Less than a month from now will be the third set of Democratic presidential debates. The field will be smaller next time, but the question is whether the debate and discussion will be motivating for primary voters. Mark Penn, writing in The Hill, referred to the previous debates as a “panderfest.”
He knows something about Democratic politics since he served as a pollster and adviser to former President Clinton and has written some important books looking at social and political trends. You can get his perspective by merely reading two sentences in his second paragraph.
“By the end of this endless debate, spooned out in one-minute dollops, I walked out with a $1,000-a-month check, an extra grand if I’m a female, untold reparations dollars if I am African American, Medicare from birth covering everything I’ll ever need until death, and the right to cross the border without any real penalty if I’m from another country.”
He also complained that the same candidates who were critical of the tweets by President Trump about a rat-infested Baltimore made it sound like the entire country was worse off than this city in Maryland. America apparently “is not a country in which 90 percent have health insurance, almost everyone has a smartphone, and 64 percent own their home.” Instead, it is a “racist, misogynistic country dominated by fat cats and big corporations sucking the life out of us all.”
Most of us probably don’t know how to run a presidential campaign, but Mark Penn does. And he is disturbed that none of the candidates have a positive vision for the future. Few candidates seem to have a love and appreciation for the opportunities this country provides for so many Americans and immigrants who come here.
A month from now perhaps the candidates will change their message. But I suspect that the September presidential debates will become yet another slugfest and panderfest.