‘Dem Democrats: Discussions + Disagreements = DEBATE

On October 13, 2015, the democratic presidential candidates met at the Wynn in Las Vegas to clap and clap back in the name of “liberty and justice for all.” There were some good discussions about controversial issues, and the candidates had to answer some tough questions. One thing that stood out to me, though, was what felt like a sense of obligation for some candidates to make sure they mentioned the poor black people. #Vegas #blackcardondeck

Let’s run it back.

Moderator: Anderson Cooper

National Anthem: Sheryl Crow sang acapella. I would’ve rather heard her sing “The First Cut is the Deepest,” but she wasn’t horrible.

I’ve decided to give each candidate an anthem as well. The songs may stick with them through their entire campaigns, but the ones I picked were based on their chit-chat tonight.

The Candidates:

Lincoln ChafeePresidential candidate Lincoln Chafee in Lebanon, NH on Thursday, June 4, 2015.

Total Speaking Time: 9:11

Opening Statement Takeaway:

He’s the only candidate who has been a mayor, senator, and governor.

The Rest:

  • Seems he’s a party jumper. Let him tell it, he was a liberal republican, independent, and now democrat. Anderson asked why we should believe he’s serious about being a democrat. Why did he keep changing parties? He replied “the party left me.” That reminded me of middle school cliques. Go wherever you’re accepted if you’re into that kind of thing.
  • Just like the party left him, he was left out of much of the debate.
  • Greatest threat to national threat: Chaos in the Mideast
  • He didn’t accept Hillary Clinton saying that the use of force in Iraq was a mistake, and actually felt she should be disqualified because she supported it. In his eyes, her “my bad” is unacceptable and her judgment is questionable.
  • On Hillary’s email scandal: He gave a drawn-out answer, but basically said she wasn’t credible. (When Anderson asked Hillary if she wanted to respond, she simply said, “No,” with a smile. She was so unbothered. You know you’re a non-factor when a person you’re debating with doesn’t even want to waste their breath responding to you.)
  • Anderson Cooper got in that ass about his 1999 vote for banking (to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act). Chafee said the question/criticism was “unfair” and blamed his decision on being new to office and dealing with the loss of his father.
  • Really, he didn’t say much during this debate… and that was okay with me. And when he did begin to speak, it was like waiting for a 1989 Chevy to warm up in the dead of winter in Pennsylvania. Spit it out, sir.

Closing Statement Takeaway: In 30 years, he hasn’t had any scandals. (He’s very proud of that because he said that in the opening statement as well. I’m not sure whether he wants a cookie or a slice of cake.) Oh, and he’s a proven peacemaker.

My anthem for Chafee: “Do You Know” – Diana Ross. I swear I heard it every time he spoke. “Do you know where you’re going to? Do you like the things that life is showing you? Where are you going to? Do you know?”

Bless his heart.

Jim Webb webb

Total Speaking Time: 15:35 (and he had to fight HARD for at least eight of those minutes.)

Opening Statement Takeaway:

He’s a former senator from Virginia. He was a combat Marine (Translation: “bad-ass”). He’s a journalist, author, and sole-proprietor. Oh, and he has a Vietnamese wife. He wants look out for working people who make this country what it is “under a common sense foreign policy.”

The Rest:

  • He felt like a NMMF all night. At one point, I’m sure he wanted to say, “Can I talk, damnit?” He practically said that, but in a politically correct manner.
  • He believes cyber warfare is the greatest threat to our country right now. Long-term, though, he feels our relationship with China is our challenge.
  • Anderson brought up his criticism of affirmative action. In 2006, he called it “state-sponsored racism.” In 2010, he said “It discriminates against whites.” Anderson’s question: Since almost half of the democratic party is non-white, uh… “Aren’t you out of step” with where democrats stand on this issue? Webb said he always supported affirmative action for African-Americans only because of our unique history in this country with slavery and the Jim Crow laws. Everyone else who is “of color”? Nope. (I suppose he feels like affirmative action is the 40 acres and a mule that our ancestors never received.)
  • #blacklivesmatter vs #alllivesmatter: He chose all lives. BUT BUT BUT!!!! He made sure he told us about his long history of working with black folks and how he risked his reputation and faced criticism/backlash for doing so. (Thank you, Mr. Webb. We sho’ appreciate you.)
  • On immigration laws: He’s all for immigrants coming to our country *insert reminder that his wife is Vietnamese* but he does believe that all countries need to define their borders. Period.

Closing Statement Takeaway: He’s always willing to take on the complicated, unpopular issues. He knows how to lead. Check his resume, dating back to Vietnam.

My anthem for Webb: “Listen” – Beyonce Because he had to beg for speaking time. “Oh, the time has come for my dreams to be heard. They will not be pushed aside and turned into your own all ’cause you won’t LISTEN!” 

Martin O’Malley 

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley speaks during a roundtable interview in Annapolis, Md., Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, the first day of the 2014 legislative session. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Total Speaking Time: 17:56

Opening Statement Takeaway:

We’re all in this together and he’s running for president to give our kids a better future.

The Rest:

  • One major question was: How you gon’ run the whole country when you couldn’t get things in check in Baltimore as mayor? He pointed out his reduction of crime. He saved over a thousand lives, and most were poor and black. (I’ll be damned! Another white savior! Thank you, kind sir!)
  • Greatest national threat: All thing nuclear
  • Does he think Hillary would be/is too quick to use force?: He believes force should never not be an option, but the American people shouldn’t be lied to (weapons of mass destruction) in order to gain support for a war. Anderson was still like, What about Hillary? Is SHE too quick to use force? I don’t think  he ever answered.
  • #blacklivesmatter vs. #alllivesmatter: Black lives matter. He feels we need to reform our criminal justice system and address race relations.
  • On the low (or not so low), I think he wants to be Hillary’s VP. He did try to clap back after she GOT EEEM (read her section below) and say he supported her eight years ago, but it’s a new day. It’s time for new leadership.
  • On Hillary’s “name” propelling her through this election process: We “can’t think a resort to old names is going to move us forward.” Oop.
  • He threw epic shade at Donald Trump, calling him a “Carnival barker.”

Closing Statement Takeaway: He believes we’re standing on the threshold of a new America and “We need to speak to the goodness within our country.”

My anthem for O’Malley: “What Do You Mean?” – Justin Bieber “When you nod your head ‘yes,’ but you wanna say ‘no,’ what do you mean?”

Bernie Sanders bern

Total Speaking Time: 28:05

Opening Statement Takeaway:

He’s mad that millionaires and billionaires are pouring money into candidates who support their values, making it easier for them to win. He finds it unacceptable that the U.S. has more people in jail than any other country, and he’d like to lower the  African-american and Hispanic unemployment percentages.

The Rest:

  • Is he a capitalist?: He says no. He just believes in a society in which all people do well – not just the rich.
  • About the conflict in Russia: Everybody’s trying to take each other out there. If elected, he won’t let the U.S. get involve in another country’s business like we did in Iraq.
  • When is it okay to use force?: I guess his take is never? He said he believes in forming coalitions when our country or our allies are threatened.
  • While going back and forth with Hillary about gun laws, he shut her down with: “All the shouting in the world…” isn’t going to solve the issue. Shh, Hillary.
  • He’s all about free college for everyone, regardless of their income.
  • Fraud is a business model on Wall Street and that helped destroy our economy. “Congress does not regulate Wall Street. Wall Street regulates Congress.” And that has to stop.
  • Save the planet! Get better energy resources.
  • #blacklivesmatter vs. #alllivesmatter: Black lives matter. He mentioned Sandra Bland and black kids getting shot randomly. He wants to see major reform in a broken criminal justice system and says we need education and jobs rather than jail cells. (Word.)
  • He wants a political revolution. We need to stand up for ourselves.
  • His accent is everything.

Closing Statement Takeaway: Nobody on the stage can truly address the major crises in the country unless millions stand up. #revolution

My anthem for Sanders: “Revolution” – Arrested Development because he’s not here for the bullshit. I heard that in my head after his closing statement. “There’s got to be action if you want satisfaction. If not for yourself, for the young ones (the children).”

Hillary Clinton hill

Total Speaking Time: 31:05

Opening Statement Takeaway:

She’s the granddaughter of a factory worker and is also a grandmother.Her political resume is strong as a first lady, senator, and Secretary of State. She wants tax cuts for the middle class.  She wants to heal racial divides and those concerning the LGBT community. She wants fathers to say to their daughters, “You, too, can grow up to be president.” Her “girl power” angle was in full force.

The Rest:

  • She moonwalked her way out of many of the questions.
  • Anderson didn’t make her answer the #blacklivesmatter vs. #alllivesmatter question. That was disappointing.
  • She supports free college but feels students should have to work ten hours a week while attending.
  • She does believe that that we need to tackle mass incarceration and that we shouldn’t be imprisoning more people than any other country.
  • On her judgment being questioned: President Obama didn’t question her judgment. He made her Secretary of State. #BOOM
  • Is she Progressive or Moderate?: She says she’s a progressive who gets things done.
  • On being a flip-flopper: Anderson asked if she changes her political identity based on who she’s talking to. She said she’s been consistent her whole life; but pointed out that she absorbs new info and evolves.
  • She made it a point to mention that O’Malley was once one of her supporters and she appreciated that. (Way to namedrop in the shadiest of ways. LOL)
  • When Anderson brought up her emails and how the scandal affects whether Americans can trust her, she said she’d already answered questions and would answer more questions about those when the time was right. But she wanted to stick to what America wanted to talk about: real issues. Then Bernie chimed in…

“The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!…Let’s talk about the real issues facing America.” – Bernie Sanders

And then this happened. I was like, “YASSSSS!!!” (…and so was Hillary.) She shook his hand and thanked him.

bff

Closing Statement Takeaway: She wants us to ask ourselves “Who…has the vision for actually making the changes that are going to improve the lives of the American people? Who has the tenacity and the ability and the proven track record of getting that done?”

My anthem for Clinton: “Run the World (Girls)” – Beyonce “My persuasion can build a nation. Endless power. Our love we can devour. You’ll do anything for me…Who run the world? Girls.”

Also:

  • There’s a way to emphasize that you feel black lives matter without being condescending. The multiple mentions of poor, young, black people made me uncomfortable. I appreciate the candidates understanding that the black vote is important, but don’t act like you’re about to get pierced in your side and hung on a cross for us.
  • I’m all for this free college idea. I wonder if they can retro that back to 1998 (at least). I’ve worked to pay my dues, Hillary. Just sayin’.
  • At least two people can stay home and watch the next debate from their couches.
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