Posted by: minnow | December 21, 2015

Who Won the Third Democratic Debate?

Bottom line? Everyone who watched.  Repeatedly I found myself thinking: I agree with him.  She made sense.  He sounds like he  has a plan.  These people are smart, articulate, and respectful of one another.  They want to engage and inform the general public.  Yes, they have areas of disagreement but the three Democratic candidates are focused on problem-solving and treating one another with respect even while wrestling with the tough issues.  They aren’t beating each other up!  You can agree with their points of view or disagree with points of view, but you can’t say any one of them is fear mongering, uninformed, or talking nonsense.   Sanders, the self-proclaimed socialist, came across as pragmatic. Martin O’Malley may lack name recognition, but  that won’t be true for long.  And with her closing remarks, Hillary let us all know she has a sense of fun!

Sanders showed class by not only apologizing to Secretary Clinton (for the data breach made by one of his staffers) but to his supporters as well.  A man of integrity, he handled the situation immediately and decisively.  Additionally, he called for an independent investigation so the problem would not reoccur.

ON THE ISSUES, the candidates offered a substantive debate:

BEGINNING WITH FOREIGN POLICY–Sanders and O’Malley, unlike Clinton, paint themselves as reluctant to focus on regime change in the Middle East. Both want a coalition of Arab countries to fight ISIL in Syria and a coalition of other nations, like Germany and France, to provide support. In other words, they want to avoid American boots on the ground and won’t “go it alone”.  Sanders reminded listeners that a regime change without knowing who might rise to power creates a vacuum for terrorists.  Unlike the Republicans, all three acknowledge the sovereignty of other nations and our limited RIGHT to assert our will on foreign soil.  The issues in the Middle East are complicated and made more so by religion.  Sorting out friend and enemy, especially in Syria right now, is a tricky process and another good reason to avoid committing troops.

As a side note, Martin O’Malley mentioned our need to become less dependent on oil as a factor in solving our Middle East problems.  While one of O’Malley’s signature issues, the debate gave developing clean energy options only a passing mention.  Never the less, O’Malley is correct.  We must curb our oil appetite. It will lessen our interest in the Middle East and also  help us address the serious problem of climate change.

GUNS and GUN VIOLENCE—Transitioning away from the Middle East the issue of gun violence in the US was discussed. All three candidates advocate getting on board with the vast majority of Americans and implementing some type of gun safety laws. Assault weapons and the see-no-problem-do–nothing-about-it GOP were the major targets in the debate. Even Bernie Sanders, who unlike the other two candidates, lives in a state which received an F from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in 2015, advocated passing legislation to rid us of the gun show loophole, and banning citizen ownership of military grade assault weapons.

REFUGEES—When it comes to closing our doors to Syrian refugees, both Secretary Clinton, and Governor O’Malley reminded listeners that the vetting process for refugees is actually more strict than other types of visas.  Clinton added, “We don’t want to make it seem as though we are turning into a nation of fear instead of a nation of resolve.”

THE ECONOMY–The moderators spent very little time with questions about the economy.  Still, Clinton got in her best one-liner when she was asked, “Should corporate America love Hillary Clinton?”  She answered, “Everybody should.” And while every candidate gave lip service to reining in Wall Street Martin O’Malley lead the charge by calling for a renewed use of anti-trust laws and stronger efforts to promote competition. Bernie Sanders went a step further and backed up his assertions with evidence. He has no super PAC money and doesn’t want contributions from corporate America. He plans to break up “too big to fail” financial institutions and hopes to reinstate a modern day version of Glass-Steagall.   Sanders concluded his remarks saying, “While there are some great corporations creating jobs and trying to do the right thing, in my view — and I say this very seriously — the greed of the billionaire class, the greed of Wall Street is destroying this economy and is destroying the lives of millions of Americans.”

Other issues discussed were health care, family leave, taxes, and college tuitions.  The differences between  candidates may not be huge, but they were well articulated as were the subjects on which they agree. The fact is, these three Presidential hopefuls brought a great deal to the debate table Saturday (12/19/15) night. The sad reality, however, is fewer viewers heard them than heard the last GOP debate.  The Democratic National Committee has not only scheduled fewer debates than during the last open contest, but it has  picked a calendar with potentially the fewest number of viewers.  To put it as mildly as I can, I’m disappointed!  Nobody is helped by less air time and smaller audiences. Nobody!

The DNC clearly wants a Clinton nomination.  Plain.  Simple.  Political.  Sadly, if the American people want Bernie Sanders or Martin O’Malley we will have to do it on our own time and our own dime.  So, I say shame on the political machine.  But I also say–never before has becoming a revolutionary been so easy–all you need to do is VOTE.  That’s how we shut down the political machine. VOTE–that’s how we achieve a government of the people, by the people and most importantly FOR THE PEOPLE.  VOTE and support your vote for President with a vote for a Representative or Senator who will work with the President you choose.  Radicals don’t know how to collaborate and they refuse to compromise.  We need elected officials who are willing to work together for the greater good.  And we need one of these three candidates to lead the way.

 

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