Tonight we had the first democratic debate. Questions ranged from gun control to climate change and Iran. Everyone on the debate stage tonight was trying to stand out. Except for Warren, most of the candidates on the debate stage tonight are not polling very high as compared to their better-known compatriots that will debate tomorrow night.

NBC had a very interesting sound issue when they changed moderators at the beginning of hour two. They had to throw to an extra commercial break to fix the issues and move on with the questioning.

The cross-talk moments between the candidates were exciting, especially on healthcare and gun control. When questioned on healthcare, only Warren and DeBlasio were willing to end private insurance entirely. That’s a stark contrast to the popularity of eliminating private insurance just a few months back. Beto was questioned on his change on the policy and handled the question very well. He promoted the idea of choice and focused on unions wanted to keep their excellent healthcare plans. Ryan echoed this as well.

Overall, most of the candidates didn’t do anything to really breakout and make it into the top tier. They didn’t get the great soundbite moment that they were looking for. For some candidates who were looking for some attention, the debate was a success. This was especially true for Governor Jay Inslee (D-WA) who highlighted Washington’s public option in the healthcare debate and leaned in hard on a dedicated question to him about climate change.

A few moments really stood out tonight:

Beto Needed a Moment

And he didn’t get it. Beto’s campaign has been in trouble every day except his first day on the trail. From the Vanity Fair cover where he said he was born to be in it, his campaign has had to reset and restart including an appearance on The View. However, he needed a big moment tonight. He needed to break out and show that he had the chops to be Presidential. He had some good moments in hour two, especially on foreign policy. He handled the border question and immigrant with aplomb, as expected and had some smart answers on gun control. He did not have a good start to the night and is storytelling style did not fit the 60-second answer format of this debate. He might be back in the running but he could have done better. He didn’t get that big sound bite moment that he needed to get a bump in the polls. He will most likely continue to struggle.

Castro Made Twitter Very Happy

Julian Castro, the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, gave an appropriately twitter-esque response to a question about equality and social justice. He was also one of the 3 candidates who managed to sneak in those Spanish language skills on the debate stage and one of the few to directly address the problems with Puerto Rico.

Tim Ryan Spoke to Trump Voters

Tim Ryan leaned in hard to his Ohio and midwest roots. He lambasted the democrat party for not being more focused on being a party for and of the working classes and criticized the Ivy league/Ivory tower nature of the party. He spent his sound bites speaking directly to Trump voters and talking about how the Democrats had left them behind. Although that is an important conversation to have, it didn’t resonate with people the same way Julian Castro’s social justice moment resonated. The uncomfortable truth that Ryan might need to come to terms with is that the party has moved past those Trump voters. You can’t build a Democrat coalition with a strong stance on social justice. Based on tonight’s performance, I don’t think we’ll be hearing much from Tim Ryan.

Klobuchar Strained to be Heard

Amy Klobuchar did her best to get heard and talk up her midwest roots and her credentials as an outside insider, but she didn’t do a very good job of being heard. She got overwhelmed by the number of candidates and the sheer shouting of voices that accompanied a variety of topics like healthcare and gun control.

Debate Night 2 comes June 27th

Tomorrow night we will be back with another hot take and recap of debate night 2 that will feature the top tier of candidates including Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Mayor Pete, John Hickenlooper and the rest. Check our Politics Desk for tomorrow’s post.