The ABC Democratic Debate Was A Disaster.

Between the silencing of Bernie Sanders and the ramblings of Joe Biden, it was a MESS.

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Photo via Bernie Sanders on Instagram

Of all the democratic debate nights thus far this primary season, I think it’s fair to say that while there were some strong moments for many of the candidates, overall none have been worse than ABC’s on the night of September 12th.

The entire three hour spectacle was painful and infuriating to watch, and I know I’m not alone in this feeling especially among the leftists in the Democratic Party. Frankly, it was agonizing to see candidates who have literally no chance at the nomination being given so much time to speak. In all honesty candidates like Amy Klobuchar should not even be on the debate stage anymore, and had absolutely nothing to offer even when given such an excessive amount of time to talk. But if I’m being honest, it wouldn’t bother me so much if it wasn’t affecting the speaking time of one of the most relevant candidates in the race.

Bernie Sanders was a standout whenever he was addressed, but was barely given any opportunity to speak. In fact, it was so bad that it almost appeared intentional.

While I noticed it throughout the course of the entire three hour debacle, it certainly bothered me most when it came to the discussions about criminal justice and climate change.

As those who follow politics already know, Bernie Sanders has recently came out with sweeping new criminal justice reform and Green New Deal legislation, which many have cited as potential credit for his recent small bump in the polls. It should go without saying however, that many people who don’t follow politics may not know about these new policies, and I would argue that Bernie Sanders was denied the right to tell the American public about them. Even worse, the American people were denied the opportunity to hear about these policies from the candidate himself.

For a candidate who is consistently ranking in second or third in polls to be almost at the bottom of the pack in terms of speaking time on ABC’s debate stage should be an absolute disgrace. The American people deserve to hear from the candidates who are resonating with them, and learn more about where they stand on the issues that matter. We deserve to know how they plan on tackling the most pressing issues that we face, and how they are able to sell or defend their proposed legislation or political records. To deny Bernie the right to speak as often as they did was truly a disservice to the public, and did not go unnoticed.

On the other hand candidates like Joe Biden, or at least his staff, probably wish he had been called on less. Just to give people an idea of how bad and jumbled his answers were, one of them in response to racial discrimination in education was transcribed, and reads as follows:

“We have — make sure that every single child does in fact have three, four, five year olds go to school. School. Not daycare. School. We bring social workers in to homes with parents to help them deal with how to raise their children. It’s not they don’t want help — they don’t want — they don’t know quite what to do. Play the radio. Make sure the television. Excuse me. Make sure they have the record player at night. The — the phone. Make sure kids hear words. A kid coming from a very poor school — er, a v-very poor background will hear four million words fewer spoken by the time they get there.”

I’m not sure that Biden gave a single answer in which I was able to follow what he was saying.

While I am all for debates being entertaining, ABC’s was exhausting more than anything else. The American people deserved better, and hopefully those who happen to be organizing the debate next time around will learn from what happened on that stage, and treat the American people, an election cycle, and a debate with the level of importance it deserves. The herd of candidates need to be thinned, and the frontrunners must be allowed the opportunity to speak as such.

Make no mistake: the DNC will have to answer for allowing that treatment of Bernie Sanders to continue if it happens again. The American people are watching, and a top tier candidate with the support of a significant number of people cannot and will not be ignored.

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Lauren is a writer & leftist with analysis on topics related to politics & policy. She can be reached at or Twitter @xlauren_mx

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