I suppose to be fair, I should have titled this one, “Semi-Serious Question: Why Doesn’t Hillary Want to Debate Bernie in California?” Because, well, I think I might at least have a somewhat educated guess as to the answer, which is, “She doesn’t want anyone to see that she still hasn’t actually locked up the nomination” and also, “Because she might lose the debate.”
Here’s the thing — I’m not one of those Bernie or Busters that’s impractical or illogical. Sure, some would argue me being Bernie or Bust is enough to earn myself those labels, but those people are very likely wielding their biases and political allegiances against me, and not really thinking about why it is I chose this route for my vote. Regardless, since I’m not living in La-La-Land about Bernie, I know his fight for the nomination is very probably reaching its final stages. But even still, why the hell wouldn’t Hillary debate him?
What if she could deliver the knockout blow to his campaign in the debate? A decisive smackdown in the country’s largest state (from a delegate count perspective) would certainly signal that she has truly thwarted Bernie, right? Those who are screaming and pleading with Sanders and his backers to go home and let Hillary have the spotlight all to herself of course will have any number of excuses as to why the California debate would be a waste of time, but are those excuses really valid?
“We won’t learn anything new!”
How do you know that? Debates aren’t scripted. In fact, it was the New York debate’s theretofore unasked questions about Israel’s 2013 assault on Gaza that led me turn forever away from considering supporting Hillary. If that debate hadn’t taken place, I’d never have seen her so coldly defend Israel, as if there’s ever an excuse for intentionally targeting place that you know will have high civilian counts. And if I hadn’t seen that debate, maybe I’d still be out there looking for nose plugs for Election Day.
And that’s probably why no one on Team Hillary wants the debates. Her most sycophantic devotees won’t care what she says between now and the end of the primaries, and you can tell they understand that. But clearly they’re also at least a little worried about exposing her to even more scrutiny. Obviously they’re more than a little cautious about Sanders eroding the image of her inevitability even further. Otherwise, again, why not just debate him?

“He’ll just end up making her look bad, and that helps the Republicans!”
a) The only person who can make Hillary look bad is Hillary. She’s the one who would be answering questions.
b) Debates are supposed to help people see the differences between the candidates and choose accordingly. It’s not Sanders’ fault if the debates end up showing how weak a candidate Hillary may or may not be.
“Hillary should be focused on November because Bernie can’t win with pledged delegates!”
This is very true. It’s also very true that Hillary is unlikely to get the requisite number of delegates herself. So, to someone like me anyway, that means there is still time for people to make up their minds. If that’s the case, then the Hillary camp is making a grave mistake, and the DNC not pushing her to accept the debate only compounds the mistake.
The bottom line is that while it’s unlikely a California debate would create a situation wherein the entire primary heretofore is turned on its ear, not debating makes Hillary look desperate. Either she’s desperate to shut out Sanders and his supporters, which doesn’t bode well for uniting the party, or she’s desperate to avoid “putting herself out there” again until she faces off against Trump. Then again, if she thinks Trump will be easier to debate than Sanders, I think she’s fooling herself. That man is stupid as shit, but his supporters don’t care, and they’ll take any fecal flinging he does as intellectual manna, dropped at their feet by the political demigods of Ronald Reagan and Dicky Nixon.
If Hillary wants to throw off the label of being anointed and get out from under the allegations that she needs the DNC’s extra help to get the job done, she should take Bernie up on the debate offer. Otherwise, it’s just more of the same from her; which will probably not cost her much, but it always becomes a question of just how much ducking and dodging the public will put up with before there is a price to pay.


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