I am not going to make the declarative statement that you may be expecting. The winner in last night’s debate was the American people. First debates are usually feeling out exercises with onlookers breathlessly waiting for the zinger of the night. Fortunately, the Democratic party did something unusual, they did not eat their own. Oh sure, there were contentious policy issues, most notably the minor fracas between Beto O’Rourke and Julian Castro over the administration of 8 U.S.C. § 1325 – U.S. Code for undocumented immigrants. Senator Amy Klobuchar countered Washington State Governor Jay Inslee’s assertion that he had done more for women’s health services than any of the other candidates. “I just want to say there's three women up here that have fought pretty hard for a women's right to choose, I'll start with that,” said Klobuchar. These were legitimate policy disagreements and the participants avoided the name calling and literal handwringing that took place between Mr. Trump and Marco Rubio in the 2016 Republican primary debates.
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Oh) and former congressman John Delaney staked out the ‘let us remember the poor downtrodden, angst-ridden white working class with little effect. Delaney, who was booed loudly for what some saw as standard political speak, at the California Democratic Convention in early June, “Medicare for All may sound good, but it’s actually not good policy nor is it good politics,” Delaney said. Ryan and Delaney alternatively looked uncomfortable and out of place with their more liberal counterparts. Each took turns emphasizing their moderate Democratic bona fides.
I could go into a play by play commentary talking about Mayor Bill De Blasio carving out his territory with brute force or Tulsi Gabbard exposing Ryan on the simple issue of who attacked America on 9/11. All those spaces are important but face it, most people initially watch debates to see who rubs them the wrong way. The sexist will be upset that women seemingly got too much time, citing the domination of Senator Elizabeth Warren, moderates will feel the middle of the country was ridiculed and the so-called elites will be lambasted as being over-represented. Unfortunately, much like the Mueller report, people will not read white papers or position statements. We will rely on polls and pundits telling us who wins and who loses. The old maxim of “who would you like to have a beer with” will be trotted out eventually.
Honestly, I am not interested in who can down the most beers without passing out or with whom I want to share a burger while watching the game. Most of all I do not want to hear about rigged elections or shrill voices. Tonight, we get to part two of ‘Introduction 2020.’ I was a bit disenchanted last night because I have a personal interest as a member of the black community, and I felt the issue was discussed as a courtesy, not a priority. I have sons and grandsons and I worry about their safety. Income inequality places an unending burden on [people of color] with roots that spread throughout the history of America. Former VP, Joe Biden, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg have had some recent and past issues with how they have addressed the black community and I will be listening for explanations, but not tolerating excuses.
Vote in 2020 for Change.