Last night’s CBS Democratic Presidential candidates debate was a discussion that because of the ISIS attack in Paris thing shifted quickly to foreign policy. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was head and shoulders above and beyond the other two Democratic candidates on foreign policy. Sen. Bernie Sanders (Dem. Vermont) has a solid and experienced worldview as a senator, but Hillary Clinton had a depth of knowledge and experience that the other Democratic candidates on stage couldn’t match. Clinton was also strong on gun issues and immigration.
All three Democratic candidates disagreed on the minimum wage, but Clinton was able to defend her position of supporting a $12 minimum wage. Where Clinton was weakest was on Wall Street. Of course, it would be difficult for any candidate to be as strong as Bernie Sanders on the issue of reining in Wall Street.
Overall, Clinton did what she had to do. She came into this debate as the Democratic frontrunner by a wide margin. She exits this debate as the Democratic frontrunner by a wide margin.
Sanders was very weak on foreign policy and he really did not really make any real points until the topic changed to economic issues. Sanders was strong on the minimum wage, and his discussion with Clinton about taking on Wall Street was the first time in either Democratic debate that he put the Democratic frontrunner on the defensive.
Sanders did struggle again with a question on guns, and it is obvious that his campaign is more driven by economic issues than foreign policy.
Clinton and Sanders are running two different campaigns. Clinton is running with an eye towards the fall of 2016. Sanders is trying to set the agenda. It was clear during the debate that Sanders is having a major impact on the Democratic agenda. The race for the Democratic nomination is not a zero sum game.
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley tried all night during the debate to catch up. O’Malley’s biggest problem that he remains the third wheel in a two person race and despite brining up some good points throughout the debate, he does not seem to making much progress. O’Malley can’t carve out enough unique territory of his own to capture a segment of the Democratic electorate. On several issues, O’Malley agreed with Sanders while on others he and Clinton are on the same page.
In the end the Republican Presidential Debate held on Fox Business Network earlier this was short on substance in large part because of eight candidates fighting for time. Meanwhile, the Democrats had another interesting, policy-oriented civil debate. The Democratic candidates did disagree on issues, but the difference between Democrats and Republicans is that the Democratic candidates disagree on the policies but in the end their focus remains civil and on point.