by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Sure, this batch of candidates sounded like a bunch of loons. They contended socialism is mostly about standing up to the richest one percent and promoting entrepreneurs and small business; climate change is the biggest national security threat facing the nation; college educations should be free for everyone; all lives don’t matter, black lives do; Obama is simultaneously an enormously successful president in managing the economy and the middle class is collapsing and there’s a need for a “New New Deal” which is in fact an Old Old Idea, considering how FDR called for a Second New Deal in 1935. The audience in Nevada applauded higher taxes, believes that Hillary Clinton doesn’t need to answer any more questions, supports the complete shutdown of the NSA domestic surveillance program, and that Obamacare benefits should be extended to illegal immigrants. There are kindergarten classes with more realistic assessments of cost-benefit tradeoffs than the crowd watching this debate at the Wynn Las Vegas.
So yes, the candidates sounded like hard-Left, pie-in-the-sky, free-ice-cream-for-everyone, Socialist pander bears. But they do so because that is what the Democratic Party’s primary voters demand. Don’t blame them; blame the party rank-and-file that craves these promises, rhetoric, and worldview.
With that in mind, Hillary Clinton is the class of the field on that stage, and the only real obstacle to the nomination that remains is a Joe Biden bid. Compared with everyone else, she’s polished and knows what she’s doing.