Last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Donald Trump agreed that he would be open to having a debate against Bernie Sanders in California.
For those that might not know, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders initially agreed to 4 debates during the primary season – one during each month, starting February. Clinton pushed hard for this because she wanted a debate before New Hampshire, where Sanders was leading in the polls. She hoped that a strong debate would tip the state to her, and derail the Sanders campaign before it had a chance to start. Instead, he won and this is where we are now.
Only, part of the agreement was that in May, Clinton and Sanders would have a debate in California. Fox News has said that they would host the debate, Bernie agreed to it, and Clinton refused. With only a few days left in May, it seems like this debate will not happen. In all fairness, having the debate does not make much sense for Clinton – she will be the nominee barring any setback such as an indictment. She can only really hurt herself by having a debate. But she also hurts herself by looking untrustworthy and going back on a promise. She needs to grab Sanders’ supporters for the general, and repeatedly scorning him like so isn’t really helping her image.
Enter Trump. He has now said that he would do the debate if they could raise anywhere from $10-15 million and donate it to a Women’s Health charity. There isn’t really a downside here for either Sanders or Trump – Sanders is desperate for votes, and California is his last stand. Perhaps by debating Trump, he can show voters that he is the much clearer choice to defeat Trump and won’t have the baggage that the Clinton campaign has. If he fails, well, his campaign was pretty much done anyways. For Trump, he can hope to win over some Sanders supporters if he harps on their areas of agreement – free trade deals, fighting against a rigged system, and fighting for the working class. He will argue that they differ on how to get there, but they both have the best interests of Americans at heart, unlike Hillary.
But it also brings up the question for Sanders – will he defend Clinton from Trump attacks? Or will he stand idly by? The DNC is already unhappy with him, and defending Clinton could help – but his voters don’t like Hillary. Sort of a catch-22. By doing this debate, he also cannot do anymore DNC sponsored debates, but that point is moot since there won’t be anymore debates anyways. Personally, I think that Sanders has to do this debate since it’s his last hope. If he does nothing, then he’ll either lose CA, or barely win (and still lose heavily on the delegate count). Maybe he could show the Superdelegates and the DNC that he is the better candidate against Trump by taking the beast head on?
On Trump’s side, it shows that he is willing to reach out to the other side. He’ll once again use his super-fame to raise money for charity, and probably break viewer records with this debate. Since he wants to court disaffected Bernie supporters, he’ll probably go soft and show sides of agreement than bash down a losing candidate. Will Bernie act the same way? We’ll see. But if this debate actually happens, it’ll be absolutely must-watch TV. I would gladly pay for this on pay-per-view to raise the money for the charities. Let’s hope it happens.Follow @ShaneRider31