I hope you got a chance to watch the democratic debate on CNN tonight. It was quite the debate. It was even better than the republican debate! (I’m a conservative libertarian) The candidates gave it their all and really battle over the issues. Despite the fact that they agreed on the goals of the policy, the fight become over the means. Each candidate got fairly decent air time with exception of Jim Webb who seem to struggle to get any talk time. Of course, the focus was mostly on Sanders and Clinton. The other candidates Webb, O’Malley and Chaffe gave some good cannon fodder but in the end all trail Sanders and Clinton significantly. So I want to breakdown my reaction to each candidates performance. I will quickly go over the three 1 percenters (In the polls). Then I will go into some more detail with Clinton and Sanders who both seem to give strong performances.
The worst performance goes to Jim Webb. Mr. Webb just couldn’t seem to jump into the conservation. He couldn’t seem to defend his moderate positions. Webb just was out-democrat by both Sanders and Clinton. I will give him props for being a Vietnam Veteran. Unfortunately like his campaign, his lackluster debate performance will probably end his run sooner rather than later.
Lincoln Chaffe was another candidate who participated in the debate. Came out strong attacking Clinton and her scandals. Chaffe was a bit a flip flopper have changing parties from Republican to Independent to Democratic. Chaffe is the former governor of Rhode Island and Senator. His voting record is a bit shaky. However, like Webb he just couldn’t get much air time. When he did get time, he certainly made it count. Unfortunately for him, I don’t think it was enough to boost his polls too much.
Martin O’Malley is the former governor of Maryland. He gave the strongest performance of these three candidates. He was able to use both Sanders, Clinton and others arguments to jump into the conversation. There are two issues that O’Malley pushed hard that I took issues with. First, his strict gun control policy has some questionable results given the unrest in Baltimore. Clearly, with the death of innocent black African Americans his gun control didn’t stop it. One has to wonder if a national strict gun policy would have the same results. The second issue was on immigration. He seem to take it a step further than any candidate. I’m not sure offering free college to illegal immigrants is a smart idea. Considering that American students have massive student loan debt. However, I wouldn’t be against the eventual naturalization of illegals and their receiving benefits. I think that O’Malley is definitely more similar to Hillary Clinton than Sanders. Not sure how this will affect his polling. But he may be a little too radically progressive for American voters. In addition, his low poll numbers suggest that he isn’t going to be catching up any time soon. I think his lack of national political experience will hurt him because in democratic field it seems that this is a requirement. (The GOP seems to be more on political outsider candidate road, think Donald Trump and Ben Carson)
Onto the top two candidates leading the democratic polls:
Bernie Sanders is a senator from Vermont. Sanders had a very strong showing despite being attacked early and often. One of the questions that kept him on the defensive was his record on guns. I have mentioned this in previous posts that Sanders hails from Vermont a gun loving state. Sanders was able to say that he is changing his position after all the mass shooting. He also tried to frame it in the sense of “Urban vs. Rural” states. Noting that rural areas tend to have lax gun laws. O’Malley smartly shot him down on this narrative because of his record in Maryland. (Pun not Intended/ Notwithstanding the failures in Baltimore) Sanders was also successful pushing for the usual minimum wage hike and paid family leave. I think that the question in my mind, and many others is how will you pay for all these expensive actions. He did mention that he would put a tax on the rich hedge managers or something like that. The thing about Sanders is that his plans all sound great. The problem is where is all this money coming from? All the rich people are moving out already so I don’t think taxing them more will make them stay. Overall though, I thought that Bernie stuck to his platform pretty closely and was able to separate himself from Clinton. I have to believe that Sanders will keep building up his support.
Hillary Clinton is a former senator of New York and Secretary of State. Mrs. Clinton was able to stick it to everybody in this debate. She flatly denied the email scandal anymore attention than it had. Mr. Chaffe did throw a few jabs with his mention of no scandal. Clinton really stuck to her guns on foreign policy. Surprisingly she did make some sense by saying that a coalition to help in Syria was necessary. She was unapologetic about her decisions in the past. I could see that she was really trying to keep the focus on the issues and not her past. Unfortunately her past is so well known I think it played well for her. Clinton really pushed strong for rights and equality for women. However, Sanders also pushed hard. They both seem to think that smaller countries like Denmark and Norway were good models. The only problem is America is much larger in population. Once again, just like Sanders, Hillary could not answer how she might pay for anything. All I heard was increase taxes on rich.
Speaking of that, Republican bashing was Hillary’s leading role. Every opportunity that she got, she took to bash the republicans. Comparing the democratic debate as one that focused on issues instead of racism and women hating. She was right about that. However, I feel like Clinton failed to really convince people that she won’t do the shady things of the past again. The mistrust of politicians is at an all time high. She is the poster child for bad politicians. This was brought out by the constant attack on her political flip flopping on issues. Anderson Cooper went directly for her saying any to get votes. I was not convince by her answers. Clinton seem to have strong performance by using other candidates positions to back her own. She was able to articulate many of her own positions because of the huge amount air time given to her. (Much to the dismay of Mr. Webb) I think that Clinton probably improved her polls by a few points. She’s a savvy politician.
Overall, I found the debate to be very interesting and more focused on the issues. This is also due to the smaller number of candidates. The stark contrast between republicans and democrats is that democrats are actually in agreement on what needs to be done. Where republicans can’t agree on where to even start. The democrats bashed each other much less than the republicans bashed each other. I knew from the get-go that republican bashing would happen. Not surprisingly it came from Clinton and Sanders the most.
Just before the debate started, I was watching the analyst on CNN talk about VP Joe Biden. Biden is considering a presidential run. The conversation was very interesting because it seem that some in the media were tired of waiting for him to decide. I found this to be very interesting. I was thinking about how the debate dynamics might have changed if Joe Biden did decide to run. I do believe that Biden would have significant impact in the democratic primary. Biden would almost certainly give Bernie Sanders a run for his money. He may even knock Sanders out of contention. The biggest challenger to Biden would be none other than Hillary Clinton. Biden is on par with Clinton in political experience and political clout. Not only that but he is a sitting Vice President. Clinton identifies closely with Obama. However, I think that Biden would be able to more effectively use Obama in his election run. Obama might even endorse him. (A running mate for 7 years in a row probably means they are great friends) Granted President Obama may not be the most popular president but he does have an influence unlike any other endorser. So will Joe Biden throw a wrench into the race?
Thanks for reading! More coming on this debate and future debates!