Democratic candidates clash in another debate

The fourth democratic debate was filled with a surprising amount of accusatory language. As Senator Bernie Sanders is catching up to for Sec. of State Hilary Clinton in the polls, Clinton opted to challenge Sander’s seemingly unmatchable consistent voting record. In an effort to cut down his image as an anti-political truth teller, Clinton pointed out Sander’s recent policy shifts on gun control and universal health care.

It was a packed house in Charleston, S.C. as NBC’s coverage of the debate was also available on YouTube.

Each candidate started by addressing their top three priorities. Every candidate agreed on raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Sanders’ priorities were universal health care for all, for Wall Street and the top 1 percent to pay their fair share of taxes and to get rid of super PAC donations. Clinton wanted to build upon President Obama’s affordable health care model, to have equal pay for women and to work together with the rest of the world to combat ISIL and climate change. Governor Martin O’Malley wanted major immigration reform, a clean renewable energy grid and the largest agenda for renovating cities since former President Jimmy Carter.

O’Malley was given little time to speak. He addressed almost every question with what he had done as governor and how his policies would easily transition over into his presidency. Although his chances of becoming the democratic nominee are close to zero, I was impressed with how convincing his argument had been.

Sanders, Clinton and O’Malley all had moments of brilliance on stage. Sanders exposed Clinton’s cozy relationship with Wall Street and Super PAC’s when he brought up how Clinton was paid over $600,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs, a leading global investment bank.

Sanders and Clinton came out with different strategies under a lot of pressure with the Iowa Caucuses looming. Clinton spoke with passion while avoiding an overly aggressive tone to push the idea that she would build upon Obama’s success. Sanders on the other hand came out as he has in every debate, with brutal honesty, lots of arm waving and hollering. Both candidates tried to show moments of relaxation by smiling or laughing, but it felt awkwardly forced.

I came away from the debate with more confidence in Sanders winning the primary. He showed guts going toe-to-toe with Clinton while defending himself from her false accusations. If he wants to win over more voters, though, he’s going to have to stop shouting like an angry old man and tone it down to a level that isn’t nearly as abrasive.

Nick Sallen is the opinion editor for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]