The Nevada Democratic debate was troubling for an important reason that says a lot about us as a political nation: We have created a field of candidates whose most important asset is their capacity for shouting! Of What Value is that? I don’t know, but I do know that it makes it exceedingly hard to find the real assets they might present when the contest is just about which one can get attention by waving their arms and shouting at competitors.
As a political party, we Democrats should rethink the value of these debates and maybe pack them up in a box and hide them in democracy’s garage. All it is is television, with its loud colors and flashy stages and jut jawed questioners and what not. I don’t really need to hear a lot about which Democrat knows the name of the President of Mexico, and I particularly don’t need a lot of attitude from a panelist asking that question. Waste of time, I would suggest. I also have the feeling that people among the questioners are trying to make their career with one appearance. I had my shot at that a long time ago and I realized two important things: 1. I’m no looker, that was an important one, and, 2. Never eat a hot dog with onions before going on TV. Burping doesn’t sell anything!
But that’s how television works, I would suggest, and always has. This is Trumps stage we are playing on, like it or not. We have to change this game so he has to play on our stage, which should not be a TV stage. Remember his behavior during the debates with Hillary, how he loomed by walking behind her? That’s a TV stunt for sure, and one that means nothing, except that it makes your opponent look small and weak. That is television’s great strength, its ability to create an impression from some snippets. We need to create some snippets that make it clear that the president is an idiot. That shouldn’t be hard since he is casting ammo all over the place all the time.
We can’t change the way television works now but we should become a lot more intelligent about it. The person who might have won last night might just have said, “I didn’t come here to shout,” and then just waved and walked off stage. He or she could have followed up with a news conference denouncing the ridiculous setting and how it is handled by the TV folks. That is probably way too bold an expectation for these days, but I want to have it anyhow. I am eager to commit to one of these Democrats. But all they will get from me is a vote.
And that’s another thing! Who gave anyone permission to blanket their emails with requests for little bits of money? I know we now have a financial behemoth in the game with Bloomberg’s arrival, but it’s not my job to make up the difference by sending endless contributions of small amounts to one of the other Democrats. It’s not going to change anything and it makes the whole contest just about money, which it should not be!
I want to see passion and intelligence. I want someone with Elizabeth Warren’s smarts and Joe Biden’s experience. I want…I don’t know, but I haven’t found it yet.