Democratic presidential hopefuls took to the stage Tuesday to win over voters in the first Democratic debate of the 2016 election season. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders took center stage and debated issues ranging from the civil rights to gun control. Clinton, especially, showed again that she is an excellent debater, running rings around her closest opponent, the senator from Vermont. Clinton brought up the dozens of deaths that occur in the country on a daily basis. “I think that we have to look at the fact that we lose 90 people a day from gun violence,” she said, later adding that, “This has gone on too long and it’s time the entire country stood up against the NRA.” Polls show 76 percent of Democrats support implementation of stricter gun laws in the United States, an emotive demographic that Clinton tapped into. She vehemently opposes the gun-related tragedies that have become part of American culture and has heavily implied that, if elected, she would make it her business to do something about it. To nobody’s surprise, this stance was met with resounding applause.
During her opening statement, Clinton said she would go into detail about the specifics of her plans for several of her stances. Yet she never managed to, something I attribute to strategically avoiding making specific statements. That’s undoubtedly a good strategy, even if it’s not the easiest action to accomplish. On the other hand, Sanders responded to the derisive questions about his vote against the Brady Bill, which implemented background checks and a five-day waiting period on gun purchases, with incredibly meek arguments that were actually rooted in technicalities and reason. Considering the fact that the United States has had a black president for two terms who has been unable push implementation of stricter gun laws despite the fact that black Americans are twice as likely to die due to gun violence than white Americans is a tell-tale sign of the inherent hardship of this issue. Sanders’ sentiment,”If you think that we can simply go forward and pass something tomorrow without bringing people together, you are sorely mistaken,” is steeped in reality, despite its pessimistic connotations.
Sanders’ strong opening statement and compelling arguments seemed to shrink in the face of challenges, whereas Clinton glowed in the face of opposition. That said, I think Sanders’ genuine honesty trumps Clinton’s glib speech. Sanders’ moderation, sense of logic and principle make him the best democratic presidential candidate, whereas Clinton’s presidential demeanour and vagueness only make her seem like one. We must be cautious of being lured in by pretty words and direct our attention toward practicality to make sure we contribute to the best America we can.
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