I thought the debate was the best so far with CNN and their panel did a really good job. I think they asked the right questions, in some cases targeted to specific candidates who clearly differ in opinion on what is the right approach. CNN moderators also focused in on problem areas for specific candidates like Vice President Biden with his son on Ukraine and Mayor Pete and the black vote.
For right now, I do not see any candidate who is really on a roll. One might say Biden with his name recognition advantage. But, given that several candidates are bunched at the top of the polls and the history of surprises in both Iowa and New Hampshire, who knows? Senator Sanders has come up in the polls and could win both Iowa and New Hampshire. In the Iowa caucuses, voters for candidates who don't make the 15% threshold on the first round can go home or stay and participate in the second round and shift to one of the remaining candidates. That makes being the second choice for candidates remaining quite important. This also makes the back-and-forth between Senators Sanders and Warren an interesting feud to keep an eye on, given that they need to draw some contrast while also keeping one another's supporters willing to cross over if the situation calls for it. Meanwhile, this divide may open the door for other candidates to compete for the rest of the votes that are currently up-for-grabs.
Two new issues make predicting winners more difficult. First, the new schedule put together by the Democratic National Party moves up many state primaries and caucuses to have a real Super Tuesday on March 3rd, just one week after the South Carolina Primary. Second, Billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg will then be on many of those ballots.
For Super Tuesday, Biden and Sanders will still be in the running, Mayor Pete and Warren probably, as well as Steyer and Bloomberg who have the money to continue. One additional wildcard is Senator Bennett from Colorado who is flying below the radar. He is very well qualified but hampered by his late start. He has put everything into New Hampshire and that primary does have a history of impacting the vote in remaining states.
Before you dismiss the chances of Bloomberg and even Steyer having any real opportunity, remember that by Super Tuesday the other candidates will likely have very little money. Having momentum out of the first four contests is more important than saving dollars for March 3rd. Biden could be the exception with his name recognition. Bloomberg and Steyer are certainly the wild cards with television ads all across the country. I say that because they are both on television here in Kansas with high quality ads, certainly a new experience for us.
So where does that leave us? The only thing I know for sure is that our granddaughter is still very much with Mayor Pete.