Bernie Sanders' Response To The Flint Water Crisis Did Not Hold Back On His Opinions At All
On Sunday night, the Democratic presidential candidates faced off in yet another high-profile debate, the seventh one of the primary season. And the senator from Vermont came out swinging on the topic of the day: Bernie Sanders called the Flint water crisis a "disgrace."
In fact, he called it a "disgrace beyond belief," which still might undersell things a little. He also called for the resignation of Michigan governor Rick Snyder, and it wasn't the first time he's made that public call — both candidates, in fact, called for Snyder's resignation, in front of a Democratic crowd in Flint that was clearly in full agreement.
Sanders also invoked one of the more outrageous pieces of information to arise from out of the Flint crisis. Less so, obviously, than the horrific decision-making and mismanagement that caused it, but an eye-popping fact nonetheless. In responding to a woman questioning him about the crisis, Sanders said that she was "paying three times more for poisoned water than I'm paying in Burlington." And the numbers, sad to say, bear that out — Flint actually pays more for its lead-tainted water then any other city in the country, a positively dismal state of affairs.
The two candidates' respective responses did show a distinct difference in their rhetorical styles, and it was one that probably favors the more-polished Clinton, who's been competing and thriving under this kind of public scrutiny far longer than Sanders — while Clinton assumed a softer, lower tone in responding to the questioner, Sanders maintained his normal cadence, which could charitably be described as "the bellows of righteous indignation."
But both of them seemed to capably navigate the issue in their own ways, despite some pointed questions, too. Sanders was also asked whether he'd promise to take action on removing all of the country's lead service lines within his first 100 days as president. Although he didn't make that exact pledge, he did claim he'd implement universal lead testing standards, so that citizens would know the quality of their water.
He also addressed what he felt was a pressing concern for many of the residents of Flint: will thing simply stagnate when all the attention of the presidential campaign is over? Will the TV cameras just vanish? It's a sensible fear, considering how long the Flint crisis went on before the media and political world seized on it ― the crisis began all the way back in 2014, and the water is still undrinkable to this day.