Well, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton finally met on the debate stage Monday night, and most people who watched declared Hillary the winner. When viewed from the perspective of a Bernie Sanders supporter (because, really, many of us never stopped supporting him), it was a bitter reminder that our candidate should have been on that debate stage, not Clinton.
Toward the end of the debate and for hours after, pundits declared Clinton the winner, although most agree that Trump got off to a strong start in the first 30 minutes. He even hit Hillary about the missing 33,000 emails, something Bernie would not do. But over the course of those roughly 90 minutes, Trump fizzled, sniffled, and became less coherent, leaving Hillary smiling serenely as she chuckled and wittily answered softball questions. It was a stark difference in the primary debates between Clinton and Sanders, which were contentious and heated.
Howard Dean sent out a tweet wondering if Trump was on cocaine during the debate, because apparently, a man sniffling is proof he’s on drugs. Trump’s answers did become more and more incoherent and mixed up as the night went on. He contradicted himself often, and at one point, he even suggested that his 10-year-old son might be a hacker.
The first question debate moderator Lester Holt asked was why each candidate believes they are the best choice “to create the kinds of jobs that will put more money into the pockets of American workers?”
Clinton started out by saying that it was her granddaughter’s second birthday, so she thinks about the future a lot. She rattled off the usual political platitudes about investing in infrastructure, clean energy, manufacturing, and access to child care. She talked about her late father, who was a middle-class business owner who worked hard to support his family. The Washington Post released a transcript of the debate, quite unlike Hillary and her Goldman Sachs speeches.
When it was Trump’s turn, he got off to a good start by mentioning Carrier’s decision to move production to Mexico from Indianapolis, Indiana. Funny you should mention that, Donald, because Bernie already did — five months ago. While campaigning through Indiana, Bernie Sanders publicly denounced the company’s decision to move its manufacturing across the border, which was reported by the Inquisitr.
Sanders stood before a crowd of hundreds of protestors at the state capitol in Indianapolis and condemned the move as nothing short of a greedy money-grab for its top executives. Bernie even took a swing at Donald Trump.
“If we stand together, if we do not allow the Trumps and the others to try to divide us up… not only can we stop United Technologies from throwing thousands of Indianans out on the street, we can transform this country.”
Back at the debate, Trump mentioned the old Reaganomics trope, trickle-down economics, in his answer about job creation, which Clinton rightfully criticized.
“Under my plan I will be reducing taxes tremendously from 35 percent to 15 percent for companies, small and big businesses.”
NPR’s fact checker, White House correspondent Scott Horsley, notes that these tax cuts would cost the United States at least $2.6 trillion in revenues over the next 10 years, and that’s accounting for any losses offset by economic growth. So, Trump’s plan would not help the federal deficit, but instead, increase it.
Horsley adds that the biggest beneficiaries of Trump’s tax cuts would be the wealthy, primarily the top 1 percent.
And that is exactly what Bernie Sanders railed against in the primary race: tax cuts for the wealthy. It was an argument that still resonates with Americans, even two months after Bernie lost the nomination at the Democratic convention. Although Clinton’s responses were cool, witty, and polished, Bernie Sanders supporters bitterly remember how ignored and vilified he was in the press, by Clinton, and by the DNC. But Monday night, Hillary Clinton stood before millions of viewers and tried to be a woman of the people by invoking her late middle-class business-owner father.
Even in the general election, the ghost of Bernie Sanders’s campaign lingers, and it is a sharp reminder that neither Clinton nor Trump really deserved to be on that debate stage.
[Featured Image by Rick T. Wilking/AP Images]