Latest Democratic Presidential Debate Proves How Much More Qualified These Candidates Are Than Republicans

hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders-debateTonight’s CBS News debate between the Democratic candidates for president was calm, mature and focused on the issues. In other words, it was a complete contrast to the circus that often accompanies GOP presidential debates. (To be fair, it’s much easier to conduct a debate with three candidates as opposed to 8-11.)

If I came away from tonight with one overall feeling, it’s that I’m proud of my party. I’m proud that I can watch a debate with three candidates who conduct themselves with dignity and maturity. Granted there were heated moments throughout the debate, but it wasn’t the peacock show you see with Republicans desperately trying to “out macho” one another. It’s refreshing to see Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley talk about terrorism like adults trying to find real solutions, not clowns “talking tough” to pander to simpletons.

The moments of the night clearly came when Clinton boasted about her support from women; Sanders called Republican Eisenhower a socialist; and O’Malley called Donald Trump a “carnival barker” because of his hateful rhetoric on immigration (among other things).

This wasn’t “must-see” television from an entertainment perspective (sorry, it wasn’t the sideshow Republicans put on), but it was extremely refreshing if you’re someone who cares about hearing candidates talk about real issues and discuss real solutions.

I would say a moment that stuck out was when O’Malley tried to paint Clinton as a Wall Street shill by suggesting an economist she mentioned, Alan Krueger, was nothing but a Wall Street hack. That’s simply not true; in fact, he’s a professor at Princeton and was nominated (and unanimously confirmed by the Senate) by President Obama to be chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Sanders floundered slightly when he was pressed on the level at which he wants to raise taxes. Clearly it’s an issue he’s trying to stay somewhat vague about, but I think it’s something he’s going to have to address soon otherwise the questions are going to continue to grow. Especially after he’s already admitted his plan for the payroll tax would likely “hit everyone.”

Clearly, Hillary Clinton’s biggest weakness right now is the perception that she’s a sellout for Wall Street, and I’m not sure if anything she said tonight is going to change the mind of anyone who believes that. Sanders clearly got to her when he questioned her honesty about being tough on Wall Street, though he did struggle to cite anything specific aside from campaign contributions that would support his suggestion that she wouldn’t be tough on the financial sector. Seeing as she has an actual plan laid out for doing so, I don’t know what more she can say or do to change that perception at this point.

Overall, I would say both Clinton and Sanders did great, with maybe a slight edge to Clinton. She just seems much more knowledgable about international affairs than either Sanders or O’Malley. Either way, I would be proud to vote for either candidate as our next president.

Martin O’Malley’s performance was fine in general, but I just don’t see him making up ground in this race. Either way, I appreciate him bringing a counterbalance of points and ideas to Sanders and Clinton, and I think he could be a Democratic power player in the coming years – possibly even a Vice Presidential candidate next year.

Bottom line is, this is what a debate is supposed to be about. It was to the point, discussed real solutions, and any sort of “attacks” between the candidates (if you want to call them that) were professional, respectful and handled amongst each other with class.

As with the first Democratic presidential debate, I come away from this one proud of the fact I’m a Democrat being represented by three adults instead of a Republican being represented by an unfunny political circus.

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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  • Jim Bean

    There are no ‘qualified candidates’ in either party this time around. The Republican Party is chaos and the Democratic Party is slave to buying votes with promises of freebies they cannot possibly deliver without wrecking the economy even further because that’s all they’ve got.

    • BobFromDistrict9

      The freebies will be eminently affordable and little needed if we just end free trade and bring our well paid productive jobs back to America.

      Those freebies have been the only thing that kept us out of another major depression. I consider this a lesser depression, it’s no longer a recession.

      • Jim Bean

        “The freebies will be eminently affordable and little needed if we just end free trade and bring our well paid productive jobs back to America.” With that I wholeheartedly agree. But no way is Hillary going to do that. Trump might, but Hillary is bought and paid for.

        (That’s not plug for Trump. I don’t like him. Just stating a fact.)

      • BobFromDistrict9

        I don’t see Trump doing it either.

        No one of the insiders in DC are likely to do it. Bernie might, he’s already out against the TPP. He knows how we’ve been screwed by free trade.

      • Jim Bean

        Frankly, I don’t either. I see Hillary becoming President and her managing to reward the entitlement-hungry crowd with some small table scraps. She’ll find a way to charge the wealthy for the scraps and the wealthy will pass the cost right on down to us like they always do. Then Hillary will say, ‘see what great things the Democratic Party does for the people’ and the chumps will lap it up.

      • BobFromDistrict9

        I see Hillary flaming out when challenged on facts. Republicans couldn’t do it over Benghazi because they were just trying for publicity, not truth. That and Hillary really did not do anything wrong. Every thing they accused her of was a cheap shot, nothing of substance.

        The weapons shipments to Syria was the most incredibly stupid accusation they could make. They probably were happening, but we were supporting the rebels. The militias in Libya would not have attacked over that, as they highly likely supported the rebels.

        I really do see Bernie having a chance to win. The American public area that sick of the ones who pretend to be leaders. That plus he is consistent, and he speaks the truth as he knows it.

      • Jim Bean

        He crashed with ‘global warming caused the Paris attack.’

      • BobFromDistrict9

        I do not recall him ever saying global warming caused the Paris attack.

        Can you give a link?

      • Jim Bean
  • BobJThompson

    Again with the scaremongering about Sanders wanting to raise taxes on everyone. Yes he wants to tax the rich to fund the government (and not the officials for their own gain) The text quoted this and every time someone says Sanders wants to tax everyone is based on him trying to get 12 weeks of maternity leave. Yes that would be a tax on everyone, but the tax would be equivalent to the cost of a cup of coffee every pay period. Well worth the cost if you ask me.

    With the tone of his campaign about getting the wealthy to pay their fair share and a quick linked aside to “the socialist” trying to tax everyone is a bait and switch tactic. If you tell people what it’s for, generally they are for it.

    • Jen

      One of the taxes Bernie proposes is a “transaction tax” on investment trades. I think this is a fair tax. His proposal is a very nominal percentage, and would primarily affect large investors, not your “average Joe.” This is how he proposes to fund Higher Education, based on the information I have been reading.

      The bigger problem we have in this country is wage stagnation. Wages have not kept up with the cost of living, while CEO’s and others in the top .01% have done extremely well.

      Anyone who budgets knows that there are two sides to “breaking even” or having a “balanced” budget. One side is income, the other is spending. There comes a time, when nothing else can be cut from spending, and you have to find a new or additional source of income.

      • BobJThompson

        Nah. We should cut taxes and services that some people depend on. That’s not only smart, but a great way to ensure a stable prosperous America.