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The Presidential Debate Missed the Biggest Issue


The Presidential Debate Missed the Biggest Issue

Frances Moore Lappé, Adam Eichen

Despite liberals’ best efforts at self-reassurance and Donald Trump’s poor performance in the first debate, his anti-establishment messaging still holds great appeal for a large portion of our electorate.

This is hardly news, but what’s the essential lesson for all of us?


The biggest issue in this election is race, not money in politics. Trump is one of the the billionaires who has been trying to control politicians with large campaign contributions. He claims he is always successful but given that he lies all the time there is no reason to believe him. Bernie Sanders tried to make this an issue but had trouble connecting campaign contributions to any vote of Hillary Clinton. And she accused him of impugning her integrity. Trump also tried to make it an issue in the Republican primary and may have been successful. But the debate did include the central issue of race and the birther question was extremely pertinent. This election is not about money in politics. It is about who we are as a people. Are we a multicultural country or a country dominated by white nationalism? Hillary Clinton is taking on this issue and is leading a campaign that strongly supports a multicultural America.


Give up the SCOTUS' legal bribery? We may need mass protests.

Direct Democracy


Getting big money out of politics is surely a big problem. It is often mischaracterized as overturning "Citizens United" which only a small part of the problem.

What's needed is to prevent big-money lobbying, big-money-campaign-contributing, and big-money-independent-politicking. How to do this? Forbid any entity other than American (human) citizens from taking political action in America or paying another to do so -- but allow citizens to band together through some sort of PACs to do concerted politicking -- and forbig citizens from spending more than a cumulative maximul per calendar year for all political action. This would take a constitutional Amendment and cooperation form politicians (which is unlikely just now) but what else can we do?

The BIGGER PROBLEM is global warming and climate change, about which little can be done as long as big-money is fighting to maintain out fossil-fueled "civilization".


No, there is no single "biggest issue," in spite of our (as a culture) desperate efforts to make things simple. A list of "the most important" issues has been accumulating for decades. People have been calling to get big money out of politics for many years, and obviously have no power to do anything about it.


We can't legitimately address America's leading contribution to climate change -- excessive use of privately-owned motor vehicles. Twice each day, massive amounts of soot and oil particles are spewed into the air as middle class workers start their cars. Of course, the longer we ignore our poverty crisis, the more poverty grows, and the more poverty grows, the less fossil fuels we consume.


Disagree. What matters most to people at the proverbial end of the day is whether they have the means to keep their families together, housed and fed. Many don't. The majority of US poor are white, but the hell created by our "war on the poor" is just as bad regardless of race. And if course, the more people in hopeless poverty, the fewer the consumer purchases, the fewer products need to be made, the fewer workers are needed, the more people in poverty.


Hillary reforming the moneyed democracy in the US? When Pepe will grow hair... Why should Lester Holt raise the issue? She would be laughed out by the viewers. Who could believe her? As a matter of fact, are the powers that be (Wall Street, the MIC, the neocons...) funding and endorsing her to reform democracy? LOL


the ppl that would vote to get money out of politics are the same ones that are benefitting from the money being in politics. I just don't see congress voting themselves a pay and benefit cut


I think it is the rabid war mongrels.


It's not their pay and benefits for their work in Congress (158 days of 2015) that sets them apart. It's their "real jobs" of raising funds for the next campaign. Though they can't legally use campaign funds for personal enrichment, it must be nice to have a "war chest." Check any incumbent's personal net worth and campaign cash on hand at opensecrets.org.


Very disappointed to see the Gilens and Page theoretical retrofitting paper brought up again as a "groundbreaking study," but clearly part of the reason the issue wasn't raised is that it affects only one of the major candidates here. OTOH, it does pertain to DJT, if in the other direction, that it would be impossible for him to divorce his attention from his personal business interests.

And there's the thing. That's what kind of conservative he is. He would conserve only his own wealth. If what he did for himself happened to benefit others of the rentier class, OK, but they are not his primary concern. What he says that isn't about himself directly is pandering, attempting to fool fans into thinking he cares about them or the country as a whole.


Good luck having the two worthless candidates addressing this issue. They would look even more ridiculous receiving all kind of money from Wall Street and preaching campaign reform. The only candidate that mentioned it was Bernie Sanders, not only he addressed it, he walk the talk. That's why this election I won't vote for anybody else.


Voting for somebody who is not on the ballot is truly a wasted vote when you consider that write-ins are not even counted in the results. Write-in only makes sense when there are no acceptable candidates on the ballot and you don't want to risk somebody in the chain of ballot custody marking the box for a candidate you don't want. In November at least 45 states will have a POTUS candidate who embodies all the progressive ideas that Sanders promoted and then some...Jill Stein.


There is only one issue in the world, now and for the foreseeable future. It's multifaceted and we have to solve a number of other problems to solve it, including the emptiness and addiction that put so much money in politics (and cause so many other problems) and the splitting, projection, and objectification involved in racism (and in so many other problems.)

As long as we have the political-economic structure we have we're unlikely to avoid climate cataclysm and the resulting deaths of hundreds of millions at least, and the extinction of millions of species at least. One symptom of that structure is that neither of the current corporate duopoly candidates for president will ever do what's needed to avoid the approaching catastrophe without being forced to. No other issue is threatening to cause the end of civilization within the span of people now alive, so the upcoming election is a serious problem, too, and saying one person is worse than the other neither solves the problem nor avoids the inevitable choice between revolution and destruction.


Operation Sheepdog was at least a partial success. Walk the talk? Sanders is backing
Ms. Wall St. Warmonger, rather than now
helping the Greens become the viable
alternative party that a MAJORITY of
Americans say they want, (and in fact NEED!),
if we are to stop the environmentally disastrous corporate dictatorship over the
planet by Hillary's Gold Standard: TPP, TTIP,
How about you? The whole planet needs
you to go Green politically.
We don't have a lot of time now to build a
Climate Disruption is ACCELERATING.


You are correct that the Gilens and Page study wasn't groundbreaking, but only in one regard i.e., the conclusion that the voting citizenry has virtually no influence in Congress, compared to the influence of the 1%, has been painfully obvious for decades.

Just to remind you, I'm on topic.


your mention of the pay and benefit is a side issue and a dodge. the main point remains. the 535 that would vote on change are the same ones that benefit from the system the way it is now


You brought it up. But that was weeks ago.