NY Debate Notes: Describer-in-Chief, "Well" means liar?

NY Debate Notes: Describer-in-Chief, “Well” means liar?

The Democratic Debate in New York was an absolute delight to political junkies like us. It watched like sport, with each competitor landing blows and dodging traps. There were also some messaging duds and gems.

Hillary Clinton continuously claimed Bernie Sanders could successfully label problems, but was unable to provide real solutions. In reference to Bernie’s stance on Israel and Palestine, she said of his positions:

“Describing the problem is a lot easier than trying to solve it.”

Those sentiments ran true throughout the night. Mara Liasson at NPR News stated of the strategy:

“That was Clinton’s mantra throughout the debate as she compared her practical experience to his idealistic goals.”

From a messaging standpoint, the language is only a small pivot from the original unrealistic narrative, and fits with the NY Daily News hit piece narrative of him not having thought out solutions. It’s genius lies in not belittling the common Sanders supporter. It accomplishes this by implying that Bernie does in fact understand the issues well and can speak eloquently on them, however, he doesn’t know how to solve any of them politically. The message that Bernie Sanders is the Describer-in-Chief will be effective with her own supporters, and undecideds.

Here’s Clinton Campaign Manager Robby Mook running with this exact messaging strategy in an on-the-fly interview with TYT’s Cenk Uygur immediately after the NY Debate.

Another Hillary gem lies in one of her simple language tricks. She begins numerous sentences with, “First of all” – even when she isn’t starting a list. But it doesn’t matter, it sounds authoritative and confident and that plays well with voters. Good work Hillary messaging team.

On the converse, she also frequently begins sentences with “Well…”, a much more dismissive word choice and one that could point to a lack of truthfulness.

Bernie stuck mostly to his normal talking points, while being more antagonistic towards the Secretary. CNN did their part as well, asking multiple follow-ups pertaining to her Wall Street speech transcripts, which she once again refused to release, citing Republicans who aren’t required to do the same. For this terrible messaging, she was booed mercilessly. What choice does she have though? Clearly those speeches would be detrimental to her candidacy.

Overall, it was an exciting debate. However, we didn’t learn anything new. Additionally, Bernie’s inability to point to specific legislation where Wall Street influences affected Hillary’s vote was a major misstep. How can he not have the famous Elizabeth Warren example on deck in his mind? Why the Sanders Campaign keeps dropping the ball on this is confusing. Either they know something I don’t, or someone isn’t telling the Senator something.

Ryan Black is a content creator, marketing professional, and political consultant who writes about Progressive Politics.

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