(Mike Blake/Reuters)

Questions for the next Democratic debate

Eyes on the prize, people

Jeffrey Denny
4 min readFeb 20, 2020


Jeffrey Denny

Hey Jude, if it’s not already a lost cause, for the next Democratic presidential candidate debate, on Feb. 25 in Charleston, SC, I pray we’ll focus on what really matters: Ending the Trump fever-dream.

I would love if the CBS News moderators would ask serious questions on behalf of moderate Democrats like me and the vast majority of Americans who know Trumpism is more virulent and deadly to our country than COVID-19. Questions such as:

1.To each candidate: Are you completely confident you can defeat Trump? If so, in two minutes, explain precisely how? Please set aside your powerfully compelling, thundering rhetoric or smug certainty and be specific about your actual plan for curing America of the pandemic Trumpvirus.

2.If it’s clear to every sentient mammal that you can’t beat Trump, so the Trump-Putin troll army is secretly supporting your nomination on Facebook, would you drop out and back a candidate with the best shot of beating Trump? If you truly care about America?

3. Do you really, truly think Michael Bloomberg is too racist, misogynist and greedy capitalist rich to be president? Compared to what — Trump? Hahahaha! You’re killing me!

Or are you merely gotcha-smearing a fellow candidate who might be the best choice to challenge Trump? Do you realize that going negative not only undermines whatever positive case you have for moving America forward, but sounds a lot like Trump and hands his campaign beautiful fodder?

4.Are you prepared be beaten like Mondale by the worst president in modern history by nominating Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren?

If you’re “progressive,” please explain how standing on smug moral superiority and riding on the wings of unicorns dreaming of a more Scandinavian America — handing Trump another term — brings “progress.”

5. Do the American people really want to be hectored and lectured by Sanders or Warren, who make trenchant points while suffering voice immodulation like SNL’s Will Farrell as Jacob Silj, amplified by hand gestures, for four long years?

For my part, channeling Larry David doing Bernie, I say, ehhh, not so much.

6. A sky full of pies sounds nice (I love pie). But do you really think Congress in our lifetimes will ever pass Medicare for all, free college, and huge tax hikes on the rich to pay for it — even if Democrats manage to keep the House and flip the Senate? Given how the partisan margins will still be so tight that nothing big will get done?

You say you want a revolution and have a real solution. Well, you know, we’d love to see the plan.

7.On a related note, are you serious about Medicare for all or all who want it? Remember, even with a Democratic House and Senate, President Obama barely muscled through the Affordable Care Act over strong Republican opposition that cared more about free markets than sick people. Then Obama lost the House and Senate. “Shellacked,” he said.

Upon retaking control of Washington, Republicans cheerfully helped Trump destroy Obamacare and then declared Obamacare is bad, and MAGAs swallowed it whole.

Lesson: In a democracy, forcing big political change — for whatever good — never lasts.

8. Why aren’t you running on common-sense kitchen table issues and solutions by moderates who flipped the House in 2018? Like infrastructure and retraining and jobs for folks and communities left behind by the 21st century digitized global economy?

9. Speaking of which, whatever happened to Bill Clinton’s “It’s the economy, stupid”? While many still struggle, most Americans are generally satisfied with the Obama-Trump recovery and worry about “socialist” Democrats blowing it up with their big brilliant sky-pie shake-the-system plans. How will you answer hopes to keep the economy humming?

10. Bernie may be surging but does he have the votes to win?

Facts are, his Gen-Z stronghold is a sliver (10.2%) of the electorate. Youth turnout, even in the historic 2018 elections, still fell well short of adults including Gen X, Boomers, seniors and aging Millennials approaching 40 and starting families. Bernie support falls off the cliff with adulting people over 30.

11. Why do reasonable Democrats even listen to “progressive activists” who are mostly sound and fury on social media but signifying nothing most Americans support?

12. Do you think nit-picking, snarking and sneering at each other, poking at relative wealth and heart health and getting into the weeds disputing policy issues you generally agree on (healthcare needs fixing), is the way to win American hearts, minds and votes?

13. Your circular firing squad and making the progressive-perfect the enemy of the common-sense good is all but guaranteeing more Trump. Is that what you want? Please explain. America is dying to know.

Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.



Jeffrey Denny

A Pullet Surprise-winning writer who always appreciates free chicken.