Democratic Debate Recap: 30 Seconds to Mars

Sunday night before a federal holiday? Ahhh yes — it must be time for another inconveniently-timed Democratic debate! It’s laughable at this point how ludicrous the DNC has been with scheduling these things. In a statement earlier Sunday, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz indicated that the debate schedule was designed to “maximize the opportunity for voters to see….candidates.” Okay, Debbie. If you say so.

In any case, the show went on. It wasn’t the most exciting of events, but then again, this isn’t the flashy crop of GOP candidates. The first question after opening statements asked the candidates to present their top 3 priorities for their first 100 days in office. Sanders pointed to fixing healthcare, raising the minimum wage, and job creation. Clinton lumped job creation, raising the minimum wage and equal pay for women into one “jobby” priority (hey, if she can weave all those into one issue, then I can make up a fake word to describe it); then said she also wants to improve the ACA and finally “bring the country together.” Still waiting on the specific proposals to bring about that last point, but I’m fairly certain a kind of national kumbaya sing-along is involved. O’Malley pulled a Clinton and put “getting wages up,” equal pay for equal work, collective bargaining rights, raising the minimum wage AND immigration reform into his first priority, then pointed to combating climate change and getting “a new agenda for America’s cities” as his final two. 500 points to O’Malley for mentioning climate change in there.

This was about as specific as my notes got on this debate. A few of my actual notes after this point:

  • SANDERS SHOUTS
  • O’Malley is smug and hates guns
  • HRC sure does know a lot of stuff, huh

The healthcare debate got things moving pretty well. Sanders reiterated that he doesn’t want to gut the ACA, but does want to push the country toward his “Medicare for all” proposal. Clinton (rightly) pointed out that even with a Democratic Congress, it was impossible to garner enough support for the public option in the ACA. How on earth is Bernie Sanders going to make this vision of universal healthcare happen? This exchange was pretty indicative of the overall ideological clash between Bernie and Hillary; Bernie has big ideas (and big ideals), while Hillary’s feet stay firmly planted in the real world. All told, a Bernie presidency would probably result in grand expectations and even grander failures to meet those expectations. But electability and viability aside, his populist message is still a good thing for the Democratic party right now.

One common refrain of the night was in Clinton’s repeated praise for Obama. At one point she even called out Sanders for badmouthing him. Someone should have nudged her and whispered reminders of the 2008 election into her ear, no?

On foreign policy, while Sanders didn’t flounder as much he had in previous debates, HRC still demonstrates detailed and in-depth knowledge of these issues above and beyond any candidate in probably either party. It will be tough for anyone to best her in this field.

Martin “can I have 30 seconds, too” O’Malley was basically the annoying little brother of this debate. Maybe in another 4 (or 8) years you’ll be old enough to play in the big leagues, kiddo.

And Lester Holt? I’d type something about him, but ran out of time.