Live-Blogging the Univision Democratic Presidential Debate

10:54 pm: Secretary Clinton gives her usual closing message: She wants to empower Americans to pursue their own ambitions.  Senator Sanders gives his usual closing message: .1% of Americans now have as much wealth as the bottom 90% of Americans; as Americans have worked longer hours for lower wages over the past generation, 58% of post-recession wealth gains have gone to the wealthiest 1% of Americans.  He asks whether we can be OK with this.  His message of grim portents and (for lack of a better term) class conflict resonates with at least half of this young debate crowd; the generational divide persists, with the under-30 crowd seeming to swoon for the septugenarian Socialist from Vermont.

10:41 pm: A humorous video showing Bernie Sanders in an interview in 1985 (Sanders has the same mannerisms, voice, disheveled hair and frumpled clothing, but he has more hair and it’s darker.  This video looks like a joke video that he just filmed with a flat wig.)  Sanders says it’s understandable that the Cuban people didn’t rally to the cause of anti-Castro revolutionaries during the Bay of Pigs invasion, as Fidel Castro provided so much for the Cuban people.  This got some boos from some in the audience, but it seems clear to me that Sanders’ statement was taken out of context; Sanders asserts that he was simply speaking against our often-presumptuous resort to regime change in dealing with unfriendly governments.

Secretary Clinton sees another opening, and attacks Sanders on the grounds that he has incidentally defended the Castros, whom are dictators; big applause.  It seems much of the anti-Castro sentiment in South Florida remains, or at least it is well-represented at the audience at this debate.

10:32 pm: Senator Sanders is asked how he could pass new legislation to deal with global warming when most Republicans deny that global warming is human created, and they currentky control Congress.  Sanders repeats his wearisome call for a “political revolution.”  This call is wearisome because Senator Sanders would need to rally Democrats to win seats in predominantly-Republican Congressional Districts where people are not likely to be hungry for much higher tax rates for top income and capital gains margins.  This is not very plausible to me, as these parts of the country are not just waiting to fall into the Democratic column for a more-extreme Democratic messenger.

10:24 pm: Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton debate their usual terms on health care reform: Secretary Clinton wants to reform President Obama’s Affordable Care Act to add any regulatory changes and funding increases necessary to institute full insurance of the public; Senator Sanders renews his call for single-payer health insurance, affirming his support for the ACA under the circumstances but noting that millions of Americans still don’t have health care expense coverage and that many Americans still aren’t satisfied with their health care options.

10:12 pm: Senator Sanders clarifies that he hasn’t promised to provide everyone in America paid college tuition; he proposes to provide fully covered tuition at State universities to any student with basic qualifying grades to continue their education.

10:08 pm: Secretary Clinton notes that Florida “has more to lose than any other State” from global warming.  This depends somewhat on how you define “the most to lose”; the State with the lowest highest point actually isn’t Florida but Delaware.

10:00 pm: Secretary Clinton gets a question about Benghazi, to loud and sustained boos from the crowd who don’t want to hear the sensationalized “scandal” surrounding the terrorist attack on the US consulate there 1 more time.  Secretary Clinton addresses the fact that a family member of one of the 4 Americans killed in that attack alleges that she and the rest of the Obama Administration “lied” to her; she expresses sympathy for the woman’s loss but insists that she is wrong.  She notes that a captured Libyan militant connected to Ansar al-Sharia had claimed that the Benghazi attack was am organized terrorist attack, but that it was launched in response to a provocative anti-Islam video filmed in the United States, as had been initially claimed.

Senator Sanders refuses to engage the subject of whether Secretary Clinton lied or misled the public on the matter of the Benghazi attacks.  He does however remind those assembled that he opposes foreign military intervention, once again conflating the Iraq War with our involvement in the Libyan revolution which overthrew Colonel Moammar Gaddafi.  There is obviously a lot at stake in electing a President who sees the value of foreign intervention in cases where a lot of lives can be saved.  Senator Sanders doesn’t see the issue this way, but I don’t agree with his simplistic claim that Secretary Clinton, who has real foreign policy experience and credentials, is tainted by words of respect from Henry Kissinger.  Hillary Clinton has a long record of advocating foreign interventions to end the war crimes of others, including in Libya; these have saved hundreds of thousands of lives in sum, benefits which aren’t acknowledged by a risk-averse public.

9:54 pm: Secretary Clinton is asked about a common perception that she is untrustworthy.  She says she can stand on her record and advocacy of social justice and the material improvement of people’s lives, but she says something I find more-interesting: “I think you can see that I’m not a natural politician, like my husband or President Obama.”  I’m glad that I’ve finally heard Secretary Clinton say that her problem is one of connection with the voters as much as anything.

Senator Sanders says that Secretary Clinton has trust issues in part because of her top-dollar speeches to Goldman Sachs.  He says that “any speech that commands that kind of figure must be pretty good,” and “it should be released to the public.”  He says Secretary Clinton should be willing to disclose the text of her speaking engagements to to the public.

9:50 pm: Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton both promise that they will make a policy of reuniting resident families that are divided by members that have been separated by the deportation of members who are illegal immigrants.  This also represents an extraordinary change in Democratic Party campaign positioning, though it’s also true that back in 1980, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush both spoke in the Republican Presidential Primary Debate about doing something humane and compassionate for illegal immigrants already in the country, and that in 1986 President Reagan granted 3 million of them amnesty.

9:36 pm: Secretary Clinton is asked if she would continue President Obama’s record number of deportations if she became President.  She says that she would only deport violent criminals and terrorists but not just illegal immigrants as such.  (What a change the Democratic Party has undergone; deportation is overused, period, and we don’t have to have executive orders not to deport people as we pursue immigration reform.  I only feel apprehension about this position because I wouldn’t underestimate how long a Republican Congress could stall on immigration reform, and a Republican President would have more trouble with reversing an executive order than with resuming the enforcement of a policy.)

9:34 pm: In Univision’s poll of Hispanic likely voters, their top 3 issues of concern are

1.) Government ethics,

2.) Racial issues, and

3.) The economy.

9:16 pm-9:28 pm: Secretary Clinton is asked about immigration reform.  She affirms her support for legislative changes that would allow illegal immigrants in the United States to demonstrate that they are working, pay back taxes and apply for citizenship.  She notes that Senator Sanders opposed the 2007 immigration reform.  (She doesn’t mention that Senator Sanders did vote for the more widely-supported 2013 comprehensive immigration reform proposal.)

Clinton can be an unfair debater.  When Senator Sanders gets asked his version of the immigration reform question, the moderator actually herself clarifies that he had previously said he couldn’t support the 2007 immigration reform bill because it contained “near-slave-like provisions” for agricultural guest workers.  The Univision moderator then shares a clip from Lou Dobbs’ old program (uh-oh) on which Senator Sanders said in 2007 that illegal immigrants were depressing domestic wages!  He offers no nuanced provision for allowing guest workers to stay with better wage provisions.  He defends himself convincingly, saying that his reservations with the 2007 bill pertained entirely to the wage burdens normalized upon illegal immigrants working in agriculture through the old bill.

Clinton hits Sanders on this again, citing Senator Kennedy and La Raza as other supporters of the 2007 immigration reform.  Sanders repeats his previous defense, and notes that Secretary Clinton opposed the trend of unaccompanied minors entering the country on foot that gained prominence in 2014; Secretary Clinton said she wasn’t against giving the minors grants of asylum, but only against their dangerous solo treks across Central America.

9:12 pm: Secretary Clinton gets a question about her conduct of State Department emails through her private email account.  When asked if she may be indicted for the use of her private email account to conduct State Department business, she gruffly laughs the question off and says won’t dignify it with an answer.  Senator Sanders is asked the same question, and he says that there is a legitimate investigative process that should be left to pay itself out, and steers the conversation back to the collapsing middle class, implying that this issue is a sideshow.

I do appreciate Senator Sanders’ sense of fair play.

9:10 pm: Senator Sanders gives a similar appeal to what he ordinarily does in these debates and most campaign events: We have to uproot the entrenched corporate and financial power in government, and we need to address global climate change.

9:08 pm: Secretary Clinton has attuned her message to the Univision television audience: We need to inhibit the corporate offshoring of work and profits.  We need comprehensive immigration reform.


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