Seven Big Reveals about Biden, Warren, Harris and the 2020 Civil War in the Democratic Party | Opinion

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) greet each other at the start of the Democratic Presidential Debate at the Fox Theatre on July 30 in Detroit, Michigan Justin Sullivan/Getty

I believe the theme for round two of the Democratic presidential debates last week was the "moderates strike back." Unlike the first two debates, which seemed like a competition to see who could promise the most free stuff, some of the Democratic candidates actually awakened to the "possibility" that many voting Americans don't simply want to take from their fellow citizens.

Let's begin with some statistics. Viewership was down dramatically by about seven million viewers compared to the two nights of debates back in June. There were about two million more viewers on night two than on night one; similar to what happened in the June debates. What did the two second nights have in common? Joe Biden was a night two participant both times.

The most "Googled" candidates were Marianne Williamson on Tuesday night (49 out of 50 states) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard on Wednesday (50 out of 50 states). While poll numbers are not out as of this writing, there seems to be some consensus that of the early top-tier candidates, only Kamala Harris had a potentially damaging performance.

Now, allow me to go a layer deeper to explain what we really learned from this cast of characters, spread over two nights, in what felt like a fundraising telethon to support government handouts.

First, the Blue Dog Democrats may not be willing to ride off into the red dawn (yet). John Hickenlooper, John Delaney, Steve Bullock and Tim Ryan all had moments where they stood up against the Bolshevik wing of the Democratic Party and said, in varying ways, "stop making promises you can't keep." Ryan had perhaps the best line of the two nights when he said that Democrats had to fight for people who "take a shower after work." This a direct admonishment of Democrats who have forsaken the working-class men and women who used to form their core support.

The first set of debates resulted in this more traditional Democratic voice being almost completely silenced. This time around, however, the more level-headed Democrats must have finally realized there was little to lose by speaking with clarity and integrity. In so doing, they signaled the true beginning of the fight for the soul of the Democratic Party.

Second, Joe Biden may not be up for this. Immediately after the debate, network commentators talked about what a solid performance Biden had compared to the first round. This is only because the bar had been set so extraordinarily low after his June debate. Also, proximity was playing a trick on them. They were equating Biden's final two debate exchanges, where he finally showed signs of life, and a coherent closing statement (save for his Joe 30330 gaffe), with his bumbling and frankly awful performance overall. For the vast majority of the night he seemed tired and confused. No one wants to be ageist, but when you are 76 years old and running for President of the United States, you must be sharp. In this respect he failed miserably. As the field narrows, Biden will be faced with even more debate minutes, and as the current frontrunner, he will continue to have a giant target on his back. Right now, there are serious doubts about whether or not he's up to this monumental task.

Third, when at fault, blame Russia. Cory Booker, with a form of logic so twisted it would leave pretzels envious, explained how Democrats lost Michigan in 2016 because of Russian interference. Kamala Harris, after the debate, blamed the successful jabs of Tulsi Gabbard aimed at Harris' spotty record as a California prosecutor on none other than Russian disinformation! "The Russians did it" will be the catchall phrase used to cover up for any real or perceived Democrat vulnerabilities.

Fourth, Democrats are going to run on correcting the failures in the health care system without admitting that they created them. Every Democrat wants to fix health care and the Bolshevik wing wants a single payer system. What none of them want to acknowledge, however, is that the current broken system is of their design. Obamacare was passed in 2010 and since then health insurance markets have been in free fall as premiums skyrocket. There's nothing like promising to use government to fix a problem that government—led by Democrats—created in the first place.

Fifth, Mayor Pete is appointing himself Holy American Emperor. Buttigieg is known for citing scripture and lecturing others on what it means to be a "good Christian." He continued his self-righteous sanctimony by referring to conservatives who oppose raising the minimum wage as "so-called Christians," invoking a verse from Proverbs in the process. If he thinks he will win Christians over by giving his own Sermon on the Mount, I think he's in for a big surprise.

Sixth, the mantra of the Bolshevik wing is "Government isn't doing enough." On Tuesday night, Elizabeth Warren received a large applause after saying she couldn't believe the candidates on stage were having a conversation about "what they can't do." Her point is that no progressive should run for president if he or she believes there are limits to what the government can accomplish! Warren's line came after a series of exchanges that felt like a parody from Annie Get Your Gun: Anything you give away, I can give away better, I can give away everything better than you.

Seventh, and lastly, President Trump may be on to something with Baltimore. While the biggest story of the week of the debate was the president taking on Rep. Elijah Cummings and the corrupt, rat-infested city of Baltimore, the candidates, and the moderators, left the subject conspicuously alone. With most American urban centers sharing two characteristics, decay and Democratic leadership, the candidates find themselves on shaky ground in trying to defend the status quo. Mayor de Blasio, please take note.

The Democrats are facing a dilemma that has been building since Woodrow Wilson. After a century of promising citizens more and more from government, while at the same time making them increasingly dependent on government, the only thing they have left to promise is everything. While some, like Delaney, understand that "promising everything" is akin to "fairy tale economics," most of them will undoubtedly continue their race to the left to woo more primary voters.

If the party's moderates lose this existential tug-of-war, then in the words of Marianne Williamson, "I'm afraid the Democrats are going to see some very dark days."

Charlie Kirk is the founder and executive director of Turning Point USA, the nation's largest and fastest growing conservative youth organization with a presence on over 1,400 college and high school campuses; he is also host of "The Charlie Kirk Show."

The opinions expressed in this essay are the author's own.

Seven Big Reveals about Biden, Warren, Harris and the 2020 Civil War in the Democratic Party | Opinion | Opinion
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