Good morning readers! Well, the Democratic primary finally got back into the news this week, though not for what anyone expected. The firestorm over the Sanders/DNC data breach set off a nasty two days of internal fighting in the Democratic Party. Fortunately, Sanders’ VAN access has been restored and hopefully everyone can start to move on.
The Democratic Debate
The third debate for the Democrats has come and gone, and little has changed because of it. All three candidates put in very solid performances, but there weren’t any real break-out moments. That’s not good for Sanders or O’Malley, both of whom need this race to shake up some. The data breach was addressed and apologized for within the first five minutes and didn’t factor much into the night.
O’Malley started to come off a little desperate early on as he jumped into several questions, but he recovered well and had a solid debate. He scored several good points on gun control as a way to differentiate himself, and had a great line slamming Donald Trump’s fear-mongering. He also got in several good personal stories that should connect with viewers who are truly undecided. And his line of “May I offer a different generation’s perspective on this?” was another good reminder of how he should be considered the actual outsider/fresh face in this campaign. O’Malley’s been great in these last two debates. His supporters probably wish he’d been the same in the first, much better-watched debate.
Sanders had one of his strongest debate lines when he contrasted himself with Clinton’s reply that everyone should like her. “CEOs of large multinationals may like Hillary but they ain’t gonna like me. And Wall Street is going to like me even less.” If one thing Sanders has consistently done, it’s keep his outsider persona alive and out front.
As for Clinton, it was another night of few mistakes and demonstrating her considerable knowledge and experience on policies foreign and domestic. The force is still with her.
And as it should always be noted – it’s a real crying shame the DNC intentionally scheduled these debates when no one would watch them. Last night’s was yet another great example of how the Democrats have serious solutions to the problems facing the country, and can actually speak in-depth on them instead of resorting to tough rhetoric or crazy personal attacks like the Republicans. Wasserman Schultz did a disservice to everyone, Clinton included, in limiting the debates and scheduling them at bad times.
Bernie Sanders Fundraising
Despite all the drama on Friday and Saturday, Bernie Sanders had one hell of a week. He received the endorsement of the Communications Workers of America and Democracy for America. And then, most amazingly, their campaign announced they’ve crossed their 2 million and have more donors than any other presidential campaign in an off-year. Barack Obama had the record at 2,209,636 through 2011, which Sanders has now surpassed.
It’s an incredible feat and evidence that the Sanders movement is still plenty strong and viable, ready to fight an extended primary campaign past the early states. It’s also a good sign for Democrats and the country in general, that there’s so many people willing to donate to a political campaign. Republicans this year are heavily relying on their Super PACs. Democrats, meanwhile, continue to grow their grassroots donor base.
Wendy Davis Tours Iowa
Former Texas State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis made a swing through Iowa this week, starting with the main speaking slot at Progress Iowa’s annual holiday party. The end-of-the-year dinner is always a fun time where you see all your good friends in Iowa’s progressive movement, and this one was no different.
Davis delivered a well-written speech after mingling with the crowd beforehand, and seemed like someone who still had a promising political career left in her despite her recent defeat.
“I had no idea that it would trigger such an overwhelming positive response,” Davis said of her famous filibuster. “Across the state and the country there was an outpouring of response for Texas women. Stories that never would have been told were suddenly national news. The voices we heard … weren’t the ones we usually heard amplified across the state of Texas … The voices who shout the loudest aren’t always the ones that speak for everyone.”
Davis then went on to criticize much of the Republican presidential field, hitting them for speaking of individual freedoms while working to take away the rights of women. She hit their candidates for stoking fears while failing to address the threats people of color face in the criminal justice system.
“[Republicans] are proving that they’re still held hostage to the power of a lobbying few, instead of the interests of the many,” Davis said. “Don’t you find it interesting that we have to show our drivers license at a pharmacy to show we’re not stockpiling decongestant, but a suspected terrorist in this country can walk into any gun show in just about any state and buy a stockpile of assault rifles, no question asked?”
The event concluded with the auctioning off of Davis’ book and a pair of pink Mizuno shoes, like the ones she wore during her filibuster. And as always, Danny Homan humorously led the auctioneer-ing (despite, you know, not being that good at it). “The press has left, right?” Homan wondered after calling legislators some choice names. Yes, but I had my recorder turned off.
I never got around to writing anything about Tuesday night’s contentious Republican debate, so in lieu of that here’s a funny SNL skit on it from last night:
Actually, on that topic, here’s an even funnier SNL sketch from that show that features the return of Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin and Amy Poehler’s Hillary Clinton:
The Week Ahead
Both Clinton and Sanders return to Iowa this week. Sanders makes a two-day trip through Western Iowa, an area he hasn’t hit up too much before. Clinton makes her long-awaited trip to Keota High School on Tuesday. A group of three students there ran a social media campaign called “Keota Hopes for Hillary” for months to attract the candidate. O’Malley visited them as well recently.
There’s also this thing at the end of the week called “Christmas,” but according to the Republican candidates it has been canceled by the Democrats. Or the liberal media. Or Starbucks. I’m not sure, all I know is I have a lot of gifts to return.
Also, in case you’re keeping track from last Sunday’s mention, still no outreach to Starting Line from the Sanders campaign. I also just read this morning on Reddit how their Iowa team got scrappy to work around the VAN shutoff by canvassing the lines at Star Wars showings. That’s really cool and would have made a great story and highlighted the creativity of their Iowa operation. Think of the great pictures you would’ve gotten out of it! If only anyone on their campaign thought to pitch it to media…
by Pat Rynard