Op-Ed: What happens in Vegas ultimately stays in Vegas

Op-Ed: What happens in Vegas ultimately stays in Vegas

Within the beltway and the core campaign circles, and on US cable channels like MSNBC there is much discussion about Hillary Clinton’s performance in the US Democratic presidential primary debate in Las Vegas on Tuesday and what it means and how it affects the presidential race. By JAMES CANNON BOYCE.

Did Hillary Clinton win? Or “run the tables in Vegas” as one newspaper put it? Maybe.

Did Bernie Sanders do well introducing himself? Probably. Martin O’Malley? Well done. The others? I think they effectively proved why they are polling at zero.

So what does it all mean? One very important thing and a few not so important ones come to mind.

Hillary walked onto the stage by herself. No fawning advisors to whisper in her ear. No one trying to turn her into something she is not – she was herself and as I have written, what she really is is actually pretty remarkable.

We saw the real Hillary out there and she was friendly and showed her sense of humor though not “I play a bartender on Saturday Night Live” fake funny. After Al Gore lost in 2000, he appeared on some late night television shows a few months later and everyone was shocked.

“Al Gore is human!” “Al Gore is funny!”

The world was shocked. It was just that after having the DC morons try to spin him into something that he wasn’t, he was just himself and that was fine. Ironically, one of Gore’s advisors in 2000 claimed one of his proudest moments was making sure that Gore never talked about the environment.

(That idiot is still in the game and it appears advising Bernie Sanders. Best to bet against Bernie on that point alone.)

If Hillary can remember one thing from Vegas, it’s to have the self-confidence to just be herself. I remember standing with John Kerry in 2004 right before he debated George W Bush in Miami – make no mistake about it, Hillary was under a lot of pressure and she proved her mettle in Vegas. But it won’t ultimately mean much if she reverts to old habits.

For Bernie, a nice introduction to the world and he stuck to his guns even when guns were not a great topic for him (and odd I think that he is so far right on that one issue), He raised over $1.3-million after the debate online as a lot of America got their first look at him.

A well-connected New York Jewish friend of mine still claims: “He’s a 74 year old asshole socialist Jew. No chance.”

That’s probably right in the end.

Martin O’Malley? Head to the VP aisle.

And what about Joe Biden? The man who wasn’t on the stage? Has everything really changed? No, not really. For two reasons, I think it’s still his race to enter and he will compete.

If Hillary had stumbled badly, the door would be wide open but it’s still open for Joe though he must realise there will be a fight for the nomination.

Around 5% of America watched the debate – so the hardcore political types certainly watched and shared it all on social media. The primaries are fought on the ground in New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina and more. I think he will do fine there.

In the end, a good night for Hillary but it’s just one night. The race continues and it will heat up. Six months from now what happened in Vegas will be like much of what happens in Vegas – a faded memory that will leave a smile on Hillary’s and her supporters’s faces. Whether or not it is the start of a better, smarter campaign, we’ll have to see. DM

Photo: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (L) and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the US Democratic Presidential candidates debate at Wynn Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, 13 October 2015. EPA/JOSH HANER / THE NEW YORK TIMES / POOL


Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options