KEEP IT GOING

1. It’s Monday, March 7, 2016.

2. Spring is two weeks away. There are Spring Training games on TV. Things are looking up.

3. I haven’t been blogging much in recent weeks. Thus I missed the Republicans bringing the crazy as only they can. The 2012 nominee bad-mouthing the 2016 front-runner whose support he sought whole-heartedly four years ago. The embarrassing crudeness of the most recent debate. The Trump pledge of allegiance in Florida. It’s hard to fathom.

What’s especially hard is the contrast with the Democratic contest.

Last night, in Flint, there were some heated moments between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. They disagreed on policy and pointed out what they believed were inconsistencies or flaws in each other’s record.

But somehow they managed to talk about the issues confronting Flint – in particular, the water crisis that has further devastated the already beleaguered city. And they didn’t weigh in on each other’s physical characteristics, or call each other liars, or constantly interrupt one another so that neither could get a point across.

One reason Sanders’ saying “Excuse me, I’m talking” during one heated exchange resonated so much is that it was the only time in two hours that either of them did that. That’s not quite the way the Republican debates go.

4. I don’t think either candidate won the debate last night. I think both they and the Democrats did, because over the two hours there was a thoughtful, sometimes hard-fought discussion of the things that really mattered to the people watching. There is no question in my mind that both Clinton and Sanders have the intelligence and personal demeanor to run this country, especially compared to the man-children on the Republican side.

But I’m a Democrat and I come in with a bias. And here’s the problem: I doubt very seriously whether there are enough people who are so completely undecided about this election that the brains and maturity of the Democratic candidates compared to their Republican opponents matter.

5. That doesn’t mean the Democratic contest shouldn’t keep going. I support Clinton because I think she’s the smartest person in the field and can bring about the changes I’d like to see.

But I’ve always been a fan of Sanders. And I think he’s helping her. He’s keeping her focused on the issues. He’s giving voice to a side of the Democratic Party that really needs to sound off, and a side that I suspect Clinton is somewhat sympathetic to beyond the fact that she wants their votes in November.

If she wins the nomination fair and square, and gives Sanders and their supporters their due – at the convention and during the campaign – it will pay off big in the end by keeping the Democrats together. And, if there are any truly undecided people left by Nov. 8, the ones who can think will see the difference between her and whatever the Republicans throw at her.

6. I’m going to try to be better about blogging more frequently. See you tomorrow.

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