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Culture > News

What You Missed at Thursday’s Democratic Debate

The New York primaries are coming up on April 19, meaning that the candidates for president are trying to round up as many votes as they can. While Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders with 1,292 to 1,042 delegates (not including superdelegates, who may change their support at any time before the Democratic convention), New York could be a turning point for either of the candidates. Sanders has won seven of the last eight contests, giving him a huge momentum going into New York. Winning could change the entire race for the Democratic nomination. However, a win for Clinton could push Sanders aside and push her even closer to the 2,383 delegates needed to win.

With So. Much. Excitement. at Thursday’s debate in Brooklyn, no one should miss out on any of the action—so here’s a recap of the New York fight night:

The gloves FINALLY came off between Hillary and Bernie

Politics, if we’re all being honest here, can get a bit boring if every candidate is being perfectly well behaved, waits their turn, and is always kind. This was beginning to be the case a few months ago between Clinton and Sanders. However, Thursday night’s debate finally brought out some good old-fashioned political theater, punches and all.

Sanders and Clinton repeatedly scoffed at and yelled over one another. Neither of them were restrained at delivering blows, whether about the minimum wage, gun control or tax returns. Let the political boxing match begin!

Backtracking on Calling Hillary Unqualified

Just one week before the debate, Sanders went on record calling Clinton “unqualified.” According to CNN, he said, “If you want to question my qualifications, then maybe the American people might wonder about your qualifications, Madame Secretary.”

During the debate, Clinton addressed this comment by saying, “I’ve been called a lot of things in my life. That was a first.” Sanders went on to clarify what he meant, saying that Clinton was indeed qualified, but she may not have the best judgment.

Crime Bill Regrets

Among the many ghosts haunting Clinton’s campaign, one of them is the crime bill that her husband Bill Clinton signed into office in 1994. The Black Lives Matter movement in particular says the bill has hurt African American lives by putting a disproportionate amount of black citizens in jail. Bill Clinton fumbled with handling Black Lives Matters protesters during a rally for his wife. Now, Clinton is apologizing for it.

“I’m sorry for the consequences that were unintended,” Clinton said during the debate, after reminding the audience that she was not the president at the time but did support the bill. Keep in mind that although Sanders attacked Clinton for the bill, he voted it into place while he was in Senate.

Minimum Wage Raise Differences that Basically Are Saying the Same Exact Thing but They’re Still Going to Yell About It

Clinton wanted to raise the minimum wage to $12 in some states, and $15 in others, depending on the standards and prices of living on a case by case basis. Sanders just wanted to raise it to $15. After some grilling by Sanders, Clinton did concede that if congress passed a bill to raise the minimum wage to $15, she would sign it. “To suddenly announce now you’re for 15, I don’t think is quite accurate,” Sanders said. “I think the secretary has confused a lot of people,” said Sanders, according to Politico.

Both did agree that the current minimum wage is way too small to keep. But apparently this micro-difference between sometimes $15 and always $15 is enough to yell (loudly) about for the two candidates.

Release the Transcripts, Hillary!

One of Clinton’s issues with voters has been her lack of transparency—something that Sanders has had no trouble capitalizing on. Last night, he called for her to release transcripts of her speeches to places like Goldman Sachs. She once again refused, citing Sanders for not releasing his tax returns yet either.

“There are certain expectations when you run for president—this is a new one. I’ve said if everyone agrees to do it, because there are speeches for money on the other side, I know that. But I will tell you this: There is a long-standing expectation that everybody running release their tax returns,” Clinton said according to New York Daily News.

Who’s the Real New Yorker Here?

In their closing statements, the candidates reminded the Brooklyn audience that they are the New York-iest of the New Yorkers. Clinton was a senator for New York for some time, despite having been born in Illinois. Meanwhile, Sanders was born and raised in Brooklyn, but moved to Vermont and has been there for decades.

Both of them have seen “Hamilton” though, so really, they’re both pretty in tune with New York right?

The race to be the Democratic nominee is more competitive than ever. New York, your primaries are Tuesday—you’re in the political center stage, so get out there and vote!

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Bridget Higgins

U Mass Amherst

Bridget is a senior Journalism major focusing on political journalism at UMass Amherst. She interned for the HC editorial team, writes columns for the Massachusetts Daily Collegian, and occasionally gets a freelance article or two on sailing published by Ocean Navigator Magazine. When she isn't greeting random puppies on the street, she loves to cook for her friends, perpetuate her coffee addiction, and spend too much time crafting Tweets. She is also an avid fan of chocolate anything and unnecessary pillows. If you want to know more about Bridget, follow her on Instagram - @bridget_higgins - or Twitter - @bridgehiggins