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Why Are Democratic Candidates So Obsessed With This Phrase?

Photograph by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash.

The phrase “let’s be clear” has been a clear favorite of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. Those words have cropped up repeatedly during debates, but the trend has hit peak clarity on Twitter. “It’s a useful introduction for boiling something down,” says Wall Street Journal language columnist Ben Zimmer. “The fact that the whole range of Democratic candidates have been using it shows that they think this is still an effective rhetorical tool.” Clearly.

Elizabeth Warren

Joe Biden

Kamala Harris

Bernie Sanders

Cory Booker

Marianne Williamson

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Editorial Fellow

Emily Martin is an editorial fellow for Washingtonian. She previously participated in the POLITICO Journalism Institute and covered Capitol Hill for The Durango Herald.