On Sunday, Jan. 17, from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., NBC partnered with YouTube to air the first Democratic debate of the year. This debate featured the three Democratic candidates: Senator Bernie Sanders, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.

The opening statements in this debate all reflected on Martin Luther King, Jr. and his lifelong ambition to bring peace and prosperity to communities across the United States. Dr. King’s mission was highly emphasized in this debate both because it took place a day before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and because Charleston, Sc., where the debate took place, has been striving to meet an end to racial prejudice, as exhibited by the recent taking down of the Confederate flag and the Black Lives Matter movement.

When asked which would be their top three priorities if they were elected president, the candidates had varying answers.

Sanders’s top three were making universal healthcare a right, raising the minimum wage to $15, and adjusting the economy to create millions of decent, well-paying jobs.

Clinton responded with several answers, including raising the minimum wage, adjusting our “crumbling infrastructure,” guaranteeing equal pay for women, putting a cap on prescription drugs, and “unifying the country” on issues like immigration and political parties.

O’Malley listed a variety of issues he wished to tackle, such as investing in green energy, equal pay for equal work, comprehensive immigration reform, and more.

A new aspect of the debate was the integration of YouTube platform and community. In addition to airing the debate on both YouTube and NBC, several YouTubers were featured to ask the candidates questions, including Connor Franta, Marques Brownlee, and Franchesca Ramsey.

Another notable aspect of the debate was the argumentative nature between the candidates.

Clinton accused Sanders of being a friend of the National Rifle Association and wishing to get rid of the Affordable Care Act.

Sanders fired back with citations of his policies on gun control, his history of gun legislation in his home state of Vt. and his being on the committee that wrote the first drafts of the Affordable Care Act.

Additionally, when discussing the corruption of Wall Street impacting our political system, O’Malley said, “The truth of the matter is, Secretary Clinton, that you would not go as far to restraining Wall Street as I would, and the fact of the matter is the people of America deserve to have a president on their side protecting the main street economy from excesses on Wall Street who we’re just as vulnerable from today.”

Despite the friction between the candidates, they were all in agreement over the importance of passing legislation pertaining to the environment and their refusal to label all Muslims as terrorists.

According to vox.com, Sanders had 30 minutes of airtime, Clinton had 27 minutes, and O’Malley had 14 minutes.

According to RealClearPolitics.com, Since the debate, Clinton has kept a lead on the Democratic Party at large with a 53 percent rating, followed by Sanders at 38 percent and O’Malley at 2.2 percent.

Although Clinton is considered the Democratic frontrunner on the national level, Sanders has surged ahead of Clinton in the caucuses in Iowa and N.H.

Additionally, following the end of the debate, Time magazine created an online poll which showed that, as of Jan. 22, 74 percent of voters believed that Sanders won the debate. According to FOX5 San Diego, as of Jan. 22, 91 percent of their viewers felt that Sanders won.

The next Republican debate will occur on Thursday, Jan. 28 on Fox at 9 p.m.

The next Democratic debate will take place on Thursday, Feb. 11 on PBS at 9 p.m.

The entire debate is available for viewing on YouTube.

Halle Nelson is a second-year student majoring in communication studies with minors in English literature and deaf studies. She can be reached at HN824858@wcupa.edu.

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