Bernie Sanders Just Had His Big Moment In The Second Democratic Debate
During Saturday night's Democratic presidential debate, we finally got to see a sight that hadn't really arrived yet — some honest-to-goodness fireworks between the remaining trio of candidates. And when the subject of the debate finally rolled around to Vermont senator Bernie Sanders' wheelhouse, he didn't miss his shot: Bernie Sanders just had his big second debate moment, and it came at the expense of his chief rival, former senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
It came, naturally, when the conversation turned to Wall Street. Sanders' brand of unapologetic, far-left economic justice — he's a self-described Democratic socialist, after all — is basically the entire reason he's gained so much traction, as it's the singular cause he's championed above all others. During his opening statement, he even pivoted away from ISIS to make sure to cite his economic justice platform, which makes it pretty plain just how much advantage he feels he has there.
It also positions him well to exploit one of Clinton's greatest weaknesses — her campaign coffers, stuffed full of Wall Street cash. When Sanders was asked what he thought of Clinton's defense of her contributions from Wall Street, as Business Insider detailed, his reply was blunt, effective, and sure to charm anyone with a plain-spoken style: "Not good enough!"
Let's not be naive about it. Why over her political career, has Wall Street been a major — the major — campaign contributor to Hillary Clinton? Maybe they're dumb and they don't know what they're going to get, but I don't think so. ... Why do they make millions of dollars of campaign contributions? They expect to get something. Everybody knows that. Once again, I am running a campaign differently from any other candidate. We are relying on small campaign donors. That's who am I indebted to.
Sanders went on to call for the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act, one of the core policy positions — and one which Clinton downplayed as being insufficient to solve America's financial reforms — and rounded out with a straightforward, unapologetic pledge: "No Wall Street bankers will be in my cabinet."
It was clearly the part of the debate that put Clinton most on her heels, and the most visibly on-edge. It certainly didn't help that she was drawing fire on both sides — longshot challenger Martin O'Malley has also attacked Clinton by running to her left on economics and financial reform.