Despite media predictions, I don’t think this debate will hurt Biden much.
He was, what everyone already expected, slow, cliched and a crumbling piece of machinery still somehow going. But if his opponents keep attacking him over ancient history, while reminding Dems they used to be more moderate, it won’t accomplish all that much.
The perception is that Biden is the most electable candidate. His mediocre performance likely won’t change that.
The debate however may have buried Bernie Sanders, who badly needed a comeback, but instead this is likely to accelerate the dissolution of his fading numbers. It’s never good when people laugh at you, instead of with you, but, unlike Biden, this isn’t a newish development.
Sanders was terrible in the 2016 debates. He’s always been terrible.
But when he was taking the occasional shot at Hillary, he got a pass. This time around, he was out of his element, relied on a few talking points, while ignoring the questions, and while everyone was doing that to some degree, he often seemed to be on his own planet.
Night 2 probably won’t break any of the front runners. But if it does, it’ll be Bernie Sanders.