The Essential Takeaways From Last Night's Democratic Forum
Last night, January 11th, the three Democratic candidates (yes, we’re still letting Martin O’Malley hang out) met for a democratic forum on issues specifically facing people of color in America. Coming off of a year marred by racism and Islamophobia from the Republican candidates, the 2016 Brown and Black Democratic Presidential Forum was revolutionary enough—even before the candidates started talking. The 7th iteration of the talk was presented by FUSION News and took place in Iowa, which happens to be the most important state in the presidential race right now. As you may have seen from the nonstop media coverage, it’s the state that will host the first primary in the race to the White House.
Polling data has been scrutinized more than what a celebrity wore to the beach (spoiler alert: it’s usually a swimsuit) and things are getting tight. In the past two days alone, polling data has shown Democratic frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders entrenched in a neck-and neck fight, with no clear lead. As we say goodbye to the carnival preshow and enter the main event of the 2016 Presidential Campaign, we’re watching every debate and discussion with eagle eyes.
A lot of the discussion last night reiterated the stances that Hillary, Bernie, and Martin have made for months on the campaign trail, and in numerous presidential debates. With that in mind, there were a few noteworthy moments that could make or break their reputations in the eyes of Iowa voters–who’ve yet to lock down the candidate they want to vote for on the first of February. Now that the dust is settling and GIFs are being made, we’ve compiled our main takeaway from each of the three candidates in last night’s forum.
Bernie Sanders Would Probably Volunteer as a Sex Ed Teacher (and Rock It)
Usually when an older person talks about sexual education, it starts with a “back in my day,” and ends in a stern reminder that if you have sex you’ll probably get pregnant and die. Luckily, we can officially count the 74-year-old Bernie Sanders as a firm believer in actual sex education. The Senator hasn’t spent a lot of time in his campaign talking about sex, after controversy erupted in May over his shockingly offensive 1972 rape essay. Among the many awful passages, one of the most shocking read that a woman “fantasizes being raped by three men simultaneously.” It was an extremely bad attempt at dark satire, and cast a negative light on his campaign that led to a near blackout on discussions about sexual issues.
Luckily, he brought his attention back to the issues and clarified his positions for the first time in months. He demanded that rape cases be prosecuted, called for a serious national discussion on sexual education (CNN Presents: The Birds & The Bees, anyone?), and scoffed at the idea of abstinence-only education in a way we can only dream of hearing our grandparents say.
“When sexuality is an intrinsic part of human life—we should not run away from it,” Sanders said. “We should explain biology and sexuality to our kids on a factual basis. Period.”
It was a bit short of quoting “Bump N’ Grind,” but it did have us cheering about a President who is down with getting down.
Hillary Clinton May Be Aware of Her White Privilege, But She’s Not Good at Showing It
Hillary was given the tough task of answering the point-blank question, “What does white privilege mean to you?” It’s an uncomfortable question for any white person to answer, and it’s even more challenging when you’re one of the most famous white women in the world, answering on a strict time limit about how you’ve benefited from it. She began earnestly enough with the question of where she should even start, and then explained her background before moving on to examples of her privilege—kind of.
“I’ll tell you when I first realized that I was privileged,” Clinton began, “both because I was white and because I was economically stable… when I was about 11 years old, the church asked if some of us would volunteer to babysit for the children of migrant workers on Saturdays…”
What followed was a meandering and somewhat confusing answer about the children running up to their parents at the end of the day that was cut off before she could even explain her second experience of white privilege. Later on, she had a chance to redeem herself when confronted with her disastrous and hispandering blog post, “7 things Hillary Clinton has in common with your abuela.” Fusion anchor Alicia Menendez asked how she’s different from Menendez’s grandmother and, again, Hillary’s answer that she’s running for President and that “not every grandmother does that” failed to clarify her understanding of privilege.
Wait, Martin O’Malley still thinks he has a chance?
Stay tuned to Milk for more news on Martin O’Malley’s race to the White House.
Images and video via the Fusion 2016 Brown & Black Democratic Presidential Forum.