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