Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on stage
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on stage

Good evening, and wel­come to NPI’s live cov­er­age of the sev­enth Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial debate of the 2016 cycle. I will be watch­ing and shar­ing impres­sions of the debate as it pro­gress­es. This debate is being held in Flint, Michi­gan, and is being broad­cast by CNN. You can livestream the debate from CNN’s web­site.

There are two can­di­dates left seek­ing the Demo­c­ra­t­ic nom­i­na­tion for Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States: Hillary Clin­ton and Bernie Sanders.

Tonight’s debate will be the first since Super Tues­day. The next debate is sched­uled for March 9th, 2016 at Mia­mi Dade Col­lege in Mia­mi, Florida.

The mod­er­a­tor will be CNN’s Ander­son Cooper.

We will begin our live cov­er­age at 5 PM, when the can­di­dates take the stage.

UPDATE, 5:04 PM: We heard real­ly strong open­ing state­ments from Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clin­ton, who each called on Repub­li­can Gov­er­nor Rick Sny­der to resign (if he won’t, Clin­ton sug­gest­ed he should be recalled.)

UPDATE, 5:07 PM: Refresh­ing­ly, the first ques­tion comes from a black woman who lives in Flint, Michi­gan. She asked: “As Pres­i­dent, what will you do to help the peo­ple of Flint regain their trust in government?”

Clin­ton took a stab at answer­ing the ques­tion first. She says she sup­ports the actions tak­en to date by Pres­i­dent Oba­ma to help the peo­ple of Flint, such as expand­ing Med­ic­aid. “I would con­cen­trate resources on this city,” she says.

UPDATE, 5:08 PM: “Chil­dren in Amer­i­ca should not be poi­soned,” Sanders says, say­ing if state and local gov­ern­ment can’t or won’t act, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment must step in and act. Peo­ple should not be pay­ing a bill for poi­soned water, and the CDC (Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion) should be com­ing in check the health of the peo­ple of Flint. Final­ly, Sanders says, we need to rebuild our crum­bling infra­struc­ture, includ­ing our pipes and water treat­ment systems.

UPDATE, 5:13 PM: Ander­son Coop­er asked Hillary Clin­ton if she would fire the head of the EPA over the cat­a­stro­phe in Flint. Clin­ton says she would hold account­able every­one who knew about the prob­lem and did not act to fix it. Sanders con­curred and said that he would do the dame.

UPDATE, 5:18 PM: This has been a good debate so far, but Ander­son Coop­er’s fram­ing of ques­tions has been based on right wing con­cepts about gov­ern­ment, which is bad. This is a Demo­c­ra­t­ic debate; the fram­ing should be progressive.

UPDATE, 5:19 PM: Clin­ton and Sanders field­ed a ques­tion from a skep­ti­cal mem­ber of the media who basi­cal­ly asked, what took you so long to come to Flint, and how can we trust that you’ll still care about us after Flint fades from the head­lines? Both stressed that they would not for­get about about Flint.

UPDATE, 5:20 PM: We’re actu­al­ly see­ing real peo­ple at the micro­phone ask­ing ques­tions in this debate. How refreshing!

Cur­rent ques­tion: “How will you encour­age com­pa­nies to keep fac­to­ries here in the U.S. instead of mov­ing them to oth­er countries?”

UPDATE, 5:25 PM: Sanders is going after Clin­ton on her trade record, crit­i­ciz­ing her for sup­port­ing the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment (NAFTA). Clin­ton tried to hit back by crit­i­ciz­ing Sanders for vot­ing against the leg­is­la­tion that cre­at­ed the Trou­bled Asset Relief Pro­gram (TARP), also known as the bank bailout.

UPDATE, 5:26 PM: Clin­ton says she vot­ed against CAFTA while a sen­a­tor, and oppos­es the Trans-Pacif­ic Part­ner­ship now that she knows what’s in it.

This is start­ing to feel like a good old fash­ioned debate…

UPDATE; 5:30 PM: Sanders defend­ed his record, say­ing he want­ed the wealthy to pay to bail out Wall Street, not mid­dle and low income fam­i­lies, and that he sup­port­ed res­cu­ing the auto indus­try and the sub­se­quent Amer­i­can Recov­ery and Rein­vest­ment Act that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma asked Con­gress for.

UPDATE, 5:36 PM: We sort of segued from trade to Wall Street account­abil­i­ty, but Ander­son Coop­er is bring­ing the dis­cus­sion back to trade by show­ing a Bernie Sanders tweet crit­i­cal of Hillary Clinton.

UPDATE, 5:40 PM: For the first time in the Demo­c­ra­t­ic debates so far this year, we’re talk­ing specif­i­cal­ly about the Export-Import Bank, which Clin­ton sup­ports and Sanders oppos­es. Sanders was alone among the Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus in oppos­ing the reau­tho­riza­tion of the bank, which was a major pri­or­i­ty for Wash­ing­ton’s con­gres­sion­al del­e­ga­tion last year.

UPDATE, 5:42 PM: Sanders crit­i­cized the Export-Import Bank as the “Bank of Boe­ing”, sug­gest­ing the bank is real­ly just anoth­er form of cor­po­rate wel­fare. Clin­ton point­ed out that Boe­ing is one of only two major com­mer­cial air­plane man­u­fac­tur­ers in the world, and that Air­bus, Boe­ing’s Euro­pean com­peti­tor, receives financ­ing and sub­si­dies from the gov­ern­ments of France and Britain.

UPDATE, 5:45 PM: We’re head­ing to our first com­mer­cial break.

UPDATE, 5:51 PM: We’re back from the break, and talk­ing about gun respon­si­bil­i­ty. The ques­tion is “What will you do to address the epi­dem­ic of mass shoot­ings in the Unit­ed States?” Clin­ton is answer­ing first.

UPDATE, 5:53 PM: Clin­ton says we need stronger gun safe­ty laws, and we need to have a con­ver­sa­tion about chang­ing our gun cul­ture. Sanders says he agrees with Sec­re­tary Clin­ton that we should close loop­holes in the back­ground check sys­tem and pro­hib­it sales of assault weapon­ry designed to kill people.

UPDATE, 6:01 PM: The can­di­dates just engaged in a pret­ty lengthy back-and-forth about leg­is­la­tion that shield­ed gun man­u­fac­tur­ers from lia­bil­i­ty. Sanders vot­ed for it, while Clin­ton vot­ed against it, and it’s been a major point of con­tention in this and past debates.

UPDATE, 6:02 PM: We’ve moved on to the top­ic of crim­i­nal jus­tice. Don Lemon asked why black peo­ple should trust Clin­ton to end the era of mass incar­cer­a­tion, giv­en that she sup­port­ed the 1994 get tough on crime bill signed by Bill Clinton?

UPDATE, 6:03 PM: Clin­ton says some of the pro­vi­sions in that leg­is­la­tion haven’t worked and she favors their repeal. Sanders, who vot­ed for the same leg­is­la­tion, point­ed out that he vot­ed for the bill because it had good pro­vi­sions in it as well as bad pro­vi­sions, and on bal­ance, he believed the good out­weighed the bad.

UPDATE, 6:15 PM: CNN’s Don Lemon is ask­ing the ques­tions now (they’re not very good ques­tions, but the can­di­dates are field­ing them pret­ty well). The can­di­dates have been talk­ing about how they’d improve race rela­tions and how their per­son­al expe­ri­ences have shaped their views on issues of equity.

UPDATE, 6:25 PM: Final­ly, a ques­tion about edu­ca­tion pol­i­cy. “Where does fix­ing schools fall on your pri­or­i­ty list?”

UPDATE, 6:27 PM: “We should be ashamed of how we treat our kids and our senior cit­i­zens,” Bernie Sanders says, crit­i­ciz­ing Repub­li­cans in Con­gress who fight for more tax breaks for mil­lion­aires and bil­lion­aires, but can’t find the mon­ey to recruit and retain good teach­ers in our nation’s poor­est neighborhoods.

UPDATE, 6:28 PM: Clin­ton says she would bring back a fed­er­al gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tive to mod­ern­ize and weath­er­ize schools in com­mu­ni­ties that can’t pay for those improve­ments. Clin­ton also says she’d set up an “edu­ca­tion SWAT team” (for lack of a bet­ter phrase) in the Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion to help the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment fig­ure out how to bet­ter sup­port teachers.

UPDATE, 6:31 PM: The bad ques­tions keep on com­ing from Ander­son Coop­er. “Do you think unions pro­tect bad teach­ers?” Seri­ous­ly? That right wing canard?

“A lot of peo­ple have been blam­ing and scape­goat­ing teach­ers,” Clin­ton point­ed out in response, reject­ing the fram­ing of Coop­er’s question.

UPDATE, 6:34 PM: We’re back on the top­ic of infra­struc­ture. Don Lemon asked Clin­ton if her plan is ambi­tious enough to tack­le the big infra­struc­ture deficit, which engi­neers have esti­mat­ed will cost at least a tril­lion dol­lars to fix.

UPDATE, 6:36 PM: Yay, a ques­tion on frack­ing from a young Demo­c­rat! “Do you sup­port frack­ing?” Clin­ton gets to answer first.

UPDATE, 6:37 PM: Clin­ton hedged. She says she does­n’t sup­port frack­ing when local com­mu­ni­ties are against it, or when com­pa­nies refuse to say what chem­i­cals they’re using. That would mean she oppos­es frack­ing in most instances.

UPDATE, 6:38 PM: Sanders says his answer is a sim­ple no… he oppos­es frack­ing. “Frack­ing is doing ter­ri­ble things to water sup­plies all over this coun­try,” he says.

UPDATE, 6:41 PM: Sanders and Clin­ton are both tout­ing their plans to address the cli­mate cri­sis. Clin­ton says her focus is on how we make the transition.

UPDATE, 6:45 PM: Anoth­er break.

Before Ander­son Coop­er went to com­mer­cial, Hillary Clin­ton and Bernie Sanders each earned loud applause for point­ing out tonight’s  Demo­c­ra­t­ic debate has once again been sub­stan­tive and mean­ing­ful, while the Repub­li­can debate was anoth­er cir­cus in which the can­di­dates talked about the size of their body parts.

UPDATE, 6:49 PM: Sigh. First thing Ander­son Coop­er did after CNN came back from the break is ask about Hillary’s emails. To para­phrase Bernie Sanders: We’re sick and tired of hear­ing about the emails!

UPDATE, 6:53 PM: And now, a ques­tion about God. “Do you believe God is rel­e­vant, and why do you feel that way?” Sanders is field­ing it beautifully.

UPDATE, 6:58 PM: When it was her turn, Clin­ton did an out­stand­ing job, too. She was asked, do you pray, and if so, who do you pray for?

UPDATE, 7:01 PM: We just heard clos­ing state­ments. Clin­ton and Sanders did a good job wrap­ping up. Sanders cir­cled back to the Flint water cri­sis, and Clin­ton looked for­ward to the gen­er­al elec­tion, say­ing she would run an uplift­ing cam­paign no mat­ter who Repub­li­cans pluck out of the gut­ter to be their nominee.

That’s the end of our live cov­er­age for tonight. Thanks for fol­low­ing along!

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

Adjacent posts

One reply on “Liveblogging the seventh 2016 Democratic presidential debate from the great Northwest”

  1. Bernie is doing GREAT! Too bad the mod­er­a­tors do not give him the amount of time they give to Sec­re­tary Clin­ton! I think it is deplorable that they con­stant­ly inter­rupt him, yet they always let Clin­ton go on and on and on! Thank­ful­ly, Sen­a­tor Sanders is smart, quick and keeps on com­ing back! I hope peo­ple are real­ly pay­ing attention!

Comments are closed.