Conflict creates the kind of drama that drives ratings, but the Democratic primary candidates have largely tried to contrast themselves with the president. When things got a bit heated on the Miami stage, Kamala Harris made a point of toning things down.
“Hey, guys, you know what? America does not want to witness a food fight,” she said. “They want to know how we’re going to put food on their table.”
That debate, the second of two nights in Miami, drew 10.7 million viewers, and the California senator has since dropped out of the race. But even before her exit, the field was heeding her advice. The last contest, held in Georgia, was more of a presidential forum than a debate as candidates pulled punches and took pains to compliment rather than attack one another. It had an audience of just 6.6 million.