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Five Observations of the First Democratic Debate


Staff Writer

With the Grand Old Party debate happening tonight, here is a look at the top five observations that someone had during the first Democratic debate as a comparison.

Democrats Tired of Email Controversy

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders had one of the entertaining moments of the debate. He said what a lot of Democrats have been thinking for awhile now about the private email server Hillary Clinton used while serving as Secretary of State.

“The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails,” Sanders said, “Let’s talk about the real issues facing America.”

He thinks we should be talking about serious issues like wealth inequality and climate change while we let the legal process take its course.

Judging from the roar of the crowd following his comments, it is clear that many Democrats are ready to end the email controversy that is distracting from their party’s message.

At Least Chafee Tried

Former Rhode Island Gov. and Sen. Lincoln Chafee had less than 0.5 percent in a CBS poll published the Sunday before the debate. At the very least, Chafee had to show voters that he was competent enough to keep his campaign going.

The defense he gave for his vote on Glass-Steagall proved why he couldn’t even do that.

“Glass-Steagall was my very first vote,” Chafee said. “I had just arrived. My dad had died in office. I was appointed to the office. It was my very first vote.”

Moderator Anderson Cooper’s response perfectly sums up the issue with Chafee’s comment.

“What does that say about you that you were casting a vote about something you weren’t sure about?” Cooper asked.

Chafee seems like a genuinely nice guy and he’s brave for putting himself into the public spotlight, but his poor responses and awkward demeanor show that he’s nowhere near presidential material to be seen as a viable candidate.

O’Malley a Potential VP Candidate

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley probably won’t see a huge rise in support from his debate performance, but he may have impressed the front-runners enough to earn a spot on their presidential ticket.

O’Malley’s knack for public speaking was evident. His answers were crisp, and his passion for democratic ideals elicited a loud applause during his closing statements.

“I truly believe we are standing on the threshold on a new era of American progress. Talk to our young people under 30. You’ll never find among them people that want to bash immigrants or people that want to deny rights to gay couples. That tells me we are moving to a more connected, generous and compassionate place and we need to speak to the goodness within our country,” O’Malley said.

With his good relationship with Clinton and similar ideas to Sanders, look for O’Malley to be the Democratic Party’s Vice Presidential candidate.

Marijuana Legalization Scores Huge Endorsement

Bernie Sanders sent shockwaves throughout the world of politics when he became the first major party candidate in 2016 to say that he would support legalizing recreational marijuana if given the chance.

He was asked how he would vote on a 2016 ballot initiative in Nevada that would legalize marijuana if he lived in there and his response was groundbreaking.

“I suspect I would vote yes. And I would vote yes because I am seeing in this country too many lives being destroyed for non-violent offenses,” Sanders said.

Supporting marijuana legalization used to be political suicide, but now that almost every major poll shows the majority of Americans supporting it, Sanders’ support might be smart politics.

Marijuana advocates are “feeling the Bern,” and not in the way people usually think.

Who Really Won?

If you went on any mainstream news site after the debate, you’d find numerous articles about how Hillary Clinton won overwhelmingly.

CNN ran the headline, “Hillary Clinton’s big night on the debate stage” while an article by TIME said that she was “maestro of the Democratic debate.”

Dig deeper into the internet and the winner might not be so clear.

Online polls on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC all showed Bernie Sanders winning. Critics point to the fact that Sanders’ supporters are more likely to vote in online polls, but the fact that even a Fox News poll had the Democratic Socialist winning has to say something.

Sanders was also the Twitter winner of the night, picking up 42,730 followers to Clinton’s 25,475. 69 percent of the tweets about him were positive, compared to 56 percent for Clinton.

Sanders didn’t just win on the internet. Focus groups of democratic voters by both CNN and pollster Frank Luntz selected Bernie as the debate’s winner.

None of these metrics are conclusive, but they paint a different picture than the one mainstream media companies like CNN does. That shouldn’t surprise anyone though considering Times Warner, the owner of CNN, is one of Hillary Clinton’s biggest campaign donors.

The differing narratives make it impossible to determine who really won until the polls come out, but this discussion should remind everyone about a lesson they probably learned in elementary school.

Do not believe everything you see on TV.

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