The Democratic debate in Las Vegas marked the end of the group hug the Democrat candidates have been indulging in during the past debates.
Now, they can no longer maintain the illusion that they are the “nice” party. In Vegas, the gloves came off and the slugfest began.
The more established candidates were ready to attack the latest candidate, former mayor of New York and billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who stepped onto the debate stage for the first time in this campaign season.
Bloomberg has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising a larger than life image of himself, portraying himself as a centrist. The ads worked, fueling a meteoric rise in the national polls. Bloomberg went into the debate second in polling only to Bernie Sanders. His lavish spending triggered both the Democrats and President Trump to accuse him of buying the nomination.
The Democrat contenders did not pull their punches on the debate stage. Elizabeth Warren, in her opening salvo, landed some serious blows, going after Bloomberg’s record on women, stop and frisk, redlining, and tax returns.
“I would like to talk about who we are running against, a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians, and no I am not talking about Donald Trump, I am talking about Mayor Bloomberg.”
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) February 20, 220
Bloomberg, to his credit, attacked communism, socialism, and medicare for all. He pointed out that he was the only person on the stage that had actually started a business. He exposed Sanders’ hypocrisy, saying,
BLOOMBERG: “What a wonderful country we have! The most well-known socialist in the country is a millionaire with three houses.”
SANDERS: “Well I live in Washington.”
BLOOMBERG: “That’s the problem.”pic.twitter.com/bTWxnKVJFR
— Jason Howerton (@jason_howerton) February 20, 2020
Even so, Bloomberg did not do well on the debate stage, which pundits predicted and it seems they were right. To make things worse, embarrassing video and soundbites keep turning up, like this one about Trump:
Mike Bloomberg looked really uncomfortable last night. I mean, it was his first *Democratic* debate ever.
But look how much happier he was gushing about Donald Trump in 2011 — at a time when Trump was leading the birther movement. pic.twitter.com/13iVxqMM3d
— Andrew Bates (@AndrewBatesNC) February 20, 2020
Trump wins another Democrat debate
At a rally in Utah the next day, Bloomberg admitted that Donald J. Trump won another Democrat debate.
#WATCH: Mike Bloomberg on Dem debate:
“The real winner in the debate last night was Donald Trump…I worry that we may very well be on the way to nominating somebody who cannot win in November…a candidate like Senator Sanders, it will be a fatal error.”pic.twitter.com/j9Kjy87SV8
— Jennifer Franco (@jennfranconews) February 20, 2020
The Socialism/Sanders problem
With all eyes on Bloomberg, there was less pressure on Sanders. Still, the controversy over Sanders’ lead is interesting to watch as the Democrats lurch farther to the left but fear to openly embrace socialism.
Sanders’ campaign has been under attack as the Democrat establishment worries that he cannot win the presidency as an avowed socialist. Many, such as Democrat strategist James Carville and MSNBC host Chris Matthews, are warning that Sanders is a bad candidate. The Democrats are in a pickle, and many fear that even if Bernie goes into the convention with the most delegates, he won’t be the nominee. There is even talk of a brokered convention.
Sanders’ supporters are arguing that the person with the most delegates should win the nomination. Sanders senior adviser Jeff Weaver stated, “If you go in there with a strong plurality, that person should be the nominee.” Some Sanders supporters have threatened mayhem if Sanders is robbed of the nomination a second time.
How will it all turn out? We will just have to wait and see, and finally, the waiting and the seeing, thanks to Bloomberg and Sanders, has become more interesting. The Democrat Debate on Saturday Night Live should be very entertaining this weekend.