Some predictions for the first Democratic presidential debate

Democratic presidential candidates finally meet Tuesday, tonight, on the same stage for their first primary debate.

Some predictions:

  • Hillary Clinton is going to crush it. The Republican PAC America Rising has a new ad out with clips from Clinton debating back in 2008. It’s meant to make fun of her but anyone watching it actually sees a Hillary with some fire. It will be refreshing to see that again after an already long campaign for her that’s been swallowed up by the email controversy.
  • People will finally hear Bernie Sanders‘ farfetched ideas and his numbers will fall. Until now, the buzz has been about Sanders’ “massive crowds” and how he’s a “real threat” to Clinton. Voters will get to see what he’s really about and it’s not what most people want.
  • Martin O’Malley needs a standout moment. He’ll get it by going after Sanders.
  • Nobody cares about Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee

Why do some people hate Carly Fiorina?

Carly Fiorina, a Republican presidential candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO, says she’s “distinctly horrifying to liberals.”

It’s true.

I’m not sure it’s just liberals but some friends of mine have volunteered their opinions about the 2016 race to me and the one person they hate the most isn’t Donald Trump‘s pink ass. It’s Fiorina.

One friend, a liberal gay guy, told me that when he watched the second GOP debate, it made him “hate” Fiorina. One of the reasons was her hair, which looks okay to me.

Another friend of mine, a woman journalist who is politically independent, told me she also hates Fiorina. She used the word “hate.” One of her reasons was the way Fiorina talks, which also seems seems okay to me. Fiorina doesn’t stutter. It’s mostly unemotional.

A third friend I know, a longtime Democrat, live-tweeted the second GOP debate and one of his posts said that he “cannot stand Carly Fiorina above all. Cannot.” His tweets didn’t say why, though.

The evidence that people hate her isn’t just anecdotal.

It’s easy to imagine Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus hooked up to a blood pressure monitor when she wrote in May, “I’m writing about Fiorina because, frankly, as a woman, her candidacy offends me.”

She’s offended. As a woman.

My theory: Fiorina delivers an entirely flawless performance in every TV hit, debate and radio interview she does. If you didn’t see her on ABC’s “The View,” the most hostile show a Republican woman can ever do, her performance can only be summed up as artful. Something to be studied in media training courses for Republican women for years.

Fiorina doesn’t stumble over her words. She has an answer for every question, which is to say, she answers every question.

She doesn’t move awkward in her seat or at the podium. She doesn’t embarrass.

New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser wrote a very critical column on Fiorina in September. But here’s how she described her:

On the campaign trail and on the debate stage, the lone female candidate among the 16 contenders for the Republican presidential nomination exudes a level of superhuman control posing as gravitas.


Every hair is locked in place. No skirt crease is offline. Every word emanating from Fiorina’s sculpted lips is delivered in practiced, soothing tones, her head tilted to an ­unthreatening 10-degree angle.

When you want someone to fail and she’s seemingly entirely unshakable, how can you not hate her.

They should call the DNC’s bluff

Democratic presidential candidates Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders, in addition to a bunch of the party’s activists and operatives, want more debates. But the Democratic National Committee says that if they participate in any debates outside of the six DNC-sanctioned debates, the candidates will be excluded them from any of the official ones.

So what should they do?

They should call the DNC’s bluff.

Is it really feasible that any of the Democrats would participate in a debate outside of the official ones, and that the DNC would then say, “Okay, sorry, you’re no longer welcome to the ones we’ve approved. Bye.”

What would party activists do in that case?

Probably stop giving money, at the least.

Or maybe not vote in the primary or general election.

O’Malley, Sanders and Hillary Clinton, who has also said she is open to more debates, should agree to meet for debates outside the official ones. They all know it’s better to give voters more opportunities to see them talk (though Clinton knows it’s potentially detrimental to her frontrunner status if she gives attention to the guys trailing behind her).

And what would the DNC say if the candidates did do more debates? “We told you not to.” Okay, so what? “So you can’t be in our debates.” Why? “Because we said not to.” Why? “Because we said so.”

That’s not going to work.