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After One Good Debate, Democrats Need to Schedule a Lot More of Them

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Reprinted from The Nation

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is right: Democrats must display a "greater engagement in our democratic process at a critical time."
From twitter.com/BrookingsInst/status/655412706346840064/photo/1: First Democratic Debate
First Democratic Debate
(Image by Twitter User n_arnosti)
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What happened in Vegas should not stay in Vegas.

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Viewership topped 15 million, a record for debating Democrats.

As Martin O'Malley noted, this was a debate that actually presented an appealing message (or set of messages) to the American people -- as opposed to the highly viewed but not highly evolved Republican debates. "On this stage, you didn't hear anyone denigrate women, you didn't hear anyone make racist comments about new American immigrants, you didn't hear anyone speak ill of another American because of their religious belief," said the former governor of Maryland, whose earnest campaign gained deserved exposure Tuesday night. "What you heard instead on this stage tonight was an honest search for the answers that will move our country forward, to move us to a 100 percent clean electric energy grid by 2050, to take the actions that we have always taken as Americans so that we can actually attack injustice in our country, employ more of our people, rebuild our cities and towns, educate our children at higher and better levels, and include more of our people in the economic, social, and political life of our country."

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, the front-runner in the race, got a boost, as did her chief challenger, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who illustrated a little of what he means when he talks about forging "a political revolution" by eschewing attacks and steering the discussion back again and again toward vital economic and social issues. The takeaway line of the night was the senator's assertion that "Americans are sick and tired of hearing about [Clinton's] damn e-mails," but the more important part of that statement was his reminder to myopic media that "I go around the country, talk to a whole lot of people. The middle class in this country is collapsing. We have 27 million people living in poverty. We have massive wealth and income inequality. Our trade policies have cost us millions of decent jobs. The American people want to know whether we're going to have a democracy or an oligarchy as a result of Citizens Union. Enough of the e-mails. Let's talk about the real issues facing America."

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