After three rounds of debates, the latest a winnowed field of 10 sharing a single stage, one thing seems clear: The Democratic Party needs a heavy hitter to enter this race, or one among the field to grasp reality. It is time to get real.
Without someone impassioned, articulate and believable -- think Oprah Winfrey or Michelle Obama -- the Democratic field has no clear message. The 10 leading candidates cannot clearly articulate why they want the job. As explained by spiritual author and Democratic candidate Marianne Williamson, who did not make the stage Thursday, no one will beat President Donald Trump with wonky insider policy talk.
Love or hate him and what he has to say, Trump had a crystal clear message when he ran in 2016: "Make America Great Again." He will run next year on a promise to "Keep America Great." It is called marketing.
Trump's simple slogans don't promise gifts or anything specific. They mean whatever any listener cares to dream of.
Compare that to the Democratic primary talk. Candidates exchange gibberish about giving away money, health care, education and other services and goods in exchange for support. To sloganize their grand vision, one could only say "Make America Socialist, As Never Before."
Democrats plan to control the climate by phasing out fossil fuels. This appeals to fantasy visions of far-left activists but makes no sense to anyone who understands the pervasive and intractable role of fossil fuels in nearly every aspect of human life.
Construction, manufacturing, transportation, heating, cooling, agriculture, food processing, media, telecommunication and low-emission "sustainable" energy innovation depend heavily on fossil fuels.
We will not imminently replace bulldozers, tractors, cranes, planes, boats, tires, roofs, lightbulbs, phones, TVs, ovens -- pretty much everything that defines the way we live -- with replacements we will somehow manufacture and operate without fossil fuels. It is not possible in anyone's lifetime.
When Americans of average intelligence hear an entire slate of presidential candidates promise the impossible, they roll their eyes and resign themselves to another four years of Trump.
Whether they like him, he does not threaten their ability to turn on lights, drive cars, heat homes and eat. We cannot say the same for 10 leading Democratic candidates, unless and until they explain how they will eliminate fossil fuels without screwing up our lives.
They have various ideas for giving away health care on a massive scale, and no one demands they explain how to pay for it. The even bigger concern is where they will get it. This country faces a severe and growing health care shortage, and the prospect of free health care for everyone including illegal immigrants only makes young adults less interested in future medical careers.
They will give away college educations and forgive student loan debt. Of 10 leading candidates, not one has a message that does not boil down to taking from Peter to pay for Paul's vote.
Small-time millionaire lawyer Andrew Yang has taken pandering to an all-time low, paying a few randomly selected people $1,000 a month for no apparent reason. If elected, everyone who needs $1,000 will get it from government. How to pay for this? No one asks.
The moderators and candidates in all three debates have essentially ignored economic questions and answers, allowing discussions of incomprehensible fantasy.
Democrats need a candidate moored to reality. Americans will vote for Trump, even if they don't like him, if given no better option. They won't vote for any Trump opponent with a message they cannot believe.