Finally, Democrats are poised to take center stage in their quest to hold onto the oval office for another four year term. By law, President Obama is prohibited from seeking a third term. On Tuesday, the Democrats will host their first of four debates in the 2016 presidential campaign season. It will take place in Las Vegas, Nevada. CNN will provide a two hour coverage of this debate. It will be moderated by Anderson Cooper, who will be assisted by Dana Bash, Juan Carlos Lopez and Don Lemon.
So far this campaign season, the Democrats have taken a back seat to the high jinks of the Republican Party’s field of seventeen candidates. The Republicans have hosted two debates and two preliminary debates to accommodate its huge slate of candidates. Republican thought and spin have been all over the air waves, unabated by Democratic policy statements.
The American public has witnessed Republican contenders engage in a blistering, unfiltered back biting, insult hurling and name calling escapade, reminiscent of an average social media newsfeed. Almost to a man and lady, they have sought to see who can appeal to the worst attributes of humankind.
For instance, GOP front runner Donald Trump pontificated during one debate that vaccinations were a contributing cause of Autism. There is absolutely no science that remotely backs up his contention, according to well respected research on this subject.
On the stage with Trump when he uttered this nonsense was the leading neurosurgeon in the country, Dr. Ben Carson, who failed to correct Trump’s assertion; probably because, this is a widely held view in the Republican community and Carson did not want to appear to be politically out of line with Republican thought.
Meanwhile, the Democrats during this period, have appeared throughout the country at campaign rallies, with limited exposure. But Tuesday night, they will have a national television audience to themselves for the first time. It will be the Democrats turn to frame the issues facing America as the second decade in this century comes to a close.
On stage will be Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee. These five democrats may be asked to make room on the stage for Vice President Joe Biden, should Biden either decide he is in the race or that he wants to participate in the debate in the event he later decides he will enter the contest.
Tuesday’s debate is expected to be long on public policy issues and short on personal assaults by the candidates. It will not have the same sex appeal or star power of the Republican debates. The Democrats are expected to refrain from name calling and personal attacks. Expect each of them to spend their time telling the American people why they should become the 45th President of the United States of America.
The Democrats’ debate on Tuesday should be like the welcoming relief of a breath of fresh air, after the dumb down approach to campaigning the Donald Trump troupe has presented to the American electorate in the early stages of the 2016 campaign.
On Wednesday morning, if social media news feeds are filled with disappointment over a reasonable discussion of the issues, it will be a clear indication that the way to win in 2016 is by spouting “meme” quotes – “a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc, that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users” – that remove the necessity for people to do a little reading and some critical thinking before selecting the next American president. In which case, the 2016 winners will likely be chosen for their inability to think themselves out of the proverbial “wet paper bag” and not because of their grasp of the complex issues facing the nation domestically and internationally in the coming decade.
Harold Michael Harvey is an American novelist and essayist, the author of Paper puzzle and Justice in the Round. He can be contacted at haroldmichaelharvey.com .