Thirteen quick takes on the November Democratic debate

With four presidential contenders packed closely together at the top of the field and a majority of Democratic voters not yet committed to a candidate, televised debates could make or break several campaigns between now and the February 3 Iowa caucuses. As Dan Guild discussed here, debates have fueled breakouts for some lower-polling candidates in past election cycles.

If you missed the fifth Democratic debate on November 20, you can read the full transcript here. My thoughts on the evening in Atlanta:

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Biden following Clinton's 2008 Iowa footsteps. Will Warren's surge hold?

Dan Guild puts the latest Iowa caucus poll for the Des Moines Register in historical context. -promoted by Laura Belin

In March of this year, I wrote that Joe Biden’s numbers looked weak for a front-runner. When Selzer & Co’s last poll of Iowa Democratic caucus-goers came out in June, Biden’s numbers were so weak that I wrote he will probably lose Iowa.

Selzer’s new Iowa Poll for the Des Moines Register, CNN, and Mediacom finds Biden losing support since the early summer. It also finds a new front-runner in Iowa who is in the midst of a surge nationally as well: Elizabeth Warren.

Before we get to the horse race numbers, let’s start with the single most important finding from the poll released on September 21:

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Twelve quick takes on the third Democratic debate

First disclaimer: I don’t agree with the Democratic National Committee’s debate criteria and encourage Iowans to keep listening to all the presidential candidates.

Second disclaimer: I doubt anything that happens more than four months before anyone votes will significantly affect the battle for the Democratic nomination. As Dan Guild has shown, history tells us more than half of Iowa Democrats who participated in the 2004 and 2008 caucuses decided in the final month.

That said, here are my thoughts on last night’s three-hour debate at Texas Southern University in Houston.

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Your periodic reminder: No one's clearly favored to win Iowa

Twenty Democratic presidential contenders and Congressional candidate J.D. Scholten spoke to an excited, beyond-capacity crowd at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding on August 9. I love everything about this annual fundraiser in Clear Lake’s historic Surf Ballroom, except for the lack of Wi-Fi service.

C-SPAN posted all of the five-minute presidential candidate speeches with closed captioning transcripts, and the complete video from the evening is available on the Fox 10 Phoenix YouTube page. Mike Dec of the Blog4President website published photo galleries of all the speakers.

I left the Wing Ding with the same takeaways that have crossed my mind after almost every political event I’ve attended this year.

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Gunsmokescreen

Ira Lacher: “Bump stocks and assault weapons notwithstanding, if we seriously want to reduce the number of gun deaths in this country, we need to have a come-to-Jesus debate about guns. But we’re not seeing that debate.” -promoted by Laura Belin

So, Republicans are finally and grudgingly moving forward on gun control. Consider these headlines:

    From USA Today: Trump: Congress discussing ‘meaningful’ gun background checks

    From Breitbart: Mitch McConnell: ‘Assault Weapons’ Ban ‘Front and Center’ in Senate

    From the Washington Times: Trump on gun legislation: ‘Common sense things can be done’

Wow! Guess the public is getting to the president and Congressional Republicans after all. We can breathe easier, now that it seems we’ll be getting some commonsense laws that will at least severely restrict gun violence in America.

Except, no.

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