With the Republican presidential debates widely desensitizing the general public to extreme discord amongst candidates, the latest Democratic debate seemed quite benign, even with the inclusion of an escalating intensity in the verbal sparring between Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Both questioned one another’s consistency, principles, and future policy plans, but this is more of a change for Mrs. Clinton, as Mr. Sanders has needed to defend his less centrist position since day one of his campaign while Mrs. Clinton has been the long expected nominee and a clear representative of the establishment.
Her confrontational attitude over Mr. Sanders’s past voting on gun control and his single payer healthcare model is indicative of the high value placed on the early primaries, where they are polling close enough (46.8 to 42.8 according to the average of a number of polls conducted from1/2 to 1/12 in Iowa) to give Clinton supporters something to worry about. The momentum brought with a win in even one of these primaries could increase awareness of Mr. Sanders, something Mrs. Clinton would be especially sensitive to after the 2008 ascendancy of now president Barack Obama following his win in Iowa.
Speaking of which, she actually aligned herself with the president, who is polling favorably with Democrats, pretty much solidifying her role as a symbol of the Democratic establishment. Whether or not this secures her nomination is a different story.
Now for the questions. What effect do you think this specific debate will have on the outcome of the initial primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire? How do you feel about the ordering of the primary system in general? Does it for a higher level of competition, or does it localize it too much? As for policy, do you think Mrs. Clinton’s decision to cement herself with the establishment a beneficial move, or does it let Mr. Sanders appeal further to those disenchanted with the current government? Any thoughts on the debate content are also welcome.