The Democratic Half

  • Last night, the 25th of January, was the last of the Democratic National Committee functions before next week’s Iowa primary. It was the last time voters will get to see the candidates on television before the voting begins.
  • It was also a strategic move on the DNC’s part, what with the insurgence of Bernie Sanders’s campaign, to slip in one more opportunity for people to see Hillary Clinton. This, the first of the DNC sanctioned events to be televised in primetime on a weekday — where people are generally home to watch — rather than stuffing them late night on weekends where ratings are suppressed.
  • That wasn’t a mistake. Hillary has been slipping in the polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire (a state very likely beyond salvaging at this point), and Monday’s town hall-style event wasn’t even in the plans until last Wednesday. As the embedded Vanity Fair article pointed out:

The prime-time gathering will air Monday at nine P.M., a huge change from the three debates that the Democratic National Committee scheduled on inconvenient weekend nights. The odd scheduling and limited number of debates provoked criticism from Sanders and fellow candidate Martin O’Malley for giving them inadequate time to make their case to the American public, especially in comparison to the numerous Republican debates that have drawn record-breaking numbers of viewers. Clinton largely abstained from weighing in on the call for more Democratic debates, prompting accusations that D.N.C. chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was strategically scheduling the debates to give Clinton the best possible chance of coasting to the nomination. (A town-hall event—which is technically not a debate, since the candidates do not have to address each other—does not need to be sanctioned by the D.N.C.)

  • That last sentence is also important. Because it wasn’t an actual debate, where Sanders would have at least had the chance to call bullshit on Clinton’s misrepresentations of his views, Hillary got to have the last word. Again, this is what the DNC wants. Everything, from the format to the day and time, was preconceived to give Hillary as much of an advantage as possible. She received easier questions from the host, Chris Cuomo, and spent the majority of her time speaking about her experience with foreign policy, rather than addressing what Bernie challenges her on the most, such as breaking up the big banks, changing to a single payer healthcare system, and making public colleges and universities tuition-free. In other words: Domestic issues.
  • It’s an odd lane for Hillary to take, as it’s become apparent her last gasp in the Democratic Primary is to play the experience card in all foreign issues — since she’s held the title of Secretary of State — and cling as closely as possible to what Barack Obama has accomplished over the last eight years. If it wasn’t clear before last night, which was an extension of her during the last debate on January 17th: Just as many already assumed, Hillary Clinton is running for Obama’s 3rd term in office. She represents establishment politics as a centrist Democrat. She might call herself a progressive, or joke that she’s “A progressive who gets things done,” but she is no progressive. She is in favor of the status quo.
  • From everything we have seen lately, from Hillary’s slips in Iowa and New Hampshire and the national polls, her bid to be the next president has taken a huge hit.
  • Here. Comes. Bernie.

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