Obamacare Won the Republican Debate

Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg View columnist. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.
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1. The Upshot’s Brendan Nyhan gets it exactly right: Joe Biden is running, but will probably drop out soon.

2. At the Monkey Cage, Joshua Tucker has the Twitter data from the debate.

3. Studying those data is a great idea! But I’m with John Sides, who cautions against assuming what they mean before investigating.

4. Solid debate summary from Richard Skinner at Mischiefs of Faction.

5. Jason McDaniel at The New West on housing and liberals in San Francisco.

6. After the debate, I noted that Republican candidates avoided talking about policy. Matt Yglesias at Vox furnishes plenty of (non-)examples. I’ll be watching, but I expect the Democrats to be very different when they get around to debating. As I said, I do believe that several of these candidates are perfectly capable of proposing real conservative policies; they just don’t have much incentive to do so.

7. Vox’s Sarah Kliff, meanwhile, calls Obamacare the big winner at the debate, mainly because the Republican candidates almost completely ignored it. We’ll see. I suspect the reason was less that Republican opposition has cooled as implementation goes (more or less) well, but because the Fox gotcha question style didn’t happen to push it as a topic. But she could be correct!

8. And “Mr. Spock finally has his beard.” Kevin Drum sums up one of the more bizarre episodes in presidential nomination/reality programming history.

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This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author on this story:
Jonathan Bernstein at jbernstein62@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor on this story:
Cameron Abadi at cabadi2@bloomberg.net