In speeches and social media campaigns, the contrasts between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are coming into sharp focus just ahead of major nominating contests in a dozen states.
Sanders, who is leading in national polls but trailing in South Carolina, which holds its Democratic primary on Saturday, “unloaded” on Clinton in a speech to roughly 6,500 people at Chicago State University on Thursday evening, the Washington Post reported.
Amplifying the arguments he’s made in recent days, Sanders “attacked Clinton for having accepted campaign contributions and speaking fees from Wall Street interests. And then he sharply criticized her support, as first lady and as a New York senator, of welfare reform, free trade, an anti-gay rights bill and the Iraq War—all measures he opposed during his long career in Congress,” according to the Post, which described the remarks as “striking for both their length…and his tone.”
Meanwhile, on Twitter Thursday, hashtags were employed to further draw distinctions between the candidates’ records.
Piggybacking on Black Lives Matter activist Ashley Williams’ #WhichHillary hashtag—which was written at the bottom of a banner Williams held up while calling Clinton out for hypocrisy on racial and criminal justice at a fundraiser this week—hundreds of thousands took to Twitter on Thursday and overnight to criticize Clinton’s contradictory record on a number of issues including marriage equality, race, healthcare, Iraq, and more.
The hashtag went viral—though Twitter, whose executive chairman Omid Kordestani recently held a fundraiser for Clinton, was later accused of censoring it. As of Friday morning, the hashtag had accumulated well over 350,000 mentions.
Sanders’ supporters contributed to the conversation, the Huffington Post reported, “creating the hashtag #OnlyOneBernie to contrast Sanders’ perceived consistency with Clinton’s supposed two-faced nature.”
Seizing on another point of comparison, reporter Shannon Pettypiece writes at Bloomberg on Friday that “few issues show the contrast [between Sanders and Clinton] better than their relationship with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., America’s biggest private employer.”
“Clinton used to sit on its board,” Pettypiece points out. “Sanders has used the company as a model for inequality in America—comparing the vast wealth of the Walton Family, which owns the majority of Wal-Mart, to the low income of its employees, some of whom receive government benefits like food stamps and Medicaid.”
Going into Super Tuesday next week, when 11 states hold primaries or caucuses, Sanders needs to hit certain targets in order to win the Democratic nomination.
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As FiveThirtyEight‘s Nate Silver explained this week:
Politico reported Thursday that “interviews with over a dozen state Democratic party chairs and local officials in Super Tuesday states suggest Sanders is within striking distance of Hillary Clinton in at least five of the 11 contests that will take place on March 1.”