5 Takeaways from Last Night’s Democratic Debate

The five candidates for the Democratic nomination for President debated the issues last night from Las Vegas and it was, well, an interesting show. First of all, Anderson Cooper did a phenomenal job as moderator and should be seriously commended. He was tough but fair and did his best to control the candidates and move the debate, which he did.

There was only one serious candidate up on stage and that’s Secretary Clinton. Senator Sanders touted his socialist bona fides and waved the red flag proudly, but seemed unprepared for many of the questions and resorted to populist messaging on banks and taxing the rich when all else failed. Jim Webb, Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chaffee are truly insignificant with Webb and Chaffee only embarrassing themselves to historical proportions. That said, here are five takeaways from last night’s Democratic debate.

  1. None of the candidates are serious about getting tough on ISIL.What we heard from all the prospective Democrats was that military intervention should serve as the last resort and the United States should shrink from its leading role around the world and wait until our allies are ready to join us before engaging with pure, raw evil. Here’s the problem- our allies in Europe are being overrun with the by-product of a failure to intervene in Syria and are thus less inclined to do so for budgetary and political reasons. Unless the United States is willing to act unilaterally, we may see more horrific images coming from Iraq and Syria. Yes, China is obviously a serious threat, particularly in regards to cyber security and their recent “chest-puffing” in the South China Sea. Iran has already violated the recent nuclear “deal” by testing a long-range missile and North Korea is crazy as ever. Putin is engaged in Ukraine and Syria and the Taliban is surging in Afghanistan. But what was Senator Sanders’ answer about the greatest threat to national security? Climate change. Don’t let these people have a seat in the Situation Room.
  2. Americans want more free stuff and we want to give it to them. Between free public schools to expanding Obamacare to undocumented immigrants to raising the minimum wage to $15/hour, what we heard from the five Democrats on stage last night was the same anti-business and bloated spending ideas that has led to our national debt ballooning to over $18 trillion dollars. We heard a lot of proposals that will excite people who don’t think critically enough to ask, “Where on earth is the money to pay for this going to come from?” The answer, of course, can be found in YOUR wallet. The Democrats made it clear- a vote for them is a vote for massive tax hikes and unsustainable spending initiatives that will make future generations worse off.
  3. Sanders has been successful in pushing the entire Democratic field to the left. Make no bones about it- last night we saw a Democratic Party that has moved farther to the left that at any point in its history. Discounting Jim Webb who basically doesn’t belong anywhere, last night’s Democrats were vehemently anti-free trade, anti-market and pro-government. They support a dramatically expanded role for organized labor and for historically strict environmental regulations. We saw a party that is determined to fundamentally change our financial system and believes that successful business people and job-creators need to be punished and made to pay for their reckless expansion of government. Senator Sanders has forced Hillary’s hand in abandoning her self-proclaimed “moderate” ideology in favor of embracing her “progressivism” on stage last night, in spite of clear flip-flops in her positions over the many years she’s been around.
  4. This is a two-horse race- for now.After last night, I can’t possibly see O’Malley, Webb and Chaffee continue for much longer. This is a struggle for the life-blood of the Democratic Party. Even though Sanders and his fiery rhetoric has dragged the primary to the left, Hillary must mobilize the support of moderate and establishment Democrats before a potential entry from Vice President Biden. If he joins the fray soon, as he’s expected to, it will be a bitter fight between two Obama Administration Cabinet officials for the institutional Democratic Party support and that could make it easier for Sanders to waltz through to victory.
  5. Democrats cannot be trusted with our economy and national security again. What we heard last night was a clear and boisterous embrace of the same policies that have led to an explosion of our national debt and retreat around the globe. If the American people elect a Republican President- preferably Gov. Jeb Bush- there will be a hopeful vision of 4% economic growth and policies to encourage businesses to expand- not duck for cover. We didn’t hear anything about a positive and optimistic economic plan for our country. Instead, we were made to listen to the same left-wing arguments from the same people again and again. Hillary Clinton is not the future and neither is Bernie Sanders. Joe Biden has been around since the 1980’s and Chaffee, Webb and O’Malley have been in politics for almost as long as the rest. Say what you will about the current shape of the Republican Party- at least there is a wide variety of candidates from all backgrounds and with different beliefs who are actually having quality debates and disagreements with one another. Few are the career politicians and relics from the past. We are the party of bold, dynamic ideas. What you witnessed last night is a promise to return to the past- a promise to reenact the same failed, liberal policies of the 1960’s and 70’s.

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