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Opinion: Sanders prevailed in debate by offering clear solutions

Many commentaries after the Democratic debate have pointed to Hillary Clinton’s debate performance by noting her rhetorical flourishes and mannerisms. However, in my view Hillary Clinton did not win the debate, unless one thinks one can win a debate by sidestepping and not being specific about how to address critically important issues.
Bernie Sanders was very clear, no one could doubt what he stood for, or what specific policy measures he advocated to get to his goals; he is for a carbon tax to help deal with global warming, he will pay for student college debt through a Wall Street transaction tax, and he supports Medicare for all (which is actually cheaper than our present health care system because it gives us price control over medical services, which is what other countries do).
Hillary Clinton, however, was not specific in this way. For instance, she answered a question about global warming by saying she would pressure the Chinese. However, this is not a policy in and of itself. Certainly, the Chinese will never agree to limits on global greenhouse gases if we do not make a clear policy commitment of our own. What would Clinton suggest?
As for student debt, Clinton deplored the levels of debt but did not explain how her approach would work to resolve this problem. Additionally, without Medicare for all and a single payer to control prices, how would Hillary Clinton propose to control medical costs that gobble up a huge part of our economy? Clinton has not provided any new direction for health care; and while she stated in the debate that the health insurers were some of her biggest antagonists, the actual fact is that she was one of the largest recipients of health insurance industry campaign contributions when she was in the Senate.
Finally, while Hillary Clinton may have been a secretary of state, she has not in any way provided a clear answer how the United States will change the really disastrous course of the last 15 years, which has left us with overextended commitments in a myriad of countries with ongoing wars. Bernie Sanders has at least said he wants to find another way and not to walk into further quagmires.
Ellen Oxfeld
Middlebury

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