Dems’ main event was too close to call

Sarah Lentz, Opinion Editor

Las Vegas is a city know for hosting big prize fights and last night it held a verbal prize fight complete with an undercard and championship fight in the first Democratic Presidential Debate featuring Martin O’Malley, former governor of Maryland, Lincoln Chafee, former senator of Rhode Island, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, former Virginia senator Jim Webb and former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.

The matches were clear. The early fight was a slugfest between O’Malley and Chafee. The main event featured senator Bernie Sanders and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

It was easy to see what set this debate apart from the Republican debate. Real issues were discussed without personal attacks, sexism or xenophobia and it was a breath of fresh air.


A battle between a moderator and a candidate is always going to be a losing one. What may have been one of the most heated disagreements of the night was between CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Webb.

Webb definitely didn’t get as much facetime as the other four candidates, and let Cooper know that loudly and often. That was ok because he spent half of his time telling Cooper off for letting everyone else speak and the other half of the time giving mostly vague answers about his own policies.


Both men came out swinging and represented themselves exponentially better than Webb. Early in the debate, Chafee and O’Malley presented clear ideas and strong stances. There was never any real doubt that the stars of the show were going to be Sanders and Clinton.

Even with that inevitability, O’Malley and Chafee held their own, especially on topics of gun control, climate change and international policy in the Middle East and Russia.

It was a close fight until about the midway point. Then, the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, an act restricting potentially risky acts for commercial banks and securities companies,Chafee punched himself out.

O’Malley didn’t support repealing Glass-Steagall, while Chafee voted to ax it. When asked about that last night, Chafee’s answer delivered his own KO for his 2016 presidential hopes.

He basically made the excuse that it was his first vote in the senate and that he was distracted because his father had just died. It came off as a weak attempt to declare he could still tow the party line even though he voted against it in the past and he was never really able to regain the power he had early.

Victory O’Malley, who largely came off a bit slow and overly calm.


The biggest shock of the night to be in the main event. I, like many people, expected fireworks between the Democratic frontrunners and instead got party poppers.

Both candidates stood out in terms of sheer personality. Their policies aren’t all that different, though how they plan to arrive at them are just different enough that there was some good dialogue.

Sanders ensured people that though he was a Democratic Socialist, he shouldn’t be feared. He gave a strong, focused showing in the first debate and anyone paying attention can’t ignore the underdog anymore.

Clinton’s tone was all over the map. She started off rather blasé about issues like U.S./ Russia relations and the Benghazi situation and accusations of her flip-floppering ways. There were points in the night where she got the biggest applause, specifically when she claimed Americans needed to stand up to Republicans and the NRA and wouldn’t respond to Chafee’s comment about her emails.

This fight was just too close to call.