The Democratic candidates for president will debate for the eighth time on Wednesday in Miami, one day after Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders scored a political upset in the State of Michigan. In addition to courting minority voters, especially the Sunshine State's Hispanic population, the candidates will now be in a position go after each other.
In Wednesday's debate, Sanders will be able to say that his message is getting through to all groups of people, not just the demographics he has previously won, and he will be able to say that Clinton's false claim during their last fray – that he voted against the auto bailout – was a trick that the people did not fall for. He will also continue to attack Clinton over her refusal to release her Wall Street speeches, her Wall Street connections and her previous positions that have had a negative affects on minority groups. Sanders is not one to go negative, so he will mostly likely spin the topics at hand to present this information to the audience without looking like the bad guy.
Clinton will try to slow the momentum Sanders gained from his victory likely by saying that she won Mississippi, which gives her a sweep of the South with the exception of Oklahoma. She could use this to try to convince Floridians to vote for her. Perhaps more importantly, however, she will say that her ideas are practical and achievable because – again – why would she stop.
The candidates will use the Miami venue to talk directly to the minority populations in the state, specifically Hispanic and African American voters. Even though the July 1, 2014 figures indicated only 24.1 percent of the people identified as Hispanic and 16.8 percent as African American, those are still significant voting blocs. Given that the debate is being held in South Florida and Univision is one of the sponsors, immigration in all of its forms – including reform – will be a key focus of the debate.
Clinton has embraced President Barack Obama on some issues, while distancing herself from him on others. On immigration – to provide what could be a stark contrast to Sanders – she will likely embrace Obama and his positions, including his executive actions. She will probably go beyond his positions and executive actions as well, calling for Congress to make the actions law.
Sanders will also call for some sort of immigration reform, but it may not be as large and as comprehensive as what Obama has called for. He will likely use the time to criticize guest worker provisions in previous immigration reform bills that he has gone after before.
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The senator will probably try to get at the subject of climate change and renewable energy sources. He will explain that he is to Clinton's left on these issues. During Sunday's debate in Flint, Michigan, Sanders said his climate change and renewable energy bill is the most comprehensive in the Senate.
Clinton will try to explain that her policy is more practical than Sanders', if she answers questions on this subject at all.
One other topic that could be brought up, which ties into climate change/energy and has not been brought up from this angle before, is that of offshore drilling. If confronted with that topic, Sanders will probably say that it should not be allowed, while Clinton – if her position is similar to her position on fracking – then she will say that there are conditions that need to be met for the practice to continue, but they will be so strict that companies will not want to continue. On the other hand, however, she could just give conditions that are reasonable.
The debate, which starts at 6 p.m. Pacific Time from the Miami Dade College's Kendall Campus, comes the day before a Republican Debate in the same city. The Democratic showdown will are on Univision, CNN and Fusion. It will be streamed on the outlets' websites, and that of the Washington Post, which is one of the sponsors. Jorge Ramos and Karen Tumulty are the moderators.