My family and I watched the CNN Democratic Party Debate last night, so I thought this was a good point to capture my reactions to the debate and a natural follow up on my previous post, Picking the POTUS #1.1–Republican Debate No. 2.
Like the Republican debate, I’m going to describe my reaction and takeaways for each of the candidates in roughly the order of impact they had on my opinion. I will to try to capture my impression first in a single word, then expand a bit. For what it’s worth, I felt like Clinton came out on top, but Sanders had some key successes in terms of showing he is committed to his beliefs and smart politically.
Politician. (Hilary Clinton) Hilary showed us how comfortable she is as a politician in the spotlight. She seemed prepared, but natural, in handling the hard questions that were thrown at her. Which leads to my next comment.
Maybe it was just me, but I really felt like CNN structured the debate to benefit Hilary Clinton over Sanders. There early portion of the debate – where most people form those critical early impressions – spent more time on foreign relations and international questions that play to her strengths (as opposed to social issues that would have played to Sanders’ favorite issues). This was also reflected in the CNN post-debate comments, where they declared Clinton the “winner” in spite of the fact that most online surveys of people clearly favored Sanders. (see below)
Believer. (Bernie Sanders) To re-iterate my position, I will never vote for Sanders. I think he has idealistic but unrealistic positions that demonize and oversimplify core American values and institutions. He is about equality of entitlements rather than equality of opportunity. He seems to simultaneously ignore all benefits of the things he opposes while completely understating the complexity and downsides of his “solutions.” I think I’m likely to do a separate post to expand on this, since there have been few candidates that have provoked such a strong reaction from me in the past 30 years.
Having said that, I respect Sanders for his commitment to his principles, his consistency and his transparency. He is not a candidate who I would worry about ever flip-flopping. You also have to respect the favor he did for Hilary Clinton in telling Anderson Cooper that the American people are tired of hearing about her email and want to hear a debate on the issues.
Complainer. (Jim Webb) Wasted his own debate time to complain about how he wasn’t getting equal debate time (almost every single time). Nobody likes a whiner. They certainly don’t want one as President.
A former Republican with military experience, he had something unique to offer to potential voters, but did not show up well in the debate at all.
As my first real impression of him, I can now only envision him as a weak and ineffective leader.
Try hard. (Martin O’Malley) For my thoughts on O’Malley, I will quote the urban dictionary …
“A person who puts a large amount of effort into achieving a certain image, or counter-image, to the point where it is obviously contrived. Rather than achieving an image through genuine personality, the try-hard consciously attempts to fit a certain style through deliberate imitation, forced style, or scripted behavior. That is to say, he/she is trying hard to create an image.”
Who Won The Debate?
There was an interesting dichotomy that came out in the post-debate analysis. The political analysts and commentators on CNN clearly pegged Hilary Clinton as the winner and positioned Sanders’ success as largely limited to his supporters. In contrast, look at these poll results from Slate and Fox. Internet voters overwhelmingly say that Sanders won the debate.
What does this mean? The TV talking heads say it means that Sanders supporters are super mobilized online and does not reflect reality. It will be interesting to see if that is true.
Best regards ~ Jeff / @securityjones
All of the posts in this series:
|September 16, 2015||Picking the POTUS #1–A Voter’s View on Election 2016|
|September 17, 2015||Picking the POTUS #1.1–Republican Debate No. 2|
|October 14, 2015||Picking the POTUS #1.2–CNN Democratic Party Debate|
|November 6, 2015|