As the first Democratic Party Presidential Debate is next week, I would like to propose 15 questions for the moderators to ask (fat chance of that happening though). These are questions I, Raj Dronamraju, would ask.
FOR HILLARY CLINTON
1.) You voted for the Iraq War and the Patriot Act. You supported the bombing of Libya and Yugoslavia. During a September speech at the Brookings Institute, you made a number of bellicose statements including the US should confront Russia directly militarily. You have also in the past compared Putin to Hitler. How are you different than Republicans like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio in your foreign policy views? Why should a foreign policy progressive support you?
2.) In a letter to Jewish billionaire donor Haim Saban, you condemned the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions movement (BDS). Considering your cozy history with Israel, how would you bring resolution to the Israel/Palestinian conflict especially when faced with an intransigent Israeli government like the current one led by Benjamin Netanyahu?
3.) The Democratic Party has talked of a "war on women" being conducted by the Republican Party. You yourself have said that the victims of sexual assault deserve to be believed. Your husband, former president Bill Clinton, has been accused by scores of women of sexual misconduct ranging from harassment to indecent exposure, sexual assault, and rape. Do these women have a right to be believed?
4.) Once and for all, without mincing words, what are your positions on the Keystone Pipeline and the Trans Pacific Trade Partnership? Also in the past, you have supported fracking. Do you still support fracking and if so why considering the amount of evidence available on the damage fracking does to the environment?
5.) Poll after poll shows that large numbers of voters neither like nor trust you. From the email scandal to the generous speaking fees you took from Goldman Sachs while talking about income inequality, your public life is seemingly filled with untruths and hypocrisy What could you say to win over a voter who has these feelings?
FOR BERNIE SANDERS
1.) You have described yourself as a Zionist in the past and spent time on a Kibbutz in Israel as a young man and your voting record in both the house and the senate has been unabashedly pro-Israel do you honestly feel as president, you could be a fair and impartial arbiter in helping resolve the Israel/Palestinian conflict? If so why and how?
2.) You joined many Republicans and Democrats in supporting NATO expansion in Eastern Europe. Considering the deteriorating relations between the US and Russia, in retrospect was this a mistake? and if not why?
3.) You voted against the Brady Bill and against giving the consumers the right to sue gun manufacturers. You voted to allow guns to be checked through in luggage on buses and trains. Considering the recent mass shootings in America, why should a voter who considers themselves a gun control advocate vote for you?
4.) You have called for a free college program financed by a new tax on Wall Street trades. However, many economists who have studied your proposal on this say that you will not collect enough money through the Wall Street tax for a plan as ambitious as this. How do you plan on paying for a free college system if revenue projections made by your campaign end up not being correct?
FOR MARTIN O'MALLEY
1.) Your foreign policy views are largely a mystery other than your comments that security comes from a prosperous economy first. Would you pick three important foreign policy issues of the day (for example- Russia/Syria, Israel/Palestine, and US/China relations) and explain your positions on each.
2.) During your time as Mayor of Baltimore, you advocated both the Broken Windows theory of law enforcement and Zero Tolerance polices, both of which have contributed to the incarceration epidemic and reports of police brutality most notably the death of Freddie Gray. Do you still support these policies and if so why? If not what would you change about how you handled law and order issues when you were Mayor of Baltimore?
3.) In 2012, as governor, you signed a "rain tax" into law for the state of Maryland. This tax is an annual fee on impervious surfaces such as roofs, driveways, sidewalks, garages, and any other surface that could create drainage problems and water contamination situated on property owned by an individual or a business. Critics of this tax have called it regressive, overreaching, and a discouragement to home buyers as well as unfair as not every county in Maryland must pay it. Polls show it was a major reason why your would be Democratic successor lost to a Republican candidate in 2014. Would you promise right now on this stage not to push for a national rain tax or other similar punitive and ridiculous taxes not based on earning or output?
FOR JAMES WEBB
1.) After the Charleston shooting, you gave a vigorous defense of the confederate flag as part of "southern white culture". Where does racism figure into "southern white culture"? If you feel it doesn't, how can you separate the two based on the history behind the confederate flag?
2.) During your time in the Senate, you described yourself as a "non-interventionist". You were an early opponent of the Iraq War and was also against US involvement in Libya and Syria. During the shelling of Gaza by Israel, you said a senate resolution supporting Israel was "incomplete". However, since running for president, you have consistently used more pro-Israel rhetoric in your speeches. You have also come out against the recent Iran deal. Who is the real Jim Webb? Are you trying to appear like more of an interventionist to get votes?
3.) You are the only person on this stage to have served in the military. In fact, not just served but to have seen combat as well. Do you feel this gives you any special insight other candidates who didn't have this experience might lack? If so, what are these insights?