The second Democratic presidential debate provided a deeper glimpse into the plans of the top three candidates for the 2016 election. In contrast to the first debate, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley were a little more willing oppose each other, thus the debate highlighted both the similarities and differences in their policies and approaches.
It was refreshing to hear that all of the Democratic candidates understand the importance of equal pay for women in the workplace, as this is a pressing topic for female voters. Clinton, the current Democratic frontrunner was quick to champion her popularity with women, touting the fact that 60 percent of her campaign donors are now female. The candidates also generally landed on the same side of issues such as the fight against ISIS and international terrorism, the economy and income gap and gun control.
However, within those topics, they were quick to highlight important differences, and point out flaws and flip-flops of their opponents. Notably, Sanders challenged Clinton on her vote for the invasion of Iraq in 2002, though she now concedes that the war was a mistake. Sanders also pointed out her campaign contributions from Wall Street, suggesting that Clinton may be persuaded by their donations instead of the needs of the American public. Clinton, in turn, pointed out Sanders’ weakness and simplicity in his economic policies.
Though most people tuned in to see Clinton and Sanders go head to head, O’Malley did not disappoint, holding his own against the two favorites. He continuously proved his legitimacy as a candidate by giving examples of his record as Mayor of Baltimore and Governor of Maryland. A noted O’Malley moment was when he called out the policies of Republican counterpart, Donald Trump, which garnered laughs from the Democratic audience.
All three candidates did well articulating their policies, and showing confidence and poise needed to become the next President, all in the face of opposition on a public stage. The second debate proved that the race is heating up, and that the third debate will provide even more political excitement as voters will soon begin to see who emerges as the Democratic nominee for President.