With only six candidates qualifying for the next debate in December, this was the last chance, uh, a chance for some of them to make the voters' case that they deserved to remain in this race.
I looked and made some notes about the best and the worst of the night that was.
Below, my winners and losers.
Amy Klobuchar : The Minnesota senator is desperate for a moment in the first four debates – and she might just have found one Wednesday night. Klobuchar was one of the few people on the stage to take on South Bend Mayor Pete Butigigig (more on that below), and her opinion on a woman – yet – not to be elected president was strong: "If you think a woman can't beat Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi does it every day, "she said. Klobuchar's biggest problem is that the pragmatic centerpiece is dominated by Butigigig and former Vice President Joe Biden. Her performance on Wednesday night may just change that.
Andrew Yang : Of course, Yang didn't get a chance to say a word in the first 30 minutes of the debate. (Something remarkable, given that his arc in the race is directly up.) But when Jan was given a chance to speak, he came across as the best reference candidate on the stage. Yang's line when asked what he would say to Vladimir Putin after he was elected president (he was dead "Sorry I beat your man") landed well. Jan's application still feels too far ahead of people where people are ̵
Kamala Harris : Unlike recent debates, Harris seemed much worse off – and wanted to take a few chances. (She said Trump was at one point "hit" on foreign policy.) This looseness is likely due to the fact that Harris admits there is very little to lose, given her unnecessary voting numbers and money problems. But whatever the reason, she worked for Harris at night. She got better than rap. Tulsi Gabbard in a debate on US foreign policy – a twist between the two at the CNN debate in Detroit in late July – came across what her campaign wanted to be: a fighter for the average person.
Debates : Debates are, um, about debates. As with candidates who tell where they differ on key issues so that voters are fully informed about the choice This did not happen in Atlanta on Wednesday night. Instead, candidates were asked questions they agreed completely and completely – what candidate for president of democracy would not support the Trump empire ??? – or give wide seats, to offer essentially practiced puns on issues.
Health : A problem that is solved in each of the last four choices (at least) is healthcare. There is also the issue that the four front-runners – Butigig, Biden, Warren and Sanders – do not strongly agree. So why, then, did we only have a few minutes of discussions on it? And none of the differences between applicants – Medicare for All or not – has been judged in any meaningful way. Huh?
Tom Steyer : Quick, point out what the billionaire said in the debate. Exactly. Same. And that's the problem. Steyer and his campaign must have been excited that Biden was somehow inexplicably raising a battle with him for his involvement in the coal industry, but that fight somehow kindled before it really began. Steyer isn't going anywhere – he's got a lot of money and he's ready to spend it – but he really needs to find a way to make an impression. And he didn't do it Wednesday night.