With primary season in full swing, things are about to get a whole lot more hectic as we’re just a couple of days removed from Bernie Sanders’s large win in New Hampshire and we’re already at the debate that will take us into Nevada on February 20th. While I know many pundits like to make a big deal out of Iowa and New Hampshire, as I’ve said before, neither state has really proven to matter a great deal in the grand scheme of things. In fact, when it comes to New Hampshire, no candidate from either party has won the state primary and gone on to become president since George H. W. Bush did it in 1988.
For me, now is when primary season really kicks into gear. Especially South Carolina, the state all of the last five presidents won prior to moving into the White House.
Well, tonight was a Democratic debate that really didn’t bring with it a great deal of intrigue. Though, like the New Hampshire debate, I expected a bit more conflict between the two. With Martin O’Malley stepping out, it seemed to open the door for these two candidates to take on one another on key issues more so than when they were having to share the stage.
I’m not going to lie folks, this debate didn’t bring much new to the table for those of us who’ve seen the previous debates. Not that it was bad, but it was basically the same thing we’ve heard both candidates say plenty of times before.
Hillary Clinton did decent, though I wouldn’t say this was her best showing. I think she does well when it comes to addressing basically every issue but campaign contributions from Wall Street. Though the truth of the matter is, there’s nothing she can say that’s going to appease people who find the contributions to be a valid reason to oppose her. Personally, I believe someone can act ethically while still having a Super PAC – some disagree. As she said tonight, President Obama took a lot of money from Wall Street and went on to pass Dodd-Frank, so it’s a bit disingenuous to claim a politician who has a Super PAC supporting them can’t act ethically. Either way, when it comes to addressing concerns about Wall Street, that’s where Clinton struggles the most. This is an area Sanders continually “wins” during these debates and his message clearly resonates with millions of people.
Clinton’s strongest area continues to be foreign policy and international issues. When the two candidates speak, she’s obviously much more well-rounded and informed about the intricacies of what’s going on in the Middle East.
I wouldn’t say Bernie Sanders did bad tonight, but from the start I said on Twitter that he looked incredibly flat and borderline angry. Without a doubt his “wheelhouse” is economic issues. This is where he thrives, and he hit on these issues very well this evening.
On foreign policy, I wouldn’t say he’s weak, he just goes to his talking points more than any actual detail about what he would do. Aside from frequently bringing up his vote on Iraq, that’s about all the foreign policy experience he ever goes into detail about. When he tried to bash Henry Kissinger, he looked somewhat weak when Clinton responded by saying a “Commander-in-Chief” needs to be open to ideas from many people, even if they don’t agree with everything that they’ve said or done. That doesn’t mean you’re required to follow any particular advice given from an individual, it just means you’re open to hearing them out. Though Sanders does play very well to those folks who believe that the Iraq vote is the end all be all standard setter for foreign policy experience.
Also, Sanders’s advisers should let him know that his constant waving down of the moderators and faces he makes when Clinton is answering is starting to get a bit ridiculous. Let’s not forget, we make fun of Donald Trump for doing such things. I’m sorry, but constantly doing that throughout the debate gets a bit old.
So, who won? I would say it was a tie. I might give a slight edge to Clinton because I think she really dominated the foreign policy part of the debate and also hit Sanders hard on his past criticism of President Obama. Sanders does better on economic issues, but neither candidate seemed overly “energized” this evening during the first hour or so. The second half of the debate was the most tense featuring a few sharp back and forth jabs from each candidate.
Another debate, another strong overall showing by two great candidates. I know I repeat myself as bad as Marco Rubio when I say this, but I always walk away from these debates proud of our Democratic choices for president this year. While Republicans struggle to pick the least terrible candidate in their pack of rabid hyenas, Democrats are trying to pick the best and most qualified responsible adult to lead this country.
Though no matter what your preference, we must all remember to come together once the nominee is selected and work together to make damn sure Republicans don’t take back the White House this November. The damage they would do might never be undone. There are literally millions of people in this country whose health care, marriage or even basic freedoms will be at risk if Republicans take back the Oval Office.
So, no matter if you’re an #ImWithHer or a #FeeltheBern person, remember, when it’s all said and done – #VoteBlueNoMatterWho.