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Thursday, 15 October 2015 13:33

Bernie Sanders + the Democratic Debate

Written by  Bob Serody


Posted Oct. 15, 2015

Bernie Sanders and the Democratic Debate
By Bob Serody

It didn’t take very long into the first Democratic debate to realize a few things.  Hillary Clinton was on the attack, and her abilities as a debater were evident.  Her answers to the moderator were both witty and sharp.  To her, it was all about accumulating the most points to eliminate the Democratic opposition.  

On the other hand, Bernie Sanders was like a breath of fresh air.  His comments were direct and to the point.  His aim was simply to show who he was in his first nationally televised debate, and what he would do if elected president.  In contrast to Clinton, it wasn’t about points.  He directly laid out his principles, explained what was wrong with our present political system, and how it has endangered the existence of the middle class and working people in this country.  To Sanders, major reforms were necessary to change the direction in which we were headed.  In my opinion, the high point came when Bernie told Andersen Cooper to quit harping on Hillary’s E-mails and instead to focus on the real issues.  The audience responded with a terrific round of applause, and a smile from Clinton showed she was in agreement.

After all, this was what differentiated the first Democratic debate from the first two GOP debates.   Instead of a virtual reality show, it was issues-based and treated the audience like adults.  The questions from CNN were more oriented to the issues rather than inciting the candidates toward vicious attacks.  Sensing that the present TV audience was more mature and not looking for blood may have motivated CNN’s questions for this debate.

Faced with the S word (Socialism), Bernie explained why he was a Democratic Socialist.  Other countries like Norway were operating with a combination of socialism and capitalism that better served their citizens, regardless of personal wealth.    It was interesting that Clinton followed up by emphasizing that she would reign in the excesses of capitalism and still support the growth of small and medium sized businesses.

Other hot button issues included how the candidates differed with respect to gun control, foreign affairs, racial inequality, immigration, the excesses of Wall Street, domestic surveillance, education, and climate change.  On these issues, Sanders explained that his positions had always been consistent, a possible reminder that Clinton had recently changed some of her positions on some of these topics.  (Would this have been the case if Bernie were not a candidate?)  In every case, Sanders had the most energetic solutions to the problems facing our country.  

With regard to gun control, Sanders explained that loopholes needed to be closed and reforms implemented to go after gun manufacturers rather than gun dealers, and that a ban should be placed on assault weapons.  With regard to immigration reform, a clear path to citizenship needs to be enacted.  Making college affordable really means making tuition free, and it is necessary to raise the public’s consciousness regarding the benefits of social reforms in order to restore our economy.  We should expand social security by raising the cap on taxes and shut down NSA surveillance of Americans.

Regarding foreign affairs, Sanders opposed unilateral action against other countries, and stated that Iraq was the worst military decision in American history.   His bottom line was that war should be the last resort.

When the candidates were asked what they felt was the greatest crisis today, Bernie without hesitation said climate change, because without correcting this present danger, we would not leave a habitable planet for future generations.

Pundits felt that Clinton had won the debate.  I believe they didn’t understand that Sanders was there to talk common sense to the voters rather than score points with rhetoric.  Although most Democrats favor Clinton, the Independents and the Millennials still favor Sanders over Clinton.  The big question Bernie faces is his electability, but who would have thought that Trump would be leading the pack of GOP candidates?  Many incumbent Republicans are still scratching their heads.  The point is that one can decry Sander’s positions as being too far to the left, but there is also a surging negative response by the public to the status quo, and it is resonating with support for Bernie Sanders’ ideas, in part because he comes across as a truthsayer – not a politician.  With his current support, Bernie Sanders is not about to give up.  Millions of progressives and moderates are coming together to force change to Republican obstructionism.  There will never be a better time to force real change to revitalize the middle class, restore democracy, and eliminate economic inequality.

Bob Serody is a member of Space Coast Progressive Alliance


Last modified on Thursday, 15 October 2015 13:35
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