Commentary: September debate: Eight Democratic candidates qualified…so far

Dr. James B. Ewers Jr.

Commentary: September debate: Eight Democratic candidates qualified…so far
August 09
09:28 2019

By Dr. James B. Ewers Jr.

The second round of the Democratic presidential debates is over. Last week’s debates were an effort to make themselves look good and to make Mr. T and the Republicans look bad. They made a good impression.

However, the pressing question is, did the Democrats gain any ground in the public square? Were there any clear-cut winners in this most recent political exercise?

What I noticed immediately was that Joe Biden was more assertive and was not going to play the role of lap dog. Uncle Joe became Bulldog Joe … well, maybe Boxer Joe. Bernie “Free Everything” Sanders might be falling off the table. While it sounds good and makes for good sound bites, the fundamental change may be too much for America to handle. Telling Wall Street they are going to pay for it is just sassy talk, not real talk.

Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris are still in the game. Both are advocating issues like healthcare that are dear to us. Can they keep it up and sell it to the American people? They speak well, but speaking well isn’t good enough when the ideas put forward have leaks and cracks in them.

Corey Booker’s star was brighter this time around, especially after he went after Biden with his Kool-Aid comment. Just goes to show you, don’t underestimate the power of racy and unorthodox comments on a debate stage.

Earlier, I had given Julian Castro the Texas nod over Beto O’Rourke. It looks like I was wrong, at least for now. Beto is holding his own and could be a factor. Maybe he learned some lessons in his Senate race against Ted Cruz. Are you going to bet on Beto?

Now is the time to have another degree of separation among the candidates. The next debate will be held in September. By this time, some will still be in and others out. Those out will have had to suspend their campaigns.

When a candidate suspends his or her campaign, it means they are finished. They ran a noble campaign but just ran out of money and resources. Democrats who want to appear for the September 12th and 13th debates in Houston have until August 28th to qualify. The criteria are set so we will see what candidates are going to show up.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) says that candidates must receive above 2% support in four or more polls. They must also certify they have gotten support from 130,000 unique donors and 400 unique donors per state in at least 20 states. With these rules and regulations, unfortunately some will have to bow out.

So far, Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Harris, Klobuchar, O’Rourke, Sanders and Warren are in the September debate. The deadline is almost here so polls and money are at the forefront.

It is a known fact that deep pockets will be a factor in this race. I don’t remember candidates starting so early in the past. What could be the reason for the early push?

In my opinion, the current White House occupant has given rise to the challenging party starting early. Overall, people are apprehensive about the direction of the country.

Right now, we are like a ship sailing at night with no port in sight. We are rambling on just waiting to crash. We have got to get back to port. Do these candidates have the answers and the ability to bring us back? Let’s hope so. If not, for those of us who want civility and not chaos, we are lost. If we want a voice and not a threat, then these candidates must be the answer.

Noticeable, especially on Thursday, was the in-fighting among the candidates. They can’t forget whom they are trying to unseat. Spending too much time at each other’s throats is not going to get them elected.

Each day they should be mindful our beloved country cannot take another four years of intolerance and ineptitude. The world is watching us. Surely, Mr. T can’t be our presidential model!

He slipped by once. Slipping by twice can’t happen. America will slip if he does.

James B. Ewers Jr., Ed.D., is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator and can be reached at

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