Bernie Sanders’ GOP Debate Response Was A Strong Message Directed At Donald Trump
Despite not being participants, Democratic presidential candidates have consistently used social media to steal some of the spotlight from their Republican rivals during the 2016 GOP presidential primary debates, and Thursday was no exception. Sen. Bernie Sanders' reaction to the sixth GOP debate focused first on Donald Trump's immigration policies.
Sanders will undoubtedly expound upon his criticisms of Republicans during Sunday's Democratic presidential debate, where he will square off against Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley. But his immediate reactions came via Twitter and focused on singling out Trump's anti-Muslim rhetoric and reiterating his support for Planned Parenthood despite John Kasich's dig the GOP would win every state against the Vermont senator.
Sanders has so far proved himself to be a must-watch candidate during Republican debates despite not even being a member of the party. According to Twitter, the senator had the most retweeted GOP-debate related tweet in August during the first Republican debate. His tweet highlighting the Republican candidates failure to discuss economic inequality, climate change, Citizens United, or student loans as evidence they were "so out of touch" was reportedly retweeted well over 20,000 times that evening.
In September, Sanders again had social networks and the mainstream media buzzing with his live-tweeted boredom of the second Republican debate. Two of the top three debate-relevant tweets written on Sep. 16, 2015, belonged to Sanders. During the November Republican debate, Sanders published two tweets critical of GOP candidate Donald Trump that became the two most retweeted tweets from any of the presidential candidates that night. In live-tweeting the GOP debate last month, Sanders implicitly accused Trump of racism and repeated his criticisms of GOP-candidates' positions on the Syrian refugee crisis, the use of ground troops to defeat ISIS.
This time, Sanders again lashed out at Trump for his attitude toward minorities.
Sanders then sought to provide a quick education for the Republican candidates who, bogged down with pre-debate prep, perhaps missed recent news items on his rising poll numbers.
As Republican presidential candidates answered questions in South Carolina about Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States, Sanders took to Twitter to voice his disapproval of the "demagoguery and fear mongering."
Sanders also countered Republicans' statements on Social Security, saying a $2.8 trillion surplus would continue to pay benefits to eligible citizens for 19 years.
Although Sanders seemed a bit less talkative during Thursday's debate in comparison to his take on previous Republican events (and to Hillary Clinton's #GOPdebate tweet storm), his tweets touched on some of the most inflammatory narratives in this election cycle.