The Criterion

Who Won the Democratic Debate?


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On Tuesday, October 13th, the Democrat Party held their first Presidential Debate. The nominees in participation were the two frontrunners: former Secretary of State, New York Senator, and First Lady, Hillary Clinton, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Also in attendance was the former Mayor of Baltimore and Governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley, former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, and former Governor of Rhode Island Lincoln Chafee. As of the day before the debate at the polls (excluding Joe Biden) Clinton had 58.7%, Sanders had 24.4%, O’Malley had 1%, Webb had 1%, and Chafee had 0.6%.

The debate started of with a dramatic opening closer to that of a wrestling match than a presidential debate. Each nominee had “2 minutes” to introduce themselves to the audience. Clinton addressed the issues of increasing science funding and raising the minimum wage, as well as paid family leave for new mothers and equality for the LGBT community. Sanders addressed climate control, the massive prison population, and ending corruption in the business sector. O’Malley, Webb, and Chafee all addressed gun control and income inequality, and Webb put an emphasis on benefits for veterans.

Hillary described herself as a “progressive who likes to get things done.” She said that the NRA needs to be held accountable for its actions and was joined on that notion by Sanders and O’Malley. Sanders and Clinton also said that we need to tackle mass-incarceration in our country, which has more people imprisoned than any other country. Bernie Sanders said that we need to get countries in the middle-east to help us with the many situations there, stating that “war should be a last resort”. He took a firm stance on climate change and sustainable energy saying that we have to be more environmentally friendly to preserve the planet for our posterity. Sanders also gave Clinton and an unexpected hand when asked about her email “scandal”, saying that there are much bigger problems in this country than her emails. He also made the bold and well applauded proposition that every public college should be tuition free. Martin O’Malley proposed reinstating “Glass Steagall”, an act that limited connections between commercial banks and security firms, and he called Donald Trump the “Carnival Barker of the Republican Party”. Jim Webb argued that we need to more heavily address cyber attacks from Chinese hackers. Unfortunately he didn’t get to talk very much, but many times when he was asked a question, he seemed to avoid it or change the subject. Lincoln Chafee argued that his 30+ years of experience made him the best candidate for the Presidency. Overall, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton were neck and neck for most of the debate, but Bernie Sanders definitely won by the end, with Hillary Clinton coming in a close second, Martin O’Malley coming in a far third place, and Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee both sharing last place.

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Who Won the Democratic Debate?