Analyzing The Democratic National Committee Debate, Take 2

democratic debateby Attorney Camara Williams
With the tragedy in Paris, France happening only 24 hours prior to the previously scheduled debate, you had to assume that CBS would pivot its questioning to address the hot topic on everyone's mind, 'terrorism, the rise of ISIS, and the protection of Americans.'

Now truthfully, before Friday, terrorism didn't score highly on democratic voters index of problems they

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are most concerned with, juxtaposing republicans who often name it as one of their top items of concern. So with that being said you just knew the tone of the debate would be dramatically different than what was previously planned. CBS (rightfully) spent the first 30 minute segment on ISIS and terrorism and the next 90 on economic and social questions.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: For the past 8 months Senator Sanders has been traveling across the country galvanizing support for his vision for a transformative America. It is his hope that the (young) energy of his campaigns with transpire into conscious electorate and thus a voting electorate. With that being said, Bernie STILL trails Secretary Clinton by 20-30pts (depending on the poll).

The campaign understands that for all of his "energy" garnered from his campaign. Senator Sanders is not connecting with a middle of the road Democrat (definitely not republicans) in larger economic issues. He needs a transformative debate to go along with a transformative campaign. That didn't happen last night.

He didn't perform poorly, but in my opinion he did not make the case either. What was evident from this debate is that he is trying to weaken Clinton by attacking her directly (the last debate he spent most of the time going after Republicans). With the issue of Foreign policy he reminded everyone, that had it not been the chorus of followers who voted for the war (then Senator Clinton voted for the war), ISIS would not have been created.

He also attacked Sec. Clinton ties to Wall Street bank donors and openly wondered whether or not she had the gumption to truthfully take them on despite according to him "being in their pockets". While it provide for good theatre I'm not sure if tying Secretary Clinton to Wall Street is enough to weaken her hold on the "middle" Democrat.

Once again Bernie failed to be specific in how he is going to fund his government initiatives (college tuition, healthcare, income equality), by way of tax rate and state participation. For a candidate who is trying to recruit middle of the road Dems, his debate tonight was exactly that, middle of the road.

Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton: With almost 30 plus years in the public eye, almost 15 of them in public service, Sec. Hillary Clinton exposure level is more than any other candidate in both parties (and everyone knows it). The Madame Secretary issue is not whether voters know her, it's whether they trust her and identify with her.

Due to the Tragedy happening to the Parisian people. You just knew that her time of Secretary of State was going to questioned. Secretary Clinton was openly challenged about not only her time as Secretary, but also (continually) apologizes for her vote confidence in having the war.

note: I'm not a Clinton apologist, and by no means did I EVER support the war in Iraq. However, I do understand the difficulty in being a then a Senator from New York and voting against a war that was attributed to tragedy in your city. There is an emotional connection (not to mention a political undertone) that helped guide that decision. Blind patriotism is an affliction that not only hurt Clinton, but a lot of members of Government... but I digress.

Secretary Clinton noticeably diverged from President Obama by saying that ISIS cannot be contained, but can be defeated. No doubt this was done to not only separate her foreign policy from the administration she is so tied too, but more so to give her a political maneuverability against her opponents in the RNC.

That's right, the Secretary understands her front runner status, and is slowly pivoting towards a general election. Regarding the economy, as mentioned above Secretary Clinton was attacked by Senator Sanders (and Governor O Malley) regarding her connection to Wall Street-by way of donors. Her response (and I am paraphrasing) "of course I have Wall Street donors, I was a Senator from New York that developed relationships with those same people due to 9/11, and my advocating to rebuilding that affected area"...if you winced reading that statement, you weren't alone.

She later had to address that question again (when a Twitter follower posted a question on her response). She cleaned it up, but no doubt it will be something that may come back to hurt her later on.

All in all Secretary Clinton did not truly hurt herself with her debate performance. As usual she looked calm and unflustered by the night end. Nothing lost, nothing gained.

Governor Martin O' Malley: The good news for the former Governor of Maryland is that the stage is shorter, and he doesn't have to compete with 8 individuals to answer questions. The bad news, the Cameras still a did a poor job of panning him in on wide shots, and he was still regulated to a third wheel on a second date.

Governor O' Malley spent most of the night trying to siphon some of Sen. Bernie Sanders liberal coalition by agreeing stating repeatedly "I agree with Sen. Sanders". In my opinion this is strategic ploy, more than being the Senator philosophical kinsman. He knows that trying to syphon off "middle" democrats from Clinton, he risk falling under her shadow, and thus defeating the point.

However, if he can show leftist liberals that I'm the middle road between Uncle Bernie and Auntie Clinton. He can possibly recruit enough people into his coalition that can keep him relevant and competitive. Last night he constantly reminded voters that not only is he the only democratic candidate with executive experience, but he was successful as his states leader.

He championed his states Heathcare, Education, economic strength, and safety. The problem, Baltimore is located is in Maryland, and nobody would point to that city as a bastion of economic, educational, criminal dystopia. It's for those reasons and others that O'Malley is failing to chart on the democratic Richter scale. The Governor did have the line of the night calling Trump a "Carnival barker" based on his views if immigration. His theme tonight, I'm the only one who has actually run a government.

Overall: A debate scheduled for Saturday night (in the Fall) is an odd decision. Nothing says red blooded American more than debating economic policy!!! (cue the sarcasm).
This debate lacked the economic focus of the preceding RNC debate counterpart from a couple days ago. But with good reason, not only is this only their 2nd debate, but the tragedy provided a back drop that was unavoidable, and thus needed to be addressed.

What I appreciate from the DNC debates is their acknowledgment of social issues regarding race. It's not considered a quick topic that is easily dismissive (or even for the most part ignored). It's my hope that the debates going forward will continue to address all topics regarding race and society. Considering minorities make up 50 percent of society. What is evident that between both debates, you would think we are living in two separate countries.

The democrats only having 3 candidates is both a blessing and a curse. It's blessings because I only have to evaluate three people. It's curse because I only can evaluate three people.


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Camara Williams, Esq. Founder/ Managing Partner
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