Senator Sanders and Secretary Clinton met in Milwaukee to trade barbs at the PBS NewsHour Debate as their contest for the presidency takes shape following the New Hampshire primary and Iowa caucus.

As they head south, this detour delivered their usual exchange of niceties and agreements on many of the issues that currently plague America. However, in what is now their sixth showing on a debate stage, last night’s exchange also reminded of us that their support for dissimilar solutions contain a much deeper ideological divide that will determine how we implement change.

Here are a few key takeaways:

1.) Both candidates would expand the size of the federal government

An initial question posed by veteran moderator Judy Woodruff asked Sanders to detail the scale of government under his direction, which was met by a long, tailored plea to the middle class. Woodruff did not allow Sanders’ tangent to serve as a sufficient answer. She pressed further, to which Sanders responded with an answer that supported expansion as a duty to “ensure that all of our people have a decent standard of living.”

His status as a self-avowed socialist aligns with that sentiment. However, in an interesting turn of events, Secretary Clinton also acknowledged that her plans would cost “about $100 billion a year” when pressed by Gwen Ifill to place a price tag on her plans.

Photo: giphy

Senator Sanders never gave an exact sum with his response.

2.) Clinton’s historic undertaking forces her to negate gender and cling to it

It’s an indisputable fact that Secretary Clinton will make history if she is elected as the leader of the free world. Yet, Clinton faces a conundrum that forces her to play the field from disparate positions. She must be gender-affirming and non-gender conforming at the same time in order to appeal to women while proving her competence to both men and women. See how convoluted that is?

Detractors have stated that Clinton uses gender as a political tool. However, her disposition and understanding of women’s issues will always be bound to her gender to some degree. Historical familiarity with a male-dominated presence on this stage allows some people to misremember, but this level of forced pivoting would never be required of men.

Regardless of your position on who inherits the nomination, take stock of this moment. Clinton’s run is adding cracks to the glass ceiling that Shirley Chisolm pierced during her run for president in 1972.

3.) The black community is a big topic of discussion leading into the South Carolina Primary

Clinton and Sanders found common ground on their pitches to black voters. As they inch closer to an inevitable showdown that will be decided by black voters, they openly spoke about their intentions for the black community. This included appeals to end mass incarceration and the Pre-K to prison pipeline; to overhaul policing tactics that terrorize communities of color; tackle youth unemployment; and dissolve systemic racism in jobs, education, and housing.

In moves that mirror their respective overarching strategies, Secretary Clinton aligned herself with President Obama once more, stating that race relations aren’t worse under his presidency. Senator Sanders, however, honed in on Wall Street as the bearer of most blame for the glaring economic inequities that face black families at disproportionate rates.

4.) Foreign policy insecurities are a high concern for many Americans

 Secretary Clinton’s wide breadth of experience was on full display in her analysis of domestic security, terror cells, and campaigns to fight ISIS with the Arabs, the Kurds, and the Iraqi army. She spoke without hesitation, and at length, on America’s level of preparedness, which was craftily tied to anti-Trump rhetoric as she implored support for American Muslims.

Surprisingly, Senator Sanders went beyond his usual policy stance, in which he normally conjures his voting record against the Iraq war, to provide a more expansive rebuttal that detailed the “unintended consequences” of our troops being “bog[ged] down in perpetual warfare.”

Sanders’ non-interventionist outlook further developed into a ping pong match as both candidates traded jabs on the legacy of the infamous Henry Kissinger.  His counter on Kissinger’s  record in China and Cambodia provided an unexpected offense that allowed him to sustain an argument against Clinton’s years of foreign policy experience.

Once again, this debate was largely an exercise of delineating consistent judgement against tested experience.

Photo: youtube
Photo: youtube

READ NEXT: John Lewis backs Hillary Clinton, takes shots at Bernie Sanders