” Seventh Democratic Presidential Primary Debate – Candidates Expect a Voter Storm ” – January 14, 2020.

The seventh Democratic Presidential Primary Debate was held tonight in Iowa.

           Venue :  Drake University Campus, Des Moines, Iowa.

          Hosted by  :  The Des Moines Register with CNN as Co-host.

           Candidates :  Former VP, Joe Biden ;  Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vermont) ;  Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA) ;  Mayor Pete Buttigieg, (South Bend, Indiana) ;  Sen. Amy Klobuchar ( Minnesota) ;  and  Enterpreneur Tom Steyer.

Moderated by :  Wolf Blitzer ;  Abby Phillip of CNN;  and  Brianne Pfarnansteil of Des Moines Register.

            Issues Covered  :  Middle East, Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq – Troops and war ;  Trade Relations ;  Healthcare ;  Childcare ;  Education ;  Impeachment ;  and  Economy.

          Salient points from me here :

          1.  Tom Steyer’s key strategies and strengths are three-fold : Climate Change as priority,  Standing up for the righteous things,  and  Military should be strategically defensive. He is keen to effect changes to Governance, Economy, and Welfare of people through incorporating Environmental friendliness in every aspect. This is something that is looking beyond the established set of behaviors and practices, but he argued convincingly that this will be the best remedy in this critical hour of chaos and tumult.

          2.  Pete Buttigieg’s  three fold key strategies and strengths lay in :  Trust in allies and human rights in dealing with foreign nations;  Climate Science linked to development and jobs schemes ;  and  Call of faith in trying to fight greed and misgovernance. He seemed to have a good grasp of the changes happening now, and hoped that people will appreciate the path he is providing. It occurred to me, however, that he didn’t make the best use of the debate forum to make impact.

          3.  Amy Klobuchar’s key strategies and strengths are : Rejoining Paris Climate Agreement ;  her strong focus to beat Trump ;  and  Decency and patriotism in people relations, governance, and officials. Things worked well and happened perfectly for her and she must have felt good and confident about that. In bringing reference to Donald Trump while answering almost every question even while differentiating her Strategy very clearly with unclouded alternatives, her efforts to place herself as the best candidate to beat Trump grew from strength to strength as the debate progressed. She surely must have elevated her standing after this debate.

          4.  Elizabeth Warren’s key strategies and strengths are :  Giving power to the powerless ; Expansion of healthcare,  and  Fighting corruption. She not only emphasized what she wants to change on every issue of the debate, but also articulated that effectively. She is also the one who stood out in assessing the situation exceptionally well in this debate. No confrontation, no tit for tats, no high decibel rhetoric.  And she must have made her views count to the people effectively. Warren had the best with Amy Klobuchar coming immediately after her, as far as my assessment goes now.

           5.  Bernie Sanders’  Key strategies and strengths are :  Medicare for all ; Trade deals benefiting Citizens ;  and  Democratic Socialism as the best ideal to fight Trump. Credible and honest but no great forward thinking or adventurous programs. He seemed stubborn and inflexible too. If it was his conviction and his way of accepting the challenges, he needs to be complimented.

          6.  Joe Biden’s key strategies and strengths are :  Affordable Healthcare with public option ;  Improving the economy ;  and  emphasis on his experience to beat Trump. He, like Sanders,  admitted flaws even while giving reasons for that. He was also gracious while acknowledging the support he received from people. He must have maintained his standing.

          Key Moment of Debate  :

          The key moment of the debate was when the question regarding Senator Sanders’  utterance in 2018 – ” a woman couldn’t be President” – was posed, and as a reply to Sanders’ defense Senator Elizabeth Warren made the statement – ” Just look at this stage. The men on this stage here have lost 10 Elections;  and the ‘two’  women on this stage (Elizabeth Warren herself, and Amy Klobuchar) are the only ones to have won all their Elections uptil now.”  That this aroused the longest applause and cheers during this debate is not a coincidence. It was deserving.

          Leadership Characteristics evident in this debate  :

          1.  Acknowledging mistakes – Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, and Elizabeth Warren acknowledged mistakes honestly at times, specially during the first 45 minutes of the debate. Specially in the context of 2002 vote of Biden, and the present Middle East conflict.

          2.  Past experiences as good guidelines for decisions :  Pete Buttigieg dwelt on his Afghanistan experience and as Mayor to frame strategies for foreign relations/practices and education.

          3.  Judgement more than experience as key to Leadership :  Both Elizabeth Warren and Tom Steyer touched on this aspect while dealing with climate change.

          4.  Collaboration and networking to bring about harmonious relationship :  Bernie Sanders explained how the Iran nuclear deal of 2015 was achieved amidst differences and rigidity.

          5.  Competency and not just stature is Leadership :  Senator Amy Klobuchar brought light on this in her expression of how women can make a mark in this world, just like she did.

What each said in closing remarks :

          Amy Klobuchar :  “Election is about People. Finding Common ground and not scorched earth is what is needed”.

          Tom Steyer : “Take back the country and save the world. Do not kick people on the base”.

          Pete Buttigieg :  ” Breaking from the past is important. Join me to help turn the page on the politics “.

          Elizabeth Warren :. ” My heart is filled with hope. Our moment is to build the movement and make the change”.

          Bernie Sanders :  ” Great economy and great Government that work for all is the need. Courage needs to take over the corrupt”.

          Joe Biden : ” Restore America’s soul that is in jeopardy now. Fundamental basic decency is the need of the hour”.

                  Conclusion:  I strongly feel that with the Iowa votes slated for February 3, 2020 ,  voters will be keen to indulge in a merit based assessment of the content to be delivered by the candidates from now on (in this debate and after). Also, with Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, setting the stage for an Impeachment trial following her transfer of Impeachment articles to the Senate (likely tomorrow morning) along with the identification of managers,  the mental and emotional framework of the voters are expected to be accended across the States.

          Candidates in general delivered a lot in terms of new/alterations of their deals for growth ;  redefining and refining their programs in the light of criticisms (both from among the candidates within and outside) and new inputs;  predicating on what can happen following the tense situation created in the Middle East ;  some solid insights into solutions to the growing expectations of the people and their satisfaction;  and  extending their march (campaign) through the still untapped/less tapped voter segments into new areas.

          The debate effectively set the next task and stage of campaign when the candidates will essentially spend time filtering their ideas further cutting redundancy and adding specific and clear returns for people from their deals and programs   that can foster the climate and encourage Peoples’ following.

          On the Social front the time now is right for accelerated communication with Citizens utilising the platforms created so far (digital, electronic ads, meetings, face to face communication  … ) embedding a sense of a  “Democratic Community”  full of focus, energy, and engagement of the citizens, for the citizens, by the citizens.

          American citizens will from now on look for the candidate who can display these three characteristics :  ”  Optimism,  Energy,  and  Electability “.


  “Dieu avec nous”

  Wednesday, January 15, 2020 –  11.19 a.m. (IST).

   Tidbit: ” China is our enemy on Economics ;  Iran because of Donald Trump.” – Senator Amy Klobuchar.

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