North Texas Daily

Recap of first DNC Debate

Recap of first DNC Debate

Recap of first DNC Debate
October 15
12:27 2015

Harrison Long | Editorial Writer
@HarrisonGLong

Five potential candidates took the stage in Las Vegas, Nevada on Tuesday night to participate in the Democratic party’s first official debate for the 2016 presidential election. For many viewers tuning in it was the first opportunity to hear talking points from the candidates not named Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.
Considered the favorite by many for much of the initial race, Hillary Rodham Clinton, quite unsurprisingly, spoke more than any other candidate during last night’s proceedings. Topics addressed by the former Secretary of State ranged from her recent alignment shift on the Trans-Pacific Partnership championed by President Obama, her controversial actions in response to the catastrophe in Benghazi in 2012, and the scandal surrounding her use of a personal email account while head of the State Department.
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, had arguably his strongest moment in the debate when coming to the defense of former Secretary Clinton in saying: “The American people are tired of hearing about your damned e-mails,” touting the subject as a non-issue. Although the general discourse of the evening followed a civility much like in this exchange, it was among the only time the two candidates agreed wholeheartedly on a subject.
The other three participants, Governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley, Governor of Rhode Island Lincoln Chaffee and Virginia Senator Jim Webb, the debate was more about making a vocal entrance to the race than anything else. The three participants have thus far seen less coverage of their candidacy’s in the media than Sanders and Clinton, and their introduction last night could be argued to be largely in pursuit of the post-debate poll bumps enjoyed by Republican counterparts Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson. Only time can tell, but it would appear that their efforts were fruitless, with most analysts and polls following the debate placing victory in favor of the current frontrunners Clinton and Sanders.
Notable comments separate from Sanders’ defense of Clinton were spread out through the night, as issues addressed by all the candidates ranged from economic reform to gun legislation. Clinton seemed to draw attention upon labeling herself a “progressive who likes to get things done,” stating that she has proven her ability to find common ground amongst her opposition while standing firm in her convictions. Her weakest moments came when she refused to take a stance on the legalization of marijuana while also defending her lack of vocal condemnation of the Keystone XL pipeline, in contrast with Sanders and O’Malley who were amongst the first in Congress to oppose the measure.
Although Sanders biggest appeal to the audience came during his defense of his “democratic socialist” policies, his biggest flops were on foreign policy, calling “Syria a quagmire within a quagmire”, and stating that he believed “Putin will regret it” in reference to his recent aggressions in both Ukraine in the Middle East. Both statements were met with skepticism from moderator Anderson Cooper, who argued that the aggression seen by the Russian President had no signs of slowing down.
The gaff of the night, however, came from the platform of Lincoln Chafee, who openly admitted to casting his first vote in the Senate without having any idea what it was he was supporting. The Governor from Rhode Island then backtracked when challenged by Anderson Cooper, saying he felt the moderator was “being too harsh” in his criticism of the admission.
Although the stances of each of the five candidates often clashed over the course of the evening, the consensus of the Tuesday night debate was of a polite exchange of dialogue and without much incident. The next democratic debate will take place at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa on November 14th.

Featured Image: Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign event in 2014. Courtesy | Wikimedia Commons

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