Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy

Reporter

Tim Murphy is a senior reporter at Mother Jones. Email him with tips and insights at tmurphy@motherjones.com.

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In the fall of 1996, locked in a tough re-election fight against Republican Susan Sweetser, then-Rep. Sanders got a big boost when feminist writer and activist Gloria Steinem came to Burlington. At the time, Sweetser was running negative ads attacking Sanders' liberal positions, and so the Sanders campaign held an event to highlight his support among progressive women. An opening act, a former state senator, told the audience that "a feminist is a person who challenges the power structure of our country" and "Bernie Sanders is that kind of feminist." When it was Steinem's turn, she started off with an announcement: "I'm only here today to make Bernie Sanders an honorary woman."

In his memoir, Outsider in the House, Sanders, who went on to beat Sweetser comfortably, called the event "the nicest moment of the campaign."

Watch:

Sanders won't be able to count on a repeat performance this time around. Steinem, supported Hillary Clinton for president in 2008 and is back in her corner again.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders spent much of the last week battling over the Vermont senator's proposal to create a nationwide single-payer health care system. In one of the most important exchanges of Sunday night's debate, they finally hashed it out face to face.

Watch:

What neither of them would say outright—perhaps because it's not an especially inspiring message for Democrats to hear—is that the question of how best to expand health care access is, at least for the time being, moot. Republicans have a huge majority in the House and will almost certainly continue to control the House in January 2017. But their argument exposed core differences between the two candidates on what the nation's health care system should look like, and how it should be paid for. And it doesn't look like a debate either candidate is about to abandon any time soon.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie made a bold pronouncement at Thursday's Republican debate: the founders considered the right to bear arms to be one of the most important constitutional amendments—that's why it was the second one on the list. "I don't think the Founders put the second amendment as number two by accident," he said, adding, "I think they made the Second Amendment the Second Amendment because they thought it was just that important."

But that doesn't make a lot of sense—the Third Amendment (which prevents citizens from quartering soldiers against their will) is not more important than the Fourth Amendment (which prohibits unwarranted search and seizure), simply because it has a lower number. Nor would you be able to find many conservatives who believe the Tenth Amendment, which delegates rights to the states, is somehow the least important of the bunch.

The other problem with this line of thinking is that the Second Amendment as we know it wasn't really the second amendment to be written—it was the fourth. James Madison proposed 12 amendments to the Constitution, but the first two were not ratified by enough states. The original First Amendment concerned the size of congressional districts—not quite as big of a deal in the grand scheme of things as, say, the original Third Amendment (which would become freedom of expression). The original Second Amendment would have prohibited Congress from raising its own pay (it was eventually ratified as the 27th.)

This is all a bit confusing but you have to bear in mind the Founding Fathers were drunk most of the time.

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