Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on Monday drew their sharpest contrasts yet in hard-hitting final pitches to Iowa voters as the competitive race to win the first in the nation caucuses enters its last week, with solid passionate pleas for supporters to caucus on February 1.
Sanders offered a vigorous performance punctuated by calls for a progressive revolution. Clinton matched him for energy by arguing that only she had been on the front lines of progressive change for decades and uniquely had the multi-tasking skills at home and abroad needed of a President.
“It’s hard,” she said. “If it were easy, hey, there wouldn’t be any contest. But it’s not easy. There are very different visions, different values, different forces at work, and you have to have somebody who is a proven fighter — somebody who has taken them on and won, and kept going, and will do that as President.”
Sanders, going first before an intimate audience of Iowa Democratic voters, looked more at ease than ever in mounting full-frontal attacks on his rival. He hit Clinton hard over her vote for the war in Iraq, her slow pivot toward Democrats who oppose the Keystone Pipeline and a vast Pacific trade pact. His strategy seemed to centre around arguing his case as a man with a better judgement than his opponent, who might have had more experience in Politics.
However, Clinton seemed well prepared, more than ever, to counter Sanders’ claims that she is a late comer to the cause of economic inequality, and seized on warm words from President Barack Obama in an interview with Politico released Monday to argue that only she could be trusted to win an election and safeguard his legacy.
Clinton also said she was “really touched and gratified” by Obama’s warm assessment of her character during the Politico interview, and related how her relationship with her former political rival developed into a close friendship when she served as his first-term secretary of state.
And there were odd moments of surprise insight into the candidates’ personalities and senses of humor as Sanders related his youthful athletic prowess as a talented elementary school basketball player and Clinton offered a gracious review of Sanders’ widely praised new campaign ad, which ran through a new website and advertising on Reddit, with a challenge to prove skeptics wrong:
They say you don’t care.
They say you won’t caucus.
They say Bernie can’t win.
Prove them wrong.
As he travels across the country, Sanders’ crowds look far younger than that of other candidates, including Clinton’s. In Iowa, the contrast is particularly stark, with Clinton drawing far older audiences. But those voters, traditionally, are far more reliable.
The Sanders campaign launched a new push on Snapchat, running daily advertisements encouraging people to attend the caucuses and share their pictures with other supporters. The ads are targeted by geography, with only people in Iowa allowed to put the campaign messages over their photos or video.
“We’re leveraging Snapchat to help us turn out young caucus-goers in Iowa who know Sen. Sanders is the best candidate to make college affordable, fight climate change and take on a corrupt political system,” said Kenneth Pennington, the campaign’s digital director.
Sanders said he had little doubt his supporters would vote.
Perhaps the biggest quip of the night was with Sander’s bold reminder that he would raise taxes if elected, especially to pay for his Medicare-for-all health care plan.
“We will raise taxes. Yes we will,” Sanders said, but added that American families would be better off overall as they would save money on private premiums.
As commentaries by USNews have pointed out, over the course of the last century, Democrats have done huge amounts of good by implementing broad-based programs paid for by broad taxes, like Social Security and Medicare. It would be a shame if either of the two forerunners allow for cheap political promise and rhetoric to get in way of good politics.
Summarised from CNN/USNews