Kudos to the ABC/Univision moderators of Thursday's debate, whose questioning of the Democratic candidates was immeasurably more professional than that of the moderators from MSNBC and, especially, CNN. As I watched, I wondered if their professionalism reflected the older, more traditional ethos of broadcast news, rather than cable's appetite for drama. The next debate is back on CNN, in cooperation with the New York Times. One hopes that the Times will serve as a moderating influence – or that CNN will have learned from its mistakes.
Joe Biden was better rehearsed in his talking points this time around; but by hour two, he seemed to be tossing out talking points at random, shifting subjects midstream. Why anybody thinks he could hold his own against Tr*mp is a mystery to me. Contrary to popular (and pundit) opinion, I sincerely believe he is the weakest contender the Democrats possibly could nominate. It's not his age, necessarily. Biden's entire political history is replete with gaffes, missteps, and confusion. Frankly, I think he's just not smart enough to win.
Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders did better this time at explaining how universal health care can be funded, but they still haven't nailed it. Sanders correctly observed that US health care is twice as expensive per capita as Canadian health care, and Warren emphasized total cost to families and the profits taken out of the system by private insurers; but neither produced the kinds of sound bites favored by TV – so the message won't go out as it should.