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The 7th 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary Debate: “The Clear Winner Is Biden”

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

By Michelle D. Bernard, Published in POLITICO MAGAZINE

01/15/2020 02:42 AM EST

Michelle Bernard is a political analyst, lawyer, author and president and CEO of the Bernard Center for Women, Politics & Public Policy.

Anne O’Hare McCormick, the renowned foreign news correspondent and a woman ahead of her time, once said: “The real test of power is not capacity to make war, but capacity to prevent it.” It is through this lens that I believe many Americans viewed Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate. Foreign policy and what U.S.-Iranian relations will look like in 2020 and beyond were the only issues of any consequence.

If I were a betting woman, I would argue that in the wake of the killing earlier this month of General Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. drone strike, Iran’s subsequent attack of the Ayn Al Asad airbase in Iraq and the threat of a looming war with Iran, most Americans couldn’t care less whether Sanders told Warren that a woman can’t be elected as president of the United States. This sentiment probably goes equally for women and men.

In this time, when Americans worry about the possibility of a retaliatory strike by Iran or war, raising this issue looked like throwing spaghetti at the wall, hoping it would stick and that American women would look at Sanders as a buffoon and cast their ballots for Warren simply to prove him wrong and punish him.

For any American woman whose only 2020 concern is to elect a woman as the next president of the United States, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss is more than enough reason to cast a ballot for Warren or Klobuchar, the two women on Tuesday night’s debate stage. What was said between Warren and Sanders in a private meeting will not be the issue that gets a woman elected in 2020.

At this moment in time, there are more important questions that transcend any voting gender gap. Who will keep us safe? Who will protect our nation and our democracy? Who will protect the lives of our troops? Who will protect our sons and daughters from an unnecessary war with Iran? Who has the foreign policy experience, ego and self-restraint necessary to prevent an unnecessary war? Looking through this lens, the clear winner is Biden. In this unfortunate era of zealotry both in the White House and in Iran, Biden’s calm and professorial demeanor was soothing. He was the dignified, restrained and highly knowledgeable foreign-policy statesman that the country yearns for. Biden was the candidate who appeared to have the best capacity to prevent war. In the scope of things, nothing else mattered.

This article originally appeared in Politico Magazine on January 15, 2020.

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