Bloomberg: I'm wondering if Bloomberg isn't playing 6 dimensional chess here, and intentionally threw the debate. He's NOT an idiot, but he certainly looked idiotic. Warren's evisceration of him may well be terminal for his candidacy, and he had to have expected it to happen. Yet he literally admitted to creating a hostile workplace as an 'answer'. "So I told a few jokes." He KNOWS that is not an acceptable answer.
So he may have spiked this debate to send his expectations into the toilet. His team knows he does not have a great presence or tons of charisma (his ads almost always do not feature him personally, at all). And most importantly - he's not even on the ballot in the next 2 primary states. He may be gambling on losing literally nothing except 'narrative' now, and then turn in an actually competent debate performance next week and blow everyone away.
It sounds plausible, I suppose. It's also a dumb idea. I can't see him surviving Warren's assault on his record as an employer, period. That was fatal. His candidacy is, if not over, very seriously on the ropes.
o/~ let the bodies hit the floor o/~
o/~ let the bodies hit the floor o/~
Warren saved her candidacy - even if she only comes in 4th in Nevada, it can be explained away via early voting. She turned in easily the most impressive debate performance in living memory, calmly eviscerating everyone on stage, even Klobuchar (whom she later threw a lifeline to, magnanimously, mostly to shiv Pete in the back yet again.) The only critique I'd have is that she didn't go after Bernie Sanders nearly enough - he is the front runner AND they share much of the same target audience. If Sanders wins the election, she has her pick of any seat in the cabinet from Vice President on down.
Sanders: was Bernie Sanders. Which is good, because he was the front runner coming in and needed to turn in a focused and consistent performance. Which he did. He even had a few standout moments, such as responding to Chuck Todd's attempted gotcha moment of invoking a poll about how people feel about a candidate who espouses "socialism" with "well, who won that poll, Chuck?" That showed excellent debate prep and knowledge of possible weaknesses he would be hit on. And he survived Elizabeth Warren's transformation into Kali, the Destroyer of Candidacies. Sanders remains the front runner, will almost certainly win Nevada on Saturday and stands a good chance of winning South Carolina outright and ending at least 2 candidacies (Biden and Klobuchar).
Buttigieg: Did his best to appear presidential, largely succeeded. Had one of the best lines of the night when he (correctly) pointed out that after Super Tuesday, the only two candidates left standing, Sanders (still technically not a Democrat) and Bloomberg (a registered Republican until very recently) aren't "actually Democrats". The problem with this is the same problem with Buttigieg's candidacy - it isn't 1998 any more, and not being part of the establishment political system is seen by many as a bonus, not a liability. He also managed to irritate Amy Klobuchar into spitting out angrily "Not everyone can be perfect like you, Pete", which is probably going into his next campaign ad.
Biden: Is less and less of a factor and is not happy about it. He was very "ANGRY GRAMPA" all debate, shouting demanding his fair share of speaking time only to ramble aimlessly during it. He did help to knife Bloomberg a few times and attempted a few stabs at Sanders but they were easily parried. Biden's candidacy is very close to being done and he pretty clearly knows it.
Klobuchar: Clearly not in the same league as anyone on stage (including Buttigieg, to her obvious burning hatred) and it shows. Her answers were shopworn and tedious, and the obviously fake "Minnesota nice" act finally broke hard under Buttigieg's needling. Her boost from her unexpected showing in Iowa is about done.
Overall, Warren and Bloomberg are going to see the most change from this - one gets a very large gust of wind into their sails, and the other is currently wondering if it's worth it to stay in the race. Bloomberg will remain in until Super Tuesday, obviously, but if his delegate haul is disappointing from that, I'd expect him to bow out gracefully.