Mainstream Democrats breathed a sigh of relief in October when Hillary Clintondominated the first debate with Bernie Sanders — but after Sunday night’s debate, they’re probably hyperventilating. Or ought to be.
The Sanders surge in the Democratic primaries, which suggests he’s the verge of beating her in the first two states and closing in on her nationwide, was mirrored in the way he ate her lunch Sunday night. And, for good measure, gobbled up her breakfast and dinner, too.
Hillary Clinton’s goal was clear — to make the point that she’s the serious and sober candidate and Bernie Sanders is a pie-in-the-sky fantasist. Indeed, Sanders more than once said he wanted “revolutionary change.”
But if there’s one thing we’ve learned about the political mood of the United States going into 2016, it’s that the public doesn’t seem especially sober or even all that serious. The country is in a rage, Democrats as well as Republicans, at the brokenness of our politics and the stagnation of the middle class. Hillary cannot find a way to tap into that — and tapping into that is all Sanders does.
Not only did she say a few things that had Republican admakers rub their hands together with glee — particularly when the subject of an FBI investigation spoke the words “no individual is too big to jail.”
She also had a genuinely creepy, Michael-Corleone-in-“Godfather 2” moment when she basically said “we’re both part of the same hypocrisy” after the third man in the debate, Martin O’Malley, criticized her for raising money on Wall Street.