Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Debates

The Main Difference Between Warren and Sanders

In the second round of Democratic primary debates, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders were in the same room, but the two of them were surrounded by centrist Democrats who poll at almost nothing. Stephen Bullock, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Amy Klobuchar, and Tim Ryan all clock in at 1% or less. Together, they spoke for more than 50 minutes, and they used most of their time to insinuate that policies like Medicare are a socialist pipe-dream. Sanders and Warren each received about 18 minutes, combining for about 36. By including all these centrists that poll at negligible numbers in the debates, the Democratic Party drowned the progressive candidates in a cacophony of establishment hand-wringing. There was never an opportunity for Sanders and Warren to argue with each other, and now many in the media are portraying Sanders and Warren as if they were on a progressive “team”. This obfuscates the very real differences between these candidates, so let me do the job that the Democratic Party and the moderators failed to do, and illustrate those differences for you.

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Pence Gave Away Trump’s Biggest Policy Advantage and Kaine Didn’t Even Notice

The Vice Presidential debate last night between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence was a sad affair–Pence was able to “win” the debate without knowing any policy by repeatedly attacking Clinton’s record while only vaguely referencing policy issues. Rather than force Pence to defend his vague policy assertions, Kaine relied on a variety of canned talking points, many of which were personal attacks on Trump that moved the conversation away from the issues (Kaine repeatedly referenced my 5 bad anti-Trump arguments instead of my 5 good ones). This made Kaine look like he was running from policy, allowing Pence’s assertions to go unchallenged and giving Pence command of the room. Pence was able to accuse Kaine of running an insult-driven campaign, and Kaine’s response to that was to petulantly interrupt, get defensive, and resort to more insult-driven talking points, all of which reinforced Pence’s point. There were many claims Pence made that were open to attack, but I want to focus on one in particular today–Pence eliminated the major policy difference between his campaign’s and Kaine’s on Syria, and in so doing he eliminated the foreign policy case for Trump.

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How Trump Could “Win” a Debate Without Knowing Any Policy

Donald Trump is taking a hit in the polls after his first debate performance, in which he spent a lot of time defending his character and offering long-winded answers in which he pretended he knew what he was talking about when he very clearly didn’t. Many people have rightly pointed out that Trump came across as under-prepared, but they’re not putting the emphasis in the right place. While it’s true that Trump doesn’t know anything about policy, it was not his lack of preparation on policy that got him in trouble. Instead he got hurt because he was inadequately prepared to do what he is generally pretty good at–avoiding uncomfortable questions and criticisms by constantly attacking whoever is available as a target. So today I’d like to give Trump a little back-handed advice–here’s how Trump can get the media to give him a win when he clearly doesn’t know anything.

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