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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What the debates taught us

Ira Lacher: “For many Americans who only experience candidates through email appeals or in prepackaged videos, the debates provided an opportunity to see them as people.” -promoted by Laura Belin

Now that the first Democratic presidential debates have come and gone, what have we learned?

Forgetting and ignoring what the national media have said, here’s what I learned from my own and others’ observations from two nights of debate-watching parties.

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