Hillary Won the First Dem Debate Because the Others Are Even More Terrible Candidates

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (photo credit: Steve Jurvetson via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

The consensus of the talking heads is that Hillary Clinton was the clear winner in last night’s Democratic debate. But some focus groups and online polls suggested that Bernie Sanders held his own. Clearly, she did better last night than she has so far in her controversy-mired campaign.

There were some sharp exchanges, but none of the other candidates managed to damage her. In one sense, Clinton prevailed because her opponents were so weak.

For example, conservative commentator Erick Erickson observed, “I’m still amazed the other four candidates made Hillary Clinton come off as the likable, reasonable, responsible Democrat.”

National Journal’s Ron Fournier wrote that Hillary Clinton won “because she’s a strong debater. She won because Bernie Sanders is not.”

Ryan Lizza of The New Yorker summed it up well: “Hillary Clinton won because all of her opponents are terrible.”

What They Discussed

Bernie Sanders used valuable airtime last night to defend socialism, saying that “countries like Denmark, like Sweden and Norway” were models we should emulate.

He and other candidates offered a wish list of new spending plans — while we are still running $500 billion deficits — and I don’t recall Anderson Cooper asking any of them, “How are you going to pay for it?” (According to one analysis, Sanders is proposing about $18 trillion in new spending over ten years.)

They bemoaned the state of the economy, stagnant wages and the struggles of middle class families — all valid concerns. Continue Reading

In May, Campaign Announcements Blossom

May is upon us and brings with it several expected presidential campaign announcements. According to a Washington Post reportBen Carson and Carly Fiorina announced their campaigns today, as expected. Carson hosted an event in Detroit, while Fiorina announced her campaign in an online video and an appearance on Good Morning America. Fiorina will follow up her announcement with a speech on Tuesday at a NYC tech conference and on a book tour to promote her new book which will be released tomorrow. Mike Huckabee is expected to officially announce his presidential bid at an event in Hope, Ark., his hometown.

The same Washington Post report also speculated on announcements that will come soon but do not have firm dates as of yet:

Sometime in the next few weeks:

— Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has been expected to make a presidential announcement sometime next month.

— New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, whose likelihood of running has shifted from near-certain to unlikely and back again, most recently said he would announce his decision sometime in late May or early June.

— Former Texas Governor Rick Perry is also expected to announce if he will run sometime in May or June.

June and beyond:

— Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum launched a testing-the-waters account earlier this month, indicating he is leaning toward running. His team has said he will decide by late spring.

— Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has been aggressively fundraising and traveling in anticipation of a 2016 presidential run, and his White House bid is essentially a sure thing at this point. Continue Reading