***Disclaimer: This post is in no way meant to be offensive to anyone, and displays my own personal beliefs and opinions that do not reflect the views of this blog.***
The first Democratic Debate aired last night on CNN in Las Vegas, Nevada. As of right now, the big Democratic candidates are Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Lincoln Chafee, and Jim Webb. Anderson Cooper (from Anderson Cooper 360) acted as the moderator. In my opinion, Cooper did a fantastic job making sure the candidates answered their questions and abided by the time limit (although some of them would blatantly refuse to accept their time limits *cough* Jim Webb *cough*).
While all five candidates did speak on all or most of the issues, the Debate was very much between Clinton, Sanders, and O’Malley. Chafee rarely talked (most likely because the candidates did not call him out as often as they called each other out), and Webb repeatedly (and knowingly) went over his time limit.
Many news sources are claiming Clinton as the winner of the Debate, but I beg to differ. In all honesty, I did not see a real “winner.” Clinton did an excellent job with her points and “standing her ground” against criticisms, but I didn’t think she was any more (or less) lively than any of the other candidates. I had high hopes for the Debate, and I wished the candidates had been more expressive.
But since there must always be a winner, I’ve listed some of the major topics of discussion I wrote down from Debate below, and which candidate I believe “won” those discussions and why. These are not all of the topics or questions discussed, but they are the “umbrella” (or overarching) ones.
***Again, below are all of my opinions, and not actual facts or general standings***
Gun reforms and the shooting in OR
-Sanders: protect the gun shop owners and employees, background checks and ban on assault weapons, US needs better mental health care, does not want to protect gun manufacturers, difference between urban and rural gun laws
-Clinton: Sanders is not tough enough, need to stand against the NRA, in favor of the Brady Bill
-O’Malley: comprehensive gun legislation in Maryland, harder on NRA, experience with urban and rural gun laws
-Webb: need to protect people who want guns to defend their families, the average American does not have bodyguards
-Chafee: gun comprehension laws, need to find common ground with the gun lobbies, not going to take away guns
This question was difficult to judge, but I believe that Clinton and O’Malley had the best points, with Sanders coming in second only because he did not mention the NRA. However, Sanders made a compelling argument about mental health care in the US. Clinton and O’Malley touched upon the NRA, which in my opinion is a very large part of the gun controversies in the US. Chafee largely piggybacked off of O’Malley and Clinton, while Webb offered a very weak answer.
Largest national security threat to the US
-Chafee: chaos in the Middle East
-O’Malley: ISIL, climate change, and the nuclearity of Iran
-Clinton: nuclear weapons
-Sanders: climate change, and fossil fuel energy
-Webb: relations with China, cyber warfare against China, the Middle East
There was clear overlap between the candidates and what they felt was the largest threat to the US. I doubt I could choose a winner for this, as they were all mostly on the same page, but if I had to choose it would be a split between O’Malley (for his ISIL and climate change comment) and Sanders. Chafee could have been more specific, Clinton should have added more to her answer (being the Secretary of State), and Webb needs to move away from China to understand that there are larger threats to the US.
Black Lives Matter or All Lives Matter?
-Sanders: Black lives
-O’Malley: Black lives
-Clinton: *Evaded answer*
-Webb: All lives
-Chafee: *No response collected*
There is no doubt that Sanders is the winner for this question, as he was very adamant about the movement (especially since he involved some of the activists in his campaign). He brought up the example of Sandra Bland (which you can read about here), discussed institutional racism, and he discussed that major reforms would be needed for the “broken” criminal justice system in the US. Sanders used this question as a gateway into his policies on income inequality. O’Malley would come in second, as he noted his experience as the mayor of Baltimore working with African Americans. Clinton, while she did use extensive examples for the Black Lives Matter movement, did not explicitly state that she supported Black Lives over All Lives, which was worrying. Webb is the sore loser, as he states All Lives and completely missed the point of the Black Lives Movement. Chafee, for whatever reasons, was not offered time to respond.
-Clinton: the Republicans are blocking a woman’s right to choose, support Planned Parenthood, “we should not be paralyzed by the Republicans”
-Sanders: the US is an “international embarrassment” because every other major country in the world has paid maternity and family leave but the US does not
-O’Malley: further include people in government, women should not be penalized for wanting families, the US needs to become a stronger nation with paid family leave
-Chafee: *No response collected*
-Webb: *No response collected*
I would say that the winner for this topic is Clinton, with Sanders and O’Malley trailing very closely behind. Clinton hit very important policies like Planned Parenthood and a woman’s right to choose abortion and birth control. For whatever reason, Chafee and Webb did not weigh in on this topic of discussion, which I think will hurt their chances at winning the Democratic nomination for the presidency.
The legalization of marijuana (in Nevada)
-Sanders: would most likely vote yes to legalize recreational marijuana
-Clinton: in favor of medical marijuana, but more research needed before recreational can be legalized
-O’Malley: *No response collected*
-Chafee: *No response collected*
-Webb: *No response collected*
In my opinion, Sanders was the clear winner for this question because he took an affirmative stance, and he used the criminal justice system to support his answer. He spoke about the criminal justice system being harder on young people (usually black) who are arrested for smoking marijuana, when Wall Street executives who caused the 2008 market crash walk free. Sanders emphasized how damaging this is to society. Clinton offered a more moderate response, which is perfectly acceptable and very predictable. In all, I believe that Sanders’ answer and the explanation he offered alongside it, won him this topic.
Which enemy are you most proud of that you’ve made during your political career?
-Chafee: the coal lobby
-O’Malley: the NRA
-Clinton: the NRA, health insurance and drug companies, Iran, and Republicans
-Sanders: Wall Street and the pharmaceutical industry
-Webb: the enemy soldier who threw a grenade and wounded me
All candidates, with the exception of Webb, offered good answers to this question. It is a three-way tie between O’Malley, Clinton, and Sanders as the winners, Chafee as a close second-place, and Webb in dead last. I know that Webb was trying to lighten the mood and win the crowd over with humor, but he completely missed his mark and just ended up making things uncomfortable.
-Chafee: experience as a Senator, governor and mayor, high ethical standards, has the judgment that America wants, policies to end wars
-Webb: willing to take on complicated issues, criminal justice reform, has a strong economic strategy, will address social justice and foreign policy issues, was a leader in the Pentagon and in Vietnam
-O’Malley: wants US to move to clean energy, increase employment, rebuild US cities and towns, take the actions Americans have always taken, new era of American progress
-Sanders: many serious problems facing America, income equality and child poverty are very serious issues, health care guarantee, provide family and maternity leave, Republicans are not fit to address these crises, stand up to billionaires and have a campaign not funded by super PACs
-Clinton: has a vision to make changes, America got up when it was knocked down during its 2008 recession, get US back to working hard to stay ahead
***There were other questions and major topics that were discussed in the debates that are not included in this post. These include health care, immigration, education, etc. If you’re interested in watching the candidates debate these topics, I suggest looking at CNN’s website and finding any video clips or articles relate to the topic you are interested in. As of right now, there is no live recording of the Debate, although one may appear (most likely through CNN) later on.***
In all, the candidates offered many good answers for each of the questions, but I do not think that one candidate stood out from the rest. They were all mostly on the same page about issues, but offered different methods to reach the same solutions. After watching and analyzing the debate, I think that the top candidates are going to be Clinton, O’Malley and Sanders. I think that Chafee did a fairly decent job at holding his own, but did not speak enough to make an impact. Personally, I did not like many of the answers Webb supplied, and I am very skeptical of him as a potential presidential nominee.
If you’re interested in reading more about the debates, I suggest looking at these articles by The Atlantic, NBC, and the New York Times.
You can check out the platform, policies, and campaign websites for each of the candidates below;
***This is an opinion-based piece, and is in no way legitimate or self-sustaining, and it should not be taken as such. I am always open to passive and intellectual discussion, but will not respond to personal attacks or aggressive criticisms (come on, let’s be grown up here). Please take this into consideration before commenting***