Where Sanders can (and must) improve

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While I believe that this first round of debates demonstrated the profound influence that Sanders has had on the Democratic Party (which is itself a significant strategic victory), I found Sanders’ individual performance last night slightly underwhelming. Of course the landscape last night (with so many younger candidates jockeying to assume his policy stances) wasn’t as favorable to Sanders as in 2016 (when he had the luxury of contrasting himself with an establishment favorite), and he can probably afford to wait until the field has been whittled down somewhat. Nevertheless, I think that it’s worth considering where he could make (and will arguably need) some improvements moving forward.

  1. Connecting the dots between economic and social justice

I believe for the most part Sanders already has the right stances in both of these domains, but too often he fails to synthesize them in a persuasive manner. Like it or not, even if it’s relatively less important in the general election, Sanders needs to do better talking about issues or gender and race if he is going to do win against such a diverse field of candidates. He had a question last night about diversity where he eventually pivoted to attacking Trump’s racism and sexism when he would have better served using that time to make points about systemic discrimination as well as the intersection of race and class.

  1. Give his ideas historical context

Like many of you, I thought Sanders was brilliant to draw parallels to FDR, fascism, the Gilded Age, and so on in his latest speech. While the debate format would not permit a full explanation of these issues’ history, I thought Sanders could have benefited from peppering in a couple of analogies and quotes, especially when the moderators raised the specter of “democratic socialism” and how the Republicans would respond to his policy platform. None of the other candidates (other than maybe Warren, albeit to a much lesser extent) are capable of presenting the big picture in such a coherent manner, as all the other candidates either lack the consistent record or the experience that Sanders brings to the table.

Like I said in the introduction, I think these debates were a net positive for Sanders, and unlike many other candidates he can afford to wait until the field thins out a bit and becomes more conducive to his preferred style of debate. That said, I think these are two major areas in which he will need to make improvements if he is to be the Democratic candidate in 2020.

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SandersForPresident: search results – self:yes

Let me be clear: it is a disturbing attack on the First Amendment for the Trump administration to decide who is or is not a reporter for the purposes of a criminal prosecution. Donald Trump must obey the Constitution, which protects the publication of news about our government. – Bernie Sanders

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Let me be clear: it is a disturbing attack on the First Amendment for the Trump administration to decide who is or is not a reporter for the purposes of a criminal prosecution. Donald Trump must obey the Constitution, which protects the publication of news about our government. - Bernie Sanders submitted by /u/bernie2020v
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SandersForPresident: search results – bernie

Bernie asked for 20,000 donations in 2 days we got 11,715 we must do better

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We've missed the mark don't be disappointed, don't lose heart, rally yourselves my friends. We have a long way to go on an uphill battle, but with these hands, we will make Bernie Sanders President. Dig deep and talk to your parents or grandparents who support Biden or Trump. Go out and talk to people in your community. Let's not let it all be for nothing. We are able to do something. It's up to me and you! time to be the fucking hero, all of us 2020.

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