 2020 race.

During Democrats' last debate of 2019, Pete Buttigieg was attacked like the Iowa frontrunner that he is.
  • Why it matters: Buttigieg faced a series of attacks as tensions that had been brewing on the campaign trail broke out on the L.A. debate stage last night.
The debate's sharpest clash came when Elizabeth Warren said he had held a fundraiser "in a wine cave full of crystals, and served $900-a-bottle wine": "Billionaires in wine caves should not pick the next president."
  • #Winecave and #WineCavePete trended on Twitter.
  • Buttigieg drew applause for his rabbit-punch return: "[A]ccording to Forbes magazine, I am literally the only person on this stage who is not a millionaire or a billionaire."
  • And he warned Warren against "issuing purity tests you cannot yourself pass."
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More takeaways, from Axios' Zach Basu, Alexi McCammond at the debate site, and Axios editors:
  • Amy Klobuchar had her strongest debate performance yet. But instead of hitting progressives Bernie Sanders and Warren, she took aim at the only other Midwestern moderate on stage — Buttigieg. Klobuchar ripped Buttigieg for his lack of experience and failure to win elections outside of South Bend.
  • Yang shines: Andrew Yang called it both "an honor and a disappointment" that he was the only candidate of color on stage, before pivoting to his stump speech by rattling off statistics that explain the economic disadvantages that minorities face.
The bottom line: The relentless attacks on Buttigieg could shake up the race. But anything that doesn't alter the fundamentals of the campaign benefits the frontrunner.
That remains Biden, who slipped through tonight unscathed and was more assertive, comfortable and in command than in some past debates.
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Issue-by-issue recap.