Sunday, January 17, 2016

Why Sunday night's Democratic debate is making me optimistic

The Democrats are offering a positive vision of an American future

After the latest Democratic Party debate, I’m genuinely excited about this presidential election campaign.

Don’t get me wrong -- I frequently get upset or discouraged by the amount of attention that the Republican candidates are receiving this year. Theirs is a set of campaigns that is dedicated toward appealing to the lowest common denominator -- they work to get votes through fear and intimidation tactics rather than substantive policy.

But after tonight, I’m genuinely excited about the prospects of a Democratic candidate becoming the next president of the United States.

All three candidates tonight brought candid conversation, bold ideas, and yes, some criticism of each other’s plans and policy stances. But rather than attacking each other relentlessly throughout the debate, each candidate brought dignity and thoughtfulness to their responses, a welcomed departure from what we’ve seen from conservative candidates vying for the GOP nomination.

Bernie Sanders is my preferred candidate. But I’d be more than ecstatic to help Hillary Clinton win office as well. Even Martin O’Malley brings something to the table as a candidate, and I’d gladly support his candidacy were he somehow able to win the nomination for the Democratic Party.

I think that Americans overall are going to gravitate towards the Dems this year. The American people tend to support optimism over fear, and like to hear about what we can work to become more than how bad off we are.

Surely there are times when Democrats, too, sound the alarm on many issues. But when they do so, they juxtapose that doom-and-gloom against a vision of how we can better ourselves as a nation, and offer a picture of a better tomorrow that the citizenry overall can get behind.

Take health care as an example. The Republicans are thus far offering no real plans for replacing the Affordable Care Act. They simply promote its removal -- beyond that, you just have to trust them.

The Democrats disagree on how to move forward on health care in America, but at least they can agree on the need to improve upon existing gains. They see the problems that do exist in health care, even after Obamacare has been passed and implemented, and agree that changes are needed on current law. But they also agree that what the ACA created is far better than what existed prior to its passage.

No matter which Democratic candidate you talk to, you’ll see an aspiration for improving the lot of the American people. You don’t see a lot of that on the Republican side, and that is why they’ll lose come November.

I’m optimistic after tonight’s debate. There are still a lot of unresolved issues -- but the issues are getting talked about, and that’s what matters most. No candidate is perfect, and no set of policies will be perfect either. Yet I’d rather move forward with these three candidates than head backwards with what the Republicans are offering, and we’re more likely to move ahead in this century with a Democrat in office in 2017.

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