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Jonathan Bernstein

Two Democratic Debates, Five Lessons

Some impressions from two nights of pivoting, picking fights and public policy.

Now what?

Now what?

Photographer: Saul Loeb/AFP

I did wrap-ups here and here, but after two nights of Democratic presidential debates, I have some broader impressions about where this week fits into the 2020 campaign:

One other observation. Some have been arguing that the best comparable candidate to Marianne Williamson, the self-help author now seeking the nomination, was the neurosurgeon Ben Carson in 2016. That seems right to me: both non-politicians, both accomplished in their fields, neither particularly interested in public policy. I’ll just say that when Carson gave a debate performance similar to what Williamson did on Thursday, it was wildly popular within his party and he even briefly became the polling leader.

1. Carla Freeman at the Monkey Cage on Chinese President Xi Jinping in North Korea.

2. Rick Hasen on the Supreme Court’s census decision.

3. My Bloomberg Opinion colleague Noah Feldman on the same case

4. Alyssa Rosenberg on the Kamala Harris/Joe Biden debate exchange

5. And Bloomberg’s Saleha Mohsin on President Donald Trump’s new plan to cut capital-gains taxes.

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