The fourth Democrat Presidential deserves to be remembered for what wasn’t said.
When asked their top three priorities if they become President, neither Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders nor Martin O’Malley mentioned terrorism or national security.
Given world headlines and growing voter anxiety about terrorism, it was a curious omission. It is obviously a stark contrast to the Republican debate, held just days before in the same city. In that exchange, the Republican candidates spent considerable time discussing, and vigorously debating, how America can best project its power, combat terrorism and keep the nation safe.
There were, of course, a few questions during the Democrat debate about world affairs and the terrorist group ISIS. Hillary, Sanders and O’Malley all provided responses to these questions that were an echo of each other. Neither Sanders nor O’Malley even mentioned Hillary’s vote to authorize the Iraq War in 2003.
It is telling, though, that none of the Democrats believe national security is at the top of their policy agenda should any of them win the White House.
Their priorities, instead, were a laundry list of progressive wishes that exist outside current events. Hillary said creating jobs and ensuring equal pay for women was her top priority, along with bringing down prescription drug prices and politically uniting the country.
Socialist Bernie Sanders said his top priorities were to make “health care” a “right”, enact a $15 an hour minimum wage and create millions of jobs through more public works.
Martin O’Malley said his focus would be on combating climate change, having 100 percent “clean energy” by 2050 and enacting a new policy agenda for the nation’s cities.
Perhaps the candidates’ priority focus explains why the Democrat National Committee has strived to schedule the debates when viewership would be low. Each of the priorities outlined by the Democrat candidates could have been ripped out of a transcript of a debate from 40 years ago.
Even in today’s world, these priorities should like a better fit for someone running for Governor or a federal legislative office. Contrasting the Democrats’ priorities with current events makes one wonder what color the sky is in the Democrats’ world.
According to Gallup, terrorism is the third most important issue for voters in the Presidential race. Reforming government is the top issue, followed by the economy. Only 7 percent of voters rank guns as a top issue. The Democrats, of course, spent a considerable amount of time discussing guns in their debate.
Energy policy, the environment, guns and more equal distribution of income and wealth all rate lower than national security and terrorism in voters’ minds. In fact, the number of Americans who worry about the environment, including issues like climate change, is at its lowest point in over a decade.
You can learn as much about candidates by what they don’t say as what they say. None of the Democrats running consider national security or terrorism a top priority if they win the White House. Voters should respond accordingly.