Senator Elizabeth Warren, during the debate. On video, reactions in the United States to the Democratic debate. CNN VIDEO: REUTERS
The debate on Tuesday night among the candidates for the Democratic nomination for 2020, the largest in history with 12 participants, has shown how a change in the polls can dramatically alter the game. Leftist Elizabeth Warren, whose upward trajectory has crystallized in recent weeks in her prime time, leading polls aided by the loss of bellows from her main rivals, has discovered tonight what it means to be the favorite. The blows that Joe Biden received in the previous debates have fallen to Warren today from all fronts.
The senator has avoided entering the rag and has managed to focus on her message. But when that message, radical by the standards of the Democratic Party, moves to the center of the debate and undergoes scrutiny, the desire for a centrist alternative also increases. And there were Pete Buttigieg, Beto O'Rourke, Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, attacking Warren to try to provide that alternative that until now monopolized Joe Biden. "I value Elizabeth's work but, again, what differentiates an impossible dream plan is that it is something you can really do," Senator Klobuchar summed up.RELATED
Months go by and the most lagging candidates need a moment of glory to get their heads out of the crowd or simply get out of an irrelevance that is already too long. Seeking the contrast with Warren, the candidates claimed a prominent position in the center. Klobuchar and Buttigieg have shone in the attempt, coming to explain Biden better than Biden himself.
But, by giving Warren the target of the attacks, the former vice president has stood out more than in any of the previous debates. The more Warren rises, the more moderates the figure will need to close ranks, and that pragmatism is precisely the trick that Biden plays from the beginning.
The favorite of the moderates has emerged gracefully, in the first stages of the debate, the predictable questions about his son Hunter. The business of this in Ukraine, on which President Trump asked to investigate his counterpart Volodímir Zelenski in the telephone conversation that has motivated the start of the impeachment process, have placed the former vice president and hitherto favorite in the race in an awkward situation. Hunter Biden has recently published a statement to which his father has referred, allowing him to close an issue in which his rivals, convinced of the irresponsibility that would throw doubts or show fissures in the impeachment, have not wanted to insist either.
After the drink, the former vice president has managed to play his cards and make clear his message: the value of the experience. Whether in foreign policy – “I am the only one in this scenario who has spoken with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and with (Turkish Recep Tayyip) Erdogan” – or on the issue of arms control – “I am the only one that has planted face and defeated the National Rifle Association ”-. "We all have good ideas," Biden said. “But who is better prepared? Who can carry them out? He has even allowed himself, and against his custom, to criticize Warren, whose universal health plans he has labeled "lazy."
His tactics of valuing experience has also helped him overcome the question of whether he is too old to be president (he is 76 years old). A question that has also been asked to Warren (70) but, of course, was addressed above all to Senator Bernie Sanders, 78, for whom the debate involved returning to the campaign after suffering a myocardial infarction.
"I'm healthy, I'm feeling great," Sanders said. And then he thanked "from the bottom of his heart" the samples of support received, including those of his debate partners, in a gesture that has humanized a candidate who carries a certain stigma of being always angry. Despite this, the debate has confirmed that, today, it is no longer he but Warren who reigns in the leftist sector. Although the senator, who already faced Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primary, has received valuable support from outside the Ohio stage where the debate was taking place: the team of the popular congressman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has assured that it will take advantage of the rally that Sanders plans to give this weekend in New York to support him.
The themes have been the usual ones in the Democratic dialectic, but the pattern they were measuring on this occasion was Warren's program, which has spoken almost 23 minutes, six more than Joe Biden, the second most time he has had. Thus, on the issue of health reform, moderate candidates have assaulted Warren with questions about how he intends to finance his proposal for universal public coverage. Unlike Sanders, who defends a generalized fiscal increase to pay for his dramatic health reform, Warren has resisted answering clearly if to finance his plan he would have to raise the taxes to the middle classes. His favorite position makes it difficult for him to maintain ambiguity, and Buttigieg has been quick to put it in evidence. "We've heard it tonight," he said. "A question of yes or no that has not obtained a yes or no."
Other hot topics and where Democrats collide more with the Trump Administration, such as immigration and climate change, have shone by their absence in a debate that has lasted three hours. A total of 180 minutes in which, by the way, the president has not dedicated any tweets to the 12 people who seek to replace him in the White House in 2020.