Democratic Debate 2020 South Carolina

The tenth Democratic debate will air tonight on CBS at 8 PM ET ahead of South Carolina’s primary on Saturday, February 29. There wil be one more candidate on stage tonight, the other billionaire, Tom Steyer. Super Tuesday in March 3 in 14 state and will include California, for the first time, and Texas, the country;’s two most populous states.. Over 1300 delegates will be awarded, 1991 is needed to secure the nomination. A big win by Bernie Sanders could end several campaigns. While there has been much rending of garments in the mainstream media, Dan Froomkin of Salon notes that Nevada should be a wake up call for the news media:

Margaret Sullivan, the Washington Post media writer and highly respected former public editor of the New York Times, called on the political media to ditch the false equivalence and the credulity and the euphemisms — in favor of honest and direct language describing the urgent threat that a newly unbound Donald Trump poses to democracy.

Anand Giridharadas, the noted author and chronicler of the elites, went on MSNBC, where he is a contributor, to call upon his network colleagues and others to stop freaking out about the Bernie Sanders groundswell and instead ask themselves: “What is going on in the lives of my fellow citizens that they may be voting for something I find it so hard to understand?”

Naomi Klein, whose writing so effectively champions social, economic and ecological justice, called on the mainstream media to dispel rather than spread “the barrage of lies” about democratic socialism. “Journalists make choices at key moments in history,” she wrote, “they aren’t mere spectators.”

These three powerful, emotional and urgent calls for fundamental change in the way the elite media covers politics all came on one day – Sunday — and taken together strongly suggest that we are at (or past) what should be an inflection point for the political-journalism industry.

This should be a time to take stock. To reconsider whether core journalistic values are being served by arguably anachronistic methods like “neutrality-at-all-costs,” as Sullivan wrote. To ask if our most dominant news organizations are sleep-walking through “a wake-up moment for the American power establishment,” as Giridharadas said. To rededicate to the most essential job of journalism, which, as Klein put it, is to “educate people.”

Read the entire article and the links to the Sullivan, Klein and Giridharadas pieces. It will change how you watch and read the news..

After the last week’s debate in Nevada, which was the most watched ever, Salon’s Amanda Marcotte has a run down on what to expect from the seven candidates:

Will this be a repeat of Warren’s performance from last week? Coming out of the Las Vegas debate last week, the only news was Warren’s barn-burner of a debate performance. Most of the focus was on how she wrecked Bloomberg, but unfortunately his advertising blitz has held him steady in the polls behind Sanders. But every candidate took some devastating criticism from Warren, who decided to stop trying to be a “unity” candidate and start showing voters she has what it takes to beat Trump.

Will she do it again? Sequels, as we all know, can be risky — but sometimes they can be “Godfather II” or “The Empire Strikes Back.” Warren has nothing to lose at this point: If she doesn’t make significant gains on Tuesday, she’s probably out of the race. She would be well-advised to come out swinging again.

Will Sanders finally take some real damage? So far, most candidates — besides former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg — have been reluctant to court the vicious backlash that comes from criticizing Sanders, a decision that has no doubt contributed to his current poll leader status.

Still, Sanders has some weak spots that are no doubt tempting to go after, especially since this may be the last real chance for other candidates to slow his roll. Just this week, Sanders went on “60 Minutes” and was asked about his 1980s comments that Cubans didn’t rise up against dictator Fidel Castro because “he educated their kids, gave their kids health care, totally transformed society.”

Instead of backing down, Sanders complained that while he condemns authoritarianism, Castro promoted “a massive literacy program” and that’s not “a bad thing”. On Monday, he dug in, saying that while “China is an authoritarian country,” it is also true that the Chinese regime has “taken more people out of extreme poverty than any country in history.”

These comments are widely viewed as politically toxic, particularly if one desires to win Florida, where an increasingly Democratic Latino population is seen as likely to snap back to the Republicans if provoked on the issue of the Castro regime in Cuba. Sanders has a perceived electability problem, and it’s an open question whether his opponents will overcome their fear of backlash enough to challenge him directly on this stuff.

Last stand for Buttigieg, Biden and Amy Klobuchar. The Minnesota senator burned up all of the goodwill from her surprisingly robust finish in New Hampshire by spending the last debate bickering with Buttigieg. She finished a dismal sixth in Nevada and has no realistic path forward after (maybe) winning her home state on Super Tuesday. Mayor Pete, in turn, got in a number of licks on other candidates, but they got lost in the maelstrom Warren brought to Las Vegas. It’s difficult to imagine Buttigieg winning any states in the next week, or even amassing more than a handful of delegates. Similarly, although Biden may yet squeeze out a victory in South Carolina on Saturday, he’s been unable to come up with a viable narrative or even a vaguely compelling reason why people shouldn’t abandon ship now that his star is fading.

It’s just possible that one of those three could turn in a debate performance that puts them back in the running, especially now that voters outside political-junkie circles are tuning in. It’s also incredibly unlikely.

Will Bloomberg live up to his ads? Bloomberg had a miserable debate for his debut in Las Vegas last week: He came off as prickly, wooden and contemptuous of the mere mortals who live without billions of dollars. No doubt many pundits expect him to have learned from his failures and do better this time. Those pundits are failing to understand how being unbelievably rich can shield a person from the self-awareness required for such improvements, especially in such a short period of time.

Tom Steyer will be there. Money really can buy a lot of support, and the presence of two comically inept billionaires on the debate stage is proof of concept. If Steyer is less obnoxious than Bloomberg, that’s a really low bar — and given that he more or less echoes Sanders and Warren’s positions, it’s unclear why he’s not supporting one of them.