Global Independent Analytics

Sanders, Clinton Battle in New York Democratic Debate

“People usually vote on pocketbook issues."

VOA News reporting: Presidential candidates from Democratic party, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, battled each other Thursday night on a ground well known to both of them - Brooklyn, New York, ahead of next Tuesday's very important New York primary.

Both were relentless to one another, using sharp remarks and questioning each other's judgment. Sanders pushed further his previous observation that Hillary Clinton is not competent enough to be a president. This is not because she lacks necessary qualifications, which Sanders admitted were plenty, but rather due to certain faults in her judgment. Such as, as he pointed out during the debate, her support for the war in Iraq and her acceptance of campaign funding from banks and firms on Wall Street.

In turn, Clinton accused him and his followers of squeezing lies about her out of thin air. She also heavily relied on her past, reminding everyone that the people of New York voted her for the Senate twice and President Barack Obama named her secretary of state. Her primary criticism of Sanders was his weakness when it comes to foreign policy issues. She called Sanders' concentration on her accepting large contributions from Wall Street a "phony attack."

There were things they both agreed upon, naming banks that are considered “too big to fail” a risk to the economy and calling for their break up. But then they angrily squabbled anew over raising the federal minimum wage, literally shouting over one another.

"They were aggressive, loud, there was sarcasm. So if you didn't know it was in New York, you could kind of tell from the tone," said Christopher Faricy, assistant professor of political science at Syracuse University.

Faricy also said that the candidates were rather unimaginative during the debate, using old and proven tactics to undermine each other, as well giving a general description of them.

"Usually, domestic issues win the day. Foreign policy is more complex, it doesn't have an immediate impact on a lot of people's lives. So people usually vote on pocketbook issues," he added.

Both Sanders and Clinton have deep ties to New York. Sanders was born in Brooklyn 74 years ago and still retains his distinctive regional accent from the area. Clinton represented the state as a U.S. senator from 2001 until 2009.

Both of them have a huge amount of supporters in New York, but polls going into Thursday night debate show Clinton with a double-digit lead over Sanders statewide, with at least one giving her a 17 point advantage. She also has a large lead in the delegate count.

This debate is the decisive engagement for Sanders, who, despite his wins in seven of the last Democratic primaries has been forced to court minorities and young voters to keep the momentum going.

By Stefan Paraber for GIA

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