Those looking for explosive fireworks in the New Hampshire Democratic debate weren’t disappointed. After Martin O’Malley pulled out of the race in Iowa, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton were left to battle it out in the Granite State, and they put up a fierce fight. Their policies are similar enough but their approach is the major difference between the two: Clinton is calling for continuity and pragmatism while Sanders is on the opposite side advocating for a political revolution. With the New Hampshire primary around the corner, this debate was significant for the candidates as they tried to grab last minute voters they have been struggling to capture.
Sanders portrayed himself as a true outsider candidate in this race, but implied that Clinton was the establishment candidate. Debates are great for showing voters where the candidates are weakest as Clinton once again was on the defensive over her ties to Wall Street, while Sanders was pressured over his foreign policy positions which have been criticized for lacking depth. But both candidates were able to get some good punches in by the end of the debate. As with Iowa, Clinton won this debate with her high energy tactics but she came very close to getting Berned. However this might not make a difference in Tuesday’s vote as Sanders has a formidable lead over Clinton in the New Hampshire polls and by all accounts is looking at a significant win.
As always it will come down to what voters want and what they think is achievable out of the two options they have been presented with – Clinton’s results-driven strategy of gradual progress or Sanders’ unswerving commitment to uprooting and replacing the current political system. Clinton came into this race as the unbeatable frontrunner but Bernie’s populist radicalism and plainspoken appeal is drawing a significant following, turning this race into a long hard slog to the bitter end.
Ready for a revolution but don’t want to get Berned? Movie for your mood: Les Misérables