Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Fourth Democratic Debate

The democratic candidates just had their fourth debate in South Carolina, the final debate before the Iowa Caucus. While Clinton, Sanders, and O’Malley were all present, it was mostly a contest between Clinton and Sanders to gain any advantage they could in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Clinton and Sanders had several opportunities to differentiate their values from each other on topic ranging from campaign finance to health care to tax rates and financing policies. Sanders accused Clinton of taking speaking fees from Goldman Sachs and O’Malley also attacked Clinton on her attachment to Wall Street. Later, Clinton criticized Sander’s single payer health care plan and said that it was starting from scratch and getting rid of the Affordable Care Act. Sanders was also asked to defend his position on gun control, one of his most controversial opinions, and was opposed by both Clinton and O’Malley.

The timing of the debates has been often criticized by both Sanders and O’Malley. The debates have landed at the same time as popular football games and the middle of holiday weekends. Both candidates say that this benefits Clinton since she is a much more well-known person and doesn’t need the air time to gain support. The DNC’s odd debate times and attempt to block Sanders out of the voter database has been seen as some as de facto support for Clinton.

O’Malley got very few opportunities to speak during the night, potentially because of the fact that he is polling so low. There were several occasions where he was trying to get a chance to respond, but NBC started running commercials. Do you think that O’Malley should get a chance to speak? Is having a third opinion valuable?

The audience of the debate seemed to be skewed slightly Clinton. There were multiple moments where she had multiple seconds of loud applause after a remark. This could have been caused purely by the validity of her statements or maybe the audience slightly favored her. Despite this, Sanders was the most googled candidate after the debates in all fifty states and 89% of a snap poll of 100 thousand people say that Sanders “won” the debate. Do you think that a candidate can win a debate? Do you think one of the candidates performed remarkably better?

The three democratic candidates will continue to face off in the next two weeks to gain any advantage they can in the very close state of Iowa.

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