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What We Learned From Wednesday’s Democratic Debate

Sanders entered the debate after a close primary win in Michigan. (Meredith Dake-O'Connor/CQ Roll Call)
Sanders entered the debate after a close primary win in Michigan. (Meredith Dake-O'Connor/CQ Roll Call)

The day after former secretary of state Hillary Clinton won a big primary victory in Mississippi and Sen. Bernie Sanders kept the race going with an upset victory, a close one, in Michigan, the two faced off in Miami. Broadcast on CNN  in English, and on Univision in Spanish, immigration was just one of the issues the candidates covered. Differences with Republicans were stark.  

Some reactions:

Popular economic populism wins: “With Clinton’s nod toward Elizabeth Warren on Wall Street, Bernie Sanders calling for expanded Social Security benefits, and both candidates calling for debt-free college and overturning Citizens United, this debate shows that the center of gravity has clearly shifted in the Democratic Party. The economic populist Warren wing of American politics is on the rise, and Democrats will win in a landslide if the party focuses on popular economic populism ideas from now until November.”
— Adam Green, Co-Founder, Progressive Change Campaign Committee

Call for climate action: “Both candidates deserve credit for calling for climate action. We are thrilled once again to hear Hillary again lay out her commitment to build on President Obama’s historic Clean Power Plan, before being asked about it, and her proposal for an ambitious clean energy plan. Hillary’s plan on how to meet the challenge of climate change head-on is in stark opposition to the climate denialism among the GOP candidates.”

— Clay Shroers, National Campaigns Director, League of Conservation Voters, which backs Clinton

Race to the left?: “This was not the debate performance Hillary Clinton needed following her stunning defeat in Michigan. Hillary Clinton’s flip flops on immigration, hypocrisy on Wall Street, and deception over her email scandal are precisely why two-thirds of Americans don’t trust her and she is struggling to put Sanders away for good.”

“The Democrat Primary has become a race to the far left between an embattled front-runner facing an FBI investigation and a self-avowed socialist who continues to win states and out-raise the Clinton machine. Only a Republican president can restore America’s promise and bring the security and prosperity that President Obama and the Democrats have failed to deliver.”

— Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus

An issues discussion: “With every day that passes and after every debate, the substance gap between Democrats and Republicans gets wider and deeper. Tonight in Miami, our two candidates debated with the seriousness and depth of knowledge that voters deserve. And they did it on issues that matter to all Americans, including Hispanics and anyone who carries an immigrant story.”

 “That’s a stark contrast to what we’ll see tomorrow when Republicans take their turn in Miami at the next GOP debate. Trump, Cruz and Rubio have turned their debates into vulgar screaming matches that disrespects the voters whose support they seek, desperate to one-up one another with divisive rhetoric and dark promises to deport DREAMers and their families.”

— DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz


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