clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The people the Democratic candidates are thrilled to have pissed off

Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

Bernie Sanders is proud to have alienated Wall Street. Former Sen. Jim Webb boasted on the debate stage about killing a man in battle. Hillary Clinton has so many enemies she can't pick a single one to highlight.

Near the end of Tuesday night's Democratic primary debate, Anderson Cooper, referencing a quote from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, asked the candidates whom they're most proud to claim as an enemy. Their answers were revealing about the kind of campaigns they're running.

Sanders, the Democratic socialist, named Wall Street and the pharmaceutical companies.

Martin O'Malley, who argued Sanders wasn't liberal enough on gun control, named the National Rifle Administration.

Lincoln Chafee said "the coal lobby" — although he pointed out that he "tried to bring them to the table" while working on climate change.

And Clinton, whose experience was on full display, turned the number of enemies she's made — "the NRA, the health insurance companies, the drug companies, the Iranians" — into a positive, before saying "probably the Republicans."

Webb, meanwhile, who often seemed to be in a different party than everyone else, didn't name a political enemy at all: "I would have to say the enemy soldier that threw the grenade that wounded me, but he's not around right now to talk to."

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.