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Democratic debate watch night 2: Editorial Board and Point readers pick winner

The 2020 Democratic presidential primary season returned this week for another round of debates.

To evaluate the debate performance of these disparate candidates, members of the Newsday editorial board rated each contender on overall performance on a scale of one to five stars, with five being the best. These ratings are not endorsements of any candidate or his or her views; rather, they are a measure of how well the candidates contribute to the national discussion.

Point readers also had the exclusive opportunity to rate with us as well. Check out the winner the editorial board and Point readers chose in Tuesday night’s debate round.

That’s a wrap on night two of the Democratic debates this week. Thanks for following us Tuesday and tonight.

The Editorial Board selected Joe Biden as the winner tonight and Point readers picked Biden as well. The Editorial Board and Point readers both selected Elizabeth Warren in Tuesday’s debate round. Here are key takeaways from Wednesday’s debate from members of Newsday’s Editorial Board:

Mark Chiusano: Picture nine opposition research mavens hanging off and clawing at a 76-year-old aging standard bearer of his party, and you watched the snippy second night of CNN’s Democratic debates. There, I saved you three hours.

Rita Ciolli: Cory Booker more effective than Kamala Harris in trying to derail Joe Biden but neither delivered the knockout punch progressives wanted. Instead, Biden showcased his more realistic approach but can he successfully convince Dems he’s the most electable when on a stage with Elizabeth Warren?

Michael Dobie:Twenty candidates in two nights is just too many, especially with this second group. More sniping, more interruptions by moderators, no inspiration, little uplifting, can’t wait for stage to get winnowed in September.

Matt Davies: I have the additional editorial privilege of wondering which of the candidates will be the most satisfying to draw, but at this stage I’m still not sure. Kamala Harris, Julian Castro and Cory Booker seemed the best prepared and least stilted, as if they were actually in a one-on-one conversation with an actual voter. Notably, Harris said she’d take anyone on the stage over the current president. Alas, Dems have to choose one.

Lane Filler: After the first night many were saying Joe Biden won because Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are so vulnerable on Medicare For All. Now it feels like Warren and Sanders won tonight, when Biden and Kamala Harris we’re just middling. Someone has to start sounding good while talking.

Randi F. Marshall: Imagine the Tuesday and Wednesday stages combined, and you’d see a scene where Elizabeth Warren takes center stage, surrounded by Cory Booker, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, and Bernie Sanders in the background, with Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar trying to find a spotlight that evaded them. After more than five hours of debate, that veered into the dull and passion-less at times tonight, it’s time to figure out who should remain at center stage.

Eli Reyes: Uncle Joe Biden became Fightin’ Joe on Wednesday night, when he went a few rounds with several of Democratic hopefuls. And Kamala Harris was unexpectedly uneven, falling drastically short of a repeat performance of her first debate.

Lawrence Striegel: Joe Biden started strong, especially on health care, but faded somewhat as Cory Booker, Jay Inslee and Tulsi Gabbard had strong moments in night two – but Elizabeth Warren left the strongest impression from both debates.

Updating live: Current debate night lead

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