Where Last Night's Democratic Debate Leaves Us

Where Last Night's Democratic Debate Leaves Us

Democratic presidential candidates Jim Webb, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley and Lincoln Chafee (left to right) take the stage for a presidential debate sponsored by CNN and Facebook in Las Vegas, Nevada. The five candidates are participating in the party's first presidential debate.

Why you should care

Because what happened in Vegas need not stay in Vegas. 

There were moments of loutishness (did we see a snarl?) and moments of gallantry (as when Bernie Sanders told everyone to stop with Hillary Clinton’s emails, already) and, when you added them up, a surprise: The congeniality overshadowed the snark. Whether you’re feelin’ the Bern or are certain that Hillary ran circles around the (mostly) white-hairs who flanked her (most analysts did), the first debate among Democratic presidential hopefuls had at least one virtue: You might finally know who Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb are.

Security — On and Off the Stage

Say what you will about who looked confident last night and who didn’t, but there’s little disputing this: When it comes to military service, Webb, a Vietnam vet and former secretary of the Navy, vastly outranks Sanders, who applied as a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War. (Sanders said he’s no pacifist.) But Clinton, a former secretary of state, sounded strong — the only woman in the midst of men and the only contender who was in the room when President Obama ordered the killing of Osama bin Laden. Asked about the 2012 killings of State Department officials in Benghazi, Clinton answered that risk is part of the diplomatic game. OZY reporter Nathan Siegel made a similar argument this year, writing that we need to stop guarding our diplomats (so much). Read it here.

But Would Hillary Really Be the First Woman Prez?

Hey, it’s been only 95 years since American women got the right to vote — and whether or not they’re women, many people are pretty stoked about the prospect of the first female president. But would Hillary really be the first woman president of the United States? Three decades before Clinton was born, Woodrow Wilson’s second wife, Edith, basically ran the Oval Office for 17 months after her husband suffered a massive stroke. Critics termed it a “petticoat presidency,” but the country carried on. Read more here.

Socialism: Woo or Eww?

Moderator Anderson Cooper got right into it with Sanders: How does the self-proclaimed socialist expect to win in a country that’s allergic to socialism? “We’re gonna win because we’re gonna explain what democratic socialism is!” Sanders exclaimed. But what is it really, Bernie? As we wrote earlier this summer, socialism could be an albatross. But for an electorate facing its once-every-four-years disillusion with the two-party status quo and with more Americans worried that the economic game is rigged against them, could it be that Sanders 2016 can do for socialism what Ron Paul did for libertarianism — that is, make it a viable part of the political debate? Read the story here.

But Aren’t Bernie’s Denmark Dreams Sorta Outdated?

If you read Laura Secorun Palet in OZY earlier this month, you may wonder. Though it’s long been a beacon for lefties around the globe, Denmark is losing its egalitarian luster. Poverty rates have doubled over the past decade, and inequality is on the rise. Since 2013, the wealthiest Danes have become 30 percent richer and the poorest, 10 percent poorer, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Perhaps more remarkable? The Danish people, whose country tends to score top rankings on quality of life, are copacetic about it. In fact, with gross domestic product growth stagnant, or worse, in recent years, there’s a growing acceptance among Danes of inequality as a necessary evil. Read more here.

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