Target: Hillary Clinton
Goal: Agree to debate Bernie Sanders in New York.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign has declined Bernie Sanders’ request for a debate in New York, held prior to the state’s primary election. Clinton spokesperson Brian Fallon called the idea a “stunt” to help Sanders “get back on people’s radar.”
In fact, Bernie Sanders is still very much on people’s radar, having won the last three primary contests in Alaska, Hawaii and Washington state. The wins have given him a significant momentum boost; the Sanders campaign reports that they have received $4 million in donations as a result. It is strange, then, to hear the Clinton campaign dismiss Sanders’ debate request as a mere publicity stunt.
In a letter to Clinton’s people, Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver wrote that “Our campaign continues to believe that the people of New York, the largest April primary, deserve to have the debate held in their state, and that it should be held prior to the New York primary.”
This year’s Democratic debate schedule has been a point of contention. In 2008, when Hillary Clinton was running against Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination, the Democratic Party held 26 debates. Since announcing their candidacies last year, Sanders and Clinton have debated a total of eight times. Many progressive voters have thus called on the Clinton campaign and the Democratic establishment to schedule more debates.
Clinton’s reluctance to debate is ironic considering that she accused President Obama of “ducking” debates in 2008—when they had already had 21 of them. In Indiana, Clinton challenged Obama to a 90 minute, “Lincoln-Douglas”-style debate with no moderators, later asserting that presidential candidates “should be willing to debate anytime, anywhere.”
Please sign the below petition, demanding that Hillary Clinton live up to her own standards and debate Bernie Sanders in New York.
I am writing to urge you to accept Bernie Sanders’ request for a debate in New York, prior to the state’s primary contest. This request is not a mere “stunt,” as your campaign has described it. Millions of Americans watch the primary debates to help them decide which candidate to vote for. This is as true today as it was in 2008, when you challenged Barack Obama to a 90 minute, “Lincoln-Douglas”-style debate with no moderators.
During the 2008 primaries, the Democratic Party held over two dozen debates—and still you called for more. This time around, there have been a total of eight. Many people are curious to know why you are no longer willing to debate “anytime, anywhere,” as you were eight years ago.
Bernie Sanders has not asked for a “Lincoln-Douglas”-style debate with no moderators. He has merely requested that you debate him at the site of April’s largest primary election, where you served two terms as U.S. Senator. It is a reasonable request, and it ought to be accepted. As your 2008 campaign manager said during that year’s primaries, “If we debate, Americans will come.”
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Frank Plitt