Democratic presidential debate highlights


Candidate Hillary Clinton.

By Alexis Marvin on October 19, 2015:

Last Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada, the top five Democratic presidential candidates met for a CNN/Facebook debate. Prompted by CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, Lincoln Chafee, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton all gathered to discuss their views on gun control, environmental policies, the economy, political parties in general and war.

The candidates were each asked very different and personalized questions, each responding accordingly to their varied stances on the issues.

Candidate Lincoln Chafee
Candidate Lincoln Chafee


Candidate Hillary Clinton.
Candidate Hillary Clinton.

Clinton was asked whether she changes her political identity based on to whom she is talking.

“No,” Clinton said. “I think that, like most people that I know, I have a range of views, but they are rooted in my values and my experience.”

Clinton stayed strong in her defense that her grandfather was a factory worker and her father was a small business man.

When questioned whether she was a progressive or a moderate, Clinton was hasty to respond.

“I’m a progressive. But I’m a progressive who likes to get things done,” she said.

Moving on to Sanders, Cooper asked him how he was going to get elected despite labeling himself a socialist.

“I believe in a society where all people do well. Not just a handful of billionaires,” Sanders said.

After, Cooper asked the other candidates about their opinions on Capitalism, something Sanders strongly and openly despises.

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

“We would be making a grave mistake to turn our backs on what built the greatest middle class in history,” Clinton said.

Cooper then turned his questioning on the other candidates. He asked Chafee about his change in political parties.

“You’ve only been a Democrat for little more than two years,” Cooper said. “Why should Democratic voters trust you won’t change again?”

Chafee became metaphorical in his response.

“Time and time again, I have never changed,” Chafee said. “You’re looking at a block of granite when it comes to the issues. So I have not changed.”

O’Malley was asked how he was to be trusted when his city, Baltimore, exploded in riots and violence, especially concerning his zero tolerance policies.

Democratic candidate Martin O'Malley.
Democratic candidate Martin O’Malley.

“I ran and promised people that together we could turn that around,” O’Malley said. He went on to discuss that he tried his best to promote nonviolence; he did not make the city immune to setbacks.

Cooper asked Webb about a previous comment stating that affirmative action was “state-sponsored racism.” Webb had written an op/ed saying the policy discriminates against whites, and Cooper asked if Webb was out of step with where the Democratic Party is now.

Democratic candidate Jim Webb.
Democratic candidate Jim Webb.

“The Democratic Party, and the reason I’ve decided to run as a Democrat, has been the party that gives people who otherwise have no voice in the corridors of power a voice,” Webb said.

The candidates were also posed the hot-topic question of gun control. Each had something new to add to the topic.

Sanders would enhance the licensing process but would not eliminate guns in America.

“Over the years, I have strongly avoided instant background checks, doing away with this terrible gun show loophole,” he said.

Clinton responded by stating Sanders is not tough enough on guns.

“I think that we have to look at the fact that we lose 90 people a day from gun violence. This has gone on too long, and it’s time the entire country stood up against the NRA,” Clinton said.

O’Malley stated he was able to get gun control promises approved, even though President Obama has never been able to do so.

“We passed comprehensive gun safety legislation, not by looking at the pollings or looking at what the polls said. We actually did it,” O’Malley said.

Regarding the war in Iraq, Sanders stated his belief that using force in Iraq was the worst decision in American history.

“When our country is threatened, or when our allies are threatened, I believe that we need coalitions to come together to address the major crises of this country,” Sanders said. “I do not support the United States getting involved in unilateral action.”

The debate continued on, with the candidates discussing additional topics such as Benghazi, family planning, veterans and drugs. Viewers perceived them all as respectful of each other, but the winners of the debate were Sanders and Clinton.

The next debate will take place in Dec. 15, also in Las Vegas, for the Republican candidates.