It’s been more than a month since Democratic contenders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders held a debate. Tonight’s faceoff in Brooklyn pits the New Yorker by birth versus the New Yorker by choice in what might be their final battle.
The debate will be a chance for the candidates to respond to some recent incendiary rhetoric, most of which came from Sanders: calling Clinton “unqualified” to be president; questioning her taking money from Verizon for a speech as both candidates appeared at union picket lines to support striking Verizon workers; and the comment “corporate Democratic whores” by a speaker at a Sanders event to describe those who, like Clinton, support incremental progress in health care reform.
After the debate, it’s all about numbers. Sanders may have won seven of the last eight Democratic contests, but he still trails Clinton by 251 pledged delegates — four more than the number at stake in Tuesday’s New York primary. The Democrats have no “winner-take-all” contests. Delegates are allocated proportionally to the popular vote. So, in order for Sanders to catch Clinton, he needs to win about 60% of the vote in New York and the 19 other remaining contests.
It’s a high mountain to climb.
Why Bernie Sanders Faces a Trap at the Democratic Debate
Jay Newton-Small – Time
Unfortunately for Sanders, there is a huge difference between “disqualifying” actions and being unqualified on the whole. The former is a criticism Republicans often use against Clinton as it avoids wholesale discounting her long and distinguished career. “Women’s qualifications have been questioned and undermined since Victoria Woodhull ran for President two centuries ago,” says Barbara Lee, head of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, which helps women run for executive offices. “When it comes to women running for office, we have seen an evolution, but the reality remains that women are still held to a higher standard—especially when it comes to qualifications.”
Why I’m Supporting Bernie Sanders
Sen. Jeff Merkley – The New York Times
Bernie Sanders is boldly and fiercely addressing the biggest challenges facing our country.
He has opposed trade deals with nations that pay their workers as little as a dollar an hour. Such deals have caused good jobs to move overseas and undermined the leverage of American workers to bargain for a fair share of the wealth they create in our remaining factories.
He has passionately advocated for pivoting from fossil fuels to renewable energy to save our planet from global warming — the greatest threat facing humanity. He recognizes that to accomplish this we must keep the vast bulk of the world’s fossil fuels in the ground.
The Bernie Sanders Double Standard
Lanny Davis – Real Clear Politics
Last week, Bernie Sanders decided to focus his message ahead of New York’s upcoming primary on the assertion that Hillary Clinton was not qualified to be president.
Eight years as first lady and an active participant in former President Clinton’s policy-making. Eight years — twice-elected — as a U.S. senator from New York. Four years as Secretary of State….
As Clinton herself said recently, she has been accused of a lot of nasty things in her political career, but one of them is not “unqualified to be president.”
Dr. Song's comment was inappropriate and insensitive. There's no room for language like that in our political discourse.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 14, 2016
I am very sorry for using the term "whore" to refer to some in congress who are beholden to corporations and not us. It was insensitive.— Paul Y. Song (@paulysong) April 14, 2016
Bernie Sanders’ Climate Consistency
Bill McKibben – New York Daily News
Hillary Clinton’s struggle is with time, and on so many fronts: She’s haunted by her support for the Iraq War when it was popular, by her support for jailing “superpredators” when that was popular, by her support for free-trade agreements or her opposition to gay marriage when that polled well. No small share of her campaign has been devoted to explaining her “evolutions.”
But in recent days, the problem has been clearest in regard to energy and climate, thrown into sharp relief by young people who have questioned her about the fossil fuel money that’s always lubricated her campaigns.
Bernie and Hillary: Stop the Nastiness
Julian Zelizer – CNN
Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have an opportunity to restore a constructive tone to their competition and bring back the kind of vibrant ideological debate that until recently shaped much of the primary.
During the past few weeks, their interaction has become nastier and less civil. Sanders raised eyebrows when he questioned Clinton’s qualifications to be commander in chief.Though he stepped back from his remarks, the stinging statement remained part of the new environment. Although she seemed taken aback, Clinton is not an innocent bystander. She, too, has repeatedly challenged Sanders on similar grounds and frequently twisted his votes…
Democrats are Headed Off Their Own Cliff
Stuart Rothenberg – Roll Call
Political observers – yes, including myself – have argued for years that the Republican Party has moved too far right, allowing its most ideological elements to limit its legislative options, prevent it from addressing national problems, and damage its appeal to key swing and emerging voter groups.
But instead of Democrats responding by positioning themselves in the political center where they could maximize their appeal, many Democrats are embracing their own version of ideological extremism.
Bernie Sanders’ uncompromising anti-business rhetoric and agenda, combined with the energy of “progressive” forces in the Democratic coalition, reflect a significant turn to the left by a party that once stood for pragmatic change, not “revolution.”