Winners From Tuesday Night’s Debate

Bernie Sanders

Bernie needed a win, and he got one. After trailing Joe Biden for most of his campaign, Sanders has now also fallen behind Warren and is underperforming in many of the same states he won wholeheartedly in 2016. Even more distressingly, Sanders’ biggest liability — his age — became the focal point of political news when he was hospitalized following a heart attack. Glancing at his campaign before the debate, you’d have been forgiven for thinking the Bernie train might have finally derailed.

Elizabeth Warren

Like Muhammad Ali in his prime, Warren absorbed hit after hit during Tuesday night’s debate. Ironically, however, this assault on her policies and political history served only to cement her status as a frontrunner. Effectively parrying challenges to her healthcare proposals, Warren went toe-to-toe with virtually every candidate on stage. This discernible realignment in candidate-on-candidate attention is telling, and Warren’s ability to effectively and concisely defend her campaign make her a notable debate performer.

Pete Buttigieg

Mayor Pete established himself as a true competitor at Tuesday’s debate. Pitching policy options to solve everything from Supreme Court politicization to gun violence, Buttigieg consistently won direct confrontations with each his colleagues. He transitioned effortlessly from countering Tulsi Gabbard’s pro-Assad military platitudes to reprimanding Warren after she failed to adequately explain how she’d finance her healthcare plan, seemingly never wavering or faltering.

Andrew Yang

Though less charismatic than many of his colleagues, Yang began his campaign with one, singular goal: promote the establishment of a universal basic income (UBI). The effects of this concentrated effort were on full display throughout the debate; even competitors like Julián Castro and Gabbard wholeheartedly embraced Yang’s plan. Though the entrepreneur is still a dark horse candidate, Yang’s single-minded dedication to his ideals — and his honed ability to turn any moderator question into a discussion of automation — have already changed the course of these debates.

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Nick Shereikis

Nick Shereikis

Hi! I’m Nick. I‘m interested in mental health, political polarization/rhetoric, and Manchester United — and I write sometimes. Learn more at nickshereikis.com.