Live-blogging the ninth Democratic presidential debate on Thursday

Associated Press photo

Democratic Party presidential contenders Bernie Sanders and Billary Clinton probably won’t be as chummy during their ninth debate on Thursday in New York as they were during their third debate in December in New Hampshire (pictured above). Even agreeing on the date for the debate in New York was a fight.

The ninth Democratic Party presidential debate is to be held in Brooklyn, New York, at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday and is to be carried by CNN. I intend to live-blog it, as I have live-blogged all of the Dem debates thus far.

The first Dem debate was way back on October 13, so the debates have been going on for six months now. As the Democratic race tightens, with Billary leading Bernie nationally by only 1 percent or 2 percent, and with delegate-rich New York voting on Tuesday, I expect Thursday’s debate to be the feistiest one yet.

That’s good, because truthfully, the debates thus far have worn a bit thin, even though the last debate (the eighth one) was just more than a month ago, on March 9.

Unfortunately, I expect Billary Clinton to win New York next week. It’s true that she had been leading Bernie in polls of Michigan by more than 20 percent right up to election day there on March 8 but then actually lost the state to Bernie by 1.5 percent, but, unfortunately, I don’t expect a repeat of The Michigan Error in New York next week.

Because Billary was New York’s carpetbagging U.S. senator from January 2001 through January 2009, I expect her to take New York – probably not by what she is polling right now (13.8 percent ahead of Bernie, per Real Clear Politics, and 11.9 percent ahead, per The Huffington Post’s Pollster), but I still expect her to win it.

If Bernie does manage to eke out a win in New York, I expect that it will be within a few percentage points — enough to give Queen Billary’s campaign a jolt and himself the bragging rights, but not helping him enough with the number of pledged/democratically earned delegates that would/could help him win over the “super-delegates” at the party convention in Philadelphia in late July.

On that note, a note on all of the nationwide kvetching over the “super-delegates” and the delegates process: It’s too late to change the rules of the game for this Democratic presidential election cycle, as we’re already in the middle of the game — and of course I don’t blame Bernie Sanders for trying to win the game as the game is played, especially since the game has been rigged for Billary from the get-go — but hopefully after this contest, the party will reform the process and the rules.

Optimally, “super-delegates” will be eliminated altogether for future election cycles, and we will choose our Democratic Party presidential nominee strictly by a popular vote. (I want to see the Electoral College go bye-bye, too; we elect our governors and U.S. senators by the popular vote, and we can and should do the same with our presidents.)

I’d love to see presidential caucuses go, too. They are too inexact and chaotic and arcane and complex and apparently are open to at least some amount of chicanery.

I even toy around with the idea of holding just one presidential primary election day nationwide instead of stretching the voting, in the forms of primary elections and caucuses, over the course of several months, as has been the case this year, with presidential primary voting stretching from February 1 through June 14.

True, it can be a bit dramatic to watch the candidates duke it out for this long, but in the current system, early-voting and early-caucusing states can end up regretting their choices if more, negative information about the candidates comes to light in the ensuing months of campaigning, and while it’s not happening this year (thank Goddess), in some cycles (such as was the case in 2004) the winner effectively is determined no later than in March, meaning that the race effectively is already over before the later-voting and later-caucusing states even get the chance to weigh in.

Given how things change within the political landscape, one could make the argument that this voting staggered over several months is unfair to many if not even sometimes most of the nation’s voters. We don’t draw out the voting for any other office this way, and other than tradition!, we have no good reason to continue the tradition, that I can see.

If nothing else, if we could just get rid of the caucuses and replace all of them with primary elections, that would be a great start for reform.

But the “super-delegates” have to go, too, or, if we are too attached to them to jettison them just yet, they at least must be required to vote with how their states vote. Even the Repugnican Tea Party requires its “super-delegates” to do that.

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