Well, that was unpleasant.
The Democratic presidential candidates’ debate on NBC Wednesday night was the circular firing squad we’ve been expecting. The entrance of Michael Bloomberg to the shootout turbocharged the animosity, inflicting casualties across the spectrum of party hopefuls.
The former New York City mayor took the brunt of his fellow contenders’ attacks but also gave as good as he got, parrying claims he’s trying to buy the presidency with reminders that he commits much of his fortune to philanthropy and the Democratic Party.
The only clarity to come out of the competition for the loudest voice in the room was that what is needed most for a Democratic victory in November – unity – is nowhere in sight.
Bernie Sanders’ socialist revolution fires up the young who love his message of free everything for life and don’t understand that he can’t deliver it, even if Democrats win the presidency and both houses of Congress. And most polls and pundits name him as the least likely contender to beat Donald Trump.
Moderates with an eye on what is achievable hold a huge advantage over Sanders, with well over 50% if you add together the support for Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Joe Biden and now Bloomberg. It was disheartening to hear Amy and Pete trying to discredit each other’s centrist and sensible policies. Biden was fired up but as inarticulate as usual. Elizabeth Warren took the low road, attacking competitors with exaggerated accusations to the detriment of others on stage, and herself.
It’s said that people get the government they deserve. No one deserves another four years of Trump but as things are going, we may get the punishment we deserve.
At 82, I can’t claim to be an expert on what “the young” love or believe about Bernie Sanders, but I’m pretty sure that they don’t think he’s promising to turn America into a Big Rock-Candy Mountain. The long-term prospects young people face are so dire and pressing that I think all they’re hoping for is a modest degree of sanity, integrity, and experience.