Clinton And Sanders Took The Gloves Off For Thursday’s Debate | Gradient

Clinton and Sanders Took the Gloves Off for Thursday’s Debate

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Whew. Early Democratic debates suggested that Senator Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton had a sort of friendly rivalry, with Sanders even once famously coming to Clinton’s defense regarding her email scandal. Those days are behind them, as Thursday night’s Democratic debate in New York proved. The former secretary of state was clearly out to shut down her unexpectedly strong opponent, and Sanders is out to prove that his well-attended rallies are no fluke. They were both on the offensive, frequently needing to be corralled by moderators and inciting raucous cheers and jeers from a hyped crowd. The two clashed on huge variety of issues during the evening, including the minimum wage debate and the Israel-Palestine conflict.

The two got particularly heated over the subject of big banks. Sanders pressed Clinton on her perceived coziness with Wall Street during the time of the stock market crash, but struggled to articulate concrete examples of Clinton’s policy that favored the banks. Clinton maintained that she had spoken out against the bank’s reckless decisions. Sanders chided her using empty words to condemn them while all the while “receiving huge sums” in speaking fees.

The two also clashed over gun control, an issue Sanders has been seen as soft on. Clinton, in the meantime, was pressed on her and her husband’s ’90s crime bill, which has been accused of contributing to the mass incarceration of black Americans.

In the end, it’s hard to escape the feeling that Clinton won this round. She was well-prepared and articulately drove home what has been her central critique of Sanders for months now: he’s got some good ideas, but can’t back them up. Sanders did good work with his main thesis as well (you know what that is), and portrayed Clinton as opportunistic and compromising to a fault. But he frequently resorted to a mocking, dismissive tone that was not a good look for him.

And both candidates painted in strokes far too broad, frequently resorting to yelling over each other. In an election season where the Democrats have tried to paint themselves as the adults compared to the squabbling GOP candidates, this debate was an overall step backward.

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