Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author of "Cool Creatures, Hot Planet," "Endangered Edens," and the "Time Is Irreverent" series.

The best candidate “debate” format ever!

Last night’s Democratic Presidential Forum on MSNBC was a gem. Of all the “debate” formats, I liked this one the best. Instead of candidates talking over one another, Rachel Maddow’s sit-downs with each candidate made it easier for voters to get to know each one.

Usually about this time in an election cycle, I have my mind made up, but this time I’m blissfully undecided. Frankly, I would be perfectly happy with any of the three Democratic candidates as the next President of the United States. The one thing I do wish, however, is that the Clinton and Sanders fans would be more respectful of each other. Both candidates would be a gazillion times better for our country than the eventual nominee from the clown-car-Republican side, and losing the general election to one of the clown candidates would also mean losing eight (perhaps sixty-eight) years of progress.

This forum format was especially beneficial for Martin O’Malley, as voters got to see him on equal footing with Sanders and Clinton. Personally, I really like Martin O’Malley. Even though his poll numbers are small, I hope he remains in the race. Should something unforeseen happen to either the Sanders or Clinton campaigns, he would get a large percentage of the voters looking for a replacement candidate.

I’m a Bernie Sanders fan as well. Whether or not he wins the primary, he is by far the most important candidate in the race. Why? Before Sanders, the Democrats were moving further and further to the right. Republican-Lite is not the way to go! Because of Bernie (and Elizabeth Warren), the Democratic pendulum has been vigorously shoved back to the left.

Yes, I also like Hillary Clinton. Some may argue that her move to the left is newly found, but to me that’s part of the definition of liberalism: look at the facts and be flexible enough to adjust your viewpoint if necessary. I also think she is the most presidential of all the candidates—on either side. And yes, admittedly, I like Hillary for two reasons that have little to do with what kind of president she would be:

1) It’s about time we had a woman president.

2) The entertainment value of Bill Clinton back in the White House and the corresponding Republican hissy fits will be unsurpassed. Get out the popcorn!

So that’s my take, as of today. If you missed watching the Democratic Forum live, go to the MSNBC website and watch it there. It will be well worth your time.

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