The Debate Nobody Watched


There has been a strange divide between the two major parties this year. The Republicans have seen record numbers watch their primary debates, while the Democrats have tried their best to make sure no one witnesses theirs. Even Vox, the notorious apologists for the Democrats in general and the Clintons in particular, admits that scheduling a debate in Iowa on a Saturday night when Iowa football is on is sketchy. But it’s not the result of bad planning, it’s the result of a bad candidate, Hillary Clinton, and the party machine’s desire to protect her from scrutiny. And it is lost on no one that Clinton’s own party thinks the best way to help her win is to never let anyone see her.

This debate was on CBS, and moderated by John Dickerson, to general acclaim:

The debate began with opening statements. In hers, Clinton sought once more to assure the American people that she is not a robot:

The people remain skeptical:

Once the debates started, the questions naturally turned to the ISIS murders in Paris and the wider question of war on Islamic fundamentalist terror. Clinton tried to sound tough, tougher than President Obama, just as she did when she ran against him in 2008:

Bernie Sanders turned, as all old Bolshies do, to the past, highlighting the various misdeeds of the nation he seeks to lead:

Martin O’Malley said some things:

Generally, the output was underwhelming:

The candidates next turned to their tax plans, which no one believed:

They talked about reform of the financial industry, which let to the first interesting question of the night: is Hillary Clinton owned by Wall Street? Sanders says yes:

Clinton offered an unusual counterargument: 9/11?

O’Malley joined Sanders’s criticism, then touted his his own bona fides:

Sanders and O’Malley called for the forward-thinking innovation of re-enacting laws from 1933:

This was difficult for Clinton to agree with, since her husband had worked to repeal the act in question in 1999. Plus, you know, she’s owned by Wall Street:

In closing, the candidates reminded the viewer of their strengths.

Sanders called for more “free” stuff:

Clinton emphasized her age and her proximity to important things:

O’Malley said something, but even he wasn’t paying attention:

There was not much said here, and not many people watched it. The only real take-away was in the most ridiculous item of the night:

Fortunately, Democrats will have a chance to revisit the issue in their next two debates, to be held on the Saturday before Christmas and on a Sunday in January, opposite an NFL playoff game.

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