At Iowa Town Hall, Democrats Showed Republicans What it Takes to Lead This Country

hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders-debateTonight was the last big Democratic event before next week’s Iowa Caucus officially launches the 2016 election. Though being that it was a town hall event setup by CNN rather than a full-fledged debate, expectations were a little lower. (Of course, in “town hall” formats there’s always the chance for unexpected gaffes or fireworks.)

Tonight went pretty much how I expected it to. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders kept to their usual go-to talking points they’ve been using against one another for the last few weeks, while Martin O’Malley made his last-ditched effort to try to salvage a better showing in Iowa than practically every single poll that’s been conducted has said he will do. But ultimately it showed what happens when three adults discuss issues aimed at helping the average American as opposed to the clown car of Republicans pouring out to spout off absurd talking points for cheap applause.

First up was Bernie Sanders. He hit his usual lines very well, threw in a few funny jokes and seemed very relaxed. The only real fault I found was when he was asked how he plans to pass these big promises on which he’s running. His answer was that he has a history of working with Republicans when there’s “common ground.” Which is fine, except – there’s no common ground on these big promises he’s making. Republicans will not support raising taxes on the rich, socializing public universities, “Medicare-for-all” and raising the minimum wage to $15 – so I’m not sure where you find “common ground” on any of that to get any of it passed. Other than that, Sanders did well. I don’t think he said or did anything that will make anyone abandon him, though the question is whether or not he said enough to sway people to his side. We’ll soon find out.

Martin O’Malley was up next, and he also did well. As I’ve said from the beginning on this, O’Malley is mostly using this to get exposure and set himself up for another run. I think if he “brands” himself right and keeps his name growing among Democrats, he can be a future presidential candidate. This campaign will be a huge benefit for him going forward in his political career.

Lastly, we heard from Hillary Clinton. While I’m not sure she convinced many Sanders folks to rush her way, she did come off extremely “presidential” tonight. One of the biggest problems with Clinton has always been convincing people she’s not what those who attack her say she is – fighting against perception rather than reality. With each of these debates or town halls, she always strikes me as the candidate who’s best suited (and most experienced in a variety of issues a president would face) for the job. Will that translate to other voters who might be skeptical of her? Only time will tell, but I certainly don’t think she did anything tonight that would cause anyone to turn against her.

Was there a winner? I don’t think so. I would say Sanders was the more personable, humorous one while Clinton seemed more presidential and well-rounded – but I didn’t see anything tonight that struck me as that was a moment that’s going to swing the pendulum one way or the other.

As I’ve said each and every time I’ve written one of these summaries, I would be proud to vote for any of these three candidates. While each has their pros and cons, listening to these three talk about the issues is incredibly refreshing considering the sideshow that I’ll be forced to cover on Thursday when Republicans take the stage for their last debate before the Iowa Caucus.

While I know some people will disagree with what I say next, as always, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for Democrats to come together once the nominee is picked to make damn sure Republicans do not retake the White House. From the Supreme Court to same-sex marriage to women’s rights and health care, a Republican winning this November wouldn’t just erase all the progress we’ve made over the last few years – it would set this country back decades.

We cannot allow that to happen.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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  • Pierockit

    If you would like to learn more about where Bernie Sanders stands on the issues please check out

    This site was put together by volunteers and cites it’s information using Bernie’s congressional voting record to back up it’s claims.

    Bernie Sanders 2016!

    • Creeayshun Sighuntist

      He is a GREAT man but unelectable in a general election. I love the guy but this election is just too important to watch a Republican zealot get swept into office by a landslide because we nominated somebody who has the word “Socialist” hanging around his neck. The bashing of that word has not yet begun and we can’t let it begin. You have to know that all of conservative media are licking their chops at the prospect of a Socialist as the D’s candidate. The majority of voting Americans will not vote for a proud “socialist”. It is not a secret. He will turn away swing voters and moderates because of the label, regardless of policy positions. Most people just don’t listen and you can’t change that. Three to four SCOTUS justices will be nominated by the next POTUS, and that cannot be a republican. Period.

      Hillary Clinton 2016!

      • Pierockit

        If you think Hillary is more electable then Bernie you haven’t been paying attention to the polls and you haven’t been talking to a lot of people. Bernie beats Trump and Cruz with wide margins in any poll putting them against each other. I don’t dislike Hillary but many people strongly do. She’s not going to win over independents much less get conservatives to vote blue the way Sanders has a history of.

      • Creeayshun Sighuntist

        A. Polls are not empirical evidence. This is primary season and the attack ads have not started.
        B. Republican superpacs are running campaign ads for Bernie. If that doesn’t worry you, you are not thinking clearly.
        C. The dislike of Hillary is very overstated at this point and mostly coming from conservatives who just the loudest people in the room right now.
        D. Conservatives will not vote for Bernie. We are not talking New Hampshire here. The word Socialist will play incessantly if he is the nominee and I guarantee, he will not survive that title to even hit 40% of the popular vote. It just isn’t possible. It would be a total blowout and one that Democrats wouldn’t recover from for at least decade.

      • Pierockit

        A.The primary season is well under way and attack ads are flying in early states. Bernie is doing especially well in those states.

        B.One of the reasons I volunteer for Bernie is because we’re doing what we’re doing, super PACs be damned.

        C. If you think the people you define as conservatives are the loudest people in the room you haven’t seen footage from a Bernie rally.

        D. Conservatives have voted Bernie Sanders, a self described Democratic Socialist mayor, then house rep, then to the senate. He has an excellent record of passing legislation in Congress with bipartisan support.

        Bernie Sanders is the best candidate for the job on either side of the bullshit divide and Americans are going to vote in our best interest and put him in the Oval fucking Office.

      • Creeayshun Sighuntist

        Vermont is the 2nd least populated state in the US. It is hardly a snapshot of the US, just as Wyoming, Alaska, ND, SD, and all other small states. You know that. I like Bernie a lot and if he is the nominee I will gladly vote for him, but he will never win. His title will ensure that.

        I will say it again, GOP superpacs are running campaign ads FOR Bernie, and they are doing that for a reason. Let that sink in………
        Americans don’t vote for qualifications, period, or Al Gore and John Kerry would have won by a landslide. Bernie’s bid would never survive the onslaught of negative ads. It is a sad state of affairs but that is the truth. The word “Socialism” needs to be redefined in the US before a person like him will ever have a chance in a national election. I think he is a great first step towards that rehab process but we are a long way off from ever electing one as President.

      • Dennis

        FBI going ‘right to the source’ in Clinton email probe, interviewing intel agencies

        The FBI is going straight to the source in its investigation of classified emails that crossed Hillary Clinton’s personal server, speaking with the intelligence agencies – and in some cases, the individuals – that generated the information, two intelligence sources familiar with the probe told Fox News.

        Investigators are meeting with the agencies and individuals to determine the classification level in the emails. The step speaks to the diligence with which the bureau is handling the investigation, despite the former secretary of state’s claims that the matter boils down to a mere interagency dispute.

        “This is not merely a difference of opinion between the State Department and the Department of Justice,” one intelligence source, who is not authorized to speak on the record, told Fox News, referring to comments on the Sunday talk shows and by the Clinton campaign downplaying the FBI’s investigation. “The bureau will go directly to depose specific individuals in agencies who generated the highly classified materials.”
        Fox News also confirmed that at least one email contained intelligence from human spying, known as “HCS-0,” which is code for highly sensitive human intelligence operations.

        Read it all, CS. Every word of it.

      • Creeayshun Sighuntist

        LMAO….Denise, when will you ever learn….Sourcing Fox “News” BBBWWWAAAAAHAAHAAAAAAA

      • Dennis

        Catherine Herridge

        Herridge’s recent book published by Crown, “The Next Wave: On the Hunt for al Qaeda’s American Recruits,” exposes the new face of terrorism and predicts the source of future threats in the Middle East and North Africa.

        Herridge comes from a military family, so her national security reporting is deeply personal. In 2005, her family made national headlines when Catherine donated part of her liver to their younger son of two children, Peter, for a lifesaving transplant. She is now an outspoken advocate for organ donation.

        A graduate of Harvard College and the Columbia School of Journalism, Herridge began her career as a London-based correspondent for ABC News.

        Her work on the Hillary email/public corruption story is unimpeachable. No one has even tried. Just idiots like you who say “But it’s only Fox News!”, like you think she’s been lying about the FBI investigation expanding. Just making it up out of whole cloth. That’s your only response. Your only hope.

        Actually, your only hope is if Loretta Lynch swallows her whistle for the home team, because every day it’s looking more and more damning for Hillary based on various reports about what the FBI knows and is pursuing. Good luck with that.

      • Creeayshun Sighuntist

        sure Denise…..A lot of people come from military families…..smh. Good luck in your whine du jour.

      • Dennis

        Do you have a specific claim about her, one that would indicate she’s lying about what her intelligence sources are telling her about the FBI investigation expanding?

  • Hillary brought me to tears of pride. Sanders sat and gave usual- I made the right decision 14 years ago, so that proves I have the foreign affair experience, and we’ve got to get together and sock it to the evil 1%. Everything I’m gonna do is going to be good for the people, so that will trickle down and be good for women. IMO he should stick with being a senator or perhaps try being a conductor for an orchestra; not POTUS. Still, if he should win, or if O’Malley should win primary, I will vote for them. But for the primary, I’m Hillary all the way.

  • Libertarianski

    Hey Hi-C,
    grannies or thongs??

  • Democratinny

    I like Bernie Sanders and his ideas are moving us along to keep going forward. I as well like Hillary. I have a great deal of respect for her and her wealth of knowledge is tremendous. However, I hope that those whose nominee does not win the primary, that we come together to support the Dem nominee. We cannot afford to lose more women’s rights, we cannot afford to have our social security and medicare privatized, we cannot afford to have minorities’ voting rights suppressed, etc., or have Koch’s gutting our pay scales, etc. PLEASE, support the Dem nominee regardless of who it is. No candidate is perfect, but not voting or “writing in” a name on the ballot is a vote for the GOP.

  • Dennis
    • TheLastLaugh

      ^ Known troll

      • Dennis

        ↑↑↑ Not known for anything but being a troll sniffer.