Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton will debate tonight

The first debate between the five candidates seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States will be televised live tonight from the Wynn casino hotel in Las Vegas on CNN starting at 8:30 pm EDT. If you don’t have cable access, you can watch the livestream broadcast on cnn-dot-com.

The five candidates are:

  1. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont,
  2. former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,
  3. former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley,
  4. former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, and
  5. former U.S. Senator Jim Webb from Virginia.

Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard professor who also has announced his candidacy, has been excluded from the debate because he has failed to rise above 0% in the polls. Vice President Joe Biden has been invited to participate in the debate based on his position in recent polls, but is unlikely to attend since he has not yet decided whether to formally declare himself a candidate.

CBS News is reporting,

The Democratic race

Just days before the first Democratic candidate debate, Hillary Clinton is ahead of Bernie Sanders by 19 points in the Democratic race for the nomination nationally. Forty-six percent would vote for her. Her lead is similar to last month, but has narrowed since August. Potential candidate Vice President Joe Biden comes in third, with 16 percent, while the other candidates trail far behind.

2016 Democratic nomination for president

If Biden decides not to enter the race, Clinton’s lead over Sanders widens. She would have 56 percent support, compared to 32 percent for Sanders.

Clinton is still viewed as the candidate with the best chance of winning a general election. Nearly six in 10 Democratic primary voters see her as the most electable, far ahead of the other candidates in the field.

Clinton gets strong support from women (51 percent) and older voters (48 percent). Clinton’s lead is narrower with men (39 percent), and she and Sanders run about even among Democratic primary voters under age 50.

(Note: These poll results are several weeks old. Since then, Hillary Clinton has lost a lot of support from women.)

Recent polls show Bernie Sanders leading Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire by 52% to 30%. He also leads her in the Iowa caucuses by 43% to 33%.

Bernie Sanders, who describes himself as a ‘democratic socialist,’ realizes that the disappearing middle class has been eviscerated by corporate America’s war against labor unions and its relocation of industries and millions of jobs to foreign countries. Hourly wages and the number of hours worked per week have been reduced to such an extent that most wage earners do not make a living wage. As a result, the disparity in income and wealth between the 1% and the 99% is greater now than it has been since the Roaring Twenties. He wants to change that by creating millions of jobs to repair our crumbling infrastructure and by doubling the minimum wage to $15 per hour.

He believes that demand for goods and services is the engine that runs our consumer economy. That is, the only reliable way to fix our moribund economy is to get money into the hands of people who will spend it. The resulting nationwide increase in demand for goods and services will force businesses to increase their inventories and hire more employees. That will generate a substantial increase in tax revenues to reimburse the government for expenditures made to jumpstart the economic engine.

He also wants the government to create tuition-free higher education so that everyone who wants an education can have it and he wants to replace Obamacare with a single payer system.

His two greatest vulnerabilities in a national election would be (1) his identification as a democratic socialist and (2) his current lack of support from latinos and blacks.

Socialism like communism is regarded with deep suspicion by many voters who tend to associate it with a big government that controls every aspect of life while stifling creativity and dissent. The old Soviet Union is a good example of that type of government. However, that is not what he means by democratic socialism. Instead, he’s thinking of a democracy with a government that provides basic human services like modern infrastructure, universal education and universal health care like Germany and the Scandinavian countries.

His lack of support among minority groups appears to be primarily due to lack of information about him. He is not well known outside of Vermont, which is overwhelmingly white, and until recently he hasn’t made much effort to educate himself. Some black ladies involved in Black Lives Matter got in his face about that and he has apologized publicly for being stubborn, insensitive and clueless. He has recently hired minorities to fill positions of responsibility in his campaign.

Hillary Clinton has been moving steadily to the left on many issues thereby reducing many of their differences. Unfortunately, that has opened her up to accusations that she waffles on major issues to curry favor with Bernie Sanders’s supporters instead of taking principled stands. In turn that has caused many voters to distrust her. In fact, her biggest weakness is lack of trust. Her ongoing problems with using and later failing to disclose her private emails while she served as Secretary of State has exacerbated the trust issue. Republicans are subjecting her to Chinese water torture with no end in sight consisting of almost daily accusations of wrongdoing, despite an absence of a smoking gun.

My major problem with Hillary Clinton concerns her hawkish foreign policy. If she is elected, I believe we will see more of the same from her, including the use of special operations military forces to destabilize democratically elected foreign governments that are hostile to the activities of U.S. corporations within their borders, construction of more military bases around the world and continued support for the use of torture.

Bernie Sanders has not staked out a foreign policy yet. A good sign is he voted against the resolution to invade Iraq. A bad sign is he rarely criticizes Israel.

The other three candidates are relatively unknown.

For additional information about Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and their respective positions on many issues, please go here.

We’ll see you at 8:30 pm. Meanwhile, please comment below and during the debate.

9 Responses to Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton will debate tonight

  1. Malisha says:

    When I think about the Repugnicans’ constant fact-free harping on “free stuff,” I get an idea:

    What would you rather have, Republicans or FREE STUFF?

    Answer: FREE STUFF!

  2. oldgold says:

    I thought both Sanders and Clinton did well; particularly so, when measured against the Republican candidates. I grade on the curve.

    My pragmatic nature leads me to believe Sanders has one hell of an uphill climb to win the nomination. But, even if that is so, I would deem his candidacy as having been successful, in that it has moved the Overton Window to the left.

  3. Malisha says:

    I find it discouraging that the political field is realistically now drawn between far-right neofeudalists and moderate-right corporatists calling themselves Democrats. If an honest politician declares himself socialist he’s too far left to even be considered for a run; the Repugnicans have either taken the vote away (effectively) from the people or terrorized and dumbified the people into accepting their bullying as law. We are now, as a nation, being “protected from” democracy. And Hillary’s hawkishness will be her greatest asset as a candidate. Lord!

    • gblock says:

      If Bernie Sanders took the same positions on the issues that he does and didn’t use the word “socialist” in describing his positions, his popularity and viability as a candidate would increase because of the prejudice of many Americans against anything that is labeled “socialist”. Overall, I think that Hillary is the stronger candidate. I don’t think that Sanders would have a chance of winning in the general election, and given the current state of the Republican party, getting a Republican president in 2016 feels like it would be a disaster for the country. Bernie Sanders is doing a lot of good by pushing the focus on the economic issues.

      • I believe Bernie did very well in the debate. I was impressed by his direct answers. I evaluated Hillary’s performance more on the basis of what she didn’t say. For example, she is a major supporter of privatizing prisons. The corporations that build and operate them, like CCA, are major financial contributors to her campaign. To maximize their profits, they have to operate the prisons at full capacity, which is a major incentive to support incarcerating more people, rather than less. The current emphasis on zero tolerance policies for marijuana offenses has been in effect for about 10 years or more. The aggressive prosecution of marijuana offenses is a major reason why our country has the highest rate of incarceration in the world as well as the highest population of incarcerated people. Hillary has a vested interest in resisting reform while maintaining the status quo. Therefore, I was not surprised last night when she said that she opposes legalizing marijuana.

        Likewise, I believe her enthusiastic support for capitalism is a way of reassuring her big money contributors that she’s on their side.

        Bernie’s support for democratic socialism reflects his belief that, if left to its own devices (i.e., unregulated) capitalism will devour itself amid vast human suffering. He regards democratic socialism to be the most efficient and effective form of government to assure basic human rights to a living wage, education, health and modern infrastructure conveniences. Those objectives cost a lot of money which is best raised through income taxes and reducing spending for the military, industrial and intelligence complex.

        I agree and polling data suggests that a majority of Americans also agree with those objectives even if they recoil at the word ‘socialism.’

        The problem is everything is upside down and we’re doing all the wrong things.

        I don’t support Hillary because she’s a hawk on foreign policy and too beholden to the big money. Nothing she said last night diminished my concerns.

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