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Leading Democratic presidential candidates rally around labour rights ahead of debate

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Leading Democratic presidential candidates rally around labour rights ahead of debate

democratic debate
Photo: Toni L. Sandys/Washington Post

Seven top candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination will square off in Los Angeles tonight for the sixth primary debate.

Former vice president Joe Biden continues to lead national polls with roughly 26% of party support, followed by progressive senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren with 18% and 15% respectively.

All seven participants threatened to boycott today’s debate at Loyola Marymount University over a labour dispute between campus workers and Sodexo, a company subcontracted by the school. While the dispute has since been resolved, the candidates’ refusal to cross the picket line to and take part in the debate reflects a broader effort by Democrats to capture working-class support for the nomination, as well as the 2020 election. Indeed, Biden recently announced a plan to empower unions by enhancing collective bargaining rights, and progressives like Sanders have intervened on behalf of unions in labour disputes across the country.

The labour fight at Loyola Marymount University will likely set the tone for tonight’s debate. Moderate candidates will attempt to garner the support of unions and working-class Democrats by arguing they are the most likely to defeat Trump, while progressives will promote policies like an increased minimum wage to excite voters.

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