First of all, it was much more of an adult conversation than the perverse spectacle put on by the dozen Republican candidates in their debates. I would rather have any of the Democrats on the stage in the Oval Office before any single one of the Republicans. The GOP have knack for putting forth horrible candidates, and they are mostly only pandering to the lunatic right-wing fringe & big money donors that have come to dominate the party.
As far as the Democrats, I am sticking with my man- the Independent Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders. Bernie came out swinging in his opening remarks, blasting his top issue- economic inequality in this country.
Overall, I think Bernie was pretty strong. Someone who I was watching the debate with (who is fairly conservative) commented that he was the most forceful out of the group. He spoke clearly about the serious issues facing this country, and he explained where the U.S. is behind compared to other industrialized countries- wealth disparity, lack of universal health care for all citizens, absence of paid family leave, no tuition-free public education, etc.
He was also the only one with a realistic view of gun control in this country. He emphasized the importance of mental health in preventing gun violence. He was also correct to believe that we shouldn't be going after gun manufacturers with lawsuits if their products are used for evil purposes. It would be the same as suing a car manufacturer if someone uses a car to run people over. I'm not a big gun advocate, but the reality is that there are millions of people with guns in this country & that's not going to change. What we need to do is to make it more difficult for psychologically disturbed people to aquire guns & get these people the mental health care they need.
Hillary Clinton did very well in the debate. I'm not a big fan of her & definitely think we need someone other than a Clinton or a Bush in office. However, she came off as empathetic to the needs of the people in this country. She is undoubtedly a war hawk, but that's perhaps compensation to look like she'll be tough enough to handle a foreign policy crisis. She clearly has no love for the Republican party, who have demonized her relentlessly over the decades.
Martin O'Malley is someone who I was unfamiliar with, but he impressed me during the debate with insightful answers and a vision for how to lead the country, including the goal of clean energy independence.
Lincoln Chafee seems like a nice guy who made clear he is "scandal-free". I think he is well-intentioned but I'm not sure he has the mass appeal of the other candidates.
Jim Webb is a typical military guy who has serious experience & credentials, but he kept complaining about how he wasn't getting enough time to talk... which wasted a lot of time. It also made him look like he was whining.
Like I said, any one of the Dem candidates would be a better choice than a Republican. However, I'm sticking to my choice of Sen. Sanders while looking forward to more debates in the coming months.