Editorial: Presidential debate offers rays of hope
Americans watching the fourth Democratic presidential debate held Tuesday night, should have come away with one overwhelming feeling: here were 12 candidates talking of issues that would help the average American live a better life; and they were rational and articulate.
Viewers can argue about which candidates were too progressive or conservative, but all the policies have a similar goal: to benefit America’s middle-class and recognize that the country is suffering today because national policies have been coopted by a corporate-friendly Congress and White House that has shifted the nation’s wealth into the hands of too few. Credit Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign for president in 2016 for that revelation.
Today, the conflict among Democrats is how to achieve the recalibration of the nation’s wealth. Is it the revolution advocated by Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, or the more modest, but potentially more effective, approaches advocated by Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke and Cory Broker?
Democrats will sort that out over the next few months, but it was encouraging to see the Democratic Party fully engaged with issues at the heart of American’s problems: providing universal health care for all Americans; providing affordable day care, higher education and housing; reducing gun violence while still providing the right to bear arms responsibly; guaranteeing a woman’s right to choose and the ability to exercise freedom over her own body; recognizing the dire need to take corrective action on climate change; seeing the wealth gap as an unhealthy imbalance and the need for higher minimum wages to bring Americans out of poverty; seeing opiate addiction as a disease and holding pharmaceutical companies at least partially responsible; and understanding that while some of the current job dislocation is due to trade, most is due to automation and the rapidly changing employment landscape. The direction the nation needs to move, as tech-industrialist and candidate Andrew Yang says, “is not left or right, but forward.”
That sense of can-do optimism, and the reality that the next presidency may offer a sea-change of opportunity, was palatable throughout the debate — perhaps in part because of the president’s crumbling fortress of lies and deceit.
Compared to the incompetent nastiness of the Trump campaign and his three tumultuous years in office, buoyed only by a surging economy he inherited and an unnecessary trillion-dollar stimulus that kept the economy on a sugar high, the Democrats were a collective voice of reason and a vision of politics that could help the nation recover from Trump’s politics of corruption.
It’s a long road yet to go, but Tuesday’s debate offered rays of hope.