And they’re off.
Ten presidential hopefuls sparred during the Democratic Party’s first debate on Wednesday night in Miami, kicking campaign season into full gear.
The debate, moderated by Savannah Guthrie, Lester Holt, Chuck Todd, Rachel Maddow, and Jose Diaz-Balart, consisted of the second-tier of candidates — those whose polling isn’t high enough to qualify for Thursday night’s debate.
With so many faces on one stage and each candidate limited to 60-second answers, the debate wasn’t likely to provide a forum for in-depth policy discussion. But it did give voters an opportunity to see and hear the candidates (perhaps for the first time) and form initial impressions.
What did we learn from the Wednesday night spectacle?
#1. Democrats Think Climate Change Is Our Biggest Threat
When asked to identify America’s greatest “geopolitical threat,” several of the Democrats onstage responded with “climate change.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Senator Corey Booker (D-NJ), former San Antonio Mayor and Obama HUD Secretary Julian Castro, and Representative Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke (D-Texas) all agreed that climate change poses an existential threat to the United States.
Rachel Maddow encouraged the alarmist position on climate change when she asked Washington Governor Jay Inslee, “We are here in Miami experiencing serious flooding on sunny days as a result of sea level rise and parts of Miami Beach and the Keys could be underwater in our lifetimes. Does your plan save Miami?”
#2. Democrats Reaffirm Their Desire for Open Borders
The candidates made it clear that their response to the border crisis would not be to use physical barriers or law enforcement to keep illegal migrants out, but to make it easier for them to get in.
Castro said he wants to decriminalize illegal border crossings, arguing that our country shouldn’t “criminalize desperation.” The former mayor also called for a “Marshall Plan” for the Northern Triangle of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras — a measure he claimed would deter migrants from leaving their countries.
Meanwhile, the candidates widely decried the practice of having illegal migrants stay in detention centers while they await the adjudication of their asylum claims.
Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan said that terrorists at Guantanamo Bay receive better healthcare than these migrants, and claimed that these facilities hold babies who haven’t had their diapers changed in three weeks.
“What kind of country are we running here where we have a president of the United States that is so focused on hate and fear and division?” Ryan asked. “The end result is we literally have kids laying in their own snot in three-week-old diapers that haven’t been changed.”
#3. Se Habla Español
Several of the Democrats on the stage tried to make inroads with the Hispanic community by showcasing their Spanish skills.
O’Rourke, a Texan of Irish heritage widely known by the Spanish nickname “Beto,” was the first to address the audience in the foreign language during his opening response and continued to do so regularly throughout the debate.
Booker also gave some answers in Spanish, while Castro, the only Latino on the stage, got in a few lines.
Some viewers poked fun at the Spanish-speaking.
Why does Beto look worse than Nixon did in his debate with JFK?— Sebastian Gorka DrG (@SebGorka) June 27, 2019
Are why is he speaking in Spanish?
Hate to break it to y’all but Spanish speaking people will be able to tell if you already fluently spoke Spanish before a debate or you learned some lines in Spanish for the night of a debate #DemDebate— Kaitlin Curtice (@KaitlinCurtice) June 27, 2019
A moratorium on showing off middle school Spanish in democratic debates— Natalia Cote-Muñoz 柯曼雅 (@ncotemunoz) June 27, 2019
Who benefitted most from round one?
Despite disappearing into the crowd in the second half of the debate, Warren gave a strong performance in the first half — which is when most viewers were watching, anyway.
Warren has been surging in the polls, some of which place her in second place behind former Vice President Joe Biden.
Castro, whose candidacy has largely flown under the radar, hit the right notes on several hot-button left-wing issues, including abortion and immigration.
The latter led to a heated exchange between him and O’Rourke, in which Castro rebuked the congressman for failing to say he would repeal Section 1325 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which applies a criminal violation as well as a civil one to anyone who enters the country illegally.
The Hawaii congresswoman and veteran made waves with her anti-war and anti-interventionist position, including her desire to avert a U.S. war with Iran. A poll by the right-leaning Drudge Report found Gabbard to be the winner.
The lawmaker, considered to be a moderate Democrat, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
With the debates underway, Americans will be able to get a closer look at the candidates, which means some are likely to begin dropping as voters coalesce around the strongest contenders.
While some of the hopefuls on Wednesday night had a handful of good soundbites, none had the charisma of an Obama — the kind of energy needed to give President Trump a run for his money. As for Trump’s response to the debate?
BORING!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 27, 2019
Tier 1 will have to offer Democrats a better slate of candidates if they want a real chance at taking back the White House.
Photo: AP Images
Luis Miguel is a marketer and writer whose journalistic endeavors shed light on the Deep State, the immigration crisis, and the enemies of freedom. Follow his exploits on Facebook, Twitter, Bitchute, and at luisantoniomiguel.com.