The Democratic presidential candidate debates begin this Wednesday and Thursday from 9 pm to 11 pm Eastern time. Inclusive to a fault (except for the exclusion of Montana Governor Steve Bullock, who achieved the required 1 percent threshold in 3 polls), each night will feature 10 candidates, three of whom are women.

These debates will be illumined by a past televised beauty contest owner, now-President Donald Trump, who promises to give his own running commentary via Twitter as the spectacle unfolds.

The first debate on June 26 has only one candidate now polling in double digits – Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has largely closed the gap with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (presumably now sinking because Warren is an alternative almost as far to the left while seeming more electable). This likely means the other nine candidates will have to choose between targeting incumbent President Trump or Ms. Warren.

This first debate includes Julian Castro, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the only Latino among these 20 debating Democrats. Hispanics are now more than 17 percent of America’s population, but Democrats offer them only five percent of its debate slots. Is this the usual Democratic tokenism and racism?

The second debate the following night on June 27 will include four candidates who have received substantial support and media attention. Former Vice President Joe Biden has an almost commanding lead in the polls and presumably will be receiving darts and zingers from rivals who need him brought down to Earth quickly.

Senator Sanders faces two lesser-known leftists in this debate. One is Kamala Harris, 54, the junior Senator from California, who favors reparations for slavery (yet is herself the half-black descendant of a Jamaican slave-owner), legalizing marijuana and legalizing prostitution. Former Speaker of the California Assembly in the state legislature, Willie Brown, says that Harris “slept her way to the top” – with him.

The other hard left Sanders rival is South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the red-diaper baby of a Marxist college professor and enthusiast for Communism. Buttigieg, 37, was carefully honed to become an articulate anti-capitalist weapon designed to undermine our culture using the techniques of Italian Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci. Buttigieg has said that if elected president, he will abolish the Electoral College and stack the U.S. Supreme Court with additional justices; these policies would perhaps forever slant to the left the highest court and the White House. He also advocates “Medicare for All … Who Want It.”

This debate will also give a brief shot at their moment of fame to self-help author and lecturer Marianne Williamson, another slavery reparations supporter, and former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who despite his business background refuses to call himself a capitalist.

The most interesting candidate in Thursday’s beauty contest will be Andrew Yang, 44, an entrepreneur from upstate New York, author of the book “The War On Normal People,” and the only Asian-American (unless we count Kamala Harris for her Tamil mother) on the debate stage. He favors government paying everyone a universal basic income, Medicare for All, a “human-centered capitalism,” and a new currency to “reward people and organizations who drive significant social value.”

Yang, perhaps in anticipation of ending the Electoral College, says he may campaign via “hologram” in some states too unimportant to visit in person; this could become our future if Democrats win.

Maybe Washington, D.C., has no Democrats or Republicans anymore – only millionaires. Mark Leibovich proposed that six years ago in his best-seller “This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral – Plus Plenty of Valet Parking! – in America’s Gilded Capital.” In 2019, even “socialist” Bernie Sanders is a millionaire with three mansions.

Leibovich this month in the New York Times Magazine wrote: “23 Democrats Are Running for President. Do Any of Them Know What They’re Doing?” From Biden to Williamson, he finds, the 2016 outsider Trump victory persuaded 20 to ask “Why not me?” Now all are struggling to find the magic formula that can win both moderate voters and the hard-core lunatic leftist base of today’s Democratic Party. Pandering former El Paso congressman and skateboarding punk-rock musician millionaire Beto O’Rouke promised to block Trump’s border wall and tear down whatever wall already exists; his poll numbers collapsed.

This week’s debate requires a successful “Hail Marx” pass, do or die. Each candidate desperately needs some incantation that will win over both rich contributors and radical supporters.

The requirements for Democratic debates three and four are twice as high as they were to enter this week’s debates.

Lowell Ponte is a former Reader’s Digest Roving Editor. His articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and other major publications. His latest paper co-authored with Craig R. Smith, “Protecting Your Wealth in Today’s America: How You Invest Your Savings Requires New Thinking,” shows how to rethink several areas of investment to protect and grow your savings in our new schizophrenic politics. For a free, postpaid copy, call toll-free 800-630-1492.

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