(Medium) -- Twenty candidates, three moderators, two nights of debate, and a partridge in a pear tree. It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed by the state of politics, and the second presidential debate, hosted by CNN, didn’t do much to alleviate that stress.
From the network’s embarrassing lead-in, a spectacle better suited for a WWE match than a political debate, to the fact that one of the candidates believes you can positive-think away cancer, it was hard not to see the last two nights as a direct response to Donald Trump’s presidency. So much felt crass and surreal.
More so than any bizarre theatrics, it was candidates’ insistence on appealing to “the middle” that revealed Trump’s lingering shadow over the Democratic primary. Again and again over the course of two nights, the CNN moderators and candidates alike insinuated that fighting for real change — like “Medicare for All” — would alienate moderates who don’t like Trump. This, despite the fact that the vast majority of the country supports these policies.
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