Thursday, July 18, 2019

On this #MandelaDay2019

Today is Mandela Day.    We join in calling upon the World to take 67 Minutes to do what they can to make a difference in our World Today.  


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Notations From the Grid (Special Mid-Week Edition): Perspectives on @POTUS, #TheSquad & Remembering a Justice

In the aftermath of the US House of Representatives Vote yesterday to condemn President Trump, the late night scene in the United States weighed in.  We hereby present a sampling as we also note this courtesy of the Columbia Journalism Review which our team released last night over our Twitter Property, OrdinaryFaces as we also pay tribute to the late Associate Justice of the United State Supreme Court, John Paul Stevens, who passed away at the age of 99 yesterday:  

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Notations From the Grid (Weekly Edition): On @POTUS Watch Today in the Network

We view today as a challenging day in the aftermath of the deliberations  in the aftermath of President Trump's tweets and the vote in the House of Representatives.   As  our team decided to headline this declaration from the crew of Apollo 11 as we also feature the latest from the Editor of The Bulwark that captures the challenges faced by the GOP in the aftermath of the challenges of the last few days exemplified by what we captured on our daily assessment over Twitter:

We close out with this from the Editor of the Bulwark, JV Last that captures the challenge represented by the GOP in the aftermath of the Vote today and the stance taken by GOP Leaders:

1. Trump and the GOP

This is the passage that struck me most in the George Conway piece everyone is talking about:
What’s just as bad, though, is the virtual silence from Republican leaders and officeholders. They’re silent not because they agree with Trump. Surely they know better. They’re silent because, knowing that he’s incorrigible, they have inured themselves to his wild statements; because, knowing that he’s a fool, they don’t really take his words seriously and pretend that others shouldn’t, either; because, knowing how damaging Trump’s words are, the Republicans don’t want to give succor to their political enemies; because, knowing how vindictive, stubborn and obtusely self-destructive Trump is, they fear his wrath.

What is it, exactly, that we want from elected Republicans?

In a perfect world, what we'd want is some combination of the following:
  • Universal condemnation of Trump's remarks.
  • Reaching out to Democrats in order to establish a bipartisan response showing unity of purpose.
  • Backing of a formal censure or similar statement of legislative condemnation.
The problem is that we do not now, nor have we ever lived in a perfect world.

So I would suggest that while this is a reasonable hope, it would be an unreasonable expectation.

In the real world, there is some percentage of elected Republicans who simply will not criticize President Trump.

Their reasons may differ. Some of them genuinely believe that it is not their place. Some genuinely believe that their party is bigger than any one man and must be supported at all costs. Some genuinely believe that criticizing Trump will produce worse outcomes than not criticizing him.

And some genuinely believe that Trump is right on the merits. Which is to say, they also wish that brown people would just "go back to their own countries."

Which leaves us with a Republican party in which only some percentage would even want to criticize or censure Trump, even if they got a free pass for doing so.

Would that percentage by 80 percent? Or 50 percent? Or 40 percent?

I don't know. But it doesn't really matter because the reality is that it means that the Republican party can't/won't criticize Trump. Only some portion of it could/would.

So when we say that we want Republicans to condemn Trump here, we're saying that we want them to break the party.

That's a big ask.

2. The Case For Blowing It All Up

First, let's make the case for not blowing up the GOP.

Let's say you're a Republican office holder who despises Trump. Some nice, handsome fellow named Sen Basse. Or Gike Mallagher.

If you keep your head down and let this pass, you stay in the game and will have some say in future events. But that's not the real point. You can't predict the future and maybe you're never in a position to add real value.

No, the real point is that if you blow it all up there's an excellent chance you'll be replaced by, well, someone like Greg Gianforte. Or Steve King.

Which is to say, instead of having some Republicans in Congress who quietly disagree with Trump's racism, you'll have more people who eagerly and vociferously agree with it.

That would give me pause, too.

And further, what would your condemnations really accomplish right now? The 2020 election is close enough that it's the only thing that really matters, but far enough away that there's plenty of time for people to forget all about this incident.

If the Trump Experience has taught us anything, it's that there's always more.

So maybe you decide that institutions matter and that you'd rather work within the system.


On the other hand, Republicans have been telling themselves that same story since 2015 and how's that been working out for them?

At just about every step in Trump's ascension, Republicans who had the power to stop him chose not to, for more or less the reasons outlined above.

The biggest of these missed opportunities was Paul Ryan's decision not to mount an active campaign against Trump following the Access Hollywood tape.

Had Ryan actively turned on Trump and called on other Republicans to do the same, he would have broken the party. That's a 100 percent certainty.

But Trump would not be president today. That's also a 100 percent certainty.

Which means that all of the damage Trump has inflicted on the GOP since 2016 wouldn't have happened. Without the power of the White House, his institutional hold on the party would have been broken.

Paul Ryan's political career would have been over, too. But then, that was inevitable at the time anyway. Ryan just didn't realize it.

So there's the case for Republicans actually speaking their mind:

You might break the party.

You might sacrifice your political career.

But those things are happening already. Right now.

With every passing corruption, the institutional value of the party diminishes. (Remember, institutions are only forces for good when they are in the right hands. When bad people control them, institutions can be deeply destructive.)

And if you disagree with President Trump on whether or not your political opponents should "go back to their own country" then you are out of step with your party. And that bill will come due eventually.

Just ask Paul Ryan.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Notations On Our World (Special Monday Edition): On #Syria, @realDonaldTrump & Other Thoughts....

 As a new week dawns, we have been assessing the state of our World. 82 people lost their lives in the Mediterranean on their way to Europe. The President of the United States went after four sitting members of Congress telling them to go back to their Countries--although three of them were born in the United States and one of them came to the United States at an early age. The US Border crisis continues to be a profound challenge. The Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, came out asking for Iranians to work for free because he noted that Iran is in a state of War--and in our view, he forgot that it has been the Islamic Republic that has been the culprit. Our team will continue to assess it--as we have been on the prowl of the plight of the 14 who signed a declaration calling for Regime Change in Iran. Two of them have been detained and others have been subject to Harassment and Intimidation. 

As we went to Press, the Tehran Stock Exchange--Iran's Main Stock Exchange--suffered one of its' worst losses ever. One of the results of Iranian Policy in the Region has been the killing fields of Syria. Our team released a notation in our ordinary faces property over the week-end. We decided to headline one chapter of it here--however, we will be featuring a chapter in our Ordinary Faces property starting with Chapter 1 twice week with commentary throughout our Ordinary Faces Property as we commend the United States Holocaust Museum for the support they've extended and as we also commend the Iranian Filmmaker Maziar Bahari for his brilliant production. Mr. Bahari was detained in the aftermath of the Green Movement Protests in 2009 before being released. His predicament was the subject of a Jon Stewart Movie, Rosewater, that featured two of the leading Iranian Actresses, Shohreh Aghdashloo and Golsifteh Farahani.

A  challenging week ahead....

Friday, July 12, 2019

Notations On Our World (Friday Edition): Out & About....

US Government Could Run out of Money, But That's not the Real StoryOur team pulled together a sampling of the discourse on the politics as the US Political campaign has begun and the profound challenges courtesy the Real News and the political campaigns:
Bill Black demystifies the reality of debt, what really’s happening, and why the politics of debt is so convoluted

Honduras Now Ruled By A
Honduran Congressman Ramón Soto Bonilla says it is now more dangerous in Honduras to be a land defender than a narco-trafficker

Poll: Religion in Decline in Arab Countries, Anger at the U.S Growing
James Zogby of the Arab American Institute discusses the results of a large survey conducted by the BBC in 11 Arab countries among 25,000 responders. The results show interesting developments in Arab public opinion on matters of religion and politics

The Pentagon's Carbon Boot Print
Two new studies show that the U.S. military consumes more fossil fuels—and emits more greenhouse gases—than many countries    


US Violates Nuclear Non-Proliferation Obligations, Undermining Credibility With Iran and N. Korea 
Trump administration officials deploy a basic lack of understanding and contradictory policies towards Iran and North Korea, despite dealing with a similar problem: nuclear proliferation. We discuss the issue with Phyllis Bennis and Tim Shorrock
Warren for President
  here’s something we’re really proud of:

Our average contribution is just $28. And over 80% of our grassroots donors gave for the first time in the last three months.

And after today’s FEC fundraising announcement, everyone who’s watching our campaign has one question: Can they keep it up? These next few months are going to be critical, and we all need to keep fighting together.

That’s why we’re asking you, Mike — can you chip in $3 today to continue fighting for Elizabeth’s vision for America?
If you've saved payment info with ActBlue Express, your donation will process automatically:

Tomorrow we're sending the first batch of stickers to the printer, and your name isn't on the list yet.
Bernie FDR sticker
This is a brand-new sticker design we released this month, and it's inspired by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Our campaign is carrying out FDR's vision by fighting for an economic bill of rights including health care for all, education for all, and jobs for all.
You can show you're a part of that fight by chipping in to receive this new sticker. We're sending a list to the printer tomorrow, and this offer won't be around much longer.
we’re working on getting all of our “Biden for President” stickers out and we’re getting to the bottom of the barrel.

So before this order of stickers runs out, we wanted to make sure you had this limited opportunity: Claim your Biden for President sticker -- and YOU can pick the price!

We’re not putting a price on these stickers -- no matter what you can afford to pay you deserve to display that you’re on Team Joe! So any donation you can afford, even $1 or more, will cover the cost of the sticker and shipping, and then the rest will go towards electing Joe Biden!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Notations On Our World (Special Thursday Edition): On the Week That Was..

It has been quite a week in our World.   We decided to capture headlines on #ClimateEmergency, the 4th of July and the challenges in Europe and the United Kingdom:

Monday, July 8, 2019

Notations On Our World (Weekly Edition): Out & About in Our World....

It is the dawn of a new and yet busy week at the Daily Outsider.   The US Women's Soccer Team won the World Cup for the 4th Year in a Row.   We congratulate the team on its' momentous achievement.

We chose the headlines from our assessment around the Grid because of what we believe-a sense of hope in line with our mission to help change the conversation about our World.    Greece, for instance, decided on a profound change as it the leftist government was defeated and a new Prime Minister is slated to be sworn in tomorrow.   This is as we have also been assessing the change of leadership in Europe which will have a Notation on it later on this week.

Beyond Europe, there is the on-going challenges with Iran.  Iran's economy is teetring and our team released a special edition of Notations on it earlier.  In our view, the gamble by the Iranian authorities on Uranimum enrichment was captured brilliantly by a depicition by an Iranian Civics Organization:

As we begin, we begin fy first and foremost extending a Happy Birthday to the Father of the Gaia Theory, James Lovelock as we note this admonition from him, "...If there were a billion people living on the planet, we could do whatever we please. But there are nearly seven billion. At this scale, life as we know it today is not sustainable. – How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth’s Climate, 2010..." 

We were also saddened as we note the passing of the legendary Brazilian artists Joao Gilberto.  He passed away over the Week-End.   His legacy will live on as we hope all enjoy this selection we chose of a classic he did with the great Stan Getz:

RIP Joae Gilberto--Your legacy will live on!!

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Notations On Our World (Special Edition): On Iran vs. The United States

As we went to press, Iran had reached out to France to intercede to try to negotiate a way out of the crisis that has seen oil markets--Iran's main source of revenue--cut off from the World.   An Iranian Tanker was seized by British Royal Marines which triggered strong reaction from the ruling clerics in Tehran.

Our team will continue to assess this over the ensuing days.     

Friday, July 5, 2019

Education Should Add To The Critical Employment Potential Of Countries; Of College graduates, 'Formal' And 'Informal' Sectors

College education adds to the critical employment potential of countries, so this should be an opportunity for education to create an entrepreneurial culture among graduates. 

Thanks +The Boston Globe of Sunday January 6th 2013. As a man recently from Africa, I have met graduates on the Streets of Lagos, Cape Town, Kampala, Nairobi, Dar-es-Salaam, Addis-Ababa and Brazzaville. I have also met non-graduates in various categories. These were functionally engaged in businesses termed as 'informal-sector'. They were the City backbone and had the best places for cheaper food, transport and businesses spaces. Many employed graduates. That is in Africa.

Education provides skills and gives many opportunities to get into the formal sector. Here they enjoy job security, salaries, trappings and means to improve on themselves further. They pursue their goals with confidence and command respect in society. Education gives one the possibility to earn sums of money commensurate to their levels of learning and skills.

The labour market: What is that? Careers? Buildings with offices? Larger storied buildings with big notices calling on applicants to fill in short and long term job contracts?

In Africa one meet graduates making life changing decisions such as taking up jobs in; artisanry, masonry, construction, manufacturing, sales, indigenous herb pharmaceuticals, transport, running video-music kiosks, second-hand trade, teaching, music, dance and drama and modelling. One is also seeing many staying at their parents' homes. 

In USA, we see many graduates taking up jobs as; waiters, waitresses, sales-persons, manufacturing, construction, internet-based businesses, car detailing and call center operatives even when they may be BA English Major or Chemical Engineers with Summa Cum Laude. There is a lesson to learn here. There is need to equip all students with entrepreneur skills so that they can adjust to the changes of life as well transition prevail within the existing market.

A quick look into who constitute this change and what degrees they carry reveals that science and liberal liberal Arts graduates need entrepreneur skills alike.

In Africa and other parts of the world, some advice is called for to craft these degrees to have a business/entrepreneurial component attached to them:

1. Governments have long promised loans to students but the loans are long coming.
2. Students should use their time at Universities to 'sandwich' into shorter certificate courses which teach targeted skills.
3. Cooperatives and Communities where members come together to engage in say, agricultural production should be promoted.
4. The idea of training young people (whether graduates or not) in job-related skills and Technical skills should also be a priority and an addition to all Degrees.
5. The Rural-City migration is following a pattern of social amenities which are better. Governments should make rural communities equally amenable. Jobs will follow this.

The Individual, The Structural, The Private And The Public: Elasticization of Jurgen Habermas' Inquiry Into Categories Of Society

Why should states, corporations, organizations, communities and clubs (societies) be concerned about the individuals that make them up?

I argue that this concern should spring from the fact that individuals are both subjective and objective. They reason, are driven and self preserving. They can look at themselves as resources whose resourcefulness can be fully leveraged only when they are supported or given opportunities to explore life, grow and develop. 

Individuals who are allowed to enjoy and benefit from opportunities become innovative, motivated  and productive. This is the buttress for empathy, integrity, fairness and compassion.

But first individuals have to be allowed to become self aware, self propelling and self motivated to contribute to their own and others' lives. 

The move from self awareness to self recognition goes through different steps. Reasoning, action, inaction, engagement, avoidance, passiveness or activeness are some of the means through which transformation is perceived. 

This is how the individual is able to understand their diverse world. The twists and turns that uniqueness, diversity, collective responsibility and upholding esteem call for are easily understood when individuals have opportunities to navigate the universe at temporal and physical levels. This is known as industriousness.

Industriousness is an opportunity that promotes transformation which in turn gives agency its meaning. Agency has intrinsic characters which if put to use improve responsibility bearing, navigate problem-posing situations, motivate problem-solving initiatives and leverage best practices outcomes at individual and  in community/social settings.

If misused (by discriminatory tendencies), they can lead to confusion, dissatisfaction, disaffection, denigration, deprivation and denial that in turn affects self awareness, self recognition and self preservation.  

It takes justice to address the deprivation.

But, why should one obsess about correcting confusion, discrimination, denigration, deprivation and denial?

One reason, why we should be concerned is because humans must first fulfill the conditions that rid them of confusion, discrimination, denigration, deprivation and denial if they are to attain a state of industriousness at individual, family, community and social levels.

Habermas characterized these as the subjective filters through which a bourgeois society (industrious, able to provide self sustenance and engaging in a form of labor) is formed. 

It is when the humans can see themselves in this light that they become agents of change. Their mobility within private and public spheres is ensured. This mobility is catalyst for exchange of benefits that improve humans. The private person only becomes fully developed once this person allows the public to inform meaning for the questions, needs and curiosities as one develops. The public (authority, collectives, laws and regulations) needs the private because it is from the private that forms of innovations are generated (reason, ideas, creativity and inventions). Both the private and public are resources that mutually coexist. 

Industriousness allows individual to develop the private sphere, which in turn feeds into the public one. Industriousness fuels productiveness. This is what is presented to the public and in turn impacts quality and quantity. This mechanism for consistency's sake becomes a structure on which people can rely for dependability and sustenance. 

Positively done, it promotes human upliftment. The positive aspects include: inclusion, affirmative action, upholding the laws and justice. 

Negatively done it sparks destitution for the deprived which breeds strife. 

The negative aspects include: deliberate discrimination or non-inclusion objectives. 

The individual is as important as the structures that promote self preservation, growth, development, diversity and continuity. 

The benefit of investing in individuals pays back in form of innovativeness, motivation, productiveness, empathy, integrity, fairness, compassion, resourcefulness, reasoning, action, inaction, engagement, avoidance, passiveness, activeness and capacity to gauge or cause transformation. The individual is the primary building block for a family, community, society, organization and a state. 

In appreciating the individual, one has to appreciate the characteristic categories that make up this individual. This appreciation then can be used to build the categories of society. For this to be effective, mechanisms should be in place that ensure individuals are provided opportunities for mobility between the private and public spheres. This is how they contribute to the betterment of themselves and others. Whoever deprives the individual is not only abusive and tyrannical but the deprived person cannot fully grow and develop.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Notations On Our World (Special Q-End Edition): On The #DemDebate2020 & Other Thoughts

Changing The Conversation About Our World (Our Mission-Courtesy Financial Times) 
It has been quite a month and Quite a Quarter.   We decided to adopt a new logo to underscore our mission to help change the conversation about our World courtesy of the Financial Times.   

We are gearing up for a new quarter.   Please enjoy the takeaways we compiled on the Democratic Debates: 

We close out with this from Sabato's Crystal Ball on the analysis of the campaign.  We will be going dark in our properties through 4th of July here in the United States.  We wish all in the United States and Happy and Safe 4th of July.


- 2 Debates, 20 Candidates, 26 Hours

- Center for Politics Wins Emmy for CHARLOTTESVILLE Documentary
And some words, more than one, on all the participants

By Larry J. Sabato and Kyle Kondik
Sabato's Crystal Ball


-- Do not necessarily assume that this first debate will dramatically reshape the Democratic primary race.
-- The biggest moment from either night was almost certainly Kamala Harris’ attack on Joe Biden.
-- The leftward shift of many Democrats may be heartening to the president as he tries to turn a referendum election into a choice election.

Referendum or choice in 2020?

The opening two debates of what Democrats hope is the 2020 Donald Trump Demolition Derby are in the books. Ultimately, the polls and maybe the upcoming donation totals will tell us whether there were any clear winners, and whether the debate changed anything.
We are now in what feels like a disorienting part of a four-year presidential cycle featuring a presidential incumbent. Even though any president is essentially the center of the American political universe -- particularly Donald Trump, who insists on dominating the day-to-day news -- he is strangely sidelined in the race that will produce his opponent. Other than the State of the Union, the regularly-scheduled big primetime political events of the next year -- the debates, and the caucus and primary results -- will not include him as a major participant, in all likelihood. On one hand, that’s great for the president: He has a clear path to renomination. On the other hand, Trump -- like Barack Obama at this same point in the political calendar eight years ago -- has to share the spotlight with a huge number of competitors.
Then again, the president may enjoy what he’s hearing. Three of the leading candidates -- Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Bernie Sanders -- raised their hand when asked if they would abolish private insurance as part of a Medicare-for-all plan. One wonders if that would be a position that’s a bridge too far in a general election: a lesson of the last three decades seems to be that proposing change from the health care status quo is politically problematic. Republicans also will use the concept of providing health care coverage for undocumented people against the eventual Democratic nominee.
The next election may be similar to the last couple of elections featuring incumbent presidents: 2004 and 2012. The incumbents those years, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, wanted the election to be a choice between them or their challengers; the challengers, John Kerry and Mitt Romney, respectively, wanted the election to be a referendum on the incumbent. Bush and Obama found enough cracks in their opponents that they avoided the kind of straight referendum that could have doomed either. Trump is clearly trying to make this election a choice, too; if it’s a referendum on him, he probably won’t win, given his middling approval ratings. It may be that the policies some of the Democrats support give Trump weapons to use as he tries to present the election as a choice.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves – the candidate who will emerge to be the alternative to Trump remains a mystery. Here’s what we thought of every candidate over the two nights of debates:


Vice President Joe Biden: The former vice president was the quasi-incumbent on stage. Standing right behind him was the outline of Barack Obama, still enormously popular among Democrats. Just as you would expect, Biden invoked Obama to good effect on several occasions, but Biden was forced to own his pre-vice presidential years all by himself. Biden escaped unmentioned and unharmed the first night, but once present, he wasn’t so lucky. Bernie Sanders made sure the audience recalled that Biden voted for the Iraq war and Sanders voted against. Michael Bennet clocked Biden for a compromise with Mitch McConnell that preserved the Bush tax cuts. But it was Kamala Harris who memorably confronted Biden about the vice president’s praise for segregationist senators with whom he had worked in his early Senate career (Biden denied his comments were praise). Harris powerfully reproached Biden for his opposition to school busing to achieve racial balance in the 1970s, noting that she had benefitted from busing. It was another time and place, and older observers (including one of us) recall that plenty of Democrats were damaged or defeated because of their support of busing, which was greatly unpopular among whites and also disliked by many blacks, because it limited extracurricular activities and resulted in many students leaving home very early and returning home after dark. But none of that matters now, and Biden is paying a price. Biden didn’t answer these criticisms well, and some of his staff privately said he hadn’t followed the script they’d devised. Yet while Biden didn’t soar, we doubt he was fatally damaged by any of this. Nonetheless, as frontrunner, Biden can look forward to many more attacks. Whether this sharpens Biden for the campaign against Trump (should he win the nomination) or deconstructs Biden on his way to losing the Democratic nod, we cannot guess.
California Sen. Kamala Harris: As just suggested, Harris was widely viewed as the winner of the second night’s debate since she managed to corner Biden while most of her rivals steered clear of challenging the former vice president. Some critics found her to be too hard-edged, even mean, but that was not a view widely shared among Democratic pols and pundits. Simply put, Harris is a contender. We’ll be surprised if she doesn’t show movement in the next round of polls. Harris’s objective is clear. She needs to shake or split Biden’s strong African-American support so she can scoop it up (presumably, though Cory Booker and others have a different plan for those voters). At the very least, debate watchers in July and beyond are going to pay close attention every time she has the floor.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders: The irascible independent senator came off almost exactly the same as he did in the 2016 debates: Aggressively liberal and on message, and confident in his beliefs. The difference is that the surroundings around him have completely changed: He is no longer the sole alternative to Hillary Clinton, but rather just one of many options for Democratic voters. Elizabeth Warren and Sanders are going to come into conflict sooner rather than later given that they are directly competing for the same liberal bloc of the electorate. From that standpoint, the pair being split in this first round is only delaying what may be inevitable.
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: Gillibrand tried to inject some issues of importance to herself, and many Democrats, into the overall conversation, such as abortion rights, but it’s hard to see how her underwhelming candidacy will get a jolt from this first debate.
South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg: “Mayor Pete” displayed many of the attributes -- such as introspection and intellect -- that won him attention and praise over the past several months and allowed him to surpass many Democratic pols with better resumes. He is often compared to Beto O’Rourke -- his rise probably came at some expense to O’Rourke’s numbers -- and Buttigieg impressed more than O’Rourke did on Wednesday (more on the former Texas Senate candidate below). However, it felt like the action in this debate was elsewhere, and his already very long odds of winning meaningful black support have not been helped by a recent officer-involved shooting in South Bend that he tried to show contrition for during the debate. For all of Buttigieg’s progress, he either needs to attract many more liberals to his side (and he may be blocked in doing so by Warren and Sanders) or many more black voters (where he is blocked by Biden and probably Harris and Booker, among others). So we’re struggling to find a path for him even as he ranks among the better-polling candidates.
Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet: If the eventual Democratic nominee is someone other than a white male, Bennet may very well get a look as a running mate. He displayed both knowledge of the issues and a bit of fire and passion in discussing them; he also mixed it up with Biden to some positive effect, as noted above.
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper: Hickenlooper must be very frustrated because his credentials equal or exceed anybody else’s on stage, except for Joe Biden. He was a successful mayor of a major city, Denver, and then a durable, popular two-term governor of Colorado. Yet he hasn’t found his niche in this presidential race, and so far is a minor figure -- a status very probably unchanged by the debate. Snappy soundbites are not his strength, nor is he inclined to interrupt others -- normally praiseworthy but unhelpful in the dog-eat-dog world of politics.
California Rep. Eric Swalwell: The debate was probably the first time most Americans have laid eyes on him, and the impression was likely favorable. Unlike most of the others, Swalwell is not afraid to lighten up a bit when the opportunity presents itself, and his responses are pointed and often effective. Like Buttigieg and Gabbard, he is young and uses that to his advantage, quoting Joe Biden (quoting John F. Kennedy) about “passing the torch to a new generation of Americans.” Having said all this, the California congressman doesn’t have the money or standing to become one of the top contenders, and his oxygen is being sucked away by fellow Californian Kamala Harris.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock: The successful vote-getter from Montana spoke to… oh wait, he actually wasn’t there. Instead…
Former tech executive Andrew Yang: A single-issue candidate who seems to have devoted support in at least some corners of the Internet, Yang actually came across as a fairly normal and reasonable person pushing the idea of a universal basic income. That said, Yang also didn’t really stand out compared to the other nonpolitician on the stage…
Author Marianne Williamson: Whatever we write about her will not be as funny as what the late-night shows and The Onioncome up with. We will defer to them.


Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren: It seemed like she would dominate the debate in the early going, as the moderators routinely went back to her. But then she was largely ignored in the second half, although she closed the night with what we thought was a powerful concluding statement that encapsulated her worldview: government played a powerful role in her life, and can play a powerful role for others. Whether one agrees with her, she has a plan, or plans, to make government do precisely that, and she summed it up in 45 seconds effectively.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker: A couple of months ago, many of us were wondering why Warren’s campaign didn’t seem to be taking off. Now that Warren has emerged as one of the frontrunners, it’s been reasonable to wonder the same thing about Booker, who like Warren is a nationally prominent member of the Senate. Maybe Booker can get going following the first debate, when he got the most speaking time -- though still only about 10 minutes out of two hours.
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar: As much as anyone else, Klobuchar needs Biden to fall apart fast so she can try to step into the vacuum his collapse would create among the less liberal voters in the party. That she didn’t even get to share the stage with him may have been bad luck. Her contributions on the debate stage were perfectly fine, but not very memorable.
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro: Generally an inert presence in the campaign so far, Castro ended up getting a surprising amount of time and seemed to make the most of it. The Associated Press’s Alexandra Jaffe noted Thursday morning that Castro parlayed his well-reviewed debate showing into a bunch of additional media appearances. For successful candidates, the debates need to be a springboard to something else. Could it be for Castro? Has he now eclipsed his fellow Texan, O’Rourke, to inherit the money and votes in the Lone Star State?
Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke: One of us has been arguingthat O’Rourke had a real chance to shine during these crowded debates given his rhetorical talents. natural charisma, and experience debating Ted Cruz. It’s hard to argue that he did, at least in his first appearance. He appeared nervous and intimidated by Castro and de Blasio -- not a presidential image, to be sure.
Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: It is possible that Gabbard was a hidden winner of the evening, given that she ended up being the leading candidate in Google search trends on Wednesday. However, such searches do not necessarily equate support: Williamson, for instance, led on Thursday night. Here’s the thing: If Gabbard has true and growing support, we’ll look for it in the polls. We also thought she got the better of Tim Ryan during their back and forth on American involvement in Afghanistan, and there is undoubtedly a constituency on the left (and the right) for Gabbard’s anti-interventionist stances. Like any other candidate, if she does emerge a bit from the pack, she will face more scrutiny, both on her curious relationship with the Assad regime in Syria and her past anti-LGBTQ stances (both of which were mentioned during Wednesday’s debate).
Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan: Speaking of Ryan, we thought he had some decent moments but didn’t quite nail his discussion of the Lordstown, OH GM plant closing (which essentially provides the rationale for his candidacy). Ryan did provide something different on stage -- a candidate making an explicit argument about the Democratic Party’s decline with white voters in small towns and rural areas (a trend that was exacerbated by Trump but also precedes the incumbent’s presidential candidacy) -- but it’s also hard to say Ryan made a lasting impression.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee: Climate change did not get much attention at the first debate. That’s probably not a great thing for the candidate who has premised his campaign around the topic. Remarkably, the only state governor on stage was unable to assert himself to grab his fair share of time because the moderates weren’t going to give it to him. His five minutes of airtime was smaller than any other participant that night.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio: We give de Blasio credit for one thing: The fringe candidates need to make their own time or else they will be ignored. De Blasio butted in whenever he could. That said, he seemed arrogant and pushy and, all in all, he didn’t come across as very appealing, and he made a boneheaded move on Thursday when he used a rallying cry associated with Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in Miami, a city whose politics has long been influenced by anti-Castro Cuban exiles. Oops.
Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney: Closing now?
Yes, we are.
OK, more fairly, Delaney had a lot to say from a moderate perspective and has honed his appeal during near constant-campaigning for many months, but he just didn’t seem to fit on this presidential stage. No offense, Rep. Delaney, we don’t fit either, and 99% of our fellow citizens wouldn’t make the cut.