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November 2019 Democratic debate analysis – who is about to emerge to take on Trump?

Democratic presidential candidates clashed in a debate over the future of America, which included topics such as healthcare, racial inequality, and their ability to build a winning coalition to take on President Donald Trump next year. The debate was held in Atlanta, GA, and hosted by all-female moderators from MSNBC and The Washington Post.

The November 20th, 2019 night faceoff came after hours of testimony in the impeachment inquiry of Trump and at a critical juncture in the Democratic race to run against him in 2020. With less than three months before the first voting contests, big questions hang over the front-runners, time is running out for lower-tier candidates to make their move, and new Democrats are launching improbable last-minute bids for the nomination.

First let’s look at the polls going into these 5th Democratic debates as of this November 21, 2019:

2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination Emerson Biden 27, Sanders 27, Warren 20, Buttigieg 7, Harris 3, Yang 4, Bloomberg 1, Gabbard 2, Klobuchar 1, Steyer 2, Booker 1, Castro 1, Bennet 0
2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination Economist/YouGov Biden 30, Sanders 12, Warren 22, Buttigieg 9, Harris 4, Yang 2, Bloomberg, Gabbard 3, Klobuchar 2, Steyer 1, Booker 1, Castro 0, Bennet 1
Democratic Predictit November 2019

Much hoopla has been made than in an Iowa specific poll, Buttigieg is leading by 7 points at 23.5%. Looking at the traders at Predictit prediction markets (see inset chart), Elisabeth Warren still holds the lead as well, noting a sharp rise in Buttigieg. Other notables are that Joe Biden keeps sinking and a new entrant Bloomberg. Buttigieg rise is because he is going all-in (including dumping a lot of cash), in Iowa on a do-or-die campaign to catapult him into Super Tuesday … we shall see if it works.

Democratic Debate Stats November 2019

Looking at the word stats (see inset chart), Warren dominates the stage, followed by Biden. Notables that took oxygen out of the hall were Buttiege, Booker, Klobuchar, and Harris. Sanders, the heartthrob of the Progressives, was fairly silent. Then came the also-rans – even Gabbard.

Looking at the topics discussed (see inset chart), featured foreign policy and the ever-present social justice and identity politics agenda of the left. Beyond this, impeachment and anti-Trump talk were the only kumbaya topics that the Democrats could unify around.

You can look at other analyses here, here, here, and here. But to be frank, this was not a game-changing Democratic debate – fairly a yawner, especially in light of the media circus surrounding the ongoing House Democratic impeachment hearings. There were a few zingers back and forth, but nothing notable. Joe Biden, who is still atop of many national polls, had numerous embarrassing gaffes but managed to make some platitudes on issues like foreign policy. If you want a fun video, here is yet another Biden gaffe from the debate:

Seriously joe? Fight domestic violence by punching … lol, you can’t make this stuff up.

As a note, five of the candidates on stage – Sens. Warren, Klobuchar, Booker, Sanders, and Harris – will be required to sit as jurors if any articles of impeachment are sent to the Senate – though not likely. That could provide a boost to candidates like Buttigieg and Biden, who would be free to campaign in Iowa in the key weeks leading up to the Iowa caucuses.

Here are the key takeaways from this Democratic presidential debate for December 2019:

  • No real movement has or will occur on the Democratic nominee’s polls based upon this debate.
  • The dispersion of support between candidates continues (Biden, Warren, and Sanders – along with the also-rans) potentially leading to a brokered convention – boosting a compromise candidate chances like a Bloomberg (click here).
  • A weak Democratic candidate coming out of this nomination process will motivate a potential third party candidate to become more of a reality – though most likely unsuccessful.

The next Democratic debates will be on December 19, 2019, at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and will be hosted by PBS NewsHour and Politico.

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