After a day of terror attacks and GOP insanity, a calm discussion by America's future President was just what the doctor ordered.
After a day and a half of screaming Republicans and their social media insanities about the horrific Paris attacks, the Democrat Debate started with a moment of silence. Their evening would prove to be the refuge of rational thought America needed to see in a time of insanity.
Nearly right away though, Hillary Clinton fenced with the other two candidates over her vote on the Iraq War, but is famously well-versed in foreign policy and held a position of strength. O’Malley scored points for himself with how we shouldn’t reduce our military and our veterans to the term of “Boots on the ground.” Sanders added that we cannot turn our backs on our veterans, and that we must take care of them.
But at no point did the candidates descend into the screaming hot mess of Republican debates. Instead, all three Democrats built upon what the other had said instead of trying to tear each other down. All three had reasoned and measured plans for dealing with ISIS, dealing with allies, caring for our veterans, taking a hard look at the defense budget, and sorting out the humanitarian crisis of the refugees.
The realization seemed to be that the nation’s issues were bigger than any one of them, and that Americans need to work together to solve them. That led to the first break.
In stark contrast to the Democrat debate, NumbersUSA, the anti-immigrant hate group, bought ad time with a new spot clearly intended to scare the ignorant and pander to the racist. They were noticeably absent from the last Republican debate. After all, why waste the money when GOP candidates do that fear-mongering for them?
Next up was economic policy. Hillary outlined her thoughts on raising the minimum wage and talked about reforming how Big Pharma does business. All candidates expressed a desire to see college become debt-free for American students.
Bernie Sanders said that after America bailed out Wall Street, it was time for them to bail us out. He did draw shock talking about the percentage he would tax the wealthy, saying it wouldn’t be as high as 90%. He recovered by pointing out that was the number under Eisenhower, and how he’s not as much of a socialist as Ike was.
Sanders got the first big applause break of the night by pointing out that healthcare was a right for everyone. Then the moderators got their own moment, when O’Malley tried to get a comment in, talking over their admonishments until finally shutting him down with, “Governor, you’re breaking the rules.”
This enforced the theme of the Democrat debate; civility. These issues were important, and substantive policies were spotlighted, not bluster or rhetoric. If only moderators for the GOP Debates had such backbone.
They next talked about border security and immigration reform. O’Malley got the second and third applause breaks by slamming Donald Trump and saying America’s national symbol is the Statue of Liberty, not a barbed wire fence.
Once again, the enormous differences between the candidates of both parties were apparent, as all three politicians began trading ideas on how to improve the nation’s economy, opposed to the Republicans slinging mud at each other’s plans and histories. Such sanity was refreshing and remarkable to see after the never-ending clamor of the GOP.
Which, of course, brought us to the first flashpoint of the night; Wall Street. It did not take long for Sanders to go after Clinton on her history. But Hillary pushed back hard, and framed Bernie as attempting to impugn her integrity.
This was the first time we’ve really seen these two clash. Their supporters immediately claimed victory for each candidate on social media. But it should be noted this was Bernie’s strongest attack and it didn’t faze Clinton in the least. O’Malley also bounced off of her when he pressed an attack, as well.
Then the subject came to guns, Hillary’s wheelhouse. Bernie Sanders, for the first time, notably admitted the PLCAA, a law giving gun sellers immunity from lawsuits, something he voted for, needs to be repealed. Hillary closed out the segment saying that Americans need to see strong leadership on guns, and the others agreed.
All three candidates returned to building upon policies mutually, presenting a united front against Republicans. Solid rational arguments were made, and an earnest desire to challenge a political status quo was communicated, and that’s how it went for the remainder.
As for a winner of the Democratic debate, that’s a hard call. Nobody seriously expects Martin O’Malley to win and tonight didn’t change that, but he is still head, shoulders and ankles above the real losers tonight, the Republicans. Hillary Clinton was bulletproof on Wall Street questions and handled criticism with class and grace. Bernie Sanders finally admitted his mistake on the PLCAA.
There were no big stumbles from anyone, and no big punches were landed on anyone not from the GOP. Although it should be noted that Bernie continues to lose ground on gun violence while not making any headway against Clinton on Wall Street. This will most likely prove to be pivotal.
The line of the night went to Hillary Clinton, who, when asked one more time about her “damn e-mails,” and whether or not Americans knew all there was to know, brought down the house with, “I think after eleven hours, yeah!”
No matter which of them gets the nomination, it’s easy to imagine the other two as instrumental to future government. Because with every Democratic Debate, it becomes clearer that the next President of the United States will be one of these three people.