In a charming peek into an alternate universe of what a political debate should be like, Sen. Ted Cruz. R-Texas and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont discussing the future of Obamacare live on CNN recently. The debate made one earnestly wish that the two men, who ran for president last year, had been the nominees of the Republican and Democratic parties respectively. The senators approached the subject of health care reform with great seriousness and with frequent expressions of mutual respect for one another.
They upheld their positions with great vigor and zest.
To be sure, the debate was no contest. Cruz, a champion debater, won hands down. He had at his command an impressive amount of facts and figures, which he combined with expressions of warmth toward the audience questioners, to utterly destroy his opponent. Sanders was reduced to sound bites, inveighing against the rich and corporations and demanding that healthcare should be a right for every American. When Cruz pointed out the various problems that Obamacare has wrought, Sanders growled agreement that such things need to be looked at, before moving on to sloganeering.
One of the marvelous aspects of the debate was the total lack of personal rancor. The two men treated one another with the kind of respect that has been conspicuously lacking in recent political contests. Neither man accused the other of bad faith or the kind of bigotry that has become a feature of modern political discourse. No one made any threats. No one made any remarks more alarming that Sanders’ persistent advocacy of “Medicare for all.”
The impression one got is that had Election 2016 had been fought between Cruz and Sanders it would have been a contest fought with honor.
To be sure, Cruz would have won. No one is going to elect a cranky, old socialist as president of the United States. But, the contest would never have been in doubt. Democrats would not have any excuse to have the continuing meltdowns that they are currently having over Trump’s trouncing of #Hillary Clinton. The tone of politics would have been elevated and permeated with a lot less unnecessary drama.