Start here

50/100: Indiana: No Nukes for Iran

Welcome to our flagship series of articles, 50/100. This series of articles breaks down what would happen if a given state (in this case, Indiana) ruled the nation, and also shows the results of the last election.

The 2016 federal election season was rough for Democrats. They only maintained the two House seats they already had, and picked up no open seats, as well as losing the state in the Presidential election. There were two open seats in the House, one in the Senate, and the Governor’s seat was open as well. Democrats lost all of these races.

Donald Trump (R-NY), now the President, won the Republican primary in this state. The Democratic primary winner was Bernie Sanders (D/I-VT).

Result: In the general election, Donald Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton (D-NY), 56.9%-37.8%, with write-ins and Libertarians making up the other 5.3% of the vote. The race, called at 8:00 PM on Election day, was bad news for Hillary Clinton as Indiana has voted with the winning candidate 70% of the time in the last 116 years (or 29 elections). In fact, in the past ten years, the only candidate who has won as a Democrat was Barack Obama (D-IL). Indiana had 11 electoral votes, or 4% of what was needed to win the Presidency

The Gubernatorial election was unusual in that the Republican state committee chose their candidate. Originally, Mike Pence (R) would have run for the seat, but since he was selected by Donald Trump, the committee selected Eric Holcomb, Pence’s running mate, to run against John Gregg (D), the former State Speaker of the House. Despite Gregg having a bigger war chest than Holcomb at first, and ultimately outspending and having more contributions than the winner, the Republican still won the governor’s seat.

Result: Republican Eric Holcomb won over John Gregg, 52.93%-45.73%, with the Libertarian Party making up 1.34% of the vote. The result has given Republicans control of the Governor’s seat for twelve straight years.

The open Senate Seat (held by Dan Coats until he announced he was not seeking another term) was won by Todd Young (R). His opponent, Evan Bayh (D), entered the race ahead by 7 points and with a sizable cash advantage. But series of missteps, such as the revelation that he was considered by the State of Indiana to be an “inactive voter,” that he was searching for jobs at financial firms while serving on the Banking Committee while in his last term as Senator, and apparently not knowing his own home address, tanked his campaign. Young shrewdly portrayed him as a candidate who, for the last six years, had left Hoosiers to “fend for themselves.”

Result: Republican Todd Young won over Evan Bayh, 52.1%-42.4%, with Libertarian Lucy Brenton winning 5.5% of the vote. This election guarantees that Republicans will have held this Senate seat for at least twelve consecutive years.

The House results were also dismal for the Democrats, winning only two of nine possible seats, and none of the open seats. Incumbents, however, did very well for themselves, winning all seven of their seats back.

Detailed Results*:

District 1: Peter Visclosky (D) def. John Meyer (R)

District 2: Jackie Walorski (R) def. Lynn Coleman (D)

District 3: Jim Banks (R) def. Tommy Schrader (D)

District 4: Todd Rokita (R) def. John Dale (D)

District 5: Susan Brooks (R) def. Angela Demaree (D)

District 6: Luke Messer (R) def. Barry Welsh (D)

District 7: Andre Carson (D) def. Catherine Ping**(R)

District 8: Larry Bucshon (R) def. Ron Drake (D)

District 9: Trey Hollingsworth (R) df. Shelli Yoder (D)

*Third party candidates are only mentioned if they are the only other candidate running.

**Ran in 2014

So, how would Indiana run the nation if they were in charge?

They would definitely reduce government spending, prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and help veterans. They would be one vote away from supporting the agriculture industry, improving and investing in agriculture, and overhauling the tax code. Finally, they would be two votes away from repealing the Affordable Care Act, protecting the Second Amendment, Balancing the Budget, Securing the Border, being Pro-Israel, supporting the manufacturing industry, using natural gas as our national energy source, and making the nation pro-life.

It should be noted that Hoosier politicians at the federal level do not agree on how to help veterans, or how to support either manufacturing or agriculture.

Methodology: Poli Sci Pulse digested the public Congressional and Gubernatorial pages of the winners above. Once a majority of politicians were in favor (or against) something, we used this as one of the things the state would do if their public pages were not, in fact, lying. 



Time Capsule #1: Ukraine 2014, Part I: Coup and Kidnap

Welcome to the first Time Capsule piece. In this piece, Coup and Kidnap, we discuss regime change in Ukraine and the Russian invasion of Crimea in the first quarter of 2014.

Coup. In November of 2013, it was widely believed by many observers that Ukraine would join the European Union. The European Union had just offered them a generous aid package. But the President of Ukraine at the time, Viktor Yanukovych, had different ideas. Instead of signing an agreement with the European Union, he signed a $15 billion aid deal with President Vladimir Putin and Russia. In December, a wave of mass protests started, and lasted to February 27th.  This signing of the Russian aid package over the European one marked the beginning of Yanukovych’s fall from power. Perhaps the first unfortunate move made by Yanukovych was on in January 16th.

January 16th, 2014. in response to the waves protesters in Independence Square, President Yanukovych’s party passed a law that restricted protesting. The law was passed via a show of hands. Yanukovych signed the law once it got to his desk. The provisions of the law prevented protesters from wearing helmets and masks at rallies, forbade the setting up of tents or sound equipment without permission, and  banned convoys consisting of more than five vehicles that were not already authorized. Many opposition leaders, including Vitali Klitschko, head of UDAR, and Arseniy Yatsenyuk, head of the Fatherland party, believed that the way the law was passed was illegal, hence rendering the law invalid.

January 19th. in clear defiance of the recent anti-protest laws, thousands of protesters gathered in Independence Square, otherwise known as Maidan. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry also said that the protesters tried to attack the police and take over government buildings. When the day was done, 100 police officers were injured and over 60 were hospitalized. More than 100 protesters were injured, including politicians, while 42 were hospitalized. Twenty people were arrested.

European Union foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton, was concerned about the development. She released a statement in which the EU “calls on all actors to exercise restraint and on the authorities to fully respect and protect the peaceful demonstrators’ right to assembly and speech, and the freedom of the press. All acts of violence must be duly investigated and those responsible brought to justice.”

Caitlin Hayden, who was the spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, stated, “We urge the government of Ukraine to take steps that represent a better way forward for Ukraine, including repeal of the anti-democratic legislation signed into law in recent days, withdrawing the riot police from downtown [Kiev] and beginning a dialogue with the political opposition.

January 20th-22nd. The clashes with police continued. Dozens were left injured. A meeting was scheduled with the opposition to discuss the way in which the crisis could be ended. The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, warned that the situation was quickly getting out of hand. Four people were killed and hundreds injured in another clash.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf issued a terse statement. “Increased tensions in Ukraine are a direct consequence of the Ukrainian government’s failure to engage in real dialogue and the passage of anti-democratic legislation on January 16th. We urge the Government of Ukraine to take steps that represent a better way forward for Ukraine, including repeal of the anti-democratic legislation and beginning a national dialogue with the political opposition.”

Meanwhile, three opposition leaders – Klitschko, Yatsenyuk, and Oleh Tiahnybok of the Freedom party – walked away from talks with the President without resolution. “We did not receive any answers,” Klitschko said, speaking to protesters at Independence Square, “when we talked about cancelling the new laws that make each of us here a criminal, we heard that maybe this can be a point of negotiations. I will be with the people. If I have to fight, I will fight. If I have to go under bullets, I will. I will stand up for the people, because I want to live in a different country…if tomorrow the President does not make a step forward, we will attack.” The Ukrainian Interior Ministry said that a total of 70 people had been detained since the 19th.

The U.S. Embassy in Kiev revoked the visas of Ukrainians, who were believed to have taken part in the violence. In statement, the U.S. Embassy said, “Because visa records are confidential under U.S. law the Embassy will not comment on individual cases. We are considering further action against those responsible for the current violence.”

Catherine Ashton stated, “The use of force and resort to violence is not an answer to the political crisis. All acts of violence must come to an immediate end and be swiftly investigated. Those responsible will have to be held to account. Ukrainian citizens’ rights of assembly, freedom of expression and media must be fully respected and protected. I am deeply concerned about attacks on journalists and about reports of missing persons.” The European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso also stated, “I would like to explicitly underline the fundamental responsibility of the Ukrainian authorities to now take action to deescalate this crisis and in particular the need for them to engage in a genuine dialogue with the opposition  and with civil society on the ways to overcome this deep crisis. We are also following with great concern the recent restrictions on fundamental freedoms including freedom of expression and freedom of the media.”

January 26th-27th. Ukrainian protesters seized the Justice Ministry building. More municipal headquarters were also seized by them. Protesters left the Justice Ministry headquarters after Ukrainian Justice Minister Olena Lukash threatened to call a state of emergency. The protesters who were occupying her building received amnesty.

Catherine Ashton stated, “What is urgently needed is a genuine dialogue to build a new consensus on the way forward. I hope that the Ukrainian parliament will set a clear path during tomorrow’s session towards a political solution.”

US Vice President Joe Biden weighed in as well, calling Yanukovych and released a summary of the call to the public, which read in part, “Underscoring that no time should be lost, the vice president urged President Yanukovych to pull back riot police and work with the opposition on immediate measures to de-escalate tensions between protesters and the government.”

Yanukovych had also apparently tried to bribe opposition leaders with government positions – a tone-deaf move as it ignored the substance of the issues going on. Arseniy Yatsenyuk was offered the position of prime minister, which he declined. Yatsenyuk led the opposition Fatherland party. Opposition leader for the Democratic Alliance for Reforms party (UDAR), Vitali Klitschko, also rejected a proffered post of Deputy Minister on Humanitarian Issues. President Yanukovych did, however, signal openness to looking at changes to the country’s constitution.

Opposition spokeswoman Lesya Orobets stated, “We as an opposition spend the whole day to negotiate with people who actually captured the premises to get out of here, not to give them any legal base for a state of emergency.” She further warned that such a declaration could lead to use of military force to suppress the protesters.

January 28th. Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and his government resigned, but would continue in their roles until a new government was formed. President Yanukovych accepted their resignation.

Meanwhile, the parliament was back at work. First, the anti-protest laws, which had been passed by a show of hands, were repealed. Then, they looked at how to give amnesty to over 200 politically protesting prisoners. Parliament then adjourned until Wednesday with no formal decision being made over the amnesty issue. These concessions, though significant, would not ultimately give the protesters what they wanted, which was a complete overhaul of the government and their country’s constitution.

Vitali Klitschko believed this was a step in the right direction, but Fatherland opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk, apparently more versed in Ukrainian politics than Klitschko, a former boxer, urged the President to sign the legislation that would repeal the anti-protest laws. “I’m asking Viktor Yanukovych to immediately sign a law for which the parliament has just voted,” Yatsenyuk stated to the official state-run media, Ukrinform. “We have finally closed the shameful practice of voting by a show of hands and abolished those laws against which the whole of Ukraine rebelled.”

January 29th. Parliament voted to give amnesty to the protesters. While the top legislator attempted to sell the amnesty as something everyone had agreed to, neither Yatsenyuk nor Klitschko supported it.

Yatsenyuk said that he did not know what was in it. Klitschko noted that, while it did free 218 activists from jail, it did little else. In a statement, Klitschko said, “People took to the streets because they want to change the situation. A statement [such as] ‘we will free people, if they go home’ is unacceptable. It can not be understood. Today, the key issue is the confrontation between people and the government. Withdrawal of charges and amnesty is not enough.”

January 30th. Viktor Yanukovych again blamed protesters for the unrest. Stating that the government had “fulfilled all its obligations,” he blamed the protesters for fomenting anger at the government and continued to make the situation worse. On his website, he stated in part, “We must understand that there is no future for the state and people if political interests of certain groups are set higher than the existence of Ukraine itself.”  He also took a leave of sick absence due to “acute respiratory disease accompanied by fever.”

More details were revealed by CNN about the amnesty law. In order for the protesters to receive amnesty, they had to vacate government building and unblock public roads. Opposition leader Yatsenyuk stated, “It depends on the way the government is to act. If they press on peaceful protesters, this will definitely trigger another spiral of violence.”

Opposition leader Dmytro Bulatov reappeared in the public eye. Accusing government forces of literally “crucifying” him by piercing his hands, he also said that he was dumped in a forest after being kidnapped. The EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney were quick to condemn the cruelty. Bulatov would leave the country for Lithuania to receive medical treatment on February 2nd.

Meanwhile, a resolution passed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, said that the repeal of the anti-protest laws should be followed up on. It further noted that “If grave human rights violations continue, or if the Maidan protest were to be broken up by force,” sanctions could be imposed. It also called for a full investigation into “violence by police against protesters.”

February 3rd. Russia stepped up their rhetoric against the protesters. The Foreign Ministry accused those in Independence Square of taking “provocative steps” which “Contradict statements about the opposition’s commitment to the democratic and European values.” The statement further read, “we hope the opposition in Ukraine will renounce threats and ultimatums and activate a dialogue with the government to solve the severe crisis.”

February 16th. Protesters pulled back from the City Hall in Kiev and unblock streets near the city center. This was done in the response to the government saying it would drop charges against political prisoners arrested during the protest.

February 18th. Riot Police moved in, using water cannons, stun grenades, and other means meant to suppress a crowd. Using shield and sticks, they attempted to suppress the rebellion. But the protesters were not driven from Independence Square. 26 protesters died as a result. In the same clash, the House of Trade Unions, the revolutionary news headquarters, was burned to the ground. The protesters responded and burned down the headquarters of the ruling party. An armed law enforcement vehicle charged the barricades set up by the protesters, but was immediately burned to a crisp by Molotov cocktails. Government officials told everyone to stay inside and closed bus and train stations. That night, smoke and flames constantly burned in Independence Square, partially from burning tires and fireworks set off by the protesters, but the smoke and flames were also remnants of the stun grenades. At the end of clash, CNN reported that at least 21 people – including nine police officers, eleven protesters, and one government employee – had died.

The parliament’s speaker did not allow amendments that would limit the president’s power and return Ukraine’s government to what it was in 2004 under the constitution from that year. The government responded and said that the protesters were breaking their agreement as well. “For the sake of pursuing their own political interests,” the Ukrainian prosecutor general said, “they neglected all previously reached agreements and put lives and the peace of millions of Kiev residents under threat.”

Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko and President Yanukovych met face-to-face overnight, but nothing changed. Speaking to reporters in the morning, Klitschko implied that meeting overnight was a waste of time. The President had demanded that the protesters go home and accused them of having weapons. “I think the authorities should immediately pull back the police and stop the blood,” Klitschko said, “because people are dying. I told Yanukovych this. How can we negotiate when there is blood being spilled. Unfortunately, he does not understand this.”

February 19th. In the aftermath of the deaths, the United States and other Western nations put more pressure on Yanukovych’s regime. President Obama stated, “We hold the Ukrainian government primarily responsible for making sure that it is dealing with peaceful protesters in an appropriate way, that the Ukrainian people are able to assemble and speak freely about their interests without fear of oppression.”

A truce was announced at midnight, but it would not last long. Protesters still took to the street and threw pavement and rocks at police, who responded by throwing Molotov cocktails. They wanted power transferred away from the president to the parliament. Vitali Klitschko announced that a new round of peace meeting would happen on the 20th. Meanwhile, Colonel General Volodymyr Zamana, part of the Ukrainian government’s anti-terrorism campaign, was replaced.”

The foreign minister of Ukraine told CNN that there were no orders for the military to attack the crowds. He stated, “Under no conditions will the Ukrainian arm … be used in resolving this political crisis.” Later that night, troops took up positions around bases and weapons depots, in an apparent effort to secure their own facilities.

European Council President Jose Manuel Barroso said that European officials will target those responsible for “violence and use of excessive force,” should the situation escalate again.

Meanwhile, the State Department did not allow the issuance of visas for twenty senior members of the Ukrainian government and others who were believed to responsible for the violence against protesters from the day before. Secretary of State John Kerry was also quoted as saying, “We are talking about the possibility of sanctions or other steps with our [European] friends and [friends] elsewhere in order to create the environment for compromise.”

February 20th. Snipers on the rooftops around Maidan opened fire on the crowd. Eighty people, later referred to as the “Heaven’s battalion,” were killed. The opposition medical services put this number at 100, while the Ukrainian government health ministry put the death total thus far at 77. 577 total were injured according to the ministry. Interior Minister Vitali Zakharchenko blamed the violence entirely on opposition leaders, but later said that the police had used firearms, but only to protected nearby, unarmed, police officers.

The parliament passed a resolution that security forces should stop using firearms, withdraw from Maidan, and denounce the “anti-terror” operation that was announced earlier in the day. The resolution did not need Yanukovych’s signature. Kiev’s mayor resigned from the ruling party and once again reopened the mass transit system. The European Union froze the assets of those who they believed were responsible for the violence.

John Kerry released a statement on the situation. “We unequivocally condemn the use of force against civilians by security forces, and urge that those forces be withdrawn immediately…there is no time for brinksmanship or gamesmanship. President Yanukovych must undertake serious negotiations with opposition leaders immediately.”

Russia was also now seeking to assert its influence in the region. Government officials painted the situation as a violent coup, and one that had no legitimacy, and one that was led by Western powers. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Aleksandr Lukashevich stated, “The ongoing attempts to obtrusively intervene from outside, threat with sanctions or trying to influence the situation in any other ways are inappropriate and can’t lead to anything good but can only aggravate the confrontation.”

But the Western powers were determined to succeed. That night, Foreign Ministers of Germany, France, and Poland met with Yanukovych. According to the top Polish diplomat’s Twitter account, negotiations ended at 7:20 in the morning.

February 21st. The Ukrainian government and protesters, aided by the diplomatic efforts of Germany, Poland, and France, agreed to return to the 2004 constitution, which increased the powers of the Rada, while decreasing presidential power. Elections were set for December of 2014. Finally, an investigation would be launched into the violence that had killed hundreds of protesters.

An ultimatum was issued by the protesters, who were not entirely happy with the situation: if President Yanukovych did not leave office by February 22nd, they would evict him themselves. When the deal was announced to Maidan, opposition leader Vitali Klitschko took to the stage. He said that the government was trying to divide the protesters. The crowd reacted negatively. A different protester expressed disappointed and suggested that action should be taken to remove Yanukovych if he did not leave by 10 A.M. the following day. Yanukovych, in the meantime, left to eastern Ukraine. Coffins of the dead were also present on stage at Independence Square.

February 22nd. Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was released from prison. Meanwhile, the former President Yanukovych, called his ouster a coup. At Maidan, Tymoshenko announced, to a cheering crowd, “Today, Ukraine has finished with this terrible dictator, Mr. Yanukovych.” She also called for justice for the protesters. From Russia, Yanukovych still proclaimed himself to be leader of Ukraine. The former president and his entourage and, later, the former interior minister, were forbidden from boarding a plane.

Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, condemned the meddling of Western powers. On his Twitter account, he posted, “Either they don’t understand the consequence of what they’re doing, or they’re engaged in a very provocative game of destabilizing Ukraine and therefore Eastern Europe.” He also accused the opposition of trying to take power by force, asserting, “if those so-called democratic opposition leaders come to power on the shoulders of thugs, that will not produce democracy in Ukraine.”

The old guard and the new guard were clashing with each other right out of the gate, and a new interim government hadn’t even been formed yet. It was a clash that would continue throughout the year.

February 23rd. Protesters in Kharkiv, the former Soviet capital of Ukraine, urged confrontation with NATO. The mayor of Sebastopol was overthrown by a crowd some 20,000 strong. A Russian citizen replaced the mayor.

Thousands gathered in Independence Square to mourn the dead. Uncertainty reigned in Ukraine. No one knew where Yanukovych had gone after the Rada had ousted him.  In a video statement, the parliamentary leader of Yanukovych’s own party condemned him for “robbery and deception.” Yanukovych himself took to the airwaves and still proclaimed that he was the President, asserting that he was forced to leave the country due to “vandalism, crime, and a coup.” Ministerial officials were fired, including those connected to the educational and foreign ministries. The Rada was cleaning house.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met about the situation in Ukraine. Kerry urged Russia to accept the outcome of the Rada’s decisions. He also urged Russia to work with the European Union and the United States to reform the country, and cautioned against using military force.

February 24th. President Viktor Yanukovych was not only missing; he was a wanted man. An arrest warrant had been issued for his arrest. His charge was for “mass killings” of civilians. Opposition leader Vitali Klitschko stated, “It’s a remarkable situation when the most sought-after character in the country is the President of Ukraine, who is hiding and doing everything to leave the country, to avoid responsibility.’

Meanwhile, the Rada continued forward with naming a new interim government. A new chief prosecutor had been named, as well as a security service chief and central bank head. Alexander Turchinov, Speaker of the Rada, an ally of the recently freed Tymoshenko, had already been named President. A new election was set for May 25th.

Russia, naturally, criticized the action. The Foreign Ministry released a statement, which said in part, “a course had been set for suppressing those who disagree in different regions of Ukraine with methods of dictatorship and terror.”

Interim Finance Minister of Ukraine, Yury Kolobov, proposed that an international donor conference should be held within two weeks. He estimated that Ukraine would need $35 billion in aid by the end of 2015.

While the United States supported the parliament’s decision, they were also wary of Russia and what it might do militarily. White House spokesperson Jay Carney told reporters, “We have been very clear that we support and independent and unified Ukraine and that the idea of separation or partition or division is not in the interest of the Ukrainian people, of the Ukrainian nation, of Europe, or Russia, or the United States.” He later added, “This is not a competition between East and West. This is not a restoration of the Cold War. This is about the Ukrainian people and their future.”

February 26th. The new interim cabinet was presented to Maidan. Protesters shouted “shame” when the speaker of the parliament, Alexander Turchinov, appeared on stage. Declaring the parliament as the “only legitimate power today,” he reassured the crowd that an election for a permanent government would be scheduled in May.  The controversial riot police were also disbanded later that day.

Pro-Russian demonstrators also clashed with Crimean Tartars. The Tartars wished to remain a part of Ukraine. In response, near the border, Russia began military exercises that caught the world by surprise.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk, former leader of the revolution, was going to be the Prime Minister. Arsen Avakov would be the Interior Minister. Dmytro Bulatov, an activist, was put forth as sports minister.

The nomination of Arsen Avakov as interior minister was actually rejected by Maidan, with leader Vladimir Parasyuk asking the interim government to present a new nominee the following night. “As a citizen of Ukraine,” he said, “I won’t allow this. My conscience won’t let me.”

February 27th, Yanukovych again issued a statement declaring himself to be the true leader of Ukraine. The statement also asked Russia for shelter. It was granted and Yanukovych fled there.  This was the end of the coup, but the conquest was just beginning.

Kidnap. As Ukraine was undergoing regime change, Russian troops “invaded” Crimea. President Putin said that it was to protect ethnic Russians in the area. Putin’s fear of ethnic Russia’s being persecuted was perhaps correct. On February 24th, the Ukrainian parliament passed a law that removed Russia from the list of official languages in Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister and Commissioner on Human Rights, Konstantin Dolgov, said that this was an “attack on the Russian language in Ukraine [that] is a brutal violation of ethnic majority rights.”

However, many experts feared that Putin had always wanted to annex Crimea and bring it back to being part of Russia, and was just using the language law as an excuse. Putin, after all, was an ex-KGB agent and it was very well known that he missed the days of Russian supremacy in the region.

February 26th. Russian ordered surprise military drills along the Ukrainian border. Pro-Russian demonstrators clashed with Pro-EU protesters in the Crimean capital of Simferopol. Fights also broke out. A protester died in front of the Crimean Parliament of a heart attack, according to the Crimean Ministry of Health.

Russia denied that there was no sinister motive behind the drills. The foreign minister said that Russia would not intervene militarily in Ukraine while the Defense Minister said that the military exercises were planned to “check combat readiness of armed forces in western and central military districts as well as several branches of the armed forces.” The foreign minister was also disappointed that ethnic Russians were being left out of the reform process.

The White House Deputy Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, responded to the drills by saying, “We urge outside actions in the region to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and end provocative rhetoric and [take] actions to support democratically established  transitional government structures and use their influence in support of unity, peace and an inclusive path forward.”

The Crimean parliament convened an unscheduled session. The speaker of the Parliament, Volodimir Konstantinov, denied that this session was meant to discuss any extreme issues, such as separation from Ukraine.

February 27th. Armed gunmen seized government buildings of the Crimean regional government and raised the Russian flag. The Rada was still voting on establishing an interim government. The gunmen made no demands.

Russian forces also took over airports, government buildings, and broadcasters in Crimea. Military bases were blockaded. Local people celebrated. Russia had effectively occupied Crimea.

The move took the Ukrainian government by surprise and was caught unaware and unprepared. “All police in Ukraine have been ordered to be prepared,” interim Interior Minister Arsen Avakov offered on his Facebook page. “Orders have been issued to create a cordon around the Parliament in Crimea and to avoid shooting and violence.”

The Crimean parliament dismissed the sitting government via a vote of no confidence. The vote was led by pro-Russian parliament members. They also set a vote for May 25th and, if the motion passed, Crimea would be given more autonomy.  

Yanukovych was finally located and was found in Russia, one day before he was going to give a televised address from the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. The Ukrainian state news agency stated that Yanukovych is “no longer the President, he is the person under investigation and accused of crimes against humanity.”

The Russian military drills were concerning both U.S. and Ukrainian officials alike. U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel spoke before a meeting of defense ministers in Belgium and commented on the situation. “I’m closely watching Russia’s military exercises along the Ukrainian border,” he said “I expect Russia to be transparent about these activities, and I urge them not to take any steps that could be misinterpreted or lead to miscalculations.” US officials had earlier said that these drills were a sign that Russia was preparing to invade the Crimean peninsula. They would turn out to be correct.

Secretary of State John Kerry stated that the Russian military drills were actually pre-scheduled and were not related to Ukraine. This turned out to be a very naive position. At the time, he stated, “We believe that everybody now needs to step back and avoid any kind of provocations, and we want to see in the next days ahead obviously that the choices Russia makes conform to this affirmation that we received today…we are also making the same point about reducing tensions in the Crimea to the Ukrainians. It is very important that the process continue in a thoughtful and respectful way.”

Meanwhile, the Rada approved Arseniy Yatsenyuk of the Fatherland party and appointed him to be the Prime Minister. Yatsenyuk told the Rada that there was likely to be suffering in the short term as the Ukrainian government sought to right its financial situation. He also reiterated his stance that Ukraine should integrate with the European Union because “It means a visa-free regime for the Ukrainian citizens, and it means an agreement with the European Union on political and economic integration; agreement on a full fledged free trade zone. The future of Ukraine is in Europe, and Ukraine will be a member of the European Union.”

The International Monetary Fund chief, Christine Lagarde, said that the organization was ready to respond to an aid request from Ukraine. A fact-finding team would be dispatched to assess the full situation in Ukraine. She also said that she was in talks with other nations as to how to best aid Ukraine.

February 28th. Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations cautioned Russia against its continual violation of its territorial borders. The United States also warned Russia to leave the region, or else face consequences.

In televised comments, President Barack Obama stated, “We are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside Ukraine…it would be a clear violation of Russia’s commitment to respect the independence and sovereignty of Ukraine and of international law” He further warned that any violations of independence and sovereignty, noting that it would be “deeply destabilizing” and said that “the United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.”  He was also debating boycotting the G8 summit in Sochi, Russia, which was the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Meanwhile, the US military and intelligence units were trying to assess the situation.  The United States State Department also warned American citizens to suspend travel plans to Ukraine “due to the potential for instability following the departure of former President Yanukovych and the establishment of a new government.”

John Kerry spoke with his counterpart and, while he was reassured that the Russians were simply honoring the base agreement they had with the Ukrainian government, noted that he “made it clear that” current military exercises inside of Ukraine could “be misinterpreted at the moment, and there are enough tensions that it is important for everybody to be extremely careful not to inflame the situation and send the wrong messages…we would overwhelmingly stress today that we urge all parties…to avoid any steps that could be misinterpreted or lead to miscalculation or do anything other than to work to bring peace and stability and peaceful transition within the governing process within Ukraine.”

Ukraine accused Russian Black Sea forces of trying to take over two airports in Crimea. The country also said that these attempts were rebuffed by security forces in the area. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said that the airport was briefly under “armed invasion.”

The United Nations was also heavily involved. The Security council president called on armed groups to refrain from challenging Ukrainian sovereignty. The Ukrainian UN Ambassador, Yuriy Sergeyev, urged the UN to provide “moral and political support” for their government. “We still have a chance to stop the negative developments,” he said, and then said of the Russians, “this group is making a serious mistake challenging our territorial integrity.”

Russia, of course, denied that their troops were making moves to invade Crimea, with Vitaliy Churkin, United Nations ambassador to the UN, stating that rumors like these were “always not true.” Mr. Putin himself spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and the European Council President.

While these talks were going on, Russian lawmakers introduced two bills that would simplify annexing territories into the Russian Federation and streamline the process by which Ukrainians could become Russian citizens. Elsewhere, Russian takes were creeping ever-slower towards Simferopol, the Crimean regional capital. Ukraine also reported that the communications network between Crimea and Ukraine had been shut down due to the destruction of communications cables being destroyed and nodes being seized. Mr. Putin also received permission from the parliament to protect Russian citizens in Ukraine.

Former President Yanukovych himself weighed in on the situation by refusing to acknowledge that he had been stripped of his powers. “I intend to continue the fight for the future of Ukraine without those who, with fear and terror, are attempting to replace the power.” Speaking from the Russian city of Rostov-on-Done, he further stated, “nobody has overthrown me. I was compelled to leave Ukraine due to a direct threat to my life and my nearest and dearest.”

Ukraine was a mess since Yanukovych had been removed. The west of the country supported allying themselves with the new government and the European Union, which the east of the country preferred distancing themselves from the Ukrainian government, and instead preferred friendly relations with Russia. The people living in Crimea, in the far east portion of Ukraine, definitely preferred the latter.

March 1st. Fractures began showing as Rear Admiral Denis Berezovsky, appointed by the new interim President Oleksandr Turchynov, said that he would not listen to any orders coming from the national government. He was suspended and replaced by a different rear admiral.

The Russian parliament granted President Vladimir Putin the right to use military force in Ukraine. It was mainly a vote for show, but it nonetheless established the point that Putin was not fooling around and that his bluff should not be called.

March 2nd. Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev noted that the instability in Ukraine could result in bloodshed. On his official Facebook page, Mr. Medvedev posted, “Such a state of order will be extremely unstable. It will end with the new revolution. With new blood.”

Russian generals led marches towards three bases in Crimea, demanding forces give up and weapons be surrendered. By the end of the day, the Russian military had “complete operational control of the Crimean peninsula” according to a senior US administration official, and had roughly 6,000 troops, both naval and on the ground, in the Crimean region. Another U.S. senior administration noted, “there is no question that they are in an occupation position — flying in reinforcements and settling in.” Additionally, power had been cut off at the headquarters of the Ukrainian Navy in Crimea.

The new Ukrainian interim Prime Minister said in a televised address, “This is a red alert. This is not a threat. This is actually a declaration of war to my country.”  He also urged Mr. Putin to “pull back his military and stick to the international obligations” before further noting, “We are on the brink of the disaster.” He would later state, “Nobody will give Crimea away…there are no grounds for the use of force against civilians and Ukrainians, and for the entry of the Russian military contingent. Russia never had any grounds and never will.”

Secretary of State Kerry went on “Face the Nation,” a U.S. Sunday news program and stated that certain foreign powers were “prepared to go to the hilt in order to isolate Russia with respect to this invasion. They’re prepared to put sanctions in place, they’re prepared to isolate Russia economically.” Oddly, but unsurprising due to his history for doing such thing, Mr. Kerry also temporarily undermined his own position, stating at another point in the interview, “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext.” It seemed that John Kerry had forgotten about the Iraq War that he had voted for in 2003.

Mr. Sergeyev stated on “State of the Union,” another Sunday news program, that “we are to demonstrate that we have our own capacity to protect ourselves…and we are preparing to defend ourselves. And nationally, if aggravation is going on in that way, when the Russian troops…are enlarging their quantity with every coming hour…we will ask for military support and other kinds of support.”

He later spoke at an emergency UN Security Council meeting and asked for help. Citing the now 16,000 troops in Crimea, he stated, “So far, Ukrainian armed forces have exercised restraint and refrained from active resistance to the aggression, but they are in full operational readiness.” Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin countered his argument, stating that the troops were only there in case Russians’ lives in Ukraine were threatened. He also stated that Viktor Yanukovych was the true leader of Ukraine.

A letter, supposedly written by Yanukovych, was read to the Security Council. “People are being persecuted for language and political reasons. So in this regard, I would call on the President of Russia, Mr. Putin, asking him to use the armed forces of the Russian Federation to establish legitimacy, peace, law and order, stability and defending the people of Ukraine.” US Ambassador Samantha Powers countered the letter by stating, “Russian military action is not a human rights protection mission, it is a violation of international law.”

Meanwhile, in Belgium, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh stated in an emergency meeting that “What Russia is doing now in Ukraine violates the principles of the U.N. charter” and further accused Russia of violating international law.

Elsewhere, German Prime Minister Angela Merkel had secured an agreement with Mr. Putin to establish a “fact-finding mission” in Ukraine, while Mr. Ki-Moon dispatched a UN special envoy to Ukraine. The G7 nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States) issued a joint statement in which they condemned the “clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” and also suspended planning for the G8 summit in Sochi.

The finance ministers of the G7 also stated, “We are also committed to mobilize rapid technical assistance to support Ukraine in addressing its macroeconomic, regulator, and anti-corruption challenges.”

March 3rd. Ukraine began mobilizing its army against what it perceived to be an invasion by Russia. The tensions were increased when a crowd of one thousand Yanukovych loyalists Russian separatists stormed the government administrative building in Crimea and nominated pro-Russian Pavel Gubarev to be governor of Crimea.

Meanwhile, economic impacts around the world were beginning to be felt. In America, according to CNNMoney, U.S. stock futures were down 1%. The Dow Jones rose slightly, but the NASDAQ was down. Finally, the S&P 500 was slightly down.

Indexes in Russia and Europe were also affected. The Russian MICEX index was down by 11%. Germany’s Dax index was down slightly more than 3%, France’s CAC 40 index was down 2.4%, and London’s FTSE 100 index was down by 2%. Asian stock markets were also down. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was down 1.5% at closing, and the Nikkei index in Tokyo was down 1.3%. The Chinese stock markets, however, moved higher.

Commodities were also affected. Gold rose 2%, Brent crude rose 1.5%. Chief European market strategist at JP Morgan, Stephanie Flanders, said, “Russia’s involvement clearly magnifies the scope for contagion and increases the possibility that global energy prices will be affected both directly and indirectly.” ATM withdrawals were also limited by UniCredit, owners of the fourth-largest bank in Ukraine.

Indeed, Ukraine was a pivotal country in the world’s economy. According to CNNMoney’s Mark Thompson and Gregory Wallace, it was an integral part of both Russia’s and Europe’s economy. Due to its strategic location, half of the oil that was pumped into Europe from Russia had to go through Ukraine. A half of Russia’s trade was with Europe. The world’s grain supply could be affected, as Ukraine provided a sizable amount of corn around the world. The Ukrainian government owed $13 billion in debt and was looking like it would default. Finally, banks in Russia would also be hurt as a result of the crisis.

March 4th. Ukrainian parliamentarian Petro Poroshenko told CNN that “today we [had] the first sign of contact between our minister of defense and Russia’s minister of defense…but it is not a negotiation, unfortunately. We try to do our best to use any opportunity for peaceful negotiation. But…we don’t have any sign of hope…from the Russian side.”  

UN ambassador Sergeyev now claimed that there were 16,000 on the Crimean peninsula, with disguised Russian troops putting military installation under siege.

Vladimir Putin again denied that his troops had any role in the conflict and told IRA Novosti, a state-run news organization, that he was not planning to seize Crimea. Further, he stated, if his troops did intervene, then it would “be legitimate and correspond to international law because we have a direct from a legitimate president and it corresponds to our interests in protecting people close to us.” At the time, Russia still recognized Viktor Yanukovych as the President of Ukraine. At the same time, he ordered 150,000 troops to return to their barracks since the military exercises were complete. Still, troops remained near the Ukrainian border, and Ukraine double its security presence at checkpoints.

100 Ukrainian troops tried to return to Belek air force base, only to have to cede power to the Russians. The troops had no arms, and 15 of the troops were let back in. 100 Russian troops near Simferopol dug trenches and showed signs of preparing for war while speaking politely to nearby Ukrainian troops.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s parliament ratified the deal that Yanukovych would have signed had he not signed his deal with the Russians. Ukraine would receive loans from the European Union worth $639 million.

John Kerry also visited Kiev, where he visited the families of slain protesters, who were laying flowers in the protesters’ memory. While there, he was asked about Putin’s statements. “Not a single piece of evidence,” he said, backed Russia up. “Russia has talked about Russian-speaking citizens being under siege. They’re not.” He later added that “Our partners will have absolutely no choice (but) to join us to continue to expand on steps we have taken in recent days to isolate Russia diplomatically, politically, and economically… The United States will stand by the Ukrainian people as they build the strong democratic country they deserve…we must step up and answer their call.”

Ms Merkel, in the meantime, sought to ensure that ethnic Russians’ rights were not violated, which provided a way for Putin to pull out of Crimea, if he wished to.  

NATO Secretary General Rasmussen said that “Russia continues to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and continues to violate its international commitments.” NATO was highly unlikely to militarily intervene; however, nations within NATO looked for non-military ways to punish Russia.

March 5th. Foreign ministers from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Ukraine, and Russia, as well as United States Secretary of State John Kerry, met in Paris. John Kerry emerged from the talks with optimism. Though he was aware that finding a resolution to the Crimean crisis was difficult, he acknowledged that some progress had been made. Russia’s foreign ministry said it had reached an agreement with the United States over a transition of power agreement, but Mr. Kerry did not note this in his speech, instead calling on Russia to withdraw their troops and allow international observers into the Crimean Peninsula.

Sergey Lavrov and John Kerry met three times in Paris. There, Lavrov told the press, “We are all concerned at what is happening [in Ukraine]. We agreed to continue those discussions in the days to come to see how best we can help [normalize] the situation and overcome the crisis.

The United States, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine called for international observers to be deployed to Ukraine. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk stated, “We have just two options on the table. The first one is a political option, and the other one is military. I believe that the right one is to use all diplomatic and political tools to tackle the crisis and to stop the invasion.”

The new Prime Minister of Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, disagreed with the Western powers’ assertion that Russia was going to use their troops to invade. He stated, “I think somebody is just overestimating the situation. People of Crimea are controlling the situation themselves.” He also added that the troops in the region were legal and being used for self-defense. He was not overly concerned about the troop presence, adding, “Today in almost all of our cities, there is an active military selection to the future arm of Autonomous Republic of Crimea. So it is not excluded that there may be some Russian military personnel that theoretically could sign up. We are not checking passports and don’t know where all the people there belong to…it’s not a situation of chaos or disorder. In fact, outside of those areas around military bases, it’s amazing how normal life appears to be.”

Meanwhile, NATO said it was re-evaluating its relationship with Russia. The first NATO-Russia joint mission was suspended. NATO announced that it was pivoting away from Russia and to Ukraine, which would include joint training exercises and being more inclusive of Ukraine in multinational projects.

Russian Ambassador Alexander Grushko responded to NATO’s moves, stating, “We are very much disappointed by the outcome of the meeting we had today [with NATO]. The Russian delegation arrived assuming that we are going to have discussions to exchange our points of view. This meeting proved that NATO still has a double-standards policy and still Cold War stereotypes are applied to the Russian Federation.”

The European Commission announced an economic aid package for Ukraine. The move happened prior to an emergency EU summit scheduled to happen the day after. The United States Congress announced a $1 billion aid package to Ukraine as well. It was clear that the Western powers involved wanted to prop up Ukraine as much as possible.

March 6th. Lawmakers in Crimea voted to become part of Russia. In ten days, it would be put up to a regional vote. The act drew condemnation from all sides (except, predictably, Russia). Mr. Yatsenyuk called the vote “an illegitimate decision,” and further added, “Crimea was, is, and will be an integral part of Ukraine.” Other world leaders called the move a violation of international law.

President Obama weighed in on the move, stating, “Any discussion about the future of Ukraine must include the legitimate government of Ukraine. In 2014, we are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders.”  Yatsenyuk also joined emergency talks with the leaders of European Union in Belgium.

Things were not going so well for the former President of Ukraine and the pro-Russian movement. The leaders of the EU and the United States froze the assets of Viktor Yanukovych. Interpol was looking into arresting Yanukovych for abuse of power and murder, the charges of which stemmed back to the revolution in February. In Donetsk, self-proclaimed governor and leader of a pro-Russian movement Pavlo Gubarev, was arrested.

Meanwhile, diplomatic talks continued. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, met face-to-face. They both agreed to find a solution to the crisis. Presidents Obama and Putin spoke over the phone for an hour, the outcome of which “revealed differences in approaches and assessments of the causes of the crisis and the current situation,” and surprised no one who was well-informed of the situation.

The European Union announced that bilateral talks with Russia on visas matters would be suspended. There were also threats made of travel bans, asset freezes, and cancelling the upcoming EU-Russia summit. In a joint statement, the EU leaders said, “Any further steps by the Russian Federation to destabilize the situation in Ukraine would lead to additional and far reaching consequences for relations in a broad range of economic areas.” The threats, by now, seemed hollow.

At the same time, Russian began an air defense drill in an area that was 280 miles from Ukraine’s borders. A military spokesman was quoted by state-run media as saying that the drill was the “largest-ever exercise held by air defense units” near the area. Concurrently, there was a NATO mission nearby.

In Ukraine, in the city of Odessa, pro-Russia protesters called for deeper ties with Russia. In Crimea, the newly-installed government was clearly pro-Russia. The management of a hotel in the regional capital asked CNN to stop broadcasting from their hotel. Other media outlets were asked similar requests. By the end of March 6th, Crimea had been, as a headline from the Economist put it, “kidnapped by the Kremlin.”


Trump-Ed #2: Can Donald Trump be Like George Washington?

This is Part One of our 12-part-series of “Trump-Eds,” or Trump Editorials. This series draws largely from the Great Courses Series, “Great American Presidents,” by Professor Allan Lichtman, who has been interviewed many times by news media outlets about Trump’s potential.


Character defined our first President, George Washington. He sought the approval of the people, He sought the approval of the people by being a man of service, sacrifice, and integrity. He was a man who sought fame and glory. He was skilled at math and became a surveyor.

His life was not entirely full of what Americans of modern times would consider “pure” character, flirting with Sally Fairfax, a married woman, behind her husband’s back. He owned land, but was mired in debt in his early life.

He believed in the Rules of Civility, which included, among many other rules (he copied 100 “Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior” down in his own writings), that one ought not interrupt another when they speak. He was diligent in following these rules (historians today believe that he followed those one hundred rules to the best of his ability) and driven by respect for others.

When President, above all else, he sought the “Great American Ideal,” which was to leave a legacy that left the country better off than when he became its steward.

Trump Analysis: Mr. Trump embodies many of the more negative aspects of George Washington. He is a land-owning magnate, yet has suffered several bankruptcies in his career. He’s definitely flirted with women and is driven by approval via fame and glory. Our President-Elect is not marked by service and sacrifice, and personal integrity is lacking by modern-day standards. Above all, he does not follow the rule of civility of not interrupting others. Though the President-Elect does believe that taxation has gotten out of hand, as did our first President, this is probably one of the only “positive” similarities between Mr. Trump and President Washington.

Trump-Ed #1: Make America (Potentially) Significant Again

This is Part One of our 12-part-series of “Trump-Eds,” or Trump Editorials. This series draws largely from the Great Courses Series, “Great American Presidents,” by Professor Allan Lichtman, who has been interviewed many times by news media outlets about Trump’s potential.

What is “greatness?” “Greatness” is a subjective term. For instance, if Donald Trump (R-NY) returned the country, as Democrats believe, back to the 1950s era and attitudes, then it would be “great” for American businessmen, but not so “great” for American women. Thus, a better word to use is “significant.”

The President governs at the “consent of the people,” something that Donald Trump needs to wary of, especially since he lost the popular vote – though he played by the rules and won the Presidency according to the system currently in play (the electoral college).

The American Presidency was founded on “audacity,” which Trump has plenty of. What has made this position significant is that they often come in with a vision. Donald Trump does have a vision. It is markedly limited, mainly that of making “America Great Again,” and actually does have a vision for what the wall along the Mexican border (which he’s promised to build) would look like, and who would pay for it. Beyond this vision, it’s never been articulated in specific, and it is vague by design. As far as an overall “doctrine,” Trump’s seems to be one of more delegation and trusting those with more knowledge than him to make decisions.

A new Presidency is always marked by a “peaceful transition of power.” While President Barack Obama (D-IL) and Trump have feuded over a vision to a country as the transition continues, there has been no military interference nor other violent obstacles that have affected the transition.

Sex and power come into play with several of the significant Presidents. We can point to Thomas Jefferson and John F. Kennedy are good examples of this. Donald Trump has had this throughout his entire adult life, whether from the rather lewd sexual discussion that took place on the set of Access Hollywood, or to being a CEO with the ability to fire any employee.

This brings us to the final element, which is that when President have been significant, it’s been at the “pivot point of world history,” according to Professor Allan Lichtman. With Russian (and other outside) interference, an underdog victory that very few media outlets saw coming, and a communication style unique for the 21st century, Donald Trump certainly has become President at a pivot point of some sort. Donald Trump’s decisions, like or not, have the power to influence US History.

Our conclusion is that Donald Trump embodies several factors that have made up prior significant Presidents. However, he (currently) is deficient on having a vision or doctrine. This is perhaps the most significant, glaring problem with his potential to be a significant President. As we inch closer to January 20th, if President-Elect Trump wants to be truly significant President, then he must have a concrete vision, and he must be able to articulate this vision, if not to the American people, then to his advisors. If he cannot do this, then he will not be a significant President.


Name-Dropping #3: The Campaign that never started: Jim Webb (D-VA)

Poli Sci Pulse is proud to present the next in our “Name-Dropping” series of explaining and informing the average voter about why certain Presidential Candidates never made it out of the primary – or in some cases, never ran. This issue, we are taking a look at Jim Webb (D-VA), and the campaign that never was. Our guest editor today is Rain Tahtinen.

PSP note: In researching Dennis Hastert, we realized we had not yet finished examining our source materials. We will run this article at a later date.

There were four Democratic candidates running for the Democratic nomination, and then there was Jim Webb (D-VA). Though technically a Democrat, he didn’t fit in with the others on running. He was against affirmative action, and stood out like a sore thumb in the first Democratic Primary Debate. On some occasions, some of his statements on that debate stage could have even outdone Donald Trump on the (modern-day Liberal) racism scale. In the end, he could not get his campaign off to any sort of a start. This article will explain why that was.

On June 19th, 2016, the Register posted an article which argued that Jim Webb had all the requirements necessary to be president. He was a storied war hero, and advocated for criminal justice reform, repairing income inequality, and pivoting foreign policy to East Asia. What Jim Webb didn’t have, the article noted, was “excitement.” He had very low poll numbers, and directing funds that were now going to Hillary, to his pocket, would be a challenge. This article was written even before he announced his intention to run for President.

According to Eduwatch, a column by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Jim Webb believed that there were three major challenges in education. The first was getting the most out of Pre-K, especially for less-privileged children, so that they could start socializing at an earlier age. The second challenge was getting the student loan debt crisis under control, suggesting that public service could be performed in lieu of paying the debt and as a way of earning loan forgiveness. The final challenge was high school education graduation rate. He believed that the 25% of students that did not finish high school should be given a “second chance,” later in life and, as such, he was in favor of adult education as well. The three challenges were laid out in a speech by Mr. Webb in July of 2015, while his being in favor of adult education was discussed in March 2015.

In the July issue for Politico Magazine, Jim Webb published a short story entitled, “To Kill A Man.” If the piece reflected his feelings, then war was not about killing people. After all, the story argues, “you either died or they did.” He believed that war doesn’t make one a “better or worse person”; rather, it makes you “different.” The “moral paragons” of war, he wrote, were not about killing others; it was about your friends and comrades who, after months of building up strong trust which later became “love as close as family,” died or suffered far more than the person on the battlefield than the average soldier that did not get killed or suffer.

On July 2nd, 2015, the Democrat entered the race in the most personal of manners: by sending a 2,000-word email. Even his email tempered expectations: “I understand the odds, particularly in today’s political climate when fair debate is so often drowned out by huge sums of money,” the email read according to Politico’s Gabriel Debenedetti, “I know that more than one candidate in this process intends to raise at least a billion dollars – some estimates run as high as two billion dollars – in direct and indirect financial support….Our country needs a fresh approach to solving the problems that confront us and too often unnecessarily divide us…and at at the same time our fellow Americans need proven, experienced leadership that can be trusted to move us forward from a new President’s first days in office. I believe I can be both.”

On July 12th, 2015, Jim Webb went on Fox News to discuss efforts towards removing the Confederate flag from government grounds. According to, he called these efforts “divisive,” even going as far as to compare those efforts to Donald Trump’s recent inflammatory comments towards Mexican immigrants. He said, “We’re seeing an issue which should have been resolved and now is resolved, flying the Confederate battle flag in public places, morphing into something different,” and called for “inclusive leadership.” A former Webb supporter said that Web’s referral to this as a problem “on both sides” was “intellectually dishonest and lazy, among other problems.”

On July 18th, 2015, at the Iowa Democratic Party Hall of Fame Celebration, Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Jim Webb, Lincoln Chafee (D-RI), and Martin O’Malley (D-MD), all took the stage to speak. Webb barely made a splash in the Des Moines Register, who wrote an article about it. There was only one sentence about Jim Webb in that article, which was, “of the five, Webb elicited the least emotion.” Mr. Webb, much like in the debates (covered later in this article), he had squandered

On July 21st, 2015, Allan Hubbard of the Baltimore Sun, endorsed Jim Webb for President. The endorsement told the tale of how Secretary of the Navy Jim Webb was able to secure an honor guard for one of the son of one of Hubbard’s friends at 10 p.m., even though the Department of the Navy initially told that family that honor guards were “overbooked.” Hubbard tells this tale to relate Mr. Webb’s “do-the-right-thing-and-get-the-job-done” approach to the Presidency and how he is a “straight shooter and made of presidential timber.”

In an interview with CNN’s Jim Acosta on August 23rd, 2015, he stated that the North Korean regime was “opaque and unpredictable.” He was later asked about the popularity of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump (R-NY). His response was that Americans “are seeing in the country writ [sic] large is a sort of period like total discomfort, almost just getting it out of the system right now…so, you see it in the Republican Party with people going to Trump on issues that are concerning their stability, their long term stability. And you see it in the Democratic Party with people moving toward Bernie Sanders on issues I – issues I actually agree with respect to economic fairness,” and opined that “things will calm down,” and there would be a gravitation towards candidates that could “bring people together.”

Going into the First Democratic Debate, he had raised just over $696,000 and had about $315,000 on hand. This amount was less than Larry Lessig, a Democratic candidate who did not even meet the 1% requirement to be invited to the debate.

After the First Democratic Debate on October 13th, 2015, in which he said controversial things, such as being of the opinion that affirmative action should not be legal as it distracts from the struggles of white Americans as well as seemingly bragging about killing an enemy soldier, it was clear that Democratic Webb, former Secretary of the Navy from Virginia, failed to gain traction, and likely never would.

On October 15th, 2015, Jim Webb’s son (of the same name) wrote an editorial in The Washington Post, which sought to counter the “almost stunning level of ignorance the general public has about war.” His son, who was also in the military, reminded the audience that Mr. Webb had shielded a fellow soldier from the explosion caused by the grenade that was thrown at him, while simultaneously killing the Vietnamese soldier. He also noted that he received the Navy Cross for that action. His son reminds the reader that his father is the architect of the post-9/11 GI Bill. Finally, he notes of the enemy soldier that his dad killed that “this is a person whose intent is to end your life, and that is as clear cut as an enemy as you can think of.” His son argues that it was only natural for Mr. Webb to think of this enemy soldier as the enemy he was most proud to have made.

On October 19th, 2015, an email was sent to reporters that said hat the former Navy secretary might be planning a run as an independent. He believed that if he had help from key supporters, such as David “Mudcat” Saunders, he might be able to win the presidency. Saunders himself was quoted by the Washington Post as saying “I think the process is rigged, the whole nomination process. This idea that the Democrat Party decides we only have six debates, they decide when they have them, who’s broadcasting it and what the subject is going to be…anybody who thinks that doesn’t benefit Mrs. Clinton is a moron, and even a moron knows they control the DNC.” The problem for Jim Webb, though, as keenly noted by CNN, was that “he has been to the right of the other candidates on most domestic policy issues.”

On October 20th, 2015, Jim Webb withdrew from the Democratic Presidential Primary race. At the National Press Club, he stated, “I fully accept that my views on many issues are not compatible with the power structure and the nominating base of the Democratic Party,” and went on to say that he was not comfortable with their policies just as the party infrastructure was not happy with his. Claiming that “interest group politics” now dominated the Democratic Party, leading to the exclusion of movements such as BlackLivesMatter, Jim Webb had had enough and would “think about” even remaining a Democrat. In further remarks that day, Webb lamented how far away from the middle that both political parties had ventured. “Poll after poll shows that a strong plurality of Americans is neither Republican nor Democrat. Overwhelmingly, they’re independents. Our political candidates are being pulled to the extremes. They are increasingly out of step with the people they are supposed to serve.”

Webb floated the idea of running as an independent and also said he had the money to run, which would be given to him by “people I have not felt talking with as a Democratic candidate.” Despite the money shortfall (his under one million to Clinton’s $25.7 million on hand), he believed that he could run against both Republican Donald Trump (R-NY) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY), frontrunners of their respective parties, and win if he ran a race that “worked and got traction,” despite having made only a total of thirteen campaign stops: nine in Iowa, one in New Hampshire, and three in South Carolina.

Shortly after Jim Webb dropped out, Vice President Joe Biden (D-DE) decided not to run. PoliSciPulse will cover why Joe did not run.

The First Democratic Debate

Poli Sci Pulse is proud to bring you another feature-length article. This time, we head to Nevada and discuss the first Democratic Presidential debate. We now have a special guest editor, Rain Tahtinen. 

In October of 2015, the Democratic Party had their first Presidential debate. Unlike the Republicans, who had so many candidates that two debates were needed every debate day to make sure all candidates were heard from, Democrats has only one debate with five candidates. There was the Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders; the former Secretary of State and former Senator from New York, Hillary Clinton; former Marine and Senator Jim Webb; former Governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley; and former Governor and Senator from Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee. The five would debate various issues throughout the course of the debate. However, the lead up to the debate actually began with a debate…about debating.

On October 2nd, 2015, a coalition of supporters of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley, 80 in total, were arguing for there to be at least one more debate in New Hampshire, which is the home “first in the nation primary,” not to be confused with Iowa’s “first in the nation caucus.” The members of the coalition noted that there would only be one debate in New Hampshire on February 6th, three days before the primary. The first Democratic debate was in Nevada, and these coalition members simply wanted New Hampshire voters to see more of the candidates before the February 6th primary.

On October 5th, the speculation surrounding the debate began. The blog crooksandliars published a piece about Bernie Sanders’ debate style. The piece, written by Susie Madrak, and entitled, “Clinton vs. Sanders: Who Will Win the First Debate?” noted that Bernie was forgoing the usual debate preparation. This was because Mr. Sanders had decided that the debate was better-suited to be used as an “opportunity to talk about the issues he’s been talking about for decades.” The article also noted Sanders’ fiery temper. Republican Richard Tarrant was quoted as saying, “You can poke at him and get him angry, and he’s good at rolling out of it.” Tarrant went on to explain that he often used his stump message to get back on track if he was surprised and used facts and figures to make his point. “I don’t think Hillary stands a chance against him,” Tarrant concluded.

On October 6th, Politico’s Annie Karni wrote an article entitled “inside Hillary Clinton’s debate prep,” which discussed how Hillary Clinton was going to debate Bernie Sanders. With trailing polling numbers in New Hampshire, and a slim lead in Iowa, Clinton had been derailed from discussing any policy issues, and had to deflect accusation of wrongdoing as Secretary of State and the use of her private email server. Her strategy was going to be to dismiss Bernie Sanders’ solutions while embracing his ideals, and question his record on gun control, all while explaining that Sanders’ solutions were simply too expensive to implement. Hillary’s supporters wanted to see her “fight back” against Republican accusations and establish herself as a strong candidate, while also making sure she kept her debate answers short, unlike in 2008, in which her debate answers were much too long. She would also have to answer for why she supported the PATRIOT Act, the War on Iraq, the Defense of Marriage Act, and the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, all of which were currently regarded as mistaken policies. Thus, while Sanders was able to simply reiterate his talking points, Clinton needed to be both on the offensive against Republicans, but also on the defensive against past policies.

October 8th, 2015, Politico’s Gabriel DeBenedetti wrote an article titled, “Inside Bernie Sanders’ unorthodox debate prep.” In this article, it turns out that Bernie Sanders’ debate prep was simply to deliver his message and deliver a contrast with Clinton, though not attack her outright. While he had briefings with experts, Sanders didn’t do a lot of debate prep – if any at all. His main goal was to show people an alternative to Clinton, rather than try to destroy Clinton and thus alienate undecided primary voters. While Clinton was preparing an attack-and-defend strategy, all Sanders wanted was a discussion.

On October 9th, the New York Times wrote an article that described her legacy skills when debating. The article said that she struggles to land one-liners, but can discuss the intricacies of policies with a deft hand, oftentimes getting her opponents to agree with her. She also has a history with failing to keep her anger in check, as noticed with the way she deals with reporters when they ask about her email scandal. Like Sanders, she wanted to move beyond attacks and discuss policy points. Thus, while Hillary needed a strategy, she still welcomed debating policy.

Politico also ran an article in which the argument was also made that Hillary should not attack Bernie. In “Insiders to Clinton: Lay off Sanders,” Katie Glueck reported that most insiders believed that Clinton should not be on the offensive. They did not want her to alienate his voters, a crucial segment of her base that she would need to win the general election. A survey was conducted of Democratic insiders in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. The insiders in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, all concluded that no attacks against Sanders by Clinton should be made; Nevada insiders were split as to what to do. Many insiders wanted her to discuss why Sanders’ policies would not work, but advised against a direct confrontation and attack. Most of the insiders surveyed said that Clinton should make out Sanders’ policies to be “pie-in-the-sky” while providing a reasonable alternative.  

On October 11th, Politico reported that Bernie Sanders was most likely going to parry with the press. In a piece titled “Bernie Sanders vs. the Lamestream Media,” the author argues that Sanders is going to try to coax the debate away from personal attacks and into a “high-minded and nuanced discussion about the policies and prescriptions that would help America.” Sanders, to date, had refused to attack Clinton, knowing that to do so would be the type of “sport” that the media wants. Instead, he has consistently gone after the media for making such provocations. Unlike Trump and Clinton, who seemed to enjoy fighting with the press, Sanders refused to play their game. If Clinton was readying her battle plan, then she should not be prepared to be on either the offense or the defense with Sanders, and instead focus her attacks on the other opponents.

Martin O’Malley opposed a no-fly zone in Syria on CNN’s State of the Union. This aligned himself closer to Bernie Sanders and less towards Clinton. O’Malley also remarked, “Secretary Clinton’s always quick for the military intervention.” He also called for more debates. On that same show, the following guess, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz ignored the call, stating that she was “excited” for the first debate.

“James Carville” sent out a Clinton fundraising message. Carville, as fans of Bill Clinton will know, is a long-time supporter of the Clintons, going back to Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign, in which he was a Campaign District Manager. The message read, “the number one thing us Hillary supporters need to do to get ready for the first debate is let her know that we’re with her,” and asked supporters to contribute $1 to become a “Debate Donor.”

On October 12th, CNN told Politico that it expected “significantly smaller” ratings for the debate. Viewership was expected to pale in comparison to the 23-24 million viewers of the first two Republican debates. However, as former DNC spokesperson Mo Elleithee noted, “total number of viewers is important, but even more important from [the DNC’s] perspective in the percentage of viewers who go on to vote in a Democratic primary…you want them to create excitement among Democrats to get involved.” CNN also hired Sheryl Crow to sing the national anthem, and would be moderated by well-loved anchor Anderson Cooper, the unpredictable Don Lemon, perseverant Dana Bash, and Juan Carlos Lopez of CNN Español, who was most likely there as a dig at Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant stance.

“John Podesta,” chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, sent a fundraising email out that read in part, “Hillary’s ready to make her case to millions of viewers. But she needs her team to step up and show the world how strong this campaign is,” and asked for a $1 donation.

On October 13th, the day of the debate, NPR’s Jessica Taylor wrote a piece in which she offered advice as to how each candidate should portray themselves. Hillary Clinton had to reverse the “bruised” image that she was nursing. To do this, Ms. Taylor’s advice was simple “appear likeable and straightforward” and all while avoiding “complicated explanations and defensiveness.” For Bernie Sanders, she advised for him to show that he can “branch out beyond his core economic message” all while “avoiding testiness.” For Martin O’Malley, she advised that she should show that he deserves consideration while avoiding “debating about debates and getting on a high horse.” Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee needed a “breakout moment” and had to assert their presence if they had any hope of getting back into the race.

The GOP National Committee wrote a memo written to “interested parties” on their website. It contended that “anything shy of a homerun performance is unacceptable.” This was because, if Clinton were to flounder, Vice President Biden would almost certainly get in the race. The memo itself was written with a sarcastic tone, contending that Hillary’s opponents would “reinforce why their party hasn’t already deserted her over her seeming lack of conviction and and long history of scandal.” Bernie Sanders was described as a “73-year-old socialist who is surging in the polls.” Martin O’Malley was referred to as a “failed former governor of Maryland whose signature accomplishment was taxing rain,” and, further, “couldn’t get noticed in an empty room. Lincoln Chafee was sarcastically characterized as a “failed former governor of Rhode Island whose signature issue is converting America to the metric system.” Jim Webb’s reference was the worst as he was described him as “a one-term Senator from Virginia who is rumored to still be running for president.” In short, her opponents paled in comparison to her storied history.

Politico ran a story by Gabriel Debenedetti about “what a win looks like” for each candidate. Hillary Clinton simply had to remind voters that she stood the best chance of being elected. Bernie Sanders had to make a positive first impression. Martin O’Malley simply had to “get noticed.” Vice President Joe Biden (D-DE) ,who most likely would not attend the debate, simply had to have Clinton stumble to be able to get into the race. Finally, the punch-lines of the debate, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee, had to fully explain “what they’re doing running for president without really campaigning.”

At 6:43 AM, Donald Trump tweeted that even though he expected the debate to consist of a “very boring two hours,” he would be live-tweeting the Democratic Debate. Hillary Clinton’s response tweet was “@realDonaldTrump Glad you’ll be watching. It’s going to be ‘huge,’” an obvious jab at one of Trump’s signature phrases.

At 12:50 PM, “Hillary Clinton,” in the first of several email fundraising blasts for the day, asked for a $1 donation to “have my back” and “make all of our futures brighter.” She wanted her donors to show the TV audience “just how strong we are.” In general, Hillary’s campaign forgot two key factors for this debate, which is a) too -many- emails turns your audience and email readers off, and b) money does not always signify loyalty. These two mistakes would come back to haunt her and her campaign in the later phases of the Presidential elections.

At 1:13 PM, NBC News ran a piece declared the debate to be “Martin O’Malley’s big chance.” Written by Leigh Ann Caldwell and of the same name, the article noted that this would be the time to make “significant inroads” for his chances and make his case to the Democratic voters. At the time, O’Malley was polling at only 4% in his own home state of Maryland, trailing Clinton by 36 points and Sanders by 16 points. Even his own campaign spokesperson, Haley Morris, downplayed expectations, stating, “this is a fight that’s just getting started,” and noted that this would be the first of several opportunities to “make our case” as it got closer to the Iowa primary, which was in three months. Martin O’Malley was running as a progressive, as was Sanders, but with one key difference, that he could get his agenda passed and effect changes. Sanders, O’Malley noted, was part of the ineffective Congress and had not gotten most of his agenda passed into legislation.

At 1:33 PM, just hours before the first debate, it was confirmed that Joe Biden would, in fact, not be showing up to the debate. CNN, which had prepared a spare lectern in case he did decide to run, was most likely disappointed. Biden’s spokesperson confirmed that the Vice President would watch the debate on TV from the Naval Observatory (the vice president’s residence) after attending a meeting at the White House with Attorney General Loretta Lynch and hosting a high school reunion at his home in Delaware.

At 2:36 PM, about six and a half hours before the first debate, NBC’s Leigh Ann Caldwell wrote a piece entitled, “In Debate, Candidates Try to Find Differences.” In the article, Ms Caldwell believed that Trade, Syria, Economic Inequality, the Keystone XL Pipeline, Iraq, and Gun Control would be key issues of difference between the candidates Martin O’Malley, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders.

At 4:30 PM, Johnny McNulty of wrote a piece entitled “how not to die of you’re playing a #DemDebate drinking game tonight.” Among the pointers were, “if your drinking game involves consuming alcohol any time the Democrats laugh at what a nuthouse the #GOPDebates are, just go to bed,” and “many plan on drinking every time they learn something new about Lincoln Chafee or Jim Webb. Please don’t do this. You have a family that loves you. They would miss you.” Other one-liners included, “chug some apple juice every time Hillary mentions being a grandmother. It’s sweet, but after the eighth time it’s just cloying,” sip, don’t chug every time Bernie Sanders patiently explains his definition of ‘Democratic Socialist’ to a room and country full of people who stopped listening,” and “take 10 shots when Hillary Clinton finally makes the career-ending political error Republicans and Democratic rivals have been waiting 20 years for. Have fun staying sober, suckers.” The tongue-in-cheek article, written by a Lincoln Chafee supporter no less, almost perfectly describes how the debate actually went as we’ll see below.

At 6:19 PM, two hours and eleven minutes before the debate, “Hillary Clinton” sent an email to her supporters, asking for $1 to become a “Debate Donor.” As the email reminded her supporters, “It’s not about the money. It’s about knowing that when I step on that stage, you’ll be behind me. It means so much to know that you’re fighting for me just like I’ll fight for you and your family every single day I’m in office.” This was one of her less awkwardly-worded emails thus far.

At 8:14 PM, sixteen minutes before the debate, CNN Breaking News had Trump’s promise to live tweet the debate as being a possible “unwelcome distraction,” and Bernie Sanders promising to “address the ‘collapse of the American middle class.’”

At 8:39 PM, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo began to live blog the debate. “Here we are,” he said, “at another CNN debate where the start and end times are kept secret.” At 8:57, he wrote, “Staff here says Fox did better by going straight to questions. Agree it makes better TV, But I think giving each candidate a chance to make their case is better on the merits.” At 9:01, he wrote, “Hillary is benefiting by how stupid Anderson Cooper’s are. Good lord. He’s like the perfect foil.” Mr. Marshall was not amused.

That day, at 9 PM from the Wynn Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, the candidates squared off. The front-runner, Hillary Clinton, was situated at the center of the stage; Sanders to the right of her; Jim Webb to the right of Sanders. To Clinton’s left was Martin O’Malley; to O’Malley’s left was Lincoln Chafee. All five candidates averaged at least 1% in three key polls from August 1st to October 10th. With the stage finally set, the debate began. As they were introduced, Bernie Sanders drew the loudest applause, followed by Clinton and then Martin O’Malley.

Upon hearing their opening statements, Democratic primary voters knew there was a diverse field. Chafee had no scandals during his lifetime had had voted against the Bush tax cuts; Webb believed that “money has corrupted the political process” and stood for economic fairness and the G.I. Bill; O’Malley wanted to fix “economic injustice” and stood for marriage equality, gun control, and wanted the best school for his children; Sanders wanted to combat climate change and fight back against Citizens United; finally, Clinton wanted to give more money to education and jobs while making sure that the opportunity she and her husband has “is available” for all.

The first question, directed at Clinton, was about whether she changed her viewpoints based on political ambitions. She said she stood for a “range of views rooted in values and experience,” and later added that she was a “progressive who gets things done.”

Sanders’ first question was, “how does a socialist win?” He responded that the “top 1% earning as much as the bottom 90% is immoral” and stated that he needed a high voter turnout to win, and finally said that he was against “casino capitalism.” Mrs. Clinton was quick to point out that capitalism meant small business as well on rebuttal, and later added that she wanted to “save capitalism from itself.”

Lincoln Chafee, when asked why he was no longer a Republican, said that he was a “block of granite on the issues,” and said he switched parties because “the party left me.”

Martin O’Malley was asked about his zero tolerance policy when he was mayor. He responded that his policies as Mayor of Baltimore “saved thousands of lives,” and that the large volume of arrests that this policy caused, declined after 2003.

Jim Webb was asked if affirmative action discriminates against whites. He said that it detracts from the issues that white people have. When asked if he was a true Democrat, Mr. Webb responded that he was “where the Democratic Party is traditionally.” One had to wonder how far back “traditionally” went.

The next few questions centered around gun control. Here, Sanders and Clinton had a sharp divide. Sanders believed that expansive gun control could not be done in rural areas as citizens living there had a right to defend themselves, while Clinton (and O’Malley) claimed that hunting traditions could be preserved. “You are surely mistaken,” Sanders said to both Clinton and O’Malley. Jim Webb chimed in that he was for both background checks and defense rights, while Lincoln Chafee blasted the NRA for their “manipulative” political tactics.

At 9:10 PM, only a mere 1 hour and 10 minutes into the debate, Lindsey Graham tweeted, “Can’t take it any longer. Wouldn’t make Gitmo detainees watch all of this. Good luck @TheDemocrats, you’re going to need it. #DemDebate.” One witty commenter posted later, “Should probably clarify. When they’re talking about the 1%, they don’t mean your poll numbers.”

At 9:27 PM, CNN sent out another breaking news alert, which said that Clinton had “rejected accusations of political expediency,” saying that she was a “progressive who likes to get things done.” Bernie Sanders also got a mention for “defending his Democratic socialist views” by asserting he could win because he was not part of the “casino capitalist process.” The alert also described the exchange on gun control as “heated.”

As far as foreign policy, Clinton advocated for a no-fly zone in Syria and advocated “standing up to Putin’s bullying by taking more of a leadership position.” Bernie Sanders had to remind viewers of the number of times he voted for military force, lest he appear too pacifist. Martin O’Malley allied himself with the President, believing a no-fly zone in Syria was a bad idea. Jim Webb disagreed with the Iran deal. On one occasion, Lincoln Chafee was asked whether Clinton’s vote to invade Iraq disqualified her from being President. Chafee said that it was the “worst decision in American history,” so her poor judgment disqualified her. Hillary shot back, stating, “Obama valued my judgment so much that he made me Secretary of State.” On a similar question, Clinton pointed out that O’Malley endorsed her in 2008.

At 9:37 PM, either during or shortly after this exchange, “Bill Clinton” sent a fundraiser out to supporters, stating in part, “Hillary’s making her case for why she’s the most qualified candidate to be the Democratic nominee for president….we get to do the easy part–supporting her with everything we’ve got,” and asked for a $1 donation.

At 9:56 PM, candidates were asked what the “greatest foreign policy threat” to the United States was. Chafee named the Middle East; O’Malley named a nuclear Iran and climate change, Clinton named loose nuclear materials that wind up in the possession of terrorists, Sanders named climate change, and Webb named “cyber warfare, the Middle East, and China.”

On race relations, four of the five candidates answered that “Black Lives Matter” and that racial injustices had to be addressed. Jim Webb, the only differing voice, stated that “every life in this nation matters,” and added that he fought for criminal justice reform.

On income inequality, Sanders and Clinton disagreed over whose plan was tougher on Wall Street. Clinton said she gave a speech to Goldman-Sachs in which she asked big banks to “cut out” the practices that were going to lead to the recession; Sanders was all for breaking up the big banks. O’Malley wanted to reinstate Glass-Steagall. Lincoln Chafee later was asked about voting to repeal Glass-Steagall, and he responded that he voted for it not knowing what it was.

Another issue on display was Hillary Clinton’s gender. From making jokes about how it takes her a little longer to go to the bathroom, to shattering the glass ceiling, Clinton frequently used the fact she was a woman to her advantage. She reminded the audience twice that she would be the first-ever female President of the United States, noting once that her being a woman would be “quite a change” from President Obama, to how being a woman makes her an “outsider.” But none of the candidates fell into the political trap of her being a woman, unlike then-candidate Obama in 2008, who told Hillary she was “likeable enough,” nor like Rick Lazio (R-NY), whose insistence that Hillary Clinton sign a pledge on stage, even holding a paper copy of the pledge in her face, was seen as bullying and intimidation of a woman. Fortunately for Sanders, O’Malley, Webb, and Chafee, there were no such mishaps.

All candidates were in favor of opening up the Affordable Care Act to illegal immigrants and were in favor of free state college tuition. Sanders and Clinton wanted to tax the wealthy to pay for it.

At 10:15 PM, CNN released a breaking news alert that Bernie Sanders “came to the defense” of Hillary Clinton when he said, “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”

At some point during the debate, Jim Webb devolved into whining about how he had not been given much time to speak, Martin O’Malley reduced himself to a single talking point (“100% green energy by 2050”), and Lincoln Chafee had to keep reminding the audience that his questionable votes did not make a difference as to whether a bill passed or not. Their concluding statements were pretty much the same as their opening statements.

Hillary Clinton’s answer to the last question of  “what enemies are you the proudest that you’ve made” listed off names of countries and organizations she had made and ended with, “Republicans,” a remark that was sure to hurt her in the general election should she make it that far.

After the debate, at 11:44 PM, “Hillary Clinton” sent a message to her supporters saying, “I hope I made you proud tonight,” and again asked for a donation.

At 12:33 PM the following day, in a fundraising email, “Bill Clinton”  wrote of his wife, “Last night, Hillary knocked it out of the park. She didn’t just talk about big ideas — she laid out plans to get them done…she imagines a country where women are paid the same as men, where families can stay together without fear of being separated, where health care and college degrees are affordable, and guns are harder to get your hands on…this is a grassroots movement, funded by people who are giving $1, $5, or whatever you can afford….saying, ‘I’m part of this campaign, and I believe in Hillary.’” If it’s not obvious to the reader by now, the Clinton campaign had turned the debate into an opportunity for their team to get money.

Next, it was on to the media reaction to the debate.

Think Progress wrote, “this is what a real debate looks like,” and spoke in nonspecific terms about the viewpoints of each of the candidates on guns, noting that one of the bills that were discussed was the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which Sanders voted to pass, and Clinton did not. The article showed the wind range of topics that a debate on guns could take, from background checks to gun safety, and everywhere in-between. They were very excited that the debate was substantive.

On Hillary Clinton, CNN’s Jeremy Diamond declared her as the “winner,” stating that she “showed her mettle” and was “unflappable.” NPR’s Amita Kelly believed that Clinton’s line about being a “progressive who likes to get things done” was her best moment. In an article entitled, “Clinton Takes First Step to Dispel Doubts About Candidacy.” In the article of the same name, NPR’s Ron Elving writes that “Hillary may have gained the most.” Arguing that Clinton was there more or less to stop the bleeding than to make progress, he contends that “Hillary met this standard and far exceeded it.”

Politico’s Katie Glueck declared Mrs. Clinton’s performance to be a “runaway victory,” noting that 79% of Democrats believed she “dominated” her opponents. Politico’s “Off Message” columnist, Glenn Thrush, stated simply, “Hillary awakens!” Politico Columnist Shane Goldmacher ran an article called, “Clinton crushes it.” Goldmacher believed that the email scandal had been put to rest by Bernie Sanders (how wrong he was!)

The New York Times believed her performance reminded Democrats of how formidable a candidate she was in 2008, and further said she “sent a message to doubters” (the only problem being that Mrs. Clinton lost in 2008 to an up-and-coming start in the Democratic Party, Barack Obama) that she was no longer “tanking.”

The Economist’s Lexington believed that Hillary’s quote about how she is a “progressive who likes to get things done” was a good answer, as was the zinger, “we are not Denmark. I love Denmark. We are the United States of America” in response to Sanders saying, “I like Denmark.”

RealClearPolitics’ Alexis Simendinger wrote that her biggest success was how she defended he record and showed how she was able to “find common ground and stand her ground.” Josh Marshall, of the same organization, wrote that the moment where she said that President Obama valued her judgment “enough to make her Secretary of State” was her strongest moment.

Kelly believed that her biggest shortcoming was her acknowledgement that she never took a position on the Keystone XL Pipeline and that she also refused to take a position on legalizing marijuana. Mr. Thrush believed that her discussion on how to reform Wall Street, telling them to “cut it out,” was weak.

On Bernie Sanders, Diamond believed that he while he “checked boxes,” he likely didn’t inspire those in the demographics, such as African-Americans, that he was going after. Mr. Diamond also felt that electability was an issue.

Kelly believed that his “the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails” moment was his finest. Elving mentioned that the focus group liked Sanders the best. Glenn Thrush believed that the email moment transformed Sanders’ image from a “cranky, scolding uncle” to a “magnanimous mensch.”

James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal believed that the email moment was also his strongest moment, and that it sent a message that “if you vote for me, there will be no more email talk.” Goldmacher believed that Bernie had done “for Hillary what her own staff had not,” and put the email scandal to rest with his “damn emails” comment. Thrush believed that one of his strongest moments was when he said, “Congress doesn’t regulate Wall Street. Wall Street regulates Congress.”

Shaun King of DailyKos believed that the strongest moment that Sanders had was answering the question of, “Do All Lives Matter, or Do Black Lives Matter?” Mr. King described him as absolutely getting the question and substance of the matter and “meant what he said.” However, no sooner had Sanders answered the question than “candidates pivoted away from the real question soon after Bernie nailed his answer, so we didn’t really get a direct take from Hillary on this…it was disappointing that the only focus….was a philosophical question about the words, instead of the substance of what we are fighting for.” Mr. King, obviously a #BlackLivesMatter movement participant, believed that more time should have been spent on a question that was “bound to either piss off all of conservative America, or the passionate women and men behind the Black Lives Matter movement.”

On ABC’s The View, Joy Behar said she was “aroused” by Bernie Sanders and found him to be “eye candy,” and not “ear candy.”

Marshall believed his strongest point was the “clarity” of his attack on “rising plutocracy” by way of Citizens United.

Simendinger believed that Sanders’ “progressive agenda” appeared much more “thoughtful and genuine” than Clinton’s did. He also believed that Sanders exceeded the expectations of many establishment Democrats.

Kelly believed that his weakest shortcoming was calling Syria a “quagmire within a quagmire” and saying that Putin would “regret” intervening in Crimea, Ukraine, and Syria. An Iowa Republican said that he never should have been “sticking up” for Clinton on her emails. In a poll by Politico’s Katie Glueck, 20% of Democrats said he lost, with only 8% saying he won (tied with Martin O’Malley). Mr. Thrush believed that his response to a question on gun control was weak, calling the issues involved “large and complicated.”

Doug Powers believed that the email comment, contrary to what the aforementioned journalists believed, amounted to nothing more than a “sure I’ll be your running mate” gesture. His opinion is further bolstered by Hillary’s “cackle” after he said that.

Lexington believed that Sanders’ response as to how he would work with Republicans (he called them “terrible, terrible obstructionists”) and his response on rural gun laws were his weakest responses.

On Martin O’Malley, Mr. Diamond believed that he did not have a “breakout moment” and “came up empty,” though he did show that he was ready to go at it with Sanders, the politician who undercut O’Malley’s bid to be a “progressive alternative” to Clinton.

NPR’s Amita Kelly believed that his strongest moment was telling the story of a family from Colorado whose daughter was killed and then sued the gun companies — only to be ordered, themselves, to pay a fine. Ron Elving said that he had “moments of connection with the crowd,” especially over climate change and also agreed that the story he told about parents who lost their child in the Aurora, Colorado theatre shooting was a positive.

Michelle Collins, of ABC’s The View, stated of O’Malley, “if I wasn’t voting with my head, I think we know who would be getting my vote. I am in love. Look at his abs. That’s no dad bod…those are rock hard man things.”

Simendinger believed that O’Malley simply “appearing in the national spotlight” definitely improved his standing. However, he noted that he “may not be able to persuade enough Democrats that he…is the better candidate to defeat the eventual GOP nominee.”

CrooksandLiars’ author known simply as “Heather” wrote that O’Malley’s closing statement was the strongest performance of his night. The statement read in part, “what you heard [tonight] as an honest search for the answers that will move our country forward, to move us to a 100 percent clean electric energy grid by 2050….I truly believe that we are standing on the threshold of a new american [sic] progress, unless [sic] you become discouraged about our gridlock in Congress, talk to our people under 30. You’ll never find among them people who want to bash  immigrants, people who want to deny rights to gay couples. That tells me we are moving to a more connected, generous, compassionate place, and we need to speak to the goodness within our country.”

Kelly believed that O’Malley’s weakest moments were when he talked about the debate itself, saying at one point, “look how glad we are actually to be talking about the issues that matter most.” Mr. Thrush believed that O’Malley was simply “the odd man out” and did nothing to revive his campaign. Taranto believed that Clinton completely shut O’Malley down when she reminded him that the governor himself had endorsed her in 2008. Goldmacher said simply of O’Malley that he “registered few memorable moments.”

On Jim Webb, Mr. Diamond believed that there was no more room for him. Webb stumbled on naming his five daughters, appeared to make up his positions “on the spot,” and whined about the time he was given.

Ms. Kelly believed his viewpoints on the Middle East, in specific Libya, Iraq, as well as naming China “the greatest strategic threat right now” were his most impressive. Mr. Thrush liked that Jim Webb named the enemy soldier that wounded him as the “enemy he was proudest to have made.”

Kelly believed that Jim Webb’s weakest moment was naming the enemy soldier that injured and then implying that that soldier was now dead, was his weakest moment. Mr. Elving panned Webb’s entire performance. A New Hampshire Democrat stated that he “had no business being up there.” Goldmacher said that Webb will be remembered for how he “complained repeatedly about getting a chance to speak.”

On Lincoln Chafee, Mr. Diamond believed that his definitive answer was that he was proud not to have any scandals while in office, but was dismayed that Chafee did not directly confront Hillary over the email scandals. He also felt Chafee’s excuse for voting for the repeal of Glass-Steagal and voting for the PATRIOT Act, that he had “just arrived in the Senate,” was truly “head-scratching” response.

Ms. Kelly believed that his strongest moment was when he said he was proud to have no scandals in his history of service.admitting that he voted for certain laws not knowing what they were (including the repeal of Glass-Steagall) was his weakest moment.

Elving panned Chafee’s entire performance. A New Hampshire Republican stated “that if anyone needed further evidence of his utter irrelevance, they saw it tonight.” Mr. Thrush believed that this was the only time Chafee had to “make some noise,” and that it backfired horrifically.  Goldmacher simply said of Chafee that he “mostly faded into the background.”

Most experts and pundits believed that Hillary Clinton’s strong performance had closed the door on Vice President Joe Biden’s run.

ThinkProgress ran the viewership numbers and found that 15.3 million, almost twice the average viewership of the Obama v. Hillary debates in 2008, watched the debate. While this paled in comparison to the 23 million viewers who watched Donald Trump and the Republicans in September, it soundly beat the GOP’s debate numbers in 2012 by nearly 8 million viewers, and Politico noted that it beat the highest viewership for a Democrat debate, the prior record of which was 10.7 million in 2008. It was also the sixth most watched event next to cable sports events. These ratings were also the highest in Democratic debate history.

Republicans, of course, had to sound off on the debate as well. A day later, on “Fox & Friends,” Marco Rubio (R-FL) described the debate as a “liberal versus liberal debate about who was going to give away the most free stuff,” and concluded his interview by saying, “I think the biggest threat to her [Hillary Clinton] candidacy is her outdated ideas.”

Michelle Malkin’s conservative blog stated that “the irony of watching some of the candidates take shots at capitalism while Steve Wynn [the owner of the casino the Democrats debated in] was a couple of floors down in the count room rolling around in a tub of $100 bills was pretty damn funny. Hillary even offered to save capitalism from itself by volunteering to stand watch over all the money — she’s so selfless!”

Michelle Malkin’s own Doug Powers had something different to say, stating that Clinton’s opinions on climate change amounted to nothing more than not letting a “made-up crisis go to waste” when she said to take the “opportunity posed by climate change to grow our economy.”

Donald Trump live tweeted the debates. Amongst his tweets were “O’Malley, as former Mayor of Baltimore, has very little chance,” “Can anyone imagine Chafee as President? No way,” and “Sorry there is no STAR on the stage tonight.”

The National Review Online’s Charles C. W. Cooke suggested that Hillary’s line about how Republicans were the enemies she was the “proudest to have made” was a “mistake.” Cooke’s article contended that, while that line played well in the primaries, on the national stage, she had just opened herself up to a new line of attack. Parties can have their differences, Cooke argued, but they certainly should not be enemies, especially not if one is going to be President with potentially both the House of Representatives and the Senate being run by “enemies” who happen to be the majority party in those houses of Congress.

Then, there were the reactions of the voters themselves. A focus group of 39 undecided Iowan Democratic primary voters, twenty women, nineteen men, were given dials so that Park Street Matters, a public opinion firm, could gauge their reaction. Sanders was viewed as the winner of the debate, but 11 voters moved towards Clinton and only 9 towards Sanders. The defining moment of the debate was the “damn emails” moment. Voters viewed Sanders as unelectable, while Clinton was viewed as being ready for the presidency, but many voters agreed that Clinton’s message lacked clarity. More men liked Sanders than women, and more women liked Clinton than Sanders. O’Malley missed his moment and Webb and Chafee barely registered. There was a positive reaction to a Joe Biden (D-DE) ad during the debate. Clinton had 3 low moments – her stances on TPP, Iraq, and big banks – while Sanders only had two, which were his messages on the VA scandal and on gun legislation. Meanwhile, Sanders had three high moments – the “damn emails” moment, standing up to big backs, and his stance on wars – while Clinton only had two: Planned Parenthood and paid family leave as well as standing up to the NRA. Thus, while Clinton had more weaker moments, she was still judged by the focus group as being the strongest candidate.

Another focus group of 28 undecided Florida Democratic primary voters said that Sanders was the winner overall. They loved Sanders’ comment on Clinton’s emails, understood that Bernie was arguing for “equality of opportunity” vs. “equality of income,” and thought his intent was absolutely correct. However, they loved Clinton’s ability to “get things done.” Democratic voters in Florida also looked to the future instead of talking about the past. Martin O’Malley got a decent reaction from the focus group. However, the group was completely turned off by both Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee.

The debate was also not without its fallout. While the debate was referred to as much more civil than the Republicans’ two debates, there were also problems in the aftermath. The White House spokesperson, of all people, unwittingly stated that the debate was a “keen reminder you can run on things other than appealing people’s fears and anxieties.” Michelle Malkin’s blog was quick to jump on that. As Doug Powers, a columnist writing for Ms. Malkin’s blog, stated, the debate wouldn’t have preyed on people’s fears, except for the parts about “unless we spend trillions more on ‘clean energy’ shams, the effects of climate change will mean people in Cincinnati might soon have beachfront property. They also hinted that Wall Street bankers are going to force the middle class to clean their septic tanks and Republican president would mean women will have to work for sweatshop wages and anybody who hasn’t been in the country at least 75 years would be put on a rocket and sent to Jupiter.” He concludes the piece, stating that “the [White House] is actually living on another planet. Let’s leave him be.”

Also, despite the debate, which featured racial issues and women’s issues, the New York Times’ “roundup” piece, which contained a sampling of bloggers from around the Internet, featured only 11, referred to as “white male pundits,” and no women or minorities. On October 15th, their chief politics editor acknowledged the poor sampling and made it a point to say that it would not happen again.

Jim Webb, despite all of his complaining about his speaking time, was actually allowed to speak for quite a bit. In fact, he was given more speaking time than Ben Carson and Chris Christie were able to have, combined. In fact, if anyone should have complained about speaking time, it should have been Lincoln Chafee. He spoke less than anyone in either the first Democratic or the the second Republican debate, with the exception of fading Republican superstar Scott Walker.

Speaking of Jim Webb, he withdrew from the race exactly one week after the debate had concluded. The next article will be a double feature with the withdrawal of Jim Webb and the sentencing of Dennis Hastert to jail.