The lead story line of tonight’s debate is the way it highlighted the left versus centrist candidates. That’s a fight the party needs to have, and there were several bracing moments, notably the face-offs between Elizabeth Warren and the improbably oft-questioned John Delaney.
But I was watching for something else, too. Every poll shows that what voters care about is electability. Who can beat Donald Trump? I would have thought therefore that one of these people would have attempted to use tonight to scream: “Me. Look at me. I’m the electable one, and here’s why.” But none of them did.
They all took a stab at it here and there, and some of them had pretty good lines. But nobody said anything memorable. If you think about lines from this debate that people might remember three months from now, there was only one—Warren’s riposte to Delaney that “I don’t understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for.”