Editor's note: This is an excerpt from The 5-Minute Fix, the Monday-Wednesday-Friday afternoon newsletter written by The Fix's Amber Phillips. If you like what you see, sign up here!
On Wednesday night, The Washington Post is co-hosting a Democratic debate with Univision in Miami. We're super excited for it, and you should definitely tune in, starting with a pre-show featuring Fix Boss Chris Cillizza at 8:45 p.m. Eastern time here. (The actual debate starts at 9 p.m. and will also be aired on CNN. You can sign up here for a reminder to tune in!)
But if you can't watch, The 5-Minute Fix has the next-best thing. The Post solicited questions on Facebook for this debate. Some of those will be asked directly to Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday. But there were so many great questions, I thought I'd spend this edition of the newsletter answering a few more, based on what we know from the two candidates' past comments — a mock debate in preparation for the real thing, if you will.
Let's get started.
The first question comes from Joseph Sebestyan: What will you do to curb health-care costs? More specifically, what improvements will you bring to the Affordable Care Act?
The setup: In January, Sanders came out with a universal health-care plan that would essentially provide Medicare for all Americans. Clinton says such a plan would amount to tearing up the Affordable Care Act. Knowing that, we could expect the two candidates to say something like ...
Clinton: The politics in Washington is such that we probably won't be passing another health-care reform law anytime soon, so we've got to work with what we have. I'd double down on Obamacare (a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act) and try to get prescription drug costs down.
Sanders: My plan wouldn't tear down everything, but it would be a big change. And I think that's worth it, because health care is a right for all Americans, so we can't afford not to act.
Next, Limbs Wheeler wants to know: Can you explain your positions on fracking?
The setup: Here the candidates differ as well, with Sanders leaning hard to the left. Here's what we'd expect them to say ...
Clinton: I'd cut back on fracking quite a bit, given the environmental concerns. I'd put stricter regulations to require drillers to disclose what chemicals they use and to cut back on air and water pollution.
Sanders: I think fracking is ruining our water systems, so I don't support it. I'd end it.
Suzie Forrest asks: How do you plan specifically on getting any campaign promises through Congress, given the House will remain red because of gerrymandering?
The setup: Forrest is correct that gerrymandering is one of the reasons — but not the only one — that the House of Representatives is Republican-controlled and likely to stay that way for this decade. Her question gets at the central division between Clinton and Sanders: Do you compromise or not? Here's what the candidates might say ...
Clinton: You're right that working with Republicans in Congress is going to be tough, which is why I'd expand on Obama's executive actions to make gun laws safer and expand protections for undocumented immigrants.
Sanders: If the people want a political revolution badly enough, we can change the political makeup of Washington and Wall Street so we can make my progressive ideas a reality.
Next, we have this from Amir Ra: What tactics will you use against Donald Trump if the Republicans choose him?
The setup: Trump has already said some not-nice things about Clinton and Sanders — he promised to hammer on Clinton's emails every day and has called Sanders a communist — so we can expect the general election to be pretty negative. Here's what the candidates might say ...
Clinton: I'll simply point out that a Washington Post-ABC News poll found 8 in 10 Hispanics don't like Donald Trump. So good luck to him in the general election.
Sanders: I've won in working-class Michigan, I've won in rural New Hampshire, I've won in Kansas, I've won in urban areas and with young people. My coalition can take Trump's any day.
Cecilia Bukowski has our final question: Why not a Clinton-Sanders ticket combining their ideas for the benefit of the country? They both have a lot of ideas in common already.
The setup: We'll let Clinton and Sanders take this one ...
Clinton: While I appreciate Sanders's commitment to the cause, I think I need someone on the ticket with me who represents the future of America in all of its diversity. (Fix side note: Maybe a Julian Castro or Cory Booker?)
Sanders: What she said.
See you tonight on The Fix for the real thing!