The first democratic debate will take place on October 13, 2015. The candidates have not been officially selected. In the spirit of the debate season kicking off, I want to preview some of the candidates that will be expected. Unlike the Republican debate featuring over 20 candidates, the democratic debate will feature fewer candidates but tough competition. I have already discussed two of the candidates, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton on this blog. I looked at parts of their platforms and reviewed what they might offer us as president. Outside of these two candidates the field becomes less well-known. The two candidates that could possibly show up in a debate are Martin O’Malley and Jim Webb. O’Malley is a former a governor of Maryland. Webb is a senator from the state of Virginia. The both have election websites that have some substance. They both each detailed biographies that help outline who they are and let’s the American public get to know them. Here is O’Malley’s bio and here is Webb’s bio. Both worth a read especially if you are not familiar with them.
In this post, rather than nitpick through each O’Malley and Webb’s platforms, instead I want to compare their ability to compete with Bernie and Hillary on the issues. I suspect that both O’Malley and Webb both closely align with the two more popular candidates. However, if they want to be elected they will face the challenge of popularity. The problem is that Hillary Clinton is famous and has been since her husband became President in 1993. Bernie has built a solid grassroots campaign and is a fixture in congress with over 30 years of experience. For both O’Malley and Webb they will have to sell their brand of a democratic platform if they want to even be considered.
Let’s take O’Malley’s platform against both of the top candidates. O’Malley goes with a similarly vague outline of the issues. You can read it here. If O’Malley is selected for the debate, he will have to articulate and detail all his positions. He will have uphill battle trying to sell that he can get it done better than both Sanders and Hillary. I talked about minimum wage and college plans for Sanders and Clinton respectively. So how will O’Malley match up? O’Malley matches up well with Sanders by advocating the same 15 dollar minimum wage (Same as Hillary). He also wants to fix wall street and hold it accountable. His approach is different from Sanders though. Sanders is more taking down the 1 percent and the rich and taxing them more. O’Malley just want accountability and an increase in pay and social welfare programs. If O’Malley can take more of an everyday person approach on these issues, I think he could sell it better than Sanders. However, to Sanders is his own brand of feisty and “won’t-take-no-for-answer” kind of mantra. It’s important to remember that these candidates all want the same thing, the issue is how will they make it work in favor for votes.
O’Malley highlights that he wants all schooling for pre-k to college to be debt free. Hillary’s plan which I outline in my last post on her, is more substantive. Hillary actually has a specific way that she wants to accomplish it. Unfortunately for O’Malley just saying I want education to be debt free doesn’t swing voters. He needs a plan of action. In order to head off Hillary, he would be wise to suggest a plan that uses the repeal of unnecessary tax cuts to help pay for education. Or maybe even a cut in the extra defense spending. Either of those would have an appeal to the voters. Being the former governor of Maryland certain will help him. On his website, he claims to have the best gun control in the nation. If that is really true then maybe that’s what he should really use to sway voters. My take on gun control is that taking away guns completely doesn’t stop the problem and letting everyone have guns is called a war zone. I believe that there is a medium, it combines good gun practices, laws and regulations to control who has guns and who can get them. Guns are no different from illegal drugs because black markets tend to thrive when something is forbidden.
Jim Webb goes into more depth on his issues. The very first issue is “economic fairness”. Webb cites some statistics from the Wall Street Journal supposedly. Webb does not directly come out say anything about either minimum wage or college debt. However, he looks at the tax code and how we could fix that to help. Not terribly different from either Sanders or Clinton. In fact to me, Webb sounds like Rand Paul. (Not an insult to Rand) How would he fare against the two heavyweights? I think on both issues against either Sanders and Clinton that Webb would fall short. The statistics are good but the specificity of how he might accomplish it is weak. Sanders and Clinton just have a much stronger conviction about how they want to change things. I feel that Webb lacks it. If Webb is selected for the debate, he will need to come out strong in his opinions on each issue. It would stand to reason that each candidate will get more time to speak at this debate. Fewer candidates means more time right?
The democratic debate will certain be interesting. The head to head of Clinton and Sanders will be based purely who can sell the most votes. The platforms of most democratic candidates is very similar. I almost think that the democratic convention should be worried about how popular they both are. Right now, Clinton is leading in the polls from what I’ve been hearing. I just wonder what will happen after the primaries select the nominee. Whoever is selected will be a force to be reckoned with. I can’t say the same for the republicans who seem to have an uphill battle even if Trump is contender. I came across this article which says that Clinton and Trump are neck in neck in the polls.
I want to write a brief opinion about some speculation, namely the potentially candidacy of current Vice President Joe Biden. I find Biden’s potential run very interesting. Of course he is still in office right now, but as Vice President he has a considerable amount of flexibility. Biden would make an interesting candidate because of his partnership with Obama. It seems that voters would likely vote for him if they liked him with Obama. The last vice president to be elected as president was Richard Nixon. I’m not sure what Biden would run on his platform. I have a hunch that it would be similar to Clinton, Sanders, Webb, and O’Malley. Biden was formerly a senator of Delaware. He has a lot of experience in politics. Biden could potentially be a dark horse candidate if he decides to run….
Thanks for reading! Next post coming soon!