The democratic debates seemed to be a disaster: Too many people on the stage with too much discussion. Instead, Wednesday night was a moment of hope in the midst of a deep political depression. Regardless of your political views, the first debate with 10 candidates was reassuring and even inspiring.
All 10 people on stage were (mostly) convincing, competent, serious and passionate. It is a shame that the bar has been lowered so much that "most of the people we saw tonight and all running for the presidency would probably do a good job," but here we are.
In some key issues – for example, a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy – the candidates seemed more or less in agreement. However, there were real differences on other issues, including immigration policy and the best way to ensure quality health care for most Americans. Debates about how to reach our ideal endpoint, and not just what this endpoint is, are what American voters deserve.
The debate has also done what few had done before: it allowed previously unrecognized candidates to have their moments – and may have only catapulted some outstanding results in the polls. Most notable among them was Julián Castro, who has striven to make up ground both in terms of coverage and support. He shone on Wednesday night.
His answers to a series of difficult questions were among the strongest, clearest, and most progressive. Among the leaders, I have some candidates I like better than others, but I do not think who would be the ideal candidate, let alone who would make a compelling running mate. This democratic debate eventually provided a sharper distinction between the candidates, both in politics and in personality.
And they brought good news: Almost everyone on this stage is already smarter, more capable and more qualified than the current president. We only need one of them to win.
Jill Filipovic is a journalist in Washington and author of the book " The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness. ". Follow her on ] Twitter .