Unlike what we saw last week when the Republican candidates embarrassed themselves at their Detroit debate, last night both our Democratic candidates held a serious and substantive discussion in Flint about the issues that matter most to people across the country.
Our candidates demonstrated they understand that economic challenges and public health crises like the one in Flint require national attention and engaged leadership. The debate showed that if we want a President with the right temperament, judgment and priorities, we must elect a Democrat to the White House in November.
Take a look at what people are saying about the Democratic Debate below:
HUFFINGTON POST //JONATHAN COHN
…But the debate was also deeply substantive — an argument between two seasoned politicians who have obviously given a lot of thought to the problems facing America, and what they would do about them.
The contrast to the Republican debate from last week, with its juvenile insults, could not have been more stark. Instead of discussing penis length, Clinton and Sanders argued over the sizes of their respective infrastructure programs. In short, both Clinton and Sanders looked ready for prime time.
THE ATLANTIC // YONI APPELBAUM
…But Sunday night’s debate was also a powerful reminder of the purposes of politics. It was held in a city already devastated by the loss of jobs, and now victim to catastrophic failures of governance at every level. As local residents stepped up to ask their own questions of the candidates, they spelled out the stakes of this election in deeply personal terms, grounding the debates over abstract principles in the questions with which their communities are struggling.
The candidates did their best to field these questions. At moments, they succeeded in tying their sweeping agendas to these deeply personal concerns.
TIME // TESSA BERENSON
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders may have been battling for the Democratic nomination Sunday night, but they made sure the audience remembered who the real fight is against: the Republicans. “I just want to make one point,” former Secretary of State Clinton said near the end of the debate. “We have our differences, and we get into vigorous debate about issues.
But compare the substance of this debate with what you saw on the Republican stage last week.” (Last week, among other things, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump defended the size of his penis.) Vermont Sen. Sanders agreed with Clinton, cracking a policy joke: “We are, if elected president, going to invest a lot of money in mental health,” he said. “And when you watch these Republican debates, you know why we need to invest in mental health.” Both Clinton and Sanders laughed along to cheers from the audience.
DETROIT FREE PRESS // BRIAN DICKERSON
Their encounter in the last debate before tomorrow’s Michigan presidential primary was almost everything voters could hope for, assuming they tuned in looking to learn something about the two Democrats aspiring to lead the free world. It was spirited but not spiteful, occasionally wonky but never wacky. The few intervals of levity seemed intentional, as when Sanders suggested that both he and his rival would invest more federal resources in mental health, adding that, “when you watch these Republican debates, you know why we need to invest in that.” And if both candidates had their testy moments, they somehow managed to keep their inner third-graders contained.
All viewers ever saw were two fully functioning adults talking about the challenges confronting Michigan and other industrial states as if those challenges actually mattered. If you were looking for blood on the floor or slapstick fodder for a Saturday Night Live sketch, you came away disappointed.
BUSTLE // APRIL SIESE
The first GOP debate following Super Tuesday marked a major turning point for the Republican party and politics in general. Rather than experiencing a more substantial debate in which candidates better fleshed out their policies and electability, a majority of American voters’ takeaways from the debate was that frontrunner Donald Trump discussed his genitalia.
The Democratic party certainly took notice of the embarrassing performance. In an effort to address the more tasteless sides of the GOP debate, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz assured viewers that the Democratic debate won’t be NSFW and instead will be appropriate for all ages.
The more offensive portions of the GOP debate ranged from that key exchange between Trump and Rubio to the infighting that has perpetuated within the party. Wasserman Schultz sees no similar issues occurring for the remaining two Democratic candidates, however. For as heated as the exchanges have been between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, both candidates have maintained a level of respect for one another and similarly pointed out just how unified the left seems in the face of what’s occurring on the right.
Wasserman Schultz had this to say about keeping it PG when addressing reporters prior to the Sunday evening debate: “The one thing you won’t need is a parental advisory at the opening of our debate. You won’t see the discussion descend into vulgarity. You’ll hear about ideas that are essential to moving our country forward.”
MSNBC // STEVE BENEN
After seven Democratic presidential candidate debates, some common threads become obvious… But while it may be difficult to form a consensus about who won last night’s debate in Flint, Michigan, identifying who lost is easy: the Republican presidential candidates.
But the proximity of the Republican and Democratic debates also created an opportunity to compare not only the candidates against their intra-party rivals, but also each party’s field of candidates against the other. And on this front, as the Huffington Post’s Jonathan Cohn noted, the GOP has reason to feel embarrassed.
POLITICO // NOLAN D. MCCASKILL
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders sparred during Sunday’s debate for nearly two hours before Clinton took a break to rip the Republicans for their discourse.
“And I just wanna make one point: You know, we have our differences and we get into vigorous debate about issues,” she continued. “But compare the substance of this debate with what you saw on the Republican stage last week.” The crowd ate it up.