Regarding controversy at Tuesday night’s Democratic debate, the discourse between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders was perhaps the most heated. After the debate, Clinton sits at a 71 percent approval rate, while Sanders is behind at 16 percent.
Both candidates were expected to be dynamically different in their responses to questions, but the major conflicts at this particular debate may have been enhanced by the debate’s mediators. CNN played host, and two major correspondents, Anderson Cooper and Dana Bash, asked America’s questions.
Right after Sanders spoke about his position on guns, Cooper didn’t hesitate to ask Clinton if he was “tough enough” on the issue. Clinton’s controversial comment and response was no, Sanders does not have a strict enough stance on the issue.
“It’s time the entire country stood up against the NRA,” she said.
But instead of opening up the question to all candidates, Cooper tended to let Clinton and Sanders exclusively hash out issues by pointing questions their way.
Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist, spoke about his economic views multiple times during Tuesday’s debate. To spur the conversation, Cooper read from a Gallup Poll that said around 50 percent of voters would not support a socialist in the presidential chair.
“We’re gonna win because first, we are gonna explain what democratic socialism is,” said Sanders to this statistic.
He justified his statement during the debate by speaking about how “the 1 percent” own a majority of the United States’ wealth. He then talked about the economic divide in the U.S., and family values, similar to many Northern European countries, like Denmark.
Sanders previously spoke out against capitalism at his CU Boulder rally on Oct. 1o. To justify his reasoning, he used the extreme “casino capitalist process” example on Tuesday night. To this, Clinton and the other candidates stayed silent for a while.
Cooper asked if anyone else considered themselves to be against capitalism.
Clinton then broke the silence in order to stand up for small businesses who use capitalism to “make a good living for themselves and their families.” Instead of speaking against capitalism, Clinton suggested to “reign in the excesses of capitalism… so it doesn’t cause a muck.” Clinton also said that, “we need to save capitalism from itself.”
As for the other three candidates, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, and Lincoln Chafee, their voices were limited. This was most likely due to the questions they faced and their hesitancy to go head to head with Clinton or Sanders. Overall, those ‘top two’ retained 70 percent of the air time on CNN.
Contact CU Independent News Staff Writer Ashley Hopko at Ashley.Hopko@colorado.edu.