About Last Night: The Democratic Town Hall Debate

CNN Town Hall

Think of this as Loveline. Just with less sex talk, but equally as awkward.



Yeah… for our primer yesterday we should have probably mentioned that last night’s Democratic “debate” was going to be a town hall Q and A format. Regardless my guess is most of you were doing other things. You know, living your lives. Regardless interesting-ish things did take place last night. Here are our thoughts on last night’s Democratic town hall debate.



When TV Viewers Realized the Candidates Wouldn’t Be Hurling Attacks at Each Other



Point: Town Hall Debate Format is Useless!


The questions asked in last night’s town hall meeting, no matter how eloquently put, were lobs for the Democratic candidates. Look at the question above given to Hillary Clinton about the treatment of Muslim Americans. OF COURSE Clinton’s going denounce the hateful comments being spewed by GOP candidates like Donald Trump! That topic is like catnip to any Democrat! For Clinton, questions like these are just setups for stump speeches. Whether it was Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, or Hillary Clinton, the questions concocted by the general audience will always be incredibly easy to answer for candidates.


Which to be clear is not the audience’s fault. It’s up to those in the media (and in competing campaigns) to challenge the nominees with tough questions regarding past voting records and stances on important issues. That’s why the traditional style debates are so important, not this town hall bullshit! Essentially what we got last night were stump speeches that just happened to be nationally televised.



Break for Lunch



Counter-Point: Town Hall Debate Formats are Extremely Useful Before an Election!


Listen, we’re the weirdos in this argument. You’re right, why would the general public care about such political minutia of Hillary Clinton who helped create the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal that she now opposes. These are important issues no doubt, but these aren’t things the general public cares about. Once again, the majority of people out there care about bigger issues like tax plans or healthcare coverage. In other words, issues that directly affect them, not things that obsessives like us care about!


The town hall debate format is meant for the general public. The questions and the format are designed for people who don’t follow politics as obsessively as we do. And honestly, that’s a very good thing! This gives the public a general idea of where candidates stand before an election. Sure, these questions more often than not devolve into mini-stump speeches, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Just because we heard a candidate’s shtick a thousand times over, it doesn’t mean everyone else has. The Town Hall Debate format serves an important purpose, even if maniacs like us don’t see it.



“Mrs. Clinton, Our Focus Groups Say You Should Try and Be More Relaxed on Stage”

Clinton Town Hall





“And So It Begins…”



Come Monday the actual horse race officially starts. The state of Iowa will finally caucus and a primary that we have been talking about – what seems like forever – finally gets underway. But last night was an important reminder for those of us who follow this shit religiously; most of those that asked questions in last night’s town hall debate were still undecided voters.


Even though we can pretty much figure how the Democratic primary will shape out – SPOILER: Clinton will take the nomination – it’s still important to remember that nothing is etched in stone. To those people in that debate hall – at least for those that asked questions anyway – their decisions were still up in the air. This is going to be a lengthy primary, because as Sanders has shown in recent polls, he isn’t going anywhere. Never the less Iowa provides a good litmus test to see where everyone stands. It should be interesting.


And so it begins.



(Picture Credits: CNN, Ora TV)


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