[intro-text size=”25px”]Republicans take note. If anyone outside of Lincoln Chaffey gets the Democratic nomination you’re in for a world hurt by the time general elections approach. [/intro-text]
There was no comparing the substantive and mature Democratic primary debates to the Republican counterpart. While the GOP debaters were content on cannibalizing themselves and their party for a fleeting moment of attention, the Democratic Party presented a unified front on the Las Vegas stage. While their individual policies differed, getting a democrat in the White House in 2016 was a larger, nuanced theme shared throughout the night. This kind of broad, long-term strategy was absent from the Republican field because the GOP is currently a Mad Max wasteland. They are nomads without a lodestone to follow or a leader to support. They are in a desperate scramble to define a singular brand identity while splintered and held hostage to the demands of evangelicals, conservatives, tea partyists, constitutionalists, old-money establishment, libertarians, and other Republican subsets.
All that said, and the worst that the GOP has to offer still looks like JKF when compared to Lincoln Chaffey. So let’s get to that “block of granite” and everything that happened in Las Vegas the other night.
Hillary Clinton’s opponents had been clamoring for more debates than the prescheduled six but after last night’s performances they should be careful for what they wish for. The clear and present veteran on stage, Clinton, handled the questions posed with deft precision, never straying from the narrative she wanted to spin. She held true to crafted campaign messages but remained vital and in-the-moment enough to ad lib some responses and inject a measure of levity when opportunities arose. She presented the most capable and logical transition of power from the Obama administration and even managed to squeeze in a potent catch phrase, “I’m a progressive that likes to get things done.” Surprisingly, it was her Democratic/Socialist opponent, Bernie Sanders, who offered Clinton her largest win of the night when he declared, to a standing ovation, that America was “sick of hearing about your damn emails!”, effectively quashing the Benghazi debacle until the next hapless Republican picks at the old scab.
This was Sanders’ night to lose, and well, he didn’t bomb, but he certainly isn’t taking home any new supporters. Like many of his Republican opponents, Sanders fires up and talks directly to and for the very same people that are already in his corner. Stepping outside of his comfort zone, he looked unprepared for any topic outside of economics, especially his record on gun control legislation, which proved him to be the odd man out on stage, but not the oddest.
Chaffey wins the coveted, “Wait…who?” award. And God bless the man. It has been some time since the Democratic Party has had a glassy eyed dunderhead like Chaffey for comedic gold. It appeared at times that Chaffey was unaware that there was even a debate occurring and towards the end looked visibly uncomfortable being on stage.
“Anderson,” Chaffey beamed early into the debates, “you’re looking at a block of granite.”
Yes, yes we are. But I sincerely hope you stick around as long possible.
I was looking forward to seeing Martin O’Malley take a national stage. The mild-mannered former Governor of Maryland held a reserved, confident air that descended quickly to passive irrelevance. For someone so anxious to debate Clinton, he did little with the time he was allotted.
More, however, than Jim Webb did with his. The Virginia Senator and former Secretary to the Navy, spent his platform complaining that he was not given enough time to talk, even as these complaints ate into the very time he was arguing for. For their first far-reaching exposure to mainstream America, Chaffey appeared dimwitted; O’Malley, laconic; and Webb too petulant and aggressive to win over a liberal base.
Moderator Anderson Cooper did an admirable job holding all of the candidates to the questions asked and pressing them when their answers veered toward proselytizing rather than substance. However, I question the attempts of establishment media, steeped in a dated, 20th century mindset, to acclimate to the age of the internet. Co-sponsored by Facebook, the debate took several online questions which were of the basest, most reductive quality, flirting with whatever weekly social movement happened to be trending. It was a little on the nose for CNN to cut to a black man for the only question about race inequality and then cut to a Hispanic man for the sole immigration question. Allow me stress, racial and ethnic inequality is one of the major issues facing the country but it is done a massive disservice when it is only tangentially referenced once in the debate.
What’s that called when you end up being ‘kind of’ racist when you go out of your way to show people you’re not racist?