July 30 Debate Reflections

Watched the debates at the Grand Cinema. The early start seemed to lead to a small audience out here on the West Coast. Audience favorites were certainly Bernie and Warren, though several other candidates got a reaction.

The following are my thoughts on the candidates so far!

Marianne Williamson - Basically the conscious of the debate. She raises good points about the spirit and character of the country. She should really have a TV show. Maybe a church.

Other Congressman guy - The guy from Ohio - I forget his name and really he’s just kind of bland just represents Democrats as usual which is not inspiring. Should just drop out or run for Governor or something. I kept giggling when he brought up his production chief.

Congressman Delaney - I thought it was interesting what we learned about him tonight. Sounds like he was an entrepreneur who made his money in the status quo system. No wonder he wants to keep it as is. Could run for Governor so something.

Klobuchier - however her name is spelled - she makes good points about practicality and the need to meet people where they are. However, she isn’t very charismatic and she is too cautious to meet the changes ahead.

Hickenlooper & Bullock - the two governors rated about the same in my book. Practical and moderate with seemingly good experience. Bollock especially seems pragmatic. Would like to see either in the Senate or as Governors again.

Buttigieg - He is a very stirring orator and his personal history seems compelling. However, I think he needs to build more of his own track record and isn’t the candidate for this cycle. But he’s young and would do very well in the Senate. I think it was Buttigieg who had that proposal for a public service program for loan forgiveness. I think that is a very good policy.  I had a similar idea a while ago that I really should write up again.

O’Rourke - I’m glad he didn’t bust out his Spanish this go around. Despite that, this debate wasn’t his strongest showing. Would love to see him run for Senate or Governor. I did like O’Rourke’s educational proposal for free two year education with an emphasis on vocational training and apprenticeships.

Sanders - I thought Bernie had a strong showing tonight. As much as mainstream Democrats like to imply that these progressive policies will be a deathknell for the party, you can tell that there is enthusiastic support for what he proposes. I actually don’t care for his 100% free loan forgiveness program. While I think it is an incredible economic stimulus idea, in the end I think there needs to be a balance between personal resposibility when it comes to the decision to take out loans for education. I supported Bernie in 2016 and think that if he had been the nominee we would have been in a completely different world.

Warren remains as my number one pick. I think she made a good case for the big structural changes that will equip us for the challenges of the future. She puts in the work and does the research to make her qualified to do what needs to get done. Her record for decades supports this and I am already impressed with the kinds of grassroots campaign she is running. 


Overall, I think the candidates were correct in their criticism of CNN itself during the debate. Its like they are desperate for soundbites where the candidates attack each other and disagree on the minutiae of policy. Like everyone agrees that climate change is an important issue, but CNN needed to get the candidates on record saying that they want to get rid of gasoline engines. 

Or when the candidates generally all agree that our immigration and asylum system is in desperate need of overall. But instead, CNN worked as hard as they could to get a candidate on the record saying they would decriminalize border crossings. The general public doesn’t realize the nuance between decriminalization and making something completely legal.

Decriminalization merely means that an offence has been determined to not, in and of itself, greatly harmful to society. It doesn’t mean that it’s okay to do that thing, or that it shouldn’t be regulated, but that whatever that offense is, shouldn’t be the sole basis to throw someone in jail.

Take marijuana - several states, including my own have made the determination that the personal use or possession of this substance shouldn’t be a criminal offense. That change in understanding and recognizing the costs saving measures support handing offenses for decriminalized acts is handled in the civil courts rather than the criminal courts.

That brings me back to CNN. They do a disservice to the general public by reporting on this debate rather than educating about the underlying reason behind a policy or stance that a candidate might take. 

Anyway, the overall message the the Democrats could be making right now is being diluted by entities hosting the debates making them as “fiery” as possible. My favorite thing in tonight’s debate was when one candidate agreed with another candidate and then was able to go deeper into the same issue.

If only internal Democratic polls would start looking at the future and recognizing the strength of ranked choice voting. Being able to rank candidates would be a cheap and easy way for the Democratic party to show its commitment to listening to their constituents. Heck utilizing that format for caucuses or primaries would also be huge. 


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