I can’t believe I am saying this, but Donald Trump was right. The day before the Democratic debate, Trump said he thought the debate would be boring, so he would live tweet it. He was correct. The Democratic Debate had things like policy proposals, clean and friendly discourse, and no making fun of each other’s looks. It was no place for a Republican. Instead we had to deal with a showdown mainly between Bernie Sanders, the democratic socialist and leader in the New Hampshire polls, against Hillary Clinton, the establishment Democrat.
The other three candidates polling in the single digits were Martin O’Malley, Lincoln Chafee, and Jim Webb. This cast of B-styled candidates had many gaffes and hiccups throughout the night showcasing the horrendous political field we have this year. For the most important office and the party most likely to obtain that office, it seems as though we should actually challenge Clinton. Instead Chafee explained that he didn’t vote correctly on a bill because his father died the night before. I feel sad for him, but you are running for president. That cannot be an excuse. O’Malley had a gaffe when he said that, “I think Assad’s invasion of Syria will be seen as a blunder.”
Now, any thinking person knows he was talking about Putin, but when you can barely get your campaign off the ground it is crucial to not make simple mistakes. Jim Webb also had to explain how he once got an “A” rating from the NRA. These lower tier candidates proved that maybe debates aren’t a platform to transform a campaign. O’Malley may be able to bounce back, but it is unlikely that in February he will be in any place, but third.
When Sanders talked about Wall Street and income inequality, there was no one else to contend him on those issues. He is a self-described democratic socialist and admits that he hasn’t many friends in Washington. This is why Sanders has become a rock star amongst the progressive core of the party. Sanders is not saying we need to fix the establishment, he wants to tear it down and build something better. Whereas Clinton defends capitalism and the status quo, Sanders is there to challenge it. He may be weak on foreign policy, but Clinton is no better. She is simply establishment politics. She was for the TPP until it was politically inconvenient. Clinton waited to decide on the Keystone Pipeline until it was politically convenient. Clinton lambasted Snowden, but Sanders praised his heroism. It is disappointing that a national hero like Snowden can barely get his due diligence among this lot. Clinton claimed that the files Snowden leaked got into the wrong hands and Snowden’s ACLU lawyer quipped: Maybe she means the public?
Sanders will never get past round one, which to me is the New Hampshire Primary and the Iowa Caucas, without a serious transformation into a progressive party. For decades this feeble party has shifted into the center on too many issues while the GOP has only taken giant leaps to the right. Even the Obama presidency, which many Republicans tout as the worst ever and are fearful he just might announce himself dictator, has not been left enough. We need a political revolution as Sanders puts it. That means a government that works for the middle class and working families, not the billionaire class. That also means a people who give up being apathetic and divisive and start working together to address climate change and income inequality. Will this happen? It could. As Thomas Paine said, “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”
Mark Kobzik is a junior majoring in English/Journalism.