By Dave Andrusko
Tonight, from 9-11, ten of the leading 20 Democratic presidential candidates will debate one another in Miami, Florida. The other 10 will have a go at it Thursday night. Each set of ten will have the same five moderators.
Tonight’s Top Ten includes Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan.
All are head-to-toe pro-abortionists.
There are almost as many moderators — Savannah Guthrie, Lester Holt and Chuck Todd of NBC News, as well as Rachel Maddow of MSNBC and José Diaz-Balart of Telemundo—as debaters, which will mean not only will the candidates be preening, so, too, will the moderators.
If you were creating a recipe for sheer chaos, this would be hard to beat.
Three quick points by way of preview.
*Every one of the candidates knows (judging by many indices including a recent Gallup survey) that ordinary Democrats are looking first and foremost for the one who they think is best equipped to defeat President Trump. So the trick will be who can push the envelope to the outer limits without being so hate-filled in their anti-Trump demagoguery that it works against them with the larger electorate and at least some Democrats. My prediction is the animus will quickly get out of hand.
*That having been said, while they may focus the bulk of their attacks on President Trump, for some of them, tonight is do or die. They must also “politely” attack their rivals. (Members of my family have a friendly wager how “polite” it will remain as the debate progresses.)
*Political pundits live for instant analysis. Whatever they say, what turns out to be accurate down the line will be accidental. Like the candidates, the talking heads will be competing for the title of “I said it first” and with the widest eyes and loudest voice.
If you haven’t already, read the piece we reposted today from Newsbusters which mocked a column written by Walter Shapiro for the New Republic. Shapiro, who has been around forever, concluded—surprise, surprise—“The Polling Industry Is in Crisis”
Why do I bring this up in the context of tonight’s debate and how the media will cover it? Here’s the subhead to Shapiro’s piece: “Everyone knows the numbers are as unreliable as ever, and yet the political press still hypes every little rise and fall.”
Likewise, everyone who has covered politics know the talking heads will inflate the significance of every “gaffe,” malapropism, real or imaged “flip-flop,” and zinger that comes out of the candidates’ mouths tonight. They know that, too, but they can’t help themselves.
If you have time, you might want to watch tonight and tomorrow’s debates. President Trump was talking at one point about live-tweeting them.
Believe me, if he does, that will be hundred times more entertaining than anything you hear coming from the Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County.