The battle for the Democratic presidential nomination hit a new gear—though it may have ended for some—on Tuesday night as the party’s five candidates seeking the nation’s highest office squared off in their first televised debate from Las Vegas.
Brought to viewers by CNN and Facebook, the debate featured memorable back-and-forths on key issues as the two current frontrunners, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, discussed such issues as the role that “casino capitalism” has played in wrecking the middle class, the importance of fighting climate change, the scourge of gun violence that grips the country, the failures of U.S. foreign policy in recent years, pervasive racial disparities throughout the criminal justice system, and others.
Sanders was widely given credit for upholding his pledge not to go on the attack against his rivals and even went so far as to defend Clinton against the so far unshakeable questions related to her use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State. “Let me say something that may not be great politics,” Sanders said. “But I think [Clinton] is right. And that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!”
In response, Clinton reached out and shook Sanders hand in thanks, but Sanders wasn’t quite done. “And let me say something about the media as well. I go around this country and talk to a whole lot of people,” he continued. “The middle class in this country is collapsing. We have 27 million people living in poverty. We have massive wealth and income inequality. Our trade policies have cost us millions of decent-paying jobs. The American people want to know whether we’re going to have a democracy or an oligarchy as a result of Citizens United. Enough of the emails, let’s talk about the real issues facing America.”
The interchange resulted in some of the loudest applause for the evening.
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