By Doug Porter
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. I’m supposed to breathlessly predict something sensational will happen in tonight’s Democratic Debate. Maybe Bernie Sanders will rip off his mask, revealing that he’s actually Karl Marx reincarnated. Maybe Hillary Clinton will let it slip that her private email account was all about keeping her orders from the Illuminati hidden.
I, for one, hope none of that happens. The best possible contrast with the Republicans would be for an actual discussion of actual programs based on this crazy little thing called reality.
I think a successful debate tonight will be, as The Donald has already warned us, boring. Instead of hearing about Mexican rapists, maybe we can hear point and counterpoint on how much (not if) the minimum wage should be increased. Or something about how NOT bombing brown people somewhere might be a good idea.
The two-hour debate at the Wynn Las Vegas, will air on CNN starting at 6 p.m. PDT, featuring the five Democratic candidates who received at least 1 percent in a trio of national polls within the last six weeks.
I know that broadcaster CNN has done everything possible to gin up the drama, even promising Joe Biden they’d have a podium ready if he’s so inclined. Since it doesn’t appear as though that’s going to happen, don’t be surprised by a split screen giving “equal time” to whatever delusional idiot they can drum up.
My sincere wish is for both of the higher profile candidates to stick with the high road they’ve (for the most part) been taking. Looks for the bottom tier candidates, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, to try and get noticed.
As things stand right now I am incapable of forming a mental image of O’Malley & Chaffee; Webb I remember as a ginger with a scowl. This LA Times info graphic is good for a basic rundown of all the major candidates’ backgrounds.
There will be plenty of #FeelThe Bern and #Hillary2016 social media types willing to shoulder the burden of snark and stupidity as the debate progresses. They’ll be joined on twitter by The Donald, who will hopefully say something huuuugely stupid.
It’s Okay to Be Boring
Look for Hillary Clinton to be the target of gotcha questions asked by CNN’s talking heads, Bernie Sanders to get red-baited and everybody else to be asked why the hell they’re even running. If the candidates are smart, they’ll stay well on this side of wonkiness and let policy triumph over personal issues.
Here’s Think Progress:
Major media outlets would like you to know that it will probably be a snooze-fest.
The Washington Post reports that the Republican debates have been “appointment television” featuring lots of personal insults and attacks. Meanwhile, the Democratic debate will focus on “substantive” issues like “how each would pay for his or her higher-education overhauls.” It’s possible, the Post warns, you will be “bored senseless.”
This is because the Democratic candidates have avoided “direct, personal attacks that have been so prominent in the Republican race.” This leaves them, according to the Post, “downright predictable.”
You want exciting TV? I hear they’re having a Donald Trump fart-a-thon over on Fox. Be my guest.
In the Clinton Camp
According to Politico, Hillary’s heavy-duty supporters are cautiously optimistic in the wake of GOP missteps on whatever inquisition it is they’re running now. They’re also fearful about the prospect of a Biden candidacy:
Those conflicting feelings were on display at a private dinner in San Francisco on Wednesday night, where megadonor Susie Tompkins Buell held court before a group of about 15 major party donors and Clinton loyalists at Sam’s Restaurant, an old-school seafood joint where the waiters wear tuxedos, the sourdough bread is so legendary women cave in to carbs, and each table is curtained off for privacy.
Behind the thick brown curtain, the table was buzzing with excitement on the heels of Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s comments suggesting that the Benghazi Committee was created with the purpose of taking down the former secretary of state.
Yet the perceived gift from McCarthy did little to temper their angst about Biden’s intentions. The prospect of the grieving vice president’s potential entry into the race was a subject the group obsessed over during dinner, where many worried he will fracture the party.
The email/Benghazi/Whitewater/KennedyAssassination “scandals” are mostly a figment of the media’s need for blood. If you see/hear stories today saying that scandals are what Hillary Clinton “must address,” chances are the reporter doesn’t know their own ass from a hole in the ground.
Sanders Gets the Spotlight
For all the youthful enthusiasm behind the Bernie Sanders candidacy, it’s important to remember the one thing Clinton bests him on in every state is the support of the Democratic Party’s infrastructure and traditional donors. And they’re the ones with the passwords to the precinct files and the people with the organizational experience.
So tonight’s appearance by the Vermont Senator–have you heard he’s a SOCIALIST!!!????— should be about introducing himself to the party faithful. This debate isn’t like a campaign rally, so his sincerity will be key. And not losing his temper when interrupted.
Outside the Wynn Las Vegas, the National Nurses United will stage a rally in support of Bernie Sanders.
Promising a “colorful” rally, the nurses and union organizers will march from the nearby Treasure Island Hotel to the debate site at the Wynn Las Vegas. The event is supposed to be a show of force for Sanders, a candidate the union endorsed in August.
Organizers said they expect “a couple hundred” people to attend the rally.
When National Nurses United endorsed Sanders — over former secretary of state Hillary Clinton — in August, they became the first national union to back the independent Vermont senator.
From Mother Jones:
Sanders, who traveled to Liberty University last month to meet with conservative Christian students, takes pride in taking tough questions from hostile audiences, and he has a rock-solid sense of his own political compass that rarely leaves him struggling for an answer. The moderators shouldn’t be a problem. But he has never faced an opponent as formidable as the former secretary of state, who shared the stage 26 times with then-Sen. Obama during the 2008 primary and scored her share of body blows. Clinton has refrained from attacking Sanders—for now. And while he leads in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, he still trails Clinton by huge margins among African American and Latino voters. Tuesday’s debate will offer an early test of whether, with the benefit of a prime-time national TV audience, he can expand his support outside his fervent base.
The senator’s aides told Politico that while he’s been brushing up on foreign policy specifics of late, he won’t hold any mock debates before the showdown in Las Vegas. (Clinton isn’t taking her chances—her attorney Bob Barnett plays Sanders in the campaign’s debate practice.) Sanders, for his part, has promised to draw out distinctions between himself and Clinton without resorting to negative attacks. Nor will he prepare any zingers. Don’t expect a Lloyd Bentsen–Dan Quayle made-for-TV moment; the Bernie you see at the Wynn will likely be the Bernie you see in Portland or Burlington or anywhere else on the campaign trail. Sanders’ recent responses to Clinton’s belated opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal offers a glimpse of this approach. He’ll thank his opponent for taking a stand—and then point out that he arrived there ages ago.
The approach hasn’t failed him yet. Then again, he’s never done anything quite like this before.
Local Debate Viewing Parties
The Official Democratic Party event will be in Old Town at The Alamo Mexican Cafe, 2543 Congress St, San Diego Sign Up & Info
Ken Stone at the Times of San Diego interviewed Democratic Party chair Francine Busby about tonight’s Old Town event.
Busby, a former candidate for Congress, will miss the party. She’ll see the debate live in Las Vegas. But local Democrats expect an Alamo appearance by Rep. Loretta Sanchez of Garden Grove — the second-highest ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee and a candidate for U.S. Senate.
Busby expects the Democratic primary battle to be “unpredictable and exciting,” she wrote in her preview of the party’s first debate of the 2016 cycle.
“We’ve seen Republican presidential candidates engage in personal bickering, political posturing and one-upmanship that exposed positions ranging from the nonsensical to the downright scary,” she wrote. “It will be refreshing to watch and listen to our candidates debate actual facts and share their visions of America.”
Also like the county GOP, Democrats are holding an online straw poll.
“We will announce how many people took part when the results are announced, which will be Thursday in our monthly newsletter the Blue View,” said Eva Posner, the party’s communications coordinator.
On This Day: 1934 – The American Federation of Labor voted to boycott all German-made products as a protest against Nazi antagonism to organized labor in Germany. 1957 – Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra introduced the Ford Edsel on an hour long special. (So much for endorsements…) 1970 – Janis Joplin’s ashes were scattered off the coast of California.
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