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Sept. 12 Democratic debate: Editorial Board and Point readers pick winner

The 2020 Democratic presidential primary season continues this week – with another round of debates.

Members of Newsday’s editorial board will again evaluate the candidates’ debate performances on a scale of one to five stars. Five, of course, being the best. The ratings are not an endorsement of any candidates, 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.

That’s a wrap on this week’s Democratic Debate, the third one of the 2020 campaign. Thanks for following us tonight.

The Editorial Board selected Elizabeth Warren as the winner tonight and Pete Buttigieg as the runner-up. Point readers picked Elizabeth Warren as well and picked Joe Biden as the runner-up. Here are key takeaways from Wednesday’s debate from members of Newsday’s Editorial Board:

Mark Chiusano: There were few game-changing moments, with the candidates carefully sticking to their lanes. An exception: Julian Castro’s full-frontal attack on Joe Biden, a Swalwell-moment which may have angered more people than it impressed.

Rita Ciolli: Joe Biden not dethroned; Elizabeth Warren remains strong, Cory Booker and Pete Buttigieg very solid. But Dems still fussing over policy differences, not drawing sharp ideological contrasts with Donald Trump.

Michael Dobie: Elizabeth Warren was polished and passionate, Pete Buttigieg was smooth and inspirational in closing, and Joe Biden was the roller derby guy who keeps getting hit but is still skating at the end.

Matt Davies: All the candidates have noticeably sharpened and honed their messages and presentation, with the surprising and notable exception perhaps of Joe Biden. Dems seem to now be facing an epic primary struggle between the issue of “electability” vs. “best candidate.”

Lane Filler: Long before the first caucus or primary it’s becoming clear that Elizabeth Warren is the Democrats’ strongest candidate, and moderating her stances on outlawing private health insurance and imposing massive tax increases is their best shot at victory.

Randi F. Marshall: Several candidates, including Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, and Beto O’Rourke had key breakout moments, and even with some stumbles, Joe Biden held his own. In the end, tonight’s debate is unlikely to change anything in the big picture of this Democratic field.

Eli Reyes: Julian Castro’s apparent attack on Joe Biden’s age will hurt him. The age factor is worth debating, but does not deserve to be mocked.

Lawrence Striegel: No clear winner in my view – but Andrew Yang, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg helped their causes; Joe Biden and others held even; Kamala Harris, not so much.

Final result

Presidential candidates