But they all utterly failed at pivoting to a specific critique of the president. After six debates, it makes me wonder whether these candidates are even minimally familiar with the details of their campaigns’ research books on the sitting president.
Senator Sanders had memorized the exact number of billionaires that donated to each of his opponents’ campaigns. Senator Kloubachar knows Mayor Pete’s CV better than I know my husband’s. Warren and Buttigieg were both deep in the weeds on each other’s donor histories. On issues ranging from nuclear energy to special education to violence against the transgender community, the candidates were prepped on the problems and proposals. And for the umpty-ninth time, the candidates eviscerated each other over their health care plans—all of which are to the left of the plan implemented by their own party’s popular president emeritus.
But when it came to Trump, we didn’t hear a single critique that couldn’t have been delivered by your apolitical suburban aunt at Christmas dinner. During a heated back and forth on the candidates’ respective campaign-finance policies (which, in the grand scheme of things, barely differ at all) not a single candidate took the opportunity to mention that all of their arguments pale in comparison to the sitting president literally inviting foreign interference into the campaign and enjoying an unprecedented enrichment of his family through taxpayer dollars. A casual viewer would have come away from the debate thinking that having a fundraiser in a wine cave is the most relevant financial scandal in the campaign.