I didn’t watch the debate; I was asleep by 8 anyway. But looking at the wraps it was loud and messy.
Josh Marshall at TPM:
But if it was a messy debate it was still a pivotal one.
Especially on the first hour it felt like all the contenders finally understood the true terms of the contest and had been given one last two hour chance to level the attacks they wished they’d starting leveling three months ago. The mix of antic questions and desperate attacks made it feel like two hours packed with chaos and bad energy.
Debates only matter inasmuch as they affect the outcome of the race. The rest is just theater criticism about canned answers and yelling. The big question in this primary battle is whether Bernie Sanders builds on his momentum coming out of the first three contests and goes on to a string of victories in Super Tuesday which make it hard for any other candidate to overtake him.
The rest of the punditocracy was all over the map on who won or who didn’t; one said Elizabeth Warren lost because she was “totally fine.” (How are you a loser if you were totally fine?) Apparently Bernie Sanders got hammered from all sides, as did Bloomberg, and Pete Buttigieg was in control and funny.
They were all trying to position themselves to either win big in South Carolina or at least not face-plant so that the real contest — Super Tuesday, March 3 — doesn’t mean they will end up spending more time with their families.
So what last night in South Carolina was all about was making sure they’re still standing next Wednesday someplace else.