Democratic debates impact popularity

What happens when five Democratic candidates go to Vegas? They have a Democratic presidential debate.

On Oct. 13, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb took the stage during the first Democratic national debate.

“In comparison to the Republican debate, (the Democratic debate) had a lot more substance to it,” said Ken Gilmore, professor of political science.

“What I was encouraged by was that the Democrats actually have a coherent set of plans for what they would do if one of them became president, unlike the Republicans who seemed to be fighting against each other.”

The most popular candidates at the debate were Clinton and Sanders.

“I have to say that I agreed with Sanders’ points a lot more than I did Hillary’s, but I would be okay with either one of them,” said junior Zack Wolfe. “I don’t think (O’Malley) would be a good president, but he would be a great vice president.”

However, some believe that Sanders’ lack of experience is not what the country needs.

“Bernie is … not cautious enough,” said Assistant Professor of Political Science Robert Duncan. “I like what he talks about, but this is why I think Hillary will win. She has the same ideas, but she also knows what it takes to make them work.”

Since the debates, Clinton’s support has risen by 7 percent, according to a Wall Street Journal poll.

Regardless, there is still disagreement on who won the debate.

“I thought the real winner in the debates was the Democratic Party because we had a civil debate,” said Gilmore.

“The Republicans went after the moderators, as if being president, you’re not subject to tough questions. That’s in the job description. If you can’t take a reporter’s questions, how are you going to stare Putin in the face and talk?”

Since the debate, Chafee and Webb have dropped out of the running, and Joe Biden has decided not to run at all.

“I think that based on the way the election is going, (Chafee and Webb) leaving is probably a smart move because them being in the election took, however small, a focus away from some of the candidates that people want to hear more from,” said sophomore Michael McShane. “It allows people to get a better determination of who the other candidates are with less competition.”

O’Malley is still in the race, despite being overshadowed by Clinton and Sanders.

“O’Malley is (probably) going to drop out (as well),” said Duncan. “He’s not that well-known … From what I saw on the debates, he didn’t come across all that authoritative.”

Many have pointed out that Clinton has raised the most money, helping her take a significant lead in the Democratic campaign.

“The way we choose our elected officials is the lesser of two evils instead of getting the best and the brightest to represent everybody,” said Duncan. “It usually boils down to who’s got the most money and who has the best TV campaign propaganda staff.”

The next Democratic presidential debate will take place on Nov. 6 at 8 p.m. in Rock Hill, South Carolina. It will be broadcasted on MSNBC.