15 Questions in Search of a Democratic Debate

1) Polls show that, by a large margin, Americans feel we’re on the wrong track, both economically and as to foreign policy. Yet none of you offers any criticism of President Barack Obama, who has been in charge for the last seven years. Why, then, should Americans believe that four more years, under your leadership, would be any different from the last seven?

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2) Sen. Sanders, you’ve called for a $15-per-hour minimum wage. But even Vice President Joe Biden’s economist, Jared Bernstein, considers a $15 hourly rate so high that it would cause an unacceptable loss of jobs. Is he wrong?

3) Secretary Clinton, you advocate “debt-free tuition,” and Sen. Sanders, you want free universal health coverage and paid family medical leave. You both say that you can accomplish this by raising taxes on the rich. But isn’t it true that if you completely confiscated the earnings of the top 1 percent, you couldn’t fund the current obligations of the federal government, let alone the new programs you want?

4) Sen. Sanders, you blame the 2007-2008 economic crisis, in part, on the removal of a part of Glass-Steagall, a 1933 depression-era regulation that prevented banks from engaging in both traditional banking and investment banking. President Bill Clinton is the one who got rid of it. He still stands by that decision, and believes it had nothing to do with the Wall Street/banking meltdown. Why is he wrong, but you are right?

5) Secretary Clinton, you described the higher premiums and higher deductibles — under Obamacare — as “glitches.” But don’t these “glitches” mean that Obamacare is failing to realize many of its objectives?

6) United Healthcare, the nation’s largest insurer, says its past support for Obamacare was a mistake, is losing money under Obamacare, and now says it may pull out altogether. Again, doesn’t that say that Obamacare is failing to achieve its main objectives?

7) Secretary Clinton, the U.S. joined with the French and the British in bombing Libya to depose Moammar Gadhafi. You’ve justified this by noting he was a tyrant and his departure meant that Libya could have free elections. Wasn’t Saddam Hussein of Iraq a tyrant, and didn’t the Iraqis have free elections after he was deposed by our invasion? Why is Libya OK, but Iraq a foreign policy blunder?

8) You’ve all criticized the Iraq war as a blunder because President George W. Bush ignored the unintended consequences of deposing a strong man who held the country together. Didn’t President Jimmy Carter do the same thing when he pushed the shah of Iran to release what Carter called “political prisoners” — which we now call radical jihadists? This led directly to the current Islamic Republic of Iran. Does Jimmy Carter get a pass for (SET ITAL) his (END ITAL) nation building because he is a Democrat?

9) You’ve all denounced “institutional racism.” But President Obama, the first elected black president, has been in charge for seven years. Does he bear any responsibility for the persistence of institutional racism? And why do polls show that race relations, under this president, are the worst in 20 years?

10) Obama has said, “Children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison.” As between “institutional racism” or the breakdown of the black family, isn’t the breakdown of the family a much bigger problem when over 70 percent of black children are born without a father in the house?

11) All of you support the “Black Lives Matter” movement that has given support to college students who complain about so-called “microagggressions.” To fight microaggressions, some students want a campus “safe space.” What is the difference between a “safe space” and segregation?

12) All of you have denounced Donald Trump as a racist, a bigot and a fascist. But in 1993, Sen. Harry Reid sounded Trump-like when he introduced a bill to end birthright citizenship; advocated restrictions on legal immigration and on asylum-seekers; and wanted stiffer penalties for visa fraud. If Trump’s a bigot, isn’t Harry Reid?

13) Sen. Sanders, you say a police department should “look like the community they are policing.” But in Baltimore — where Freddie Gray died in a police van and where Gov. O’Malley was mayor from 1999 until 2007 — the majority of cops are people of color, the former PD head was black and the police command staff is majority black. What does this tell us?

14) Secretary Clinton, you’ve said that as to the allegations of sexual assault, women should be believed. Is this applicable to Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey and Paula Jones?

15) According to the Pew Research Center, 91 percent of Muslims in Iraq and 84 percent of Muslims in Pakistan support sharia law. Yet Iraq and Pakistan are the top two green card countries for the United States. Isn’t this both an assimilation problem and a national security problem?

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an “Elderado,” visit www.LarryElder.com. Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder.

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