Because I was once deeply engaged in presidential politics – before there was a Trump Tower let alone a Trump campaign , events like the upcoming Democratic debate hold an abiding fascination for me (as have the Republican debates). Add in that Hillary Clinton has been a Share Our Strength supporter and spoke at an Autumn Harvest Dinner, Martin O’Malley a No Kid Hungry champion and lifelong friend, and Jim Webb a traveling companion to Vietnam when I worked in the Senate to help normalize relations with Vietnam – and you can see why I’ll be tuning in Tuesday evening.
There will be plenty of opportunity to analyze what the candidates say. I’m even more interested in what they don’t say. Because with work like ours focusing on those who are economically and politically marginalized – one of the biggest challenges is getting politicians to even acknowledge such issues.
Try to keep count of how many times the candidates say they’ll fight for the middle class. Compare that to how much you hear about fighting for people living in poverty, for vulnerable and voiceless children, for the need for Americans to sacrifice, or make investments that won’t pay off until the long-term.
Candidates don’t win many votes talking about such things. But if they don’t talk about them, when they get elected they don’t have a mandate or perceived responsibility to act on them. And so the cycle continues.
There’s still a long way until the general election in November 2016. As the impact of our No Kid Hungry campaign grows, as we increasingly demonstrate that childhood hunger is solvable, as we prove there can be bipartisanship on such issues, such encouraging news could help politicians not be afraid to talk about such things, and not be afraid to envision a better America.