Showdown of the Dems

By Jackie Xu

 

Unlike the Republican debate, made more contentious with the long list of candidates and the presence of Donald Trump, Thursday's debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders was less a debate and more of a regulated battle of each trying to one-up the other. Bernie and HiIlary have some differences in approach, but in this debate their similarities were what stood out. 

Indeed, this primary debate wasn't intended to expose the differences in the candidates' missions, since the most the candidates diverged on each issue was in specific approaches to solving these problems. Sanders, who prides himself in his strong stance against Wall Street, large corporations, and "the 1%" who hold most of the wealth in the United States, seemed preoccupied with the larger issue of wealth inequality, bringing up Wall street constantly regardless of the context. While his views on education, healthcare, and social security reform are admirable, he often evaded the question at hand to launch into a tirade about the state of inequality in the United States.

While Clinton is often criticized for being emotionless and a "career politician" who likes to stay on the winning side of the battle, she was able to display just how much her experience as Secretary of State could her more valuable as a presidential candidate. The difference between the breadth of her knowledge and his was most apparent when each was questioned about Medicaid and maintaining homeland security. Hillary was able to put a price tag on her proposals, namely $100 billion a year, and showed she had a clear cut plan for targeting ISIS while Bernie seemed to falter, keeping his answers general and focusing on his intent to keep America safe and prosperous. Nevertheless, his passion was evident and his comments more pointed than Hillary's, perhaps trying to overtake Clinton on domestic issues rather than foreign policy debates.

All in all, the debate acted as  an exposition of each candidate's strong suits but also a demonstration to the public about where exactly the two diverge. Bernie's drive for free education and the closing of the wealth gap was reiterated, yet he seemed a little aimless when pressed for specifics. On the contrary, Hillary's experience in politics is evident in her detailed answers, yet she still evaded slightly when pressed about more questionable  political decisions of the past. This most recent primary debate might not have had a clear winner, but surely highlighted some of the strengths and weaknesses of both democratic candidates.