His statements, like his affect, seemed to have been designed by an algorithm to make no commitments and risk no offense.
By Moira Donegan
The Guardian (11/21/19)
On Wednesday afternoon, the Biden campaign made a mistake: they prematurely sent out an email meant for later in the evening, after the Democratic presidential debate. “I’m leaving the fifth Democratic debate now,” the email opened, referring to an event that had not yet begun. “I hope I made you proud.” The email alluded to potential attacks on Warren, with the pointed line, “We need more than plans.”
Those attacks from Biden never materialized. In fact, his performance throughout the debate was clumsy, light on substance, and studded with unforced errors much like that of his campaign’s misspent email. In the most memorable and upsetting moment of the night, Biden responded to a question about the #MeToo movement and male violence against women by saying, “We need to keep punching at it, and punching at it, and punching at it,” he said. The comment embraced the logic of violence as a means of dominance and control while pretending to condemn that same pattern. The audience laughed uncomfortably, and Biden did not seem to understand why. “I’m serious,” he said.
The noncommittal moderate
The night may have been the worst in a series of embarrassing debate performances for Biden, and though he remains the frontrunner in many national polls, it is difficult to imagine these moments propelling him to the nomination, let alone the White House. Instead, the surging candidate of the moment is Pete Buttigieg, the young mayor of South Bend, Indiana, a noncommittal moderate who has pulled ahead in the early states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
When Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren was newly in the lead, the November debate featured strenuous attacks on her from the left and right, and many observers, including me, predicted that Buttigieg would face similar scrutiny from his opponents in Wednesday’s debate. But he did not: the other contenders pulled their punches regarding Buttigieg, and for most of the debate made only oblique references to his inexperience and dismal poll performance among the crucial demographic block of black voters.
It is not clear why Buttigieg was not subject to the attacks that Warren was, but it is hard not to suspect that the other candidates were more comfortable attacking the progressive and outspoken Warren, a woman who has defined the terms of the ideological debate in the primary thus far and shifted the party decidedly to the left, than they were attacking the soft spoken male polyglot from South Bend.
For his part, Buttigieg was in his typical form, seeming to adapt to his new role in the top tier of early state candidates as if he has been expecting to be president since childhood. …
‘Wall Street Pete’ Takes The Lead As Big Business & Facebook Candidate In 2020 Field
By Nicole Goodkind
As the once-broad 2020 Democratic primary field condenses, four potential front-runners have pushed ahead: Progressive darlings Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Wall Street favorites former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg. But while Biden still leads in the polls, when it comes to opening hearts (and wallets) of business leaders across America, Buttigieg is shining. …