Democratic Debate

The night of January 17, my two best friends came over to my cozy house in Webster Groves. We popped fresh popcorn and drank Oberweis chocolate milk. We then settled into the living room of my house, so everyone would be able to hear our cheers of approval as our favorite Democratic candidates rallied together once again. As the debate began, the three hopefuls walked onto the stage. To the right was Bernie Sanders, the self proclaimed socialist, whose views on student loans, women’s rights, racial justice, and LGBTQIA equality strike big with the voters and with me. To the left was Martin O’Malley, who is pulling 6% in the polls. In the middle, of course, is my favorite, Hillary Clinton, former senator, First Lady, and Secretary of State, whose views on global diplomacy, gun control, the environment, and a living wage make her an excellent candidate.

Just like the Republican debate, the Democratic debate started with a discussion about gun control. National polls show that 90% of Americans support an expansion on background checks, but many Americans are unsure that changing gun laws will help prevent gun violence. Martin O’Malley’s stance was the strictest of the three presidential hopefuls. He wants to “Ban assault weapons and require that every person who buys a gun acquire a license and get fingerprinted.” In past debates, Sanders defended his vote for a bill that gave gun manufacturers legal immunity from damages their guns might have caused. However, after facing heat from Clinton, he defended himself by saying, “As I have said for many months now, we need to look at the underlying law and tighten it up.”  He continued, “I am now supporting a bill that will amend my vote on the 2005 bill, which allowed gun manufacturers immunity. I also have a D- rating with the NRA.” Clinton, who took several jabs from Sanders, stayed strong in her stance: a renewal of the ban on assault weapons and more in-depth background checks. I agree with all three candidates. Their views on gun control though strict, are necessary to ensuring safety, not just for me, but for all Americans.

The next major discussion was foreign policy. In the past three debates, Clinton has dominated this discussion and no surprise, she dominated once again. During the debate, she discussed her support of the new Iran Nuclear Deal and President Obama’s policies on international relations. She also explained that she does not want to drastically change the President’s efforts, efforts that prevent would-be fighters from traveling to the Islamic State. Secretary Clinton also stressed her three point plan to bring down ISIS, which was realistic and impressive. Sanders, on the other hand, preferred to talk about economics, and he attacked Clinton on her decision to support regime change in Iraq in 2008. His biggest point however, was that we not send any more American troops to Syria. “Another US venture to the Middle East would be an unmitigated disaster” Sanders said.

Overall, I completely agree with both Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton on their foreign policy stances. Sanders is correct; sending more troops to the Middle East could turn into another Iraq war, due to the increasing tensions between Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq. Clinton is also correct; the United States needed a deal with Iran, or tensions with our allies would continue to escalate. In the past 15 years, the United States’ relationship with countries in the Middle East has become increasingly strained and, though the Iran Nuclear Deal does have some problems, in the end it was the best compromise we could expect.

The Democratic debate was a time for me to rally with my liberal friends as we celebrate the upcoming elections. Truth be told, as long as a Democrat ends up in the Oval Office, I will not have to worry about ever moving to Canada.