Democratic Debate Wrap-Up

[Content Note: Misogyny.]

So, I had totally forgotten that there was another Democratic debate last night, until my phone lit up. And here is why:

Bernie Sanders: Secretary Clinton does represent the establishment. I represent, I hope, ordinary Americans—and by the way who are not all that enamoured with the establishment. But I am very proud to have people like Keith Ellison and Raúl Grijalva in the House, the co-chairmen of the House Progressive Caucus.

Hillary Clinton: Well, look, I've gotta just jump in here, because, honestly, Senator Sanders is the only person who I think would characterize me—a woman running to be the first woman president—as exemplifying the establishment. [cheers and applause] And I've gotta tell you that it is—it is really quite amusing to me.

Naturally, there is already an enormous amount of pushback insisting that Hillary Clinton does indeed exemplify the establishment, for this reason or that reason, but it really comes down to something as simple as this: A boys' club changes when they (are forced to) let a woman in. All you have to do is listen to the bitter complaints of the men who moan about having to share space with a woman to know this is true.

And I'll say again: One might reasonably ask if I imagine that Hillary Clinton, with all her privilege, is really some sort of definitive challenge to the establishment. No. That is not what I imagine. What I imagine is that her being a woman matters. Because paths littered with obstacles are always easier to traverse if someone has tread them before. What I imagine is a future in which there are so many women with influence, multiple female presidents with ideas more radical than Hillary Clinton can even conjure, that to suggest a woman is representative of the establishment might be more than a mirthless punchline regarded as fact by people who think gender is irrelevant.

It's not a coincidence that after Clinton's credible '08 run and President Obama's two terms the Republican clown car now includes two Latino candidates, a black candidate, and a woman. And, sure, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina have garbage ideas just like the rest of the white men in their field, but the point is that people other than white men now have the opportunity to espouse their garbage ideas on the same highly visible platform.

I want Cruz, Rubio, Carson, and Fiorina kept out of the Oval Office because their policies are hot dumpster juice, but I don't want them kept out of the contest because of their identities.

Anyway. The exchange at the debate continued thus:
Clinton: People support me because they know me. They know my life's work. They have worked with me and many have also worked with Senator Sanders. And at the end of the day they endorse me because they know I can get things done. [applause] I am not going to make promises I can't keep. I am not going to talk about big ideas like single-payer and then not level with people about how much it will cost. A respected health economist said that these plans would cost a trillion dollars more a year. I'm not going to tell people that I will raise your incomes and not your taxes, and not mean it, because I don't want to see the kind of struggle that the middle class is going through exemplified by these promises that would raise taxes and make it much more difficult for many, many Americans to get ahead and stay ahead. That is not my agenda. [applause]

Moderator Rachel Maddow: Senator Sanders, you'll have 30 seconds to respond to that.

Sanders: What being part of the establishment is, is, in the last quarter, having a super PAC that raised $15 million from Wall Street, that throughout one's life raised a whole lot of money from the drug companies and other special interests. To my mind, if we do not get a handle on money in politics and the degree to which big money controls the political process in this country, nobody is going to bring about the changes that is needed in this country for the middle class and working families.

Clinton: Yeah, but I—I think it's fair to really ask what's behind that comment. You know, Senator Sanders has said he wants to run a positive campaign. I've tried to keep my disagreements over issues, as it should be. But time and time again, by innuendo, by insinuation, there is this attack that he is putting forth, which really comes down to—you know, anybody who ever took donations or speaking fees from any interest group has to be bought. And I just absolutely reject that, Senator. And I really don't think these kinds of attacks by insinuation are worthy of you. And enough is enough. If you've got something to say, say it directly. But you will not find that I ever changed a view or a vote because of any donation that I ever received. [applause]

Sanders: What—

Clinton: And I have stood up and I have represented my constituents to the best of my abilities, and I'm very proud of that.

Sanders: You know—

Clinton: So I think it's time to end the very artful smear that you and your campaign have been carrying out [applause] in recent weeks, and let's talk— [crosstalk; booing] Let's talk about about the issues. Let's talk about the issues that divide us.
I am very happy to see her push back on this. And, to be abundantly, clear: I don't think that Clinton's views on corporate relationships are off-limits. To be frank, I would like to see her answer some direct questions about her views on the role private corporations should play in the government, as it is a central tenet of the Clinton Foundation to devise solutions through partnerships between business and government. Is that a position that would come with her to the White House? Or does she see that as a one-directional approach appropriate to pursue only from the private sector? What are her feelings on the increasing for-profit privatization of services formerly provided by the federal government?

This stuff is important to me, and I would like to hear her views on it. But we don't get into details when, instead of forthright questions, we're relying on "innuendo and insinuation" to suggest a nefarious agenda.

So, I second her request: If you've got something to say, say it directly.

Otherwise, enough is indeed enough.

MSNBC has provided a complete transcript of the debate. There was a lot of good stuff about foreign policy, which I've not even begun to address. All topics from the debate are on-topic for this thread.

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