Elon in Iowa

Minority Issues Take Center Stage at Democratic Forum

Posted January 11
Updated January 15

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley answers questions during the Iowa Brown & Black Forum on Jan. 11, 2016.

— The three major Democratic candidates took part in “The Iowa Brown & Black Forum” Monday night, presented by Fusion TV.

Hosted by Drake University, Secretary Hillary Clinton, Gov. Martin O’Malley and Sen. Bernie Sanders each had 30 minutes to individually answer questions from the moderators and audience.

Fusion went in “Reverse-alphabetical” order, so Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was first. He answered a variety of questions on everything from gun control to Affirmative Action.

On guns, Sanders said, “We’ve got to do everything we can to end these horrific murders and mass murders in this country.” He went even further, stating that he does not believe assault weapons should be sold in the United States of America.

One of the biggest applause lines for Sanders came after a question about education reform, “In a global economy you need the best educated work force,” said Sanders. We do not have the best educated work force.”

Fusion ended each candidate’s time on stage with “Rapid Fire” questions, giving the candidates an opportunity to answer questions they don’t normally have the opportunity to answer.

When asked who his favorite fictional president was, Sanders immediately shot back, “ The guy from ‘The American President.’”

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley followed Sanders.

Much of the conversation with O’Malley focused on sexual assaults on college campuses.

“I think we need greater openness and transparency from universities about sexual assault,” O’Malley said. He believes all universities need to have policies in place, and those policies need to be followed. O’Malley suggested reprimanding colleges and universities who do not follow the set rules and regulations.

On immigration, O’Malley believes that the diversity of the United States is eroding, and it requires immediate relief. “I believe the enduring symbol of our country is not barbed wire fence,” said O’Malley. “It is the Statue of Liberty.”

The candidate also wasn’t shy to blame others for the current state of his campaign. When asked by a moderator if the DNC is the reason his campaign is struggling, O’Malley responded with an immediate “Yes!”

The final candidate on stage was Clinton. Much of her questioning focused on domestic issues, including the “Black Lives Matter” movement and immigration.

“We cannot let anybody live in fear,” Clinton said. “At some point, we all have to come together as a country and stand against violence.”

A question from a Drake University junior was one of the most honest of the evening. The question focused on white privilege and asked Clinton to name two times she had felt the effects of her white privilege.

“I think it is hard when you are swimming in the ocean to know exactly what is happening around you,” said Clinton.

On immigration, When asked if she would be willing to deport women and children, Clinton did not provide a clear answer. She did make a point to say that she would do “everything possible” to provide due process to immigrant women and children.

When it came to the controversial topic of women’s rights, Clinton’s answer was short and simple: “Do not tell a woman what to do with her body.”

Moderated by Fusion’s Jorge Ramos, Akilah Hughes, Alicia Menedez and New York Magazine’s Rembert Brown, “The Iowa Brown & Black Forum ” is the nation’s oldest minority forum, annually focusing on the issues that affect minority voters in Iowa and across the nation. This was the first time the Democratic candidates all attended the same event in 2016.

Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all

About this Blog:

Elon University students are in Iowa, covering the presidential campaign and caucuses are part of their coursework.