Seven remaining Democrats laced up their boxing gloves and went after each other under the lights in Charleston, South Carolina. The first 20-30 minutes of a debate are crucial because viewership tends to decline after this window of time. Here is my analysis from the first section of the debate.
The night began with the moderators turning their guns on Bernie Sanders. They brought up a leaked document showing Russia’s alleged intent to help the Sanders campaign. Each debater got to take pot shots at the front-runner, Sanders, and explain the strategic problem of running a candidate who is being backed by Russia. Sanders responded rather weakly to the attack, making a light joke.
Bloomberg was on defense for the first part of the debate, being lambasted by Warren regarding past jokes about women in his corporation. In an interesting twist, the crowd tended to favor Bloomberg and Biden over Sanders and even booed Sanders at certain points. Since tickets to the debate were limited, the only way to guarantee a spot was to purchase a “sponsorship” ranging from $1,750 to $3,200. This creates speculation as to the ideological leanings of the crowd, which would result in boos for Sanders and applause for Biden.
Biden stepped up to the plate in this debate and hit a single. He made clear with his energy in this debate his desire to be president. When attacked, he fought back and defended his record. Biden botched a line later on, citing over 150 million deaths from gun violence since the ‘90s (an obviously false statement). Overall this was a strong showing from Biden and the betting markets added 9% to the likelihood of him winning South Carolina following the debate.
PC: ABC News.