Sometimes you say to yourself, “Didn’t we just have a goddamned debate?” and you’re wrong. It can just feel that way, because our days are swift and fleeting, like the leaves on a fast-dying tree. But sometimes you’re right, because literally, the last Democratic debate was three damn days ago.
Tonight’s debate begins at 9 p.m. EST, hosted by Univision News and the Washington Post at Miami Dade College; you can watch livestreams on Univision.com, the Washington Post, CNN.com and FUSION.net. More importantly, however, it gives us all a chance to ask, in unison: “What in the hell could we possibly learn that we didn’t know three days ago?”
The answer, I will tell you honestly, is mostly unclear. There is, however, one subject that’s only been lightly touched on: abortion. NARAL and other abortion rights groups spent today encouraging the debate moderators to ask about it:
So did Bernie Sanders’ campaign, because they clearly believe it’s an area where he could distinguish himself from Clinton. And truly, it’s an area that could use clarification: Last time, the candidates got into fairly confusing territory when they were asked whether they support any restrictions on abortion at any stage in a pregnancy.
Sanders responded unequivocally (“I happen to believe that it is wrong for the government to be telling a woman what to do with her own body”), while Clinton reiterated her support for “a late pregnancy regulation that would have exceptions for the life and health of the mother.”) That’s somehow turned into a discussion across the web about 20-week abortion bans, which aren’t late-term abortions at all (20 weeks is about midway through the second trimester). And it’s been incorrectly insinuated that Clinton supports 20-week bans, which she doesn’t.
So yes: here is one area where perhaps we could learn something new, surrounded by an ocean of stultifying talking points, polite hostility, and, if we’re lucky, a little shouting. Enjoy!