Hillary Clinton Did the Smart Thing By Turning Down a Fox News Debate In California

Clinton just shot down the idea of a tenth Democratic debate ahead of the California primary.
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Clinton just shot down the idea of a tenth Democratic debate ahead of the California primary.

This probably doesn't even need to be said, but just in case, let it be known that Hillary Clinton's decision to turn down a debate against Bernie Sanders ahead of the California primary is a smart one. Sanders had already agreed to what would have been, one would hope, the final Democratic debate of the election season, to take place on Fox News. Fox had issued an invitation to both candidates; Sanders jumped at the chance to once again square off against his rival. 

But Clinton simply doesn't need to debate Sanders any more. She's already made it almost mathematically impossible for him to win and a new poll puts her way ahead of the Vermont senator in the delegate rich state of California. This thing has been over for some time, but as of June 7th it will absolutely be over -- and Clinton will emerge the victor. Besides that, she's already faced down Sanders in nine separate debates so it's unlikely she'd win any new ground because of anything she or Sanders had to say in response to Fox News's moderators. 

What's more, with the Sanders campaign now going total scorched earth against Clinton and the Democratic Party -- accusing the former of being simply the "lesser of two evils" when compared to Donald Trump, and the latter of being corrupt simply because Sanders isn't winning -- there's no sense in giving Sanders a clear face-to-face target in front of a national audience. Clinton knows that there's nothing to gain by allowing herself to stand on a stage and be harangued for two hours by a guy she's going to beat anyway. Her appearance and her willingness to endure Sanders's sustained attacks in person would just lend those attacks legitimacy.

When Sanders agreed to the invitation from Fox News last week, the campaign said that “Californians deserve to hear what both candidates have to say on important issues confronting the state and the country.” Except that by now Californians are well aware of what the candidates stand for and how they'll confront the issues. Again, they've had an entire primary season and nine televised debates to make up their minds. It's a safe bet that not a damn thing is going to change at the 11th hour.

As for Clinton, her campaign's statement today on the decision to turn down a final debate made it clear that Clinton is basically looking to finish off the primaries and begin the full-throated push to stomp Donald Trump in November. She's apparently keeping her eye on the big prize, which, again, makes perfect sense at this point.