The classic slice of pizza pie. The neighborhood bocci ball game. Scarfing down hot dogs at Coney Island. That crazy Gambino crime family. This is what comes to my mind as a Brooklynian when I hear the word “home.” I usually don’t think “presidential debates.”
Thursday night, however, politics came to me as Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton did battle in their backyard. For Bernie, it was returning to the place where he was raised, before he white flighted to Vermont. For Hillary, it was basking in her natural constituency of multicultural investment bankers, woke defense contractors, and artisan sarin gas manufacturers.
Without further ado, here’s how the Dems stacked up in what may be their final debate:
|Harassment of Women||Harassment of PoCs||Literally Violent Hand Waving||Forcing Wife To Do Taxes||Respect For The Process||Substance||FINAL GRADE|
This was Bernie Sanders’ last chance to turn his floundering campaign around. Yet question after question he failed to make a substantive point, instead relying on crass debate trickery like throwing violent hand signs in Hillary’s face to intimidate her (and possibly to suggest he has a gang affiliation) and delivering low-blow hits like crying “You didn’t answer the question” and “That actually didn’t happen. That is literally a lie that you just said.” As a Wellesley debate team veteran I saw through Bernie’s ruses for what they were: the death throes of a deluded candidate.
Following the lead of his frightening white supporters, Bernie shamefully spent the night harassing women and people of color. He used a racist dogwhistle (“thug”) to refer to Africans like Muammar Gaddafi. He bragged about forcing his wife to do their taxes (unpaid financial labor) and creepily harassed Hillary by demanding to voyeur on her private conversations with Goldman Sachs executives. That sort of invective might help you win the Reddit vote, Senator, but it will do you no favors in da Big Apple.
|Zingers||Israel’s Right To Defend Itself||Prison Anxiety||Residual Whitewater Guilt?||Whips||Nae Naes||FINAL GRADE|
Clinton started off very strong. She won the crowd early by proclaiming, “Can I just say, it’s great to be in Brooklyn!” As a Brooklynite, let me explain something here: we take our home town very seriously. When a candidate eschews focus groups and image testing to give a “shoutout” to our edgy enclave, we react, and we react big.
Then, she zapped Bernie with a classic zinger–when Sanders was talking about how he had properly threatened his wife to release his tax returns in time, Hillary showed that classic Arkansas wit by quipping “Well, there are a lot of copy machines.” I can’t imagine I was the only one who had to set down his Michelob to slap his own knee.
After that, however, she seemed to stumble. She seemed increasingly frustrated (as we all are) by Bernie’s continued presence, causing her to snap, cough, and scold. While this resonates well with Hillary’s base of women over 35 who work for Lockheed Martin/directly for Erik Prince, some male Beltway reporters might be reminded of cruel mothers and wives who denigrate their ideas for websites and safer subway cards with increasing cruelty and disregard for their feelings.
Hillary found a lifesaver in an ocean of crowd harassment during the discussion about Israel, where she bravely stood up for the only democracy in the Middle East and their right to deal with terroristic beachgoing children.
However, Bernie came out the fresher man. Hillary may have anxiety over her looming life sentence for having a Hotmail account, PTSD from Travelgate, or any number of “still beating heart” scenarios. It’s unclear how this will affect Clinton’s victory in New York, but if she has more nights like this, she may well miss her desired 20 point victory.
Carl “The Dig” Diggler has covered national politics for 30 years, and is the author of “Think-ocracy: The Rise Of The Brainy Congressman”. Got a question for the Dig? E-mail him at [email protected] or Tweet to @carl_diggler.
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