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Est. April 5, 2002
October 15, 2015 - Issue 625

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With a Few Wobbles
Bernie Wins
1st Dem Pres Debate

By Carl Davidson

"Where Bernie showed his strength was
in keeping everyone focused on the fight
against Bankster-imposed austerity at home
and being dragged into new wars abroad."

INSTANT ANALYSIS: MY TWO CENTS. Overall, Bernie Sanders won, but not without a few wobbles, and the GOP was the big loser. Hillary retained her front-runner position with a combative stance, and with a surprise assist from Sanders. Chaffey, Webb and O’Malley remained also-rans.

In the context of today’s ‘debates as spectacle,’ this round was relatively substantive and civil compared to the GOP, which is not a very high bar. O’Malley and Clinton ganged up on Sanders early on, trying to paint the Vermont Senator as weak or compromised on gun control, which required a bit of hyperbole and demagogy. Sanders stand on guns is quite common sense, and while it earned him a D- NRA rating, it is also likely the most widely shared view among the electorate—background checks, no automatic weapons, gun show loopholes closed, mental health and other similar restrictions—of any candidate of any party.

Sanders was rattled by the intensity of the criticism, but did his best to recover.

Where Bernie showed his strength was in keeping everyone focused on the fight against Bankster-imposed austerity at home and being dragged into new wars abroad. When Anderson Cooper was dumping on Clinton about Benghazi and Emails, Sanders interrupted and denounced the whole topic, saying his was ‘sick of talking about her damned emails’ when much larger matters were on the table. It effectively ended the topic for the night.

The CNN moderators did their best to provoke. They asked Sanders about Clinton’s quip that his ‘free tuition at public universities and colleges’ was tantamount to ‘free college for Donald Trump’s kids.’ But Bernie didn’t take the bait, responding that a college degree in today’s work world is similar to a high school degree 50 years ago, and public schools thrived because they were open to all, including the wealthy. Then he added that his plan was funded by a transaction tax on Wall Street.

They also tied to squeeze Sanders for being a 1960s person—smoking pot, conscientious objection to the Vietnam war, and being a socialist. But he parried these well, and turned them to his advantage.

Foreign policy was stressed at the end, and, in contrast to the hawkish GOP, the five candidate show themselves more divided, with Clinton and Webb, the Blue Dog, being more ready for ‘boots on the ground.' When asked what the biggest threat to US security was, only Sanders had the proper answer: the threats posed by unrestricted energy policies fueling climate change.
One name never came up. Joe Biden. We’ll have to wait a few more weeks, but since Hillary held her own, he may fade away. Carl Davidson is the National Co-chair at Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, Web Correspondent at Progressive Democrats of America, Board Member at Soldarity Economy Network and a member of United Steelworkers of
America Local 3657. Contact Mr. Davidson via Facebook.

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David A. Love, JD
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