The seventh Democratic debate is over. It was a contentious one, with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton hitting each other hard on Wall Street, auto bailouts, gun laws and more issues that actually matter (as compared, say, with the last Republican debate, where Donald Trump’s penis size became a topic of conversation). Bernie Sanders’ closing statement at the debate touched on the key issue of his campaign: Economic inequality and campaign finance reform…
The seventh Democratic debate is over. It was a contentious one, with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton hitting each other hard on Wall Street, auto bailouts, gun laws and more issues that actually matter (as compared, say, with the last Republican debate, where Donald Trump's penis size became a topic of conversation). Bernie Sanders' closing statement at the debate touched on the key issue of his campaign: Economic inequality and campaign finance reform.
Sanders headed into this debate with a string of recent victories under his belt. On Super Tuesday, he won the Oklahoma and Vermont primaries and caucuses in Colorado and Minnesota, and days later, Sanders triumphed over Clinton in the Kansas and Nebraska caucuses. By contrast, Sanders entered the last debate having won only one state, New Hampshire.
But despite the improvement in Sanders position over the last month, the fact remains that he's far behind Clinton in delegates. Not including superdelegates, Clinton has 1,121 delegates to Sanders' 481. While the Vermont senator's path to the nomination still exists, it's very narrow one.
Sunday's debate took place in Michigan, a big state that hasn't yet voted in the Democratic primary. Sanders is hoping that white, working class Democrats in Michigan will give him a major victory when the state holds its primary on Thursday, which in turn would leave him well-positioned for the Ohio primary on March 15th. However, Sanders is badly trailing Clinton in the state, and has been for quite some time.
At Sunday's debate, Sanders was trying to reverse that momentum. Here's what he said in his closing statement.
My father came to this country at the age of seventeen without any money. Never made any money. We lived in a three and a half room, rent-controlled apartment. So I learned about economics not just in college, but living in a family that didn't have money enough to scrape by.
We are here tonight in Flint, Michigan because a horrendous tragedy is taking place. But it's not just in Flint, Michigan. We have 29 million people who have no health insurance. We're the only country on earth that doesn't provide paid family and medical leave. We have school systems around America that are collapsing.
And yet we are the wealthiest country in the history of the world. But most people don't know that because almost all of the new income and wealth is going to the top one percent.
I believe — and all due respect to my good friend, Secretary Clinton — that it is too late for establishment politics and establishment economics. It is too late for a corrupt campaign finance system and super PACs that raise enormous amounts of money from special interests.
We need in this country a political revolution, where ordinary people stand up and reclaim the government that men and women fought and died for. Thank you.
Other than the lack of reference to "millionaires and billionaires," that closing is classic Sanders. While it's unclear whether his laser-focus on economic issues is resonating sufficiently with Democratic voters to win him the nomination, nobody can accuse Sanders of straying from his core message.
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