Who won? Who lost? Here are the winners and losers of the CBS Democratic debate.
Winners and Losers:
1). Hillary Clinton – The CBS debate was an odd debate. Due to the terrorist attacks in Paris, over 30 minutes of the debate was dedicated to ISIS and dealing with terrorism. Clinton was head and shoulders above and beyond the other two Democratic candidates on foreign policy. Bernie Sanders has a solid and experienced worldview as a senator, but Hillary Clinton had a depth of knowledge and experience that the other Democratic candidates on stage couldn’t match. Clinton was also strong on gun issues and immigration.
All three Democratic candidates disagreed on the minimum wage, but Clinton was able to defend her position of supporting a $12 minimum wage. Where Clinton was weakest was on Wall Street. Of course, it would be difficult for any candidate to be as strong as Bernie Sanders on the issue of reining in Wall Street.
Overall, Hillary Clinton did what she had to do. She came into this debate as the Democratic frontrunner by a wide margin. She exits this debate as the Democratic frontrunner by a wide margin.
2). Bernie Sanders – Bernie Sanders hit his stride when the debate moved from foreign policy to economic issues. Sanders was strong on the minimum wage, and his discussion with Clinton about taking on Wall Street was the first time in either Democratic debate that he put the Democratic frontrunner on the defensive.
Sanders did struggle again with a question on guns, and it is obvious that his campaign is more driven by economic issues than foreign policy.
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are running two different campaigns. Clinton is running with an eye towards the fall of 2016. Bernie Sanders is trying to set the agenda. It was clear during the debate that Sanders is having a major impact on the Democratic agenda. The race for the Democratic nomination is not a zero sum game. Sanders is making a difference in this primary, and for that reason he is a winner.
3).Democratic Voters – Unlike the snoozefest that the Republicans held on Fox News, Democrats had another interesting, policy-oriented civil debate. The Democratic candidates did disagree on issues, but the difference between Democrats and Republicans is that the Democratic candidates disagree on the degree of the policy, but on the basic policies they are in agreement.
Whether Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, Democratic voters are the real winners because they have two quality candidates.
1). Martin O’Malley – When a candidate is at less than 5% in the polls as Martin O’Malley is, they need a dramatic night to catch up. Martin O’Malley’s biggest problem that he remains the third wheel in a two person race. O’Malley can’t carve out enough unique territory of his own to capture a segment of the Democratic electorate. On several issues, O’Malley agreed with Bernie Sanders.
Martin O’Malley is running out of time and money. Unless something dramatic happens, his campaign will end sometime early in 2016.