Bread and circuses ….
Democracy is a ringside seat to the power struggle between factions fighting for control over public capital and the mechanisms for carrying out law and order. Last night’s gladiator match between the candidates for the Democratic nomination did not shed any light on what should be the two most important questions for anyone following politics: “How can I create political power?” “How can I leverage political power?”
If you are intrigued by the football aspect of the debates, it is fair to say that each candidate came out either very bloodied or ignored. Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, and Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, made it their point to cast all billionaires in America, including their billionaire opponent on stage, Michael Bloomberg, as the scourges of democracy who are willing to buy the entire election.
Senator Warren also attacked former South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg for his acceptance of money from forty plus billionaires while the once emerging but seemingly stalling on the debate stage Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, attacked Mr Buttigieg on his lack of experience.
The “You Go Girl” alliance apparently took a hit as Senator Warren attacked the brevity of Senator Klobuchar’s healthcare plan, which amounts, according to Senator Warren, to two paragraphs. While Senator Klobuchar handled the jab with a little grace and a steel jaw, it was becoming clear that Senator Warren wanted to push the Minnesota senator further down the steps while pulling on Mayor Buttigieg’s feet in order to trip him up and clear a path to a possible third place finish in the Nevada caucuses this coming Saturday.
Kudos to Senator Klobuchar for not offering any handshakes after the debate, an indicator of how nasty the campaign has become. To paraphrase that infamous line from the movie “Tombstone”, one’s hypocrisy can go only so far…
A lack of focus flowing from impeachment …
For three years, the Democrats have focused their political capital on impeaching President Donald Trump. Almost every candidate has opened their campaign spiel with pleas for impeaching the President, making it clear the number one mission of the party and the campaign was, to use Senator Sanders’ words, “To defeat the most dangerous president in America’s history.”
But with impeachment in the rear window and the President’s job approval rating actually getting a bump upwards post impeachment, the Democrats now have only themselves to feed on at least between now and their convention this July in Chicago. Last night was just a taste. As one commentator put it on Twitter last night, “This is the Red Wedding of the debates.” I believe there is more feasting to come.