The challengers to Hillary Clinton in the debate last night made Republican undercard competitors seem downright impressive.

Martin O’Malley has the vocal quality of elevator music. It reminds me of another voice, I just can’t place it. But there’s not much there there. Jim Webb seemed off-kilter, complaining endlessly about not getting enough time, and not really scoring any points with Democrats by invoking concepts like love of country and a strong military — that will not fly in today’s Democratic Party.

What can we say about Linc Chafee? I thought he had the potential to be aggressive. Those of us who know him from Rhode Island know that while he comes across as a doofus, he can be quite nasty and acerbic. I thought we might get that from him when his opening statement emphasized that he’s never had a scandal and is honest — but he didn’t take the shot directly at Hillary and seemed lost on stage.

In short, none of the three lower-tiered Democrats scored any points and all seemed afraid to confront Hillary. Hillary was, as Mark Steyn puts it, The Alpha Female of a Beta-Male Debate:

It was interesting to me how the Dems’ single-digit losers – Webb, Chafee, Martin O’Malley – were so incoherent and unimpressive compared to the GOP’s single-digit losers – Jindal, Graham, Santorum, even (God help us) Pataki. Last night, to justify their continued presence in the race, one of these guys had to lay a glove on Hillary. Instead, they all wimped out. Tonally, the sub-text of the debate was that these fellows were too scared of her to challenge her: They communicated only their subservience.

But how to explain Bernie Sanders? Hillary went for his throat on gun control, but he didn’t reciprocate.

In fact, the highlight of the night was when Bernie seemed to want to bail Hillary out on her email problems:

It was unfathomable. But made sense from a Bernie strategy point. He has nothing to gain from trashing Hillary on what Democrats view as a Republican talking point.

Plus, Democrats in 2015 like their males Beta, and their females Alpha. This, to them, was a feature not a bug.

Bernie is betting on the Democratic Socialist vote, and that vote doesn’t care about Hillary’s server:

And Bernie may be right. Post-debate, money flowed into Bernie’s campaign precisely because of the email line at the debate:

Whether or not you think Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) won Tuesday night’s Democratic debate, it’s clear his campaign’s bank account did.

Sanders raised $1.3 million dollars in the hours after the debate began, his campaign said in a statement. According to his campaign, they received at least 37,600 individual donations.

It wasn’t for lack of trying, though. During the debate, Bernie 2016 emailed supporters touting a joke he made about being sick of Hillary Clinton’s “damn emails.”

“He got the biggest applause of the night,” the email bragged.

At liberal Slate.com, Bernie is killing it in the vote as to who won the debate:

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2015/10/democratic_debate_who_won_vote_in_our_poll.html

Where it goes, I don’t know.