Jordan King Lacroix hears the social media feedback that Clinton didn’t “win” the first Democratic debate, but he is sure she definitely didn’t lose.
As most of you are by now aware, the Democratic debate took place not a few weeks after their Republican counterparts went through the motions of doing the same. In the time leading up the debate, political commentators and media outlets swore up and down that Bernie Sanders was going to mop the floor with fellow candidate and potential presidential dynasty Hillary Clinton. When this didn’t happen, the media declared her the winner.
This is pretty misrepresentative of what happened.
In a variety of post-debate polls, and by a variety of margins, Sanders was considered by the public popular vote to have been the winner in the debate. So, what happened? What’s the disconnect here?
I think it’s twofold.
The first part is that Sanders has a rabid fan base. He’s known for his engaging, topical and emotional speeches, for his desire for sweeping reforms, desires which are being echoes by an increasingly disenfranchised public. This kind of popularity and loudness would make Sanders an easy pick to win, if by nothing more than applause in the debate room. The momentum behind the #FeelTheBern movement has been immense and undeniable.
This is, of course, compared to the relatively quiet Clinton camp. The majority of the noise coming from that direction has been this Email Scandal. Other than that, I have no idea what Clinton really stands for, what she wants, what she’s all about. She’s likable, there’s no doubt about that. Her appearance on SNL secured that, taking a cue from the current sitting president.
The second part to this is, I think, what’s most important here. Up until Sanders, no one was considered to be a threat to Clinton. Everybody thought she had the Democratic nomination in the bag. This, unfortunately, is reflected in her public persona of “I deserve this”. That is, until Sanders stepped up. He stepped up, and he stepped up hard. People took notice of this new, engaging, energetic candidate and thought, “Well, Hillary’s got a run for her money now”. And when they saw how quickly he was gaining popularity—because he spoke to people’s anger and frustration—people expected Clinton to be swept off the floor by Sanders’ trademark energy. And she wasn’t. She held her own. Because of this, she was declared the winner.
And I think this is doing her and the debate an injustice.
They shouldn’t think that just because she held her own that she’s the winner. That is her job. No one should have thought for a moment that she was incapable—she isn’t. She’s very capable and wildly smart. And she would be an excellent president.
But, in this debate, she simply was not the winner. She didn’t lose, not by a long shot. That honour goes to the three other already forgotten schlubs who bothered to put their name in the ring when they were up against the woman everybody thought was going to win, and the only guy who looked like he might beat her.
She kept up with Sanders because she’s good. Sanders was just better. Now, hopefully, we’ll see some real campaigning, some real passion, come from the Clinton camp. The race can only get better from here.