Democratic debate revealed Sanders as winner, Clinton as loser

Anthony Wolf

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This article is part of a face-off: to read the other viewpoint in which Jacob Sanchez argues that Hillary Clinton won the debate, click here.

In the long overdue debate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee all took to the stage in a tempered two hour debate hosted by CNN. They covered some of the glaring flaws in each candidate, and then moved on to issues such as gun policy, foreign affairs, climate change and immigration in a debate that gave a snapshot of the candidates and their differences on national television.

From start to finish, I found it difficult to decide whether Clinton or Sanders won the debate. Clinton made good jabs at Sanders for his more moderate position on gun control, and when the email scandal came up, Sanders came to back Clinton saying that “the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!” On the other hand from watching Sanders since March, I can say with confidence that anyone who watches the debate from beginning to end will see everything Sanders is about which breaks through the socialist stereotype that is being placed upon him.

While the case can be made for either candidate, I think Sanders wins due to his low name recognition prior to the debate. In the Washington Post’s chart that records web searches throughout the debate, Sander’s numbers peaked three times during the debate, while Clinton did not receive a spike in web searches at all in the debate. This means that not only is he getting his message out there but that people are listening and people are getting interested in his message.

But aside from Sanders and Clinton, the other candidates were lackluster. O’Malley had no news clip worthy moment, but he is the best of the worst in the debate. He presented himself as someone who people can back due to his comprehensive plan to be 100 percent energy sustainable by 2050. That distinguishes him from other candidates, but he now wants to look for more opportunities to garner attention and stand out.

Webb on the other hand looks like a moderate Republican on stage, especially in his answer to the question, “Which enemy are you most proud of?” to which he recalled an enemy he killed in Vietnam. It was a very atypical answer, and in addition to his support of an “anything goes” energy policy and reluctance to take on racial issues, he made me wonder if he was more fitting in the Reagan era or in the current Republican primary. There does not appear to be a winning strategy for Webb with these issues and I expect him to drop out soon.

Chafee somehow managed to make himself look even less viable than he already was when he said that his decisions from the Glass-Stegal Act were based on who was the majority and his alleged inexperience despite having served as a mayor before. He dashed his own hopes, and I expect Chafee to drop out even sooner than Webb.

The biggest loser, however, never showed up on the stage at all. Many people believe that Vice President Joe Biden has the potential to run for office.

If Biden decides to join now, he’ll be at a great disadvantage and this is the last call for him.