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Candidates in Democratic Debate addressed important issues while revealing their comical sides

The political season’s first Democratic debate aired Oct 13, and soon doubled as a live, televised, head-to-head battle between the party’s frontrunners — former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. The three other Democratic candidates, former governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley, former Virginian Sen. Jim Webb (who has just dropped out of the race Tuesday, Oct. 20) and former senator of Rhode Island Lincoln Chafee, were often overlooked during the 2 1/2 hours of discussing gun control, global warming and the Black Lives Matter campaign.

Media outlets such as CNN dubbed Clinton the winner of the debate, leading at 45 percent with Sanders lagging behind at 29 percent, despite a previous poll taken by CNN stating that Sanders did in fact won with 68 percent — CNN then deleted the poll quickly after releasing it.

According to an article published by politifact.com, a video released by social media outlet NowThis was released that expanded on a theory previously published on thread website Reddit, suggesting that CNN deleted the poll because Time Warner, its parent company, is one of Clinton’s biggest donors, “spending more on her campaign than ‘Bernie’s top 15 donors gave him.’”

During the debate, which was held at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, CNN’s Anderson Cooper served as the host, guiding the candidates through several rounds of questioning as poised and determined as a Russian ballerina.

When asking Sanders about his stance on gun control, Cooper was persistent

in his efforts, reminding the 74-year-old senator of a largely rural pro-gun state that he had previously voted to allow guns on Amtrak, as well as voted against the Brady Bill, which would mandate federal background checks on firearm buyers in the U.S.

Sanders retaliated, stating that a representative of a rural state has to be mindful of his constituents’ wishes.

“All the shouting in the world is not going to do what all of us want and that is keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have those guns,” Sanders said.

Chafee, who was previously a registered Republican, voted against the bill that Sanders had backed.

Cooper also touched on the recent Black Lives Matter campaign following the Ferguson shootings, as well as Sandra Bland’s death by police brutality, by asking “Do black lives matter, or do all lives matter?” Despite Clinton’s strong support from nonwhite Democratic voters, Sanders was the only candidate to really speak up about the topic.

“Black lives matter. And the reason — the reason those words matter is in the African American community knows that on any given day, some innocent person like Sandra Bland can get into a car, and then three days later she’s going to end up in jail, or their kids are going to get shot,” Sanders said. “We need to combat institutional racism from top to bottom, and we need major, major reforms in a broken criminal justice system.”

According to www.thehill.com, this move by Sanders is just further proof that he will win over Clinton. Sanders’ statement regarding apparent racism in U.S. police departments will attract the votes of multicultural Democrats.

Perhaps the highlight of the evening

was when Sanders jumped to Clinton’s defense regarding her email scandal, something that has been dominating the media for months. “The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails,” he interjected, causing an uproar from the crowd. After the remark, Chafee begged to differ, which gave the crowd even more a reason to cheer when Clinton declined to respond. This exchange was perchance the biggest indicator that the 2016 presidential campaign has and always will involve only Sanders and Clinton.

Climate change was also a hot topic during the debate — the candidates’ opening statements included their plans on environmental reform. O’Malley called for a 100 percent renewable energy on our grid by 2050, and also suggested that the U.S. population work on innovating new ways to conserve energy.

Sanders talked about the threat, along with working with China and India (a point that Webb brought up as well). Sanders also discussed the environment several times throughout his talking points. Clinton somewhat dodged the topic, bringing up her work with President Obama during the Copenhagen global climate meeting in 2009.

The first Democratic debate of the 2016 presidential campaign was entertaining at times, and just downright comical at others. With only two real contenders for the next possible Democratic president, the left side of the political spectrum has already proven to be the more serious of the parties, with Sanders leading the way.

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