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Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Summary of the NBC News-YouTube Democratic Debate

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Democratic presidential candidates on stage at the NBC News – YouTube Democratic Candidates Debate Sunday at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, S.C.

On January 17th, the 2016 Presidential Democratic Candidates Hillary Clinton, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Governor Martin O’Malley highlighted their differences in the NBC News-YouTube Democratic Candidates Debate. The debate featured Google trends and popular YouTube personalities such as Franchesca Ramsey, Connor Franta, Minute Earth, and Marques Brownlee. Throughout the debate, Bernie Sanders reiterated previous points, while Hillary Clinton made promises of continuity, maintaining support for many of the policies of the Obama administration.

After the opening statements, Lester Holt of NBC asked the candidates what their top 3 priorities would be in the first hundred days in office. Bernie Sanders responded with universal healthcare, 15-dollar minimum wage, infrastructure improvements, and more taxes on the wealthy. Clinton also agreed with minimum wage but emphasized maintaining and improving Obamacare, as opposed Bernie Sander’s plan to change the entire system. Martin O’Malley, Governor of Maryland, talked about immigration reform, raising minimum wage to 15 dollars, a plan to make America’s electric grid 100% clean by 2050, and new agendas to reform American cities.

On the topic of guns, all candidates showed opposition to fewer restrictions on gun owners and dealers. Bernie Sanders argued against the sale of military assault weapons to anyone and against the sale of guns to criminals or the mentally ill. O’Malley talked about efforts to prevent gun violence in his own state via background checks and an assault rifle ban. Clinton advocated for new restrictions on guns as well.

On the topic of police and race relations, all candidates had similar positions that racial profiling and community relations is a problem in the criminal justice system. For the first YouTube question, Franchesca Ramsey asked how the Presidential candidates would ensure that incidents of police violence would be investigated. Bernie Sanders said it was the job of the Department of Justice and the Attorney General to get involved anytime someone dies in police custody. The Candidates spoke about battling the heroin epidemic and reforming the war on drugs, and there was a general consensus on reforming the criminal justice system in regards to non-violent drug offenders.

One of the biggest differences between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is in their opinion on Healthcare. While Sanders firmly stated his belief in universal healthcare for everyone and no private health insurance, Clinton stated she was still committed to working on Obamacare, which she considers one of Obama’s greatest accomplishments. Sander’s plan includes a slight increase in taxes, but he says they would be more than financially feasible for families because his system would rid of insurance premiums.

Throughout the debate, Bernie Sanders spoke out against large companies, special interests, and lobbies influencing Congress. Later, on the issue of partisanship in Washington, Sanders said “The real issue is that Congress is owned by big money and refuses to do what the American people want them to do… make congress respond to the needs of the people, not big money interests.” He also called out Hillary Clinton for receiving money from Goldman Sachs, an investment-banking firm, when talking about regulating Wall Street.

The second YouTube question came from Connor Franta, who asked about the importance of this election to young people. In response to this candidates emphasized the importance and urgency of this election for young people, making an appeal to younger generations. The next YouTube question came from Minute Earth about climate change, and all of the candidates agreed that it was a major problem facing the nation.

On foreign affairs, the candidates agreed that America must normalize relations with Iran but understand and monitor Iranian behavior. All candidates agreed that troops on the ground in Syria was a bad idea, but they had different approaches to the situation. Clinton essentially reiterated the President’s current strategy, Senator Sanders stated it was the responsibility of the Muslim world – specifically the Gulf States, and Governor O’Malley talked about developing alliances and continuing coalition airstrikes.

The fourth YouTube question, from Marques Brownlee, was about national security. O’Malley insisted that the U.S. government needed to get a warrant prior to searching online networks or personal data. Senator Sanders agreed, but also noted the importance of stopping private data collection. On stopping homegrown terrorism, Clinton emphasized the importance of working with Muslim American communities and rejecting Republican lines of action on the issue. O’Malley went further to say, “… if Donald Trump wants to start a registry in our country of people by faith, he can start with me and I’ll sign up as one who’s totally opposed to his fascist appeals…”

Overall the Democratic debate highlighted many agreements, but also some tense disagreements, mainly between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. With the 2016 presidential election rapidly approaching, Sanders and Clinton have been taking center stage, with Martin O’Malley in the background, left literally begging the moderators for even 30 seconds to speak by the end of debate.

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About the Contributor
Kyle Hammalian, Current Events Editor
Kyle Hammalian is a senior who is going on his third year with The Trailblazer. Kyle is the editor for the Current Events section. Kyle hopes to create content on complex issues that are relevant and understandable for The Trailblazer’s audience.

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