There is no question that the three candidates who were struggling to get any traction lost the debate. No one is out there claiming that Lincoln Chaffe’s “the dog ate my homework” strategy worked for him. No one thinks the Jim Webb’s “I shot a guy” strategy empowered anyone. And while Martin O’Malley certainly had some good moments, no one thinks he came out of this debate as a winner.
This debate was from start to finish all about Clinton and Sanders. Both of these candidates did well in this debate. I don’t think there is anyone who would say that they didn’t. But who did better? Well, the major networks and news organizations ran polls and focus groups after the debate to gauge the answer to that question. Here are the results:
According to Time.com, Bernie Sanders won the debate with 59% of the vote. Jim Webb surprisingly took second place with 27%. The US News poll showed that Bernie Sanders won with 82% of the vote. The CNN Facebook poll had Bernie roughly the same at 81%. Slate.com poll shows Sanders won with 62%. DailyKos readers voted 57% for Sanders. According to Drudge, Sanders won with 53.78%.
Those are huge numbers! In most of those polls, Clinton was a distant second and there are plenty of other polls you can find and yet not one will show that Clinton won the debate. Not a single poll. In fairness, one could argue that these polls are not scientific and that people just voted… sort of like actual elections. Maybe Sanders supporters are just really enthusiastic and Clinton supporters are either not computer literate, really lazy, or aren’t that excited about their candidate of choice. Okay, but doesn’t that say something about who the better candidate is? Doesn’t that say something about who inspired more people during the debate? Maybe, maybe not so let’s look at the focus groups.
Several news outlets put together carefully selected focus groups that are supposed to represent a good cross section of the primary electorate. What did they have to say?
“Most” of CNN’s focus group thought Sanders won the debate while only a few claimed that Clinton did. According to the Fusion focus group, Sanders won 8 to 3 with one person declaring it a tie. Fox News’ Frank Luntz put together a focus group of 28 Democrats; half of which supported Clinton before the debate. After the debate, all but a few supported Sanders.
After all these polls and focus groups, it is clear that the winner of the debate must obviously be Hilary Clinton.
What? How the hell does that make any kind of sense? Didn’t I just say that Sanders won every poll and every focus group by large margins? If that is true, then how come all the media outlets are claiming that Clinton won by a landslide? It’s simple. They have a monetary invested interest in Clinton winning. The system is rigged, dummy.
The claim that Hillary Clinton won the debate is a lie. It is a lie bought and paid for by the Clinton campaign. The fact is that Time-Warner has donated huge sums of money to the Clinton campaign and they also happen to own most of the media. Surprise!
Political campaigns cost a lot of money. How is that money spent? A large chunk of it goes toward TV ads and other media advertising. Sanders has talked about overturning Citizens United and public financing of campaigns. He wants to take money out of politics. Who would be most hurt by this? Well, I don’t know if they would be the most hurt by this, but the major media outlets would definitely stand to lose a lot of money. Less money in politics means less political ads on TV. And less political ads on TV means less money in the pockets of major media executives.
Despite the objective fact that Sander has won every poll and focus group by large margins and raised a ton of money post-debate, the major media outlets are still declaring that Hillary Clinton not only won the debate, but won it by a landslide. I am not really a conspiracy person, but this just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. In fact, I think it was a much bigger win for Sanders than even the polls and focus groups indicated.
Most of the debate forced Clinton to address issues that the Sanders campaign has been talking about. There is little doubt that Clinton wouldn’t even been talking about Wall Street corruption, the Keystone Pipeline, student debt, and a host of other issues if Sanders wasn’t in the race. The Sanders campaign set the agenda for this debate and for this entire election.
Second, most people had no idea who Sanders was and now they do. An estimated 15 million people watched this debate and many of them are hearing what Sanders is saying for the first time. Many people thought that Hillary Clinton was the only viable candidate and now they don’t. Now they see that Bernie Sanders can share the stage with Clinton and not only hold his own, but dominate the stage.
Let’s see what happens. Let’s see how the polls move in the next few weeks. I predict that Sanders will continue to trend upward and that Clinton will continue to trend downward. There really are no issues that Clinton is leading on and Sanders is pretty much setting the agenda for this entire election. Could Sanders be a little better with soundbyte answers to questions about socialism and capitalism? Sure. Could be explain his position on guns better? Definitely. Could he add a little humor to his speeches? I absolutely think so. But the evidence is clear that he won this debate. He will probably win the next one too. My crystal ball has said that he will win the primary and the general election. How can you argue with that?
Edit: I am adding a video from Secular Talk because I think it adds some interesting ideas. Check it out:
- Presidential Election 2016: I’m Calling It (skepticink.com)
- Defending Bernie Sanders Against Critics (skepticink.com)
- God’s Democrat (skepticink.com)
- An Atheist Reacts To Bernie Sanders’ Speech At Liberty University (skepticink.com)