Friday, June 28, 2019

KOA Interview: Debate Prospects for Hickenlooper and Bennet

Thursday morning after the Democratic first debate, April Zesbaugh and Marty Lenz discussed the strategies and prospects for Colorado’s John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet.

My analysis:

The good news for candidates on the edge of the stage, like Hickenlooper and Bennet, is that in the Wednesday night first debate, several showed well. Amy Klobuchar (1%) was strong as the Midwestern moderate; Julián Castro (1%) had a breakout moment with his taking on of Beto O’Rourke on immigration; and Mayor Bill de Blasio (1%), a new candidate in the field, effectively interrupted and made the point it may take a little “New York” swagger to take on Donald Trump.

Hickenlooper would like to talk about his Colorado success on health care, reproductive rights and gun control, but his only break-out moment so far was taking on socialism in front of California Democrats. He’s likely to have an opportunity with Bernie Sanders on the stage to declare his view that extreme positions will not pass and will be highly vulnerable to Republican attack.

Bennet has argued for months and his new book present the view Washington is dysfunctional and must be fixed. Describing effectively how he would pass the key parts of the Democratic agenda in spite of a Republican controlled senate would be welcomed by Democrats.

Does position count? The center of the stage helped Elizabeth Warren Wednesday. Will Hickenlooper, being between two of the least probable candidates – spiritual advisor Marianne Williamson and Andrew Yang, venture capitalist – help or hurt him? Distract or enhance? It’s one of the myriad of unpredictable factors in a ten-person debate.

John Hickenlooper (L) and Michael Bennet at the Democratic debate,
June 27, 2019 | Credit: Al Diaz/Miami Herald/TNS, Getty Images and VOA

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