Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Strong Democratic debate contrasts with Republicans

graph of electability vs ideology, Ds
graph of electability vs ideology, Rs

John Sides:

Now here’s something fascinating about this election cycle: Republicans seem not to believe that there is any electoral penalty for being strongly conservative. But Democrats do believe a strong liberal will be penalized.
That’s the conclusion from the newest Huffington Post surveys of Republican and Democratic activists. These surveys asked activists to rate their party’s candidates on a five-point scale ranging from “very liberal” to “very conservative” and also to check a box beside any candidate who “is capable of winning the general election for president” assuming that this candidate did win the nomination.


Hillary Clinton swept confidently into the campaign season’s first Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday, denying she flip-flopped on key issues for political gain and rebuking her top rival Bernie Sanders for not being tough enough on guns.
In a performance aimed at solidifying her lock on the Democratic nomination, Clinton sought

pivot from a tough summer in which the controversy over her private email server triggered a slump in popularity ratings. She proved to be a polished debater, showing little rust after enduring 25 debates during the 2008 campaign.

The former secretary of state dominated the opening exchanges, parrying questions on the depth of her political convictions and insisting she is a “progressive” despite the doubts of some on the left of the party.

“I have been very consistent,” Clinton said. “Over the course of my entire life, I have always fought for the same values and principles, but, like most human beings, including those of us who run for office, I do absorb new information. I do look at what’s happening in the world.”

YMMV, but that’s the consensus from the talking heads. Bernie certainly didn’t hurt himself, but it’s unclear he expanded his base. (He and Hillary get along just fine, by the way. They are good sparring partners.) O’Malley was good but no breakout and that’s for him very bad. Biden? He has no reason to run.
PS Anderson Cooper did a good job.

More politics and policy below the fold.

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