The big winner of last night’s debate was the Democratic Party, whose candidates conducted a rational debate of political issues. Floppy shoes and grease paint were not in evidence.
As a seasoned debater, Ms Clinton was steady, in command of the issues. In a word: presidential.
Mssrs Webb, Chafee, and O’Malley faded into the background (aside from Webb’s whining about lack of speaking time and his odd humble brag about killing someone on the field of battle).
This debate was all about Mr Sanders. Emerging from the Vermont wilderness, the debate was his first moment on the national stage. However, it appeared he thought he was speaking at a Democratic Socialists of America conference or to students at the Brecht Forum. It’s one thing to rail against “casino capitalism.” It’s another to think a President can single-handedly transform capitalism. Righteous indignation aimed at the 1% aside, he offered no practical way out of the current downturn in economic development. Mr Sanders’ song of praise for Nordic Socialism (a rehash of the “Third Way” discussions of the 1980s) suggests a person with a political philosophy that is unfettered by the practical conditions of US political culture.
Mr Sanders is well meaning, but his message was au courant decades ago. He should tone down the angry-man-on-a-soap-box demeanor during the next debate. For a positive model of comportment, he could look to Mr Corbyn in the UK.