Tag: presidential debate

My thoughts about the first Democratic presidential debate

Having watched last night’s Democratic presidential debate, I’ll begin by saying that I believe that Bernie Sanders won the debate, with Martin O’Malley having the second-best performance, followed by Hillary Clinton, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chafee.

My thoughts about Bernie Sanders’s performance

The Good – He upstaged Hillary Clinton on an issue directly affecting HRC (the private email server “scandal” that has been concocted by the GOP). He also defended himself very well, especially on gun safety and on the Veterans’ Affairs health system scandal.

The Bad – He mentioned his campaign website twice during the debate.

My thoughts about Martin O’Malley’s performance

The Good – He came across as the strongest candidate on gun safety, invoking the story of a family who lost one of their own in the Aurora, Colorado theater massacre.

The Bad – He tried to defend his zero-tolerance policing policy from his tenure as Mayor of Baltimore, Maryland, which was one of several factors that have led to distrust between the police and the public in Baltimore.

My thoughts about Hillary Clinton’s performance

The Good – She came across as very professional during the debate without coming across as scripted or boring. She also cracked a joke at a very inappropriate remark from lead moderator Anderson Cooper about her bathroom usage.

The Bad – She twice invoked the fact that she’s a woman during the debate. She also gave weak answers on a number of issues, most notably marijuana legalization and financial regulation.

My thoughts about Jim Webb’s performance

The Good – He used his wife’s story on immigration very well.

The Bad – He used the NRA’s talking points on guns.

My thoughts about Lincoln Chafee’s performance

The Good – Nothing about his debate performance was especially good.

The Bad – He blamed his father’s death on his vote for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in the late 1990’s. Furthermore, he made an odd remark comparing himself to a block of granite at one point in the debate.

The big winners (other than the five Democratic presidential candidates debating)

The Democratic Party – All in all, the debate was a great showing that Democrats can have an intelligent, civil discussion about actual political issues between candidates representing various factions of the party.

Civic engagement – CNN’s telecast of the debate received the most viewers of any Democratic presidential primary/caucus debate in television history.

The internet – For the first time since the 1960 presidential general election debates, there appears to be a major disconnect between two media platforms on debate performance. In 1960, it was between radio (whose listeners viewed Richard Nixon as the debate winner) and television (whose viewers viewed John F. Kennedy as the debate winner). This time, it’s between television (which has been trying to spin a Hillary Clinton debate victory) and the internet (most people on social media view Bernie Sanders as the debate victor). I’d expect the newer platform (in this case, the internet) to come out on top.

The big losers (other than the five Democratic presidential candidates debating)

Anderson Cooper – Cooper, CNN’s lead moderator for the debate, tried to use his position to smear Bernie Sanders on a number of GOP talking points against him and failed, and he also made a very inappropriate remark about Hillary Clinton’s bathroom usage after one of the commercial breaks.

The mainstream media – See my remarks about the internet being a big winner above.

Mike Huckabee – Huckabee, one of many Republican presidential candidates, took to Twitter during the debate and made downright racist remarks about Korean people while attacking Bernie Sanders.

Joe Biden – With Hillary Clinton giving a strong enough debate performance to calm down those in the establishment who were fretting about Hillary, and Bernie Sanders solidifying the progressive base of the party, there’s not really a path to victory for Biden if he were to enter the race for the Democratic nomination.

Debate fairness – CNN shut out Lawrence Lessig from participating in the debate despite the fact that Lessig is a Democratic candidate for president.

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What if I had to introduce the candidates at the first Democratic presidential debate?

While nobody would hire a known Bernie Sanders supporter like me to publicly introduce the candidates at a Democratic presidential debate, if I had to do so for the first Democratic presidential debate of the 2016 election, here’s what that would sound like:

Please note that I did not include an announcement for Lawrence Lessig, who was not invited to the debate by CNN despite being a Democratic presidential candidate (something I strongly disagree with), nor did I include an announcement for Joe Biden, who CNN will allow to appear at the debate if he wishes to do so (Biden is not expected to appear at the debate).

If you want to leave your thoughts about my announcing style (be honest!!!), feel free to do so in the comments section.

The debate is scheduled for Tuesday, October 13th at 7:30 P.M. Central Daylight Time, and will be televised by CNN (obviously, I will not be at the debate, but I will be watching on television).

Bernie Sanders campaign offers Tulsi Gabbard a ticket to the Democratic presidential debate

The nearly-irrelevant Democratic National Committee (DNC) disinvited their own vice-chairwoman, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), from tomorrow night’s Democratic presidential debate over the fact that she wants more than six Democratic presidential debates:

Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said she was disinvited from the first Democratic presidential primary debate in Nevada after she appeared on television and called for more face-offs.

Ms. Gabbard confirmed on Sunday that her chief of staff received a message last Tuesday from the chief of staff to Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the national committee, about her attendance at the debate. A day earlier, Ms. Gabbard had appeared on MSNBC and said there should be an increase beyond the current six sanctioned debates.

A person close to the committee who asked for anonymity to discuss internal discussions insisted, however, that Ms. Gabbard had not been disinvited. Instead, the person said, an aide to Ms. Wasserman Schultz expressed a desire to keep the focus on the candidates as the debate approached, rather than on a “distraction” that could divide the party, and suggested that if Ms. Gabbard could not do that, she should reconsider going.

The fact that Debbie Wasserman Schultz thinks that calling for more debates is a “distraction” proves that she is clearly out of touch with what most people in her party strongly believe…six presidential debates is simply not enough for the Democrats. Even worse, Wasserman Schultz is throwing her own party’s officials under the bus in a desperate attempt to remain at least somewhat politically relevant in this country.

Thankfully, Jeff Weaver, the campaign manager for Bernie Sanders’s bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, has a very interesting idea to get Gabbard in a spectator’s seat the debate:

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), the Democratic National Committee vice chair who said she was disinvited to the first Democratic debate, might wind up attending the Tuesday night event as a guest of the Bernie Sanders campaign.

Sanders’s campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, said Monday on CNN’s “New Day” that Gabbard could use a ticket from the Vermont senator’s campaign.
“If she needs a ticket, have her give me a call,” Weaver said, adding, “I think we have a couple; we can give her one.”

Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s alienating allies and mismanagement of the DNC reminds me a lot of the mismanagement of the failed professional wresting promotion WCW circa 2000. In fact, near the end of WCW’s existence, some of WCW’s own wrestlers, most notably Scott Steiner (real name: Scott Rechsteiner), were publicly calling out WCW management for running the promotion in the ground:

Wasserman Schultz is trying to run the DNC like a bad professional wrestling promotion. That is most certainly not the way to run a political party, as the party risks losing voters, perhaps permanently, if Wasserman Schultz continues with her autocratic style of managing the Democratic Party.

I’ve found exactly one person who is defending Wasserman Schultz online, and this person, who is a member of the progressive website DailyKos, is using racist language to attack Bernie Sanders and his supporters:

The only people who have a problem with Wasserman-Schultz are Sanders supporters, and he’s not even a Democrat. Why would the Democrats get rid of a Democratic Party chairwoman because of the wishes of a non-Democrat and his all-white, all-upper-middle-class supporters? Wasserman-Schultz is the chairwoman of the entire party, and that includes African-Americans and Hispanics who by vast majorities support Hillary. We can’t cater to the white upper-middle-class here just because they yell louder and post more frequently on online blogs.

When Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s own supporters are race-baiting and spreading blatant lies about Bernie Sanders and his campaign (for starters, Bernie Sanders has many black, Hispanic, and poor supporters, and Sanders is a Democrat by virtue of his membership in the Senate Democratic caucus), it’s time for her to step down from the DNC chair.

Carly wins second Republican presidential debate

Ladies and gentlemen, Carly won last night’s Republican presidential debate…Minnesota State Representative Carly Melin (DFL-Hibbing), that is.

The best part of Carly Melin winning last night’s Republican presidential debate is that she didn’t have to run for president herself (she’s too young to legally do so in 2016), and she didn’t have to travel all the way from Hibbing, Minnesota, her hometown on Minnesota’s Iron Range, to the site of the debate in Simi Valley, California. All she had to do was use her Twitter page to deliver a couple of memorable tweets about the debate:

In case you’re wondering, “K Davis” refers to Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Kentucky clerk who won’t issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite being legally obligated to do so, and “SNL” refers to the NBC comedy series Saturday Night Live.

I found watching Democrats and progressives livetweeting the second Republican presidential debate to be far more enjoyable than watching the Republican candidates debate on CNN.

My thoughts on Donald Trump’s unorthodox appeal to Republican voters

Donald Trump is not your typical Republican presidential candidate. He has a very unorthodox appeal to Republican primary and caucus voters, an unorthodox appeal that has helped him take the lead in race for the Republican presidential nomination, according to recent national, Iowa, and New Hampshire opinion polls of Republican voters.

Here’s some of my thoughts (these are entirely my thoughts, because, unlike Jeb Bush, I actually am my own man) on Trump’s unorthodox appeal to Republican voters:

  • Trump says what he thinks – Not too many politicians in this country speak their mind, but Trump does. Trump has made a habit of speaking his mind, both before his presidential run and as a presidential candidate, and the right-wing corporate media in this country gives him a ton of attention. The fact that he is wealthy enough to, if he had to, self-fund an entire presidential campaign (his net worth is probably somewhere in the low-to-mid ten figures, although Trump himself publicly inflates his net worth for his own ends) gives him even more of an incentive to speak his mind.
  • Trump has a giant ego – While someone with as huge of an ego as Trump wouldn’t stand much of a chance of winning a Democratic primary or caucus, being overly egotistical, which Trump is, does play well with the Republican caucus/primary electorate. To put that another way, Republicans admire jerks like Trump.
  • Trump’s overt racism and sexism plays well with Republicans – Racism and sexism is not a negative with the Republican crowd…in fact, they admire bigots like Trump. Trump’s racist remarks, such as his anti-immigration tirades, as well as his sexist remarks, such as claiming that Megyn Kelly of FOX News questioned him at a Republican debate because she was on her period, play well with Republicans.
  • Trump has an unusual appeal to working-class voters – For someone who is extremely wealthy and a real estate magnate, Trump actually has an ability to appeal to working-class voters who are open to the idea of voting for a Republican presidential candidate. The kind of working-class voters who are open to supporting someone like Trump are mostly white racists who view foreigners and ethnic minorities as taking their jobs away and have not just resentment, but racist resentment, towards foreigners and ethnic minorities. Trump’s tirades against Mexico, China, lenient U.S. trade policies, and immigration play very well with this crowd of voters.

While I do agree with Trump on a few issues, such as his opposition to Common Core State Standards and criticism of U.S. trade policies that are far too lenient towards our largest trading partners and have cost America thousands of jobs, I’d never consider voting for Trump. While, admittedly, I’d be seen by many as a poor, left-wing version of Trump if I ever for public office, Trump is way too much of a blowhard, egomaniac, bully, and bigot for me to consider voting for him. Also, if Trump were to self-fund most or all of his presidential campaign, that’s just as much of an undue influence on the political system as politicians being bought off by wealthy campaign donors.

Regarding whether or not I think Trump can win a general election for president, I think that he’d defeat Hillary Clinton, but lose to Bernie Sanders. Although Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney are not one and the same by any stretch of the imagination, Clinton can be compared to Romney in a way: She’s perceived as out of touch with ordinary people and part of the political elite, which is what cost Romney the 2012 presidential election. On the other hand, Sanders can appeal to the kind of persuadable working-class voters that Trump would need to win, in that Sanders is a stronger opponent of free-trade policies than Trump is and comes across as more presidential than Trump does.