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Galindez writes: "If you came away from last night's debate not sure what the differences were between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, then there is no hope for you. If you want real change in the system, then Bernie Sanders is your man."

The Democratic debate in New Hampshire. (photo: AP)
The Democratic debate in New Hampshire. (photo: AP)

That Was the Best Debate Yet

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

05 February 16


f you came away from last night’s debate not sure what the differences were between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, then there is no hope for you. If you want real change in the system, then Bernie Sanders is your man. If you want to try to improve things within the current system, then Hillary Clinton is the candidate for you.

I have always said that any candidate the Democrats had running is better than any Republican, and I will vote for Hillary if she is the nominee. I have regularly commented that the whole pledge to write in Bernie if he is not the nominee is a counterproductive effort that Bernie will not support. However, one thing we have to face is that Bernie Sanders has brought people back into the Democratic Party process who would either be voting Green or another alternative party … or not voting at all. You cannot expect those people to vote for Hillary in November if they wouldn’t have voted Democrat before Bernie energized them. I do think they should vote for the Democratic nominee while the alternative parties build themselves up in local elections.

I think Hillary Clinton had strong moments in this debate, and as Bernie said, she would be a million times better than any of the candidates in the GOP clown car. I agree with her on gun control, and I think she scored points in the “progressive” debate – even though I agree with Bernie, you can’t vote for the Iraq War and be progressive. While the poli-sci major in me thinks her performance was good, the activist in me saw just that, a performance.

She lost the debate in my opinion on a few issues. I find her attack on Bernie Sanders’ health care plan disingenuous. She knows that Bernie Sanders wouldn’t rip up Obamacare without first passing a bill that brings us closer to Universal Health Care. I also wonder why she keeps saying she doesn’t want another national debate on health care. Should we not debate a way to lower prescription drug costs? Should we not debate a way to lower premiums, deductibles and co-pays? Does she think her proposals will not generate a national debate? As I have said before, I believe we should start the healthcare debate asking for what we really want, and if we don’t get it, then we should start negotiating. That is what Bernie did with veteran’s healthcare.

I also thought Bernie was right on the death penalty. Too many innocent people die as the result of our unjust criminal justice system, and I too believe you don’t address violence with more violence.

I was really happy to hear Bernie Sanders say if he became the nominee he would change the Democratic Party. There is a lot of room for reform within the party I don’t see any changes occurring under a Hillary Clinton-led party.

I think Bernie scored big on trade. NAFTA was a disaster, as have been many other trade agreements that Secretary Clinton supported. Secretary Clinton is still qualifying her opposition to the TPP, saying she "doesn’t think” it meets her standards. I’m willing to bet she will find some reason that it does if she wins the nomination.

I am not bashing Hillary Clinton, I am just pointing out the differences between Hillary and Bernie. You might be a free trade supporter. I am a fair trade supporter like Bernie. I oppose the death penalty on moral grounds. I think the Democratic Party has become too dependent on corporate cash, and while unions are still involved in the party, their voice has been weakened by the influence of corporate cash. Hillary said she doesn’t believe college education should be free. So does that mean K-12 shouldn’t be free? Why draw the line and say that higher education should come at a cost? There will still be private universities just like there are private schools for K-12.

While Bernie’s usual passion was there, I thought he did better at staying composed. Secretary Clinton, even with her prepared lines, seemed rattled a couple of times.

They made their differences clear, and voters will choose whether they want to rock the boat with Bernie or stay the course with Hillary.

Notes on Iowa

I don’t think we will ever know who really won. The major flaw in the system is that there is no paper trail. I like the open process and I like the battle for supporters of candidates who are not viable. When caucus-goers sign in, they check the box of their preferred candidate. I propose that if you switch your preference during the caucus you have to go back to the sign-in sheet and change your preference. That way there is an accurate paper trail.

Plenty of other things went wrong. Some precincts had higher turnout than the room would hold. In those cases, some precinct leaders held things together and devised a process for getting an accurate count. Others were overwhelmed and fighting broke out. Some lost voters and it affected the delegate allocation process. Some precincts had the IDP-designated precinct chair not show up. That created a situation where the people who stepped up ran the caucus did not have access to the app being used to report the results. I have other concerns: If the designated precinct chair did not show up, did the voter rolls? How do we know if people who caucused were registered to vote? Also, the results were reported by reps of all the campaigns on the app. Those who didn’t have the app might not have had the opportunity to have all three campaigns witness the reporting of the results.

With the vote being 49.8 to 49.6 percent, I think they should throw the delegate distribution plan out the window, declare it a tie, and give both candidates 22 delegates. There was too high a chance that they got it wrong, so just call it a tie and move on.

Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador's slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush's first stolen election. Scott will be spending a year covering the presidential election from Iowa.

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