After two nights of debates among 20 Democrats running for president in 2020, host of KSL Newsradio’s ‘Inside Sources’ Boyd Matheson says it’s now time for those hopefuls who did well over two nights to capitalize on good performances ahead of the next debate in Detroit on July 30th and 31st.
Matheson says there were two candidates who rose to the occasion after last night’s debate in Miami: Senator Kamala Harris and Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
“No question, this was Kamala Harris’ night.” Boyd sais. ” She came out strong from the get-go. She knew where she was going and was the one candidate over both nights who on every single issue, every single question, whether she answered or not, knew where she was going. Her preparation was far superior to anyone else.”
He says she ran circles around former VP Joe Biden, emerging as the one candidate who could stand toe-to-toe with President Trump in a fall debate. Matheson expects a big bounce for Harris in the polls and in fundraising going forward.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg had a strong night as well. Matheson says he was articulate, focused and wasn’t afraid to admit his failings in light of a recent shooting in South Bend that garnered him some criticism. Matheson says most politicians would never concede a failure, but Buttigieg’s admissions seemed to curry favor with Thursday’s audience.
“He said he failed as mayor, that the things he had done had not delivered the results needed for his city. I thought that was a strong moment. Most political consultants would say never concede that you did anything wrong, but his authenticity resonated with his audience both in person and online,” said Matheson.
Although not the biggest losers of the night, two candidates who did not live up to expectations were two front runners, Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders.
Matheson was surprised that Biden appeared ill-prepared for attacks on issues he should have known would be coming such as his Iraq voting record and his own admission that he worked with segregationists from his party.
“Vice President Biden clearly had high expectations, the one with the most experience on that stage. He’s been in presidential and vice presidential debates. He’s been on the world stage, so he did have very high expectations going in to Thursday night’s debate,” according to Matheson.
As for Senator Bernie Sanders, Matheson believes he struggled, falling back on what seemed like an old stump speech bemoaning Wall Street, big corporations, drug and insurance companies. He played too much on anger, fear and frustrations, yet did not explain in a rational way what his solutions would be, and did not appear to relay a vision going forward.
Most surprising was the poor performance of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who Matheson says was one of the hardest candidates to watch. He says she overplayed it, winning the most cringe-worthy moments when she kept going over her allotted time, annoying the moderators who kept cutting away from her.
Most forgettable debaters Thursday night included Eric Swalwell, John Hickenlooper, Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang, who all had very little talking time. Matheson says those who did not do well will have to retool in time for next month’s debate in Detroit.