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Nov. 20 Democratic debate: Editorial Board and Point readers pick winner

In a week dominated by House impeachment hearings, the 2020 Democratic presidential primary season continues Wednesday night with a fifth debate.

Members of Newsday’s editorial board will evaluate the positions of the 10 candidates on the stage.

Our ratings will be done on a scale of one to five stars. Five, of course, being the best. The ratings are not an endorsement of any candidate, his or her views or policy positions. Instead, the ratings are a measure of how well the candidates contribute to the national discussion.

Readers of The Point, our newsletter, have the exclusive opportunity to rate the candidates along with editorial board members. Join The Point here.

The Editorial Board selected Pete Buttigieg as the debate winner tonight and Cory Booker came in second. Point readers picked Pete Buttigieg as well and Amy Klobuchar came in second. Here are key takeaways from Tuesday’s debate from members of Newsday’s Editorial Board:

Mark Chiusano: In a sign that Iowa and New Hampshire are growing near, the intra-party attacks ratcheted up on Wednesday: candidates tweaking each other on Iraq War support, marijuana, judgement, experience, and lack thereof. Shockingly, for better or worse, the end is in sight.

Rita Ciolli: Finally a debate that addressed issues on the minds of most voters. Generally, all did pretty well. Joe Biden had his best debate yet, Kamala Harris punched her way back into the top tier, but Pete Buttigieg didn’t seem to make a strong emotional connection.

Matt Davies: Impeachment hearings for 11 relentless hours today were followed almost immediately by a substantive debate about climate change, race and healthcare — things that matter to people. While even the most ardent political junkie might be forgiven for flagging at this stage of the 2020 primaries marathon, it is refreshing to see, at mile 13, democracy still enthusiastically kicking.

Michael Dobie: Refreshing to see moderators cover new issues, depressing to see candidates dodge lots of those questions, but at end perhaps only on-the-fringe Cory Booker moves his standing … a little. Meh — maybe it’s impeachment inquiry exhaustion.

Lane Filler: One interesting way to judge this group as presidential contenders is by how many would make good to great cabinet members … and I’d say the answer is all of them, except Tulsi Gabbard.

Randi F. Marshall: In a debate moderated by women, several women candidates, led by Kamala Harris, at times commanded the stage, but Pete Buttigieg and Cory Booker had memorable moments, too. In the end, however, no one significantly moved a needle, because the day’s impeachment hearings overshadowed all of them, and tomorrow’s hearings likely will too.

Eli Reyes: Many came to this fifth Democratic debate believing the candidates would pounce on Pete Buttigieg because of his strong showing in Iowa polling. It didn’t happen.

Lawrence Striegel: I’m still looking for someone to separate himself or herself from the group. Cory Booker, Tom Steyer, Andrew Yang, Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar seemed like stronger candidates Wednesday night. Pete Buttigieg held his own, but I was unimpressed with the others. I was surprised that Biden escaped any questions at all about Ukraine.

Final result

Presidential candidates