The Latest Democratic Debate and the Road Ahead

A November 14, 2015 photo shows the set where the Democratic Presidential Debate will take place in Sheslow Auditorium in the
A November 14, 2015 photo shows the set where the Democratic Presidential Debate will take place in Sheslow Auditorium in the Old Main building at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. The second Democratic debate, hosted by CBS News and Twitter, will take place later on November 14th. AFP PHOTO/MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

America's second Democratic presidential debate came and went on Saturday evening. In the wake of the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris, it's surprising that the debate didn't feature a more substantive discussion on foreign policy, especially as it relates to terrorism and the Middle East.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did fine. It wasn't her best night, but she's a good debater who knows the issues. She had a couple of awkward moments, although we're not talking about anything too damaging.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders behaved like Bernie Sanders. He's a truly authentic candidate and has been a nice addition to the Democratic race. It's still really hard to imagine him ever winning the nomination. Besides, recent developments in Paris have likely reminded voters that foreign policy experience matters.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley actually had some decent answers during the debate. However, there's something about O'Malley's delivery or demeanor that comes across as excessively contrived, almost as if he's just a very good memorizer of talking points though not someone who fully understands what he's saying, especially on foreign policy. O'Malley did a fair amount of talking on stage Saturday night, but he still reminded me of a mannequin.

Moderator John Dickerson did a good job throughout the debate. He consistently came across as calm and well-prepared. A POLITICO journalist went as far as to say that Dickerson had won the debate and she definitely wasn't the only one making that assertion.

Barring some unforeseen catastrophe, Clinton is going to be the nominee for the Democratic Party.

On the Republican side, the circus continues. Donald Trump and Ben Carson remain the frontrunners. After some very solid debate performances, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has strengthened his position. Jeb Bush looks more soporific than ever. Disturbingly, a thoughtful piece has reiterated that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has a real shot at the nomination.

There's still time for sanity to prevail, though it's sad that candidates like Trump and Carson are still getting so much support. If the GOP finally comes to its senses, Rubio appears to be the most viable candidate. He's young, but he's also really smart and talented. Additionally, his personal story is compelling and he truly cares about foreign affairs. The Democratic Party in general, and Clinton in particular, has to be hoping that Rubio doesn't win the nomination.