This is Round 37, and I’m stats guy David Byler. I could use the next 350 words to mathematically prove to you that 12 candidates talking for three hours is too much for anyone to watch. But you already knew that.

The Commentary

The biggest event of the week was obviously the Democratic debate. The front-runners sparred on health care. Beto O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg clashed on guns. Cory Booker worked “dumpster fire” and Robert Bork into his answers. Tom Steyer was, inexplicably, there. A lot happened.

But the most important moments came near the beginning of the debate, when Elizabeth Warren started to take some heat from rivals like Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar on health care. As her opponents pressed her on the costs of her plans, it became clear that Warren’s competitors see her as the front-runner. The data suggests she’s been a co-front-runner for some time now — she briefly surpassed Joe Biden in the RealClearPolitics average of polls, raised a boatload of money and has a viable path to the nomination — but the bull’s eye is just now landing on her. Reporters and opponents alike are about to dig deep into her past and scrutinize everything they find. Nobody knows what’s going to turn up, though we can probably still rule out hunky Marines.

Warren wasn’t the only progressive who entered a new phase of the race last week. During the debate, some news broke that was great for Bernie Sanders: The Post reported that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would be endorsing Sanders at an upcoming rally. For months, Sanders has been struggling to break out of the mid-to-high teens in the national polls, and the AOC endorsement could be a shot in the arm for him.

Both progressives also posted large sums in the official third-quarter fundraising reports (about $25 million each), but they weren’t the only candidates bringing in the dough. Buttigieg, who is clearly trying to supplant Biden as the moderate alternative to Warren, brought in $19 million. Biden, still stuck in the maelstrom surrounding President Trump’s call to Ukraine, took in $16 million, and Kamala D. Harris’s $12 million barely outpaced Andrew Yang’s $10 million. The rest took in enough to stay in the game.

All of this adds up to progressives as the stars of this week, but none of the major players are out of the game … yet.

— David Byler

The Ranking

Don’t forget to click on the chart’s yellow highlighted text to see the rest of the Ranking Committee’s annotations.

Change Over Last Ranking
Elizabeth Warren
Joe Biden
Pete Buttigieg
Bernie Sanders
Kamala D. Harris
Amy Klobuchar
UP 1
Cory Booker
Beto O’Rourke
Andrew Yang
Julián Castro

Also receiving votes: Michael Bloomberg, Tom Steyer, Michael Bennet, Hillary Clinton, Tulsi Gabbard

From the Annotations

Steyer has spent about $47 million to garner around 2 percent of the vote. Looks like he will easily surpass John Connally, Rudy Giuliani and Jeb! Bush to obtain the record of the most spent for the fewest delegates.
Henry Olsen, on Tom Steyer
Please, stop trying to make me laugh! It will never work!
Molly Roberts, on Amy Klobuchar

Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts in the comments. We’ll see you for the next ranking. Until then, keep dreaming of your own hunky Marine.

Read more on 2020:


Twelve Democratic presidential candidates took strong stances on various policy issues during the fourth debate in Columbus, Ohio on Oct. 15. (The Washington Post)