This past Saturday in New Hampshire, the final Democratic Presidential Debate of 2015 took place, revealing not only the political ideologies of the candidates, but also their relationships with each other.
The three candidates took the stage that day with their minds set on the recent scandal that occurred within the Bernie Sanders campaign, in which, according to Clinton and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Sanders breached Clinton’s personal poll data. This is highly frowned upon, not to mention clearly against the rules. While it would’ve brought bad publicity to anyone, the stunt was especially harmful to Sanders’ campaign since he widely advertises it as an honest and clean campaign, so much so that he has publicly denounced the usage of negative ads to defame or discredit other candidates.
However, the underhanded cyber attack was the complete opposite of his supposedly nonaggressive approach to the race. According to Time, the DNC, accused the Sanders campaign of “inappropriately and systematically” accessing the data. In retaliation, the group blocked Sanders from the privilege of viewing his own poll data. In response, the Sanders campaign has accused the DNC of taking sides, and went as far as to threaten the group with a lawsuit.
Surprisingly, the candidates didn’t spend too much time on this manner. Although the scandal was definitely on the audience’s mind, it was only talked about at the very beginning of the debate, both Clinton and Sanders dismissing the matter after Sanders explained how he had no idea his aides took part in the scandal and how very sorry he was to both his supporters and the Clinton campaign for unknowingly facilitating such an event to occur. He then furthered his apology, claiming that “this is not the type of campaign that we run, and if I find anybody else involved in this, they will also be fired.”
Perhaps, even more unexpectedly, Clinton benignly accepted the apology and urged the moderators to “move on, because I don’t think the American people are all that interested in this.” Under this newfound peace, Clinton and Sanders headed into the rest of the night, vehemently disagreeing on topics such as what should be done about the ISIS situation and how the economy should be better handled, but altogether saying nothing especially disrespectful or aggressive than usual.
O’Malley, on the other hand, was notably more confrontational than usual as he pushed matters such as the refugee crisis and gun control up and center in light of the recent San Bernardino Attack, claiming that he is the only democratic candidate that hasn’t had a “flip-flopping political approach” towards gun control. Both Sanders and Clinton called him out on his abnormal assertiveness, Bernie Sanders even saying “calm down a little bit, Martin.” His recent lashing-out could be a result of his polls still being in the single digits as it becomes increasingly obvious that the true running is between Clinton and Sanders. In fact, although Sanders remains approximately 30% behind Clinton, his support has risen recently among young democratic voters, especially in states such as New Hampshire, where a notable amount of voters distrust Clinton, according to a recent poll.