Watching the Democratic Debate this weekend gave me hope for this country. While we definitely saw moments of unprofessionalism and rudeness with interrupting and I wish we could have a civil, organized, and respectful debate, it definitely beat the name-calling and shouting matches the Republicans provided in their last debate. That was embarrassing! At least the Dems were a high school level debate performance and not just a bunch of 6th graders fighting on the playground.
All three candidates did a great job, noted the commentators as the debate ended, which clearly means… Hillary won the debate. Hmmm… so what does this mean for the nomination?
While we can say pretty securely that O’Malley won’t win the nomination, I appreciate his tenacity to stay in the running. He brings to the debate many facts and ideas that would otherwise be ignored which is critical to getting a comprehensive debate of the issues. He’s just a bit too intense and robotic for me, though I do love his focus on climate change and clean energy. And, as he noted over and over, he’s “done that” so he’s got a good record of being a good leader. He lowered crime, maintained college costs, improved race relations in his city and state, and raised the minimum wage. All good things… but not enough to make him a viable winner in this race.
Bernie was able to hold his own with foreign policy, obviously his weakest area at debate time. I’m not worried about this as situations at an international level are dealt with by committee and do not rely on a president acting solo. Bernie received the majority of the applause during the debate and he again showed the best solutions for the middle class and a commitment to the masses, not the billionaires. He openly admitted that Corporations and Wall Street would both be unhappy to see him elected, which is, in large part, why so many young people love him. They see his values as their values. He stands against the disparity that has been created broadening the gap between the haves and have-nots. He is our only chance for a livable future.
And what about Hillary? Well, I first must admit to being sexist in noting “What is she wearing?” as the candidates came onto stage. I know it’s difficult for women to figure out what to wear but I think a more professional outfit would be in order for a presidential debate. She looked like she was wearing a parka! Even if she’d had tailoring along the front of the jacket, maybe some buttons… with fringe only at the neck and sleeves, it would have been more conventional. I’m a hippie wanna-be but I am not going to wear a tie-dye dress to a presidential debate if I’m on the stage. And what was with her answer on the Bill-Clinton-picking-out-china question? She’s really going to still be picking out the china for state dinners?!? I expect as President of the United States there would be more critical decisions on which she could focus… And most appalling to me was her inability to return to the stage on time after the second break. I don’t know what happened but perhaps it had something to do with that parka. Regardless, returning late to what should be her only focus of the hour, showed her inability to “get the job done” effectively.
I tend to agree with Northern Sun, as reported in a recent catalog: “…the golden horse she rode in on is a little too shiny for our tastes.”
I know Hillary has done amazing things for this country. She has changed the way the President’s spouse can be involved in White House activities, she gave the First Lady a much bigger voice, and agree with her or not, she did a lot to try to bring progress to our nation in that role. Prior to that, she did wonderful work for the people of Arkansas, focusing on issues of the most needy. And following her work as First Lady, she represented her new state of New York well. As Secretary of State, she made great strides, largely in part to the wonderful work and travelling she’d done as the First Lady.
So it’s not that I hate Hillary. But I don’t like the person she has morphed into over the years. She’s too corporate-crony, too billionaire-friendly, mostly big-money supported and extremely hawkish. She’s on the wrong side of MANY issues including most recently where the US has finally made the correct decision, Keystone XL. So I cannot say today that I agree with her values. And I don’t think I could vote for her.
But more importantly, you know who else isn’t going to vote for her? The huge masses of excited people aged 18-35 who by-and-large support Bernie. If Democrats are serious about the new motto “When we vote, we win.”, then they’d better get serious about helping Bernie get the nomination, not working against him as it seems they are doing. Cutting his access to the voter database was a huge mistake and backfired when the masses spoke out. Hundreds of thousands of Bernie supporters and reasonable people called this strategy to cripple Bernie’s campaign what it was… unfair. And I believe, if proper digging is done, there will be evidence that both O’Malley and Clinton had access to data as well. It would be pretty hard to believe that their data loophole only went one direction… But, like most publicity, it may well turn into more good news for Bernie. It has strengthened Bernie’s campaign by once again making him an underdog to the political machine, the very nemesis most Americans believe is keeping them down with low/stagnant wages, unaffordable health care and unending student/housing debt. And it sent a message to supporters when they reinstated his access. That message is: If you stand together and speak your truth, you will succeed. The Revolution is in full swing!
But the political machine keeps pushing Hillary. At the debate this weekend, the lion’s share of the questions were posed to Hillary and she repeatedly held the floor with consecutive questions prompting one person to joke that the debate was between her and Martha Raddatz. There is much contention that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is showing bias due to her close ties with Clinton as her past campaign co-chair. (Which pisses me off because, since they are all women, it can paint ALL of us as “cliquey”.) It looks to me like a potential conflict of interest and I’m surprised it’s not come up more openly in the media. But then the media also appears to be a bought-and-paid-for cog in the political machine. National media is giving Bernie almost NO airtime whatsoever while Trump is happily spending nothing on advertising because he gets free airtime daily from all the media sources. Even NPR and PBS appear to be giving him more than a fair share of attention.
But just like they discounted Obama’s support, I believe they are discounting Bernie supporters. He has loads of small donations in a time when many can barely put enough food on the table and gas in the car. He gets massive crowds everywhere he goes. And he listens to people. I do believe he is our only hope for a future that ends corporate ownership of our economic and political systems. And if we don’t change that, we’ll all just remain meat in the grinder of this consumer society.
I’m counting on the kids – all those under 30 voters who love Bernie. If Bernie doesn’t get the nomination, all those kids… they don’t show up to vote. Because he’s the only one they trust. And that would be terrible for the Democrats because I believe the real message of their motto is… “When we don’t vote, we lose.”