BY: SKYLER JONES-BOXWELL
With members of both political parties racing to gain enough delegates to become their party’s nominee for the General Election, tensions have been running high as debate after debate spurs voters to determine who will participate in the upcoming election. One such controversy with these debates is the refusal of Former Secretary of State and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton to debate Senator Bernie Sanders in the state of New York, Clinton’s campaign headquarters and Sanders’ birthplace, after huge delegate wins by Sanders in the west. The reason for her refusal? She doesn’t like Sanders’ “tone.”
Back in January, the two campaigns had originally agreed to meet for debates once a month through May, the latest being on March 9th in Miami, Florida. After wins in the states of Hawaii, Alaska, and Washington by Sanders, a call was made for Hillary to participate in a New York debate before April 19th, when the state’s primary was scheduled. However, a recent statement by Joel Benenson, the campaign’s chief strategist, said, “The real question is, what kind of campaign is Sen. Sanders going to run going forward?…Let’s see if he goes back to the kind of tone he said he was going to set early on. If he does that, then we’ll talk about debates.” Essentially, the Clinton campaign refuses to partake in the debate with Sanders until he becomes less negative.
A statement like this against the supposed candidate who pledged to “take the high road” and never run a negative political ad brings into question why Clinton would attack Sanders’ “tone” of all things, especially since the supposed “negative ads” they are vilifying are never specified. Denying Sanders the free publicity gained from a public debate may be a strategic move on her part, but the campaign still maintains that it is not a final no to a possible debate in the future.