Many American’s take pride in lighting up their fashion runways for politicians instead of models, with the third democratic presidential debate of the season set to take place we are guaranteed a spectacle. this election cycle I’ve remained silent, perhaps to a fault. I was so fervently invested in the last election I think I was sapped of any electoral interest for years to come. Further draining is many of the parallels that can be seen in this election cycle to the last, from the candidates running right down to the election coverage.
Media reporting on the topic was doomed to repeat its mistakes from the start. News coverage is so religiously appointed to Trump that he’s staked out a spot in every American’s mind. So dedicated are the media that Trump spends almost no resources in promoting his own campaign because the coverage – whether good or bad – ensures him the spotlight. This of course detracts away from other legitimate candidates, making them fight for airtime like it’s their last dying breath to break the surface.
Part of it undeniably is the Democrat’s fault. The field is so cluttered with candidates that one looks at the stage and questions what most of them are even doing there, and surely some of them question that too. Whether it’s to translate their momentum into a bid for congress, or merely to shift the discussion to the left, most candidates do not have a serious chance at the presidency.
Biden has the clear majority over the other frontrunners but is an overall weak candidate. He lacks energy and gives the American people the same centrist talking points that disillusioned so much of the democratic base during the Obama years. He’s been steadily losing ground since his announcement, causing the media to frame the discussion in terms of Biden vs. Warren. It’s true that Warren gained more momentum than I initially expected of her, but I’m still suspicious of her viability. She seems dedicated to her neoliberal base, describing herself as “Capitalist to the bone” to a New England Council. With all liberals we should question their commitment to real change and with Warren I’d rather not find out where her values lie.
Sanders has lost an unexpected amount of ground to Warren as more of the media attention shifts towards her. My theory is that the media prefers to focus on Warren precisely because she is the more centrist of the candidates. Recent polls have shown that Sanders and Warren fight for second place behind the frontrunning Biden, although I’ll reserve judgement until we see the first election results come out of Iowa and New Hampshire due to my skepticism of how accurate campaign polling data is.
The substance of the actual debate, the third of the democratic series, was to be expected given the previous debates. Biden did try to give a more ardent stance on his supposed beliefs, but that mostly amounted to shouting about how his opponents didn’t explain their funding programs. He didn’t have as many noticeable blunders, such as in the previous debate when his stance on school busing was brought up, but it seemed he was merely a road sign this time around.
Something that did not surprise was the candidates insistence on invoking Obama’s name as a rhetorical device. Specifically on the topic of Medicare the candidates praised Obama is if he were a progenitor for all healthcare. Many of the candidates prefer a mix of single payer and private insurance where the consumer chooses which is most beneficial. It is interesting that many of the candidates that endorse that system also praise President Obama, because his function within healthcare was to restructure how insurance companies could claim their prices; so while they claim to advocate choice in the market instead they advocate for the healthcare system that seems “progressive” but still allows the insurance companies nominal control in the market place.
Bernie did appear tired in this debate, still getting his share of applause and the endorsement from the network interviewees. Perhaps the raspiness of his voice only now set in with me but he still persisted with his usual message. It was nothing I did not expect from Bernie, and I still believe he put on a better show than Warren.
There were no standout moments from the debate, it seemed we learned little new about the candidates. Indeed the moderators focused on the same topics that dominated the previous debates and gave the candidates little more time adequate for sloganeering responses. One has to wonder what the function of these debates actually are, who is the rational audience that weighs what the speakers are saying and how do they weigh the generalizations given? Perhaps the function merely is for quote headlines that can be reproduced in media.
It seems apparent that the debates have little opinion on the outcome of polling, as unsound as their methods may be. The true game lies in fundraising and the persistence of relevance the candidates can maintain in the sphere of our attention. One thing to keep in mind, although elector politicians overplay their own importance in tangible change, it is still early in the election cycle. There is still much to come, and more developments along our drudging and contemptuous task of this politics.