In the extended conversation that passed for a debate in the U.S. Senate race, Dianne Feinstein essentially won by not losing.

In fact, watching and listening to the debate – which was a challenge given quality of the video and audio of the web stream — actually raised questions about Kevin de Leon’s age, not the age of Feinstein, the oldest member of the U.S. Senate.

KDL might be too old to take down DiFi.

De Leon might not seem old to you, but he’s old to me – seven years older, since he’ll turn 52 by year’s end. And he’s a decade-and-a-half older the average California. Heck, he’s old enough to be an AARP member. And he sure could have used more youthful energy in the debate.

KDL had only an hour-long conversation—it wasn’t really a debate because ground rules prohibited the candidates from addressing each other—to make an impact and draw clear contrasts with Feinstein. He took some good shots at her, but didn’t really make connect the dots and clarify the differences in ways that could be repeated on TV and online.

This was a problem because the case for KDL is that he can show more fight and win in a federal system that is stacked against California. So why didn’t he show more fight in the debate, and preview that style that can overcome an opponent?

Maybe it’s not a good idea to send a Gen Xer to do a millennial’s job. It’s telling that the politicians who are doing the best job at drawing the contrasts between the Democratic party’s ancient leadership and today’s realities are a generation younger than de Leon. Think of Florida’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee, 39-year-old Andrew Gillum, or 29-year-old neo-socialist icon Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

KDL couldn’t quite match their energy, which is understandable. Maybe he was feeling tired and needed a midday nap. I sure felt like sleeping while watching the KDL-DiFi exchange.