Martin O’Malley, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders. Photo from MSNBC.
I didn’t get to watch the Democratic debate as it aired this passed Sunday night. I was on podcast with my co-host KaliSara and our guest Rhiannon Dragcruin talking about sacrifice and community service in the Pagan community. I do feel strongly that paying attention to politics is important, but my duty to the community in regards to a consistent schedule of the podcast series outweighs my duty to watch political events as they happen. I watched the debate through the NBC/YouTube archives.
In brief: This was the Bernie Sanders debate. He took center stage, even as he stood stage right of Hillary Clinton. Many of the questions and issues centered around his stance on the issues. Clinton also held her own. It is unfortunate that Martin O’Malley is rarely given the opportunity to voice his platform on the issues, but we he is given that time he takes full advantage of it.
If I had to declare a winner of this debate I would say Bernie Sanders.
A summary: I took nine pages of notes on this debate. As I was not watching it live I did not Tweet or post to Facebook my thoughts during my viewing of the debate. I didn’t want to clutter up your feed with that. The debate was last night, you might not even care enough to be reading this summary, so why would I waste your time (and mine) with a slew of comments and Tweets.
That said: The opening and closing statements from each candidate was perhaps the only time that the other candidates and the moderators did not speak over each other. I am pleased to see that the moderators did their best to enforce the rules and keep to the time limits throughout the debate. When they bent the time limit rule it was to give equal time to a candidate. Though O’Malley was rarely the recipient of that equal time.
Clinton on the Issues
Opening – Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton started out talking about Martin Luther King Jr. The debate aired lived the evening before his day on the calendar. She shared her memories of the events of his life and emphasized his call to keep our communities safe. She kept it short and sweet, perhaps not even using the full time allotted for her opening statement.
Her 1st 100 Days – In her first 100 days Clinton said that she would push for more jobs, a better infrastructure, equal pay for equal work (women being paid the same as men); improved healthcare; and unification and reform.
On gun control – Clinton points out that Sanders has voted on gun control issues in line with the NRA. She actually got a little nasty over it. She was more or less calling him a liar on gun control. (*see notes on Sanders)
In the same segment of the debate Clinton said that it is an unfortunate reality that the lives of Black men are cheaper than their white contemporaries. She invoked Walter Scott when talking about excessive force and the need to better educate law enforcement and saying that 1/3 of Black men will spend some time in jail or prison, serving time for lesser charges that white men would not.
The War on Drugs – Clinton pretty much said that the war has failed. Heroine and opiates are the big drug of choice that is causing issues. She wants the federal government to work with each state on their specific needs, putting up to $1 billion into the fight against these drugs. She also said that policing of drugs needs to change. She also says that the government needs to approve law enforcement and fire fighters to have the ability to use the injectable antidote to heroine over dose.
On Healthcare – Clinton says the Sanders plan (which one of the 10?) would tear apart Obamacare. She supports healthcare for all, but not taking the ACA away and starting over from scratch. She repeatedly said that the American people do not need another long drawn debate on affordable healthcare, but they do need improvements that build off of ACA. She also repeatedly stated that she was involved in the creation of Obamacare and that the Affordable Care Act has been a project of the Democratic party since Harry S. Truman. She then slammed Sanders on his new plan, as well as the previous 9.
Campaign Finance Reform – Clinton is in support of finance reform.
Re: State of the Union Address – Clinton agrees with Obama and wants to bring the American people together and find common ground. She stressed her experience as the First Lady and as a former Secretary of State. She also stressed cooperation. Cooperation with Congress, with the States. Cooperation regardless of political party.
A YouTube question directed to Clinton on the importance of young voters – Clinton said, and I paraphrase, that this election is about the future. She stressed the younger voters desire for affordable college, better job opportunities, reduction in student loan debt, and interest free loans. She also spoke about gay rights, women’s rights, and workers’ rights.
On the economy – Clinton agreed with Sanders that no bank is too big to fail, no person too powerful to jail. She defended the Dodd-Frank Act (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dodd�…
). She wants to add to it, take it further. She also called Martin O’Malley out on taking money from Wall Street.
How to Pay for it – Clinton says she will not raises taxes on the middle class, she will make it so the upper class pays for the changes she wishes to implement as President.
Iran and ISIL, the War on Terror – Clinton is proud of the agreement with Iran and says she has been on board since the beginning. She also cautions that we need to pay attention to Iran and not assume that one good act will be the norm after 30+ years of problems.
Clinton says that the federal government needs to work with Silicon Valley to create information technology that is the first line of defense.
Closing Statements or “What did you want to say….?” – Clinton used her closing time to talk about Flint, Michigan and how upsetting it is that the state’s governor did nothing until the issue was forced. She also said that the government needs to work on the big problems, take care of the people.
Sanders on the Issues:
In his opening, Senator Bernie Sanders also spoke in brief about Martin Luther King Jr. Saying that he remembered what he stood for and pledging to continue his work. He also began his debate-long attack on the 1% and corrupt campaign financing.
First 100 Days – Sanders is a staunch supporter of healthcare for all as a right and would work to that end. He would also work towards raising the minimum wage to at least $15/hr. He would also create more jobs through rebuilding the infrastructure.
Gun Control – Sanders slammed Clinton right after the bat and then shared his voting history, which Clinton and O’Malley both called him on. He also supports better background checks, closing loopholes, and eliminating “Straw man” sales.
The conversation of gun control moved towards the justice system and how it is biased against Black men. In regards to criminal justice Sanders agreed with Clinton that there is need for reform, better education of law enforcement. He pointed out that 51% of young Black men or unemployed or underemployed.
He also took an opportunity to slam Wall Street again.
A YouTube question directed to Sanders asked if local prosecutors should be investigating police brutality cases in their jurisdictions – Sanders says that the US Justice Department should investigate any and all accusations of police brutality, and if a death results while in custody it would be an automatic investigation. If the police break the law they should be held accountable, to that point the investigation should not be on the local level. He says that the police should be demilitarized, take the tanks away in other words.
On the Drug War – Sanders says that big pharma should be held accountable for their part in the drug addiction epidemic.
Healthcare – We all know that Sanders has been pushing for years for a Medicaid for All bill. He stated in his opening that healthcare should be a right in the United States. A single payer plan is his proposal, taking the healthcare industry to task for high costs of medications and procedures. He also reminded the audience that he was on the committee that wrote the ACA.
On the State of the Union – Sanders stressed his work on healthcare, especially pointing out his work and experience on Veteran’s healthcare. He said that the Republican fight against Obamacare is because Congress is owned by big money – Wall Street, the fossil fuel industry, and Big Pharma.
On Democratic Socialism – Sanders was asked how he could win as a Democratic Socialist. Sanders answered that the Democratic party is need of reform. Politics in general is in need of reform. He is pushing for strategies in reform that are very socialist in tone. For example a 50 state strategy that gives each state more power/control. As a Democratic Socialist he is depending on individual contributions, not Super PACTs, Wall Street, or other Big Money sources to fund his campaign.
On the Economy – Sanders wants to break-up the big banks. He pointed out that the three biggest banks that were bailed out because they were “too big to fail” are now three times larger than they were at the time of the bailout. No bank is too big to fail, in his opinion. The banks, Wall Street, Big Pharma, etc have too much power and that power needs to be redistributed.
How to Pay for It – Sanders wants to rebuild the infrastructure, break up the big banks, and increase the policing of Wall Street. He wants to tax Wall Street speculation. He says it is time that Wall Street helped the Middle Class, not just the upper class.
On Taxes – With his Medicaid for all healthcare plan the average Middle Class family would save on insurance premiums and some of that savings would be redirected to the government by slightly higher taxes. He admitted that increase taxes is not what people ant to hear, but justifies it by saying that the decreased healthcare costs would more than offset the increase in taxes.
On Climate Change – Sanders says that the younger generation, those who are voting for perhaps the first time, know that climate change is real and that something needs to be done about it. He then slammed the GOP for being owned by the fossil fuel industry and denying science and climate change. He wants to create jobs that focus on cleaner alternative fuels.
Iran, ISIL, and the War Terror – Sanders thinks that we need to be more aggressive to normalize relations with Iran and not assume that one good act will lead to future good acts. Iran, to him, his still a problem. The Iran deal was positive in that it prevented them from developing nuclear weapons.
In regards to Syria – Sanders says that as President he would avoid a repeat of the Iraq war and says no to ground troops in Syria. He says that we could learn from Jordan’s Abdullah and encourages Muslim countries to put troops on the ground and fight against ISIL.
What id You Want to Say? – Sanders supports Clinton Flint, Michigan. He says he demanded the resignation of the governor over his inaction in regards to the lead poisoning of Flint’s children. He then went back to slamming Super PACTs, talking about campaign finance corruption and talking reform. He ended by saying government belongs to all the people.
O’Malley on the Issues
Opening – Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley opened by saying that he was born the same year Martin Luther King Jr made his “I have a dream” speech. He also started by praising Obama, something you would never hear from a Republican in the debates. He also spoke about equal opportunities for all and a call for new leadership in government.
In First 100 Days – O’Malley would increase wages to at least $15/hr and work towards better collective bargaining – a reference to the SCOTUS hearing on a Union case. He also spoke about climate change legislation and talked briefly about his plan to move the US to clean energy by 2050. He said that the United States needs a new agenda and to invest in the people.
Gun Control – O’Malley, the master of the sound bite, says that he is in favor of tougher measures, better background checks. He said that both Clinton and Sanders have been inconsistent in their voting on gun control. He ended on this segment by saying that there is no reason for a hunter to need an assault rifle.
Healthcare – O’Malley talked about how some European countries base their healthcare costs on keeping the patient healthy not on the kinds of medications, services, and procedures they need. Pay the doctors and the health industry to keep Americans healthy. He also spoke about lowering costs and eliminating unnecessary costs.
On the Economy – O’Malley plans to reform Wall Street, to police their practices. He also took this opportunity to call Clinton a liar and accuse her of being buddy-buddy with Big Money.
How to Pay for It – O’Malley stressed that he balanced Maryland’s budget as governor without increasing taxes. He would eliminate the tax cap on the rich and would tax interest on investments.
Climate Change – O’Malley made a jab at the GOP by saying that all three candidates on stage actually believe in science. He then reiterated that he has a plan to reach clean energy by 2050.
Iran, ISIL, Syria and the War on Terrorism – O’Malley would join forces with other countries to provide technical support and to build new alliances. He also refuses to call our troops “boots on the ground.” He insists that a lack of intelligence on the possible results of overthrowing a tyrant or dictator would result in an increase in such groups as ISIL, creating a vacuum that would be filled by more tyrants, dictators, and terrorists.
O’Malley says that the Federal government would need a warrant to obtain data on private citizens and that he would reform the Patriot Act. No people should give up privacy for security.
What Did You Want to Say? – “I’d need 20 minutes.” There has not been enough discussion of the real issues – immigration and detainment camps for example. We are a great people, he says, when we act together. Both home and abroad.
RevKess’s final thoughts: All three candidates handled themselves better than the Republicans in their last debate. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t sling mud or talk over each other and the moderators. All in all, this was the most REAL debate thus far from the Democrats. I have to give props to the moderators for keeping the candidates on task and focused.
Would be nice if O’Malley were given more talk time, but he is rather low in the polls. Hard to give him equal time we doesn’t have an equal share of the polling numbers. But we all know where poll numbers can lead….