20 Questions for Democratic Primary Candidates in 2016

It's been almost a decade since the last Democratic primary debate. (AP)
January 14, 2015

The 2016 Democratic presidential primary, assuming there is one, will be the first of its kind in nearly a decade. Unlike in 2012, Republican contenders won't be the only ones squirming about on a debate stage as moderators ask questions designed to make them look ridiculous and encourage intra-party squabbling. Here are a few suggestions for questions for the 2016 Democratic field.

1. Which group poses a greater threat to Americans: ISIS or the NRA?

2. Where does the Occupy Wall Street movement (and/or Ferguson protests) rank among other protest movements in American history?

3. Some Democrats have suggested that, as a result of Republican policies, we are living in a modern day Jim Crow era. Do you agree?

4. Polling shows that most Americans want immigration levels to either remain the same or be reduced, in contrast with the Senate immigration bill, which would dramatically increase immigration levels over the coming decade. Do you believe current immigration levels are too high, too low, or about right?

5. Do you support a ban on fully automatic firearms?

6. Which is a greater threat to American values: radical Islam? Or Islamophobia?

7. Do you consider NSA leaker Edward Snowden to be a hero or a traitor?

8. Do you support or oppose the welfare reform policies enacted during the Bill Clinton administration?

9. Liberal commentator and White House adviser Ezra Klein has argued: "There are a lot of liberals out there who would prefer a nuclear Iran to a war with Iran." Which would you prefer?

10. Would you have any hesitation about voting for a candidate whose top donors over the course of his or her political career are Wall Street investment firms, and who has been paid large sums of money to speak at conferences of top Wall Street executives?

11. Some liberal experts such as VOX DOT COM’s Matthew Yglesias have suggested taking President Andrew Jackson off the $20 bill and replacing him with either Sacagawea, Harriet Tubman, or Eleanor Roosevelt, among others. Do you endorse this idea?

12. President Obama has said with respect to wealth in America: "At some point you’ve made enough money." Do you agree? Please explain.

13. Which country do you think is a greater threat to peace and stability in the Middle East: Israel or Iran? 

14. It has been suggested that most, if not all, of the conservative criticism of President Obama is motivated by the fact that he is black. Do you agree?

15. Show of hands: Would you accept a budget deal that consisted of 90 percent tax increases and 10 percent cuts to Social Security benefits?

16. On the issue of abortion: What, if any, legal restrictions on the practice do you support?

17. Can you explain the moral difference between the crimes for which Dr. Kermit Gosnell was convicted (first-degree murder of infants shortly after birth at 23-25 weeks into pregnancy) and late-term abortions?

18. In your opinion, do Wall Street traders and investment bankers have a generally positive, or a generally negative influence on American society?

19. Can you briefly describe the threat to American society posed by "white privilege," as well as the policies you would propose to combat it?

20. Politicians are often accused of being "out of touch" with average Americans. Which candidate on this stage would you consider to be the most out of touch with the concerns of regular voters? Please explain.