Live-Blogging the CNN Democratic Debate–Night 1

By | July 30, 2019

7:00–For the first time in years, the phrase “live from Detroit” is uttered…

7:02–CNN gives an intro so over-the-top, I half expect Hank Williams Jr. to come out singing “Are you ready for some de-baaaaate!” With Bernie Sanders playing electric guitar, Buttigieg giving a blowjob on stage, and Julian Castro bursting through a paper mâché wall. “This is America Trump, deal with it!”

7:03–I can’t wait until the moment John Hickenlooper and Delaney compete to suck Exxon’s cock. Maybe have an arm-wrestling contest for the Chamber of Commerce’s endorsement?

7:09–CNN wasted the entire first ten minutes of the debate with intros, individual intros, having the candidates walk out on stage, and (I swear to God) a Gospel choir doing the Star Spangled Banner.

7:10–We watch time crawl as the choir leaves the stage and everyone stands around awkwardly.

7:11–CNN says the debate will begin (finally)…after these messages! Pulling a Seacrest I see…

7:12–What if the entire debate was just filler shit? “We’d like to ask the candidates about climate change…after we have Two-Chains do the pledge!”

7:15–Dear God…it’s 15 minutes into a two hour debate, and they’re actually doing the official rules.

7:16–FINALLY, the candidates actually speak. Steve Bullock leads off with an intro, and supposedly each candidate will get one. Which means the debate will be a half-hour in before a single question is asked.

7:16–Marianne Williamson speaks, get the butterfly nets ready…What if they panned to the side of the stage and we could see two insane asylum employees getting ready to bag her?

7:17–John Delaney sucks so much…just…so…much…

7:19–“Live from Detroit it’s Tim Ryan!” WWWWWWWWOOOOOOOOOOO! YEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!

7:20–“Live from Detroit it’s John Hickenlooper” would be the shittiest one-man show ever made.

7:22–Amy Klobuchar gives an intro, and stealthily avoids shitting all over America’s dreams. “Doing much better” her team exclaims.

7:23–Beto O’Rourke does…something

7:24–Pete Buttigieg…nothing funny here, might have to take a pass on this one.

7:25–Elizabeth Warren talks about how Trump disgraces the nation every day. Politifact instantly rates this as “true.”

7:26–Bernie Sanders focuses on healthcare, homelessness, income inequality, and pollution in his intro. I’ll give him this, he’s always stayed focused on the issues he cares about. Nearly impossible to get him off-message.

7:27–Nearly a half hour they ask the first debate question. The answer will come AFTER the one-quarter mark monster truck race.

7:28–Delaney is going against Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on healthcare. No surprise since Delaney appears to be running for the President of the Chamber of Commerce more than the United States.

7:29–Elizabeth Warren offers a scathing indictment of the U.S. healthcare system.

7:31–Warren is asked point-blank if she would raise taxes to pay for Medicare-for-All.

Debate moderators always ask the wrong question. It’s not about taxes, you will eventually have to set prices for things (like not having an X-Ray cost $5,000), and I’m for it. But this never gets talked about.

7:33–Beto O’Rourke offers a “Medicare for America” rebuttal to “Medicare for All” and it still feels a little hazy. He’s differentiating himself from both his left and right flanks, but is it too little too late?

7:34–Amy Klobuchar is asked about Warren’s comments critiquing small-ball politicians like Amy. Her defense isn’t totally convincing, and includes a shot at Bernie.

7:36–Bernie Sanders goes after Jake Tapper for doing a “Republican talking point” that middle-class taxes will go up with Medicare-For-All. He also says healthcare companies will be advertising on tonight’s debate, and Jake Tapper looks very eager to move on.

7:37–John Delaney says “my opponents don’t understand the healthcare business.” Bernie yells out “it’s not a business!” THANK YOU

7:38–Damn, Bernie is on fire tonight.

7:40–Marianne Williamson–of all people–is worried that Republicans will villainize “Medicare for All.” Marianne…W-i-l-l-i-a-m-s-o-n

7:41–Buttigieg correctly points out that Republicans will call them crazy socialists no matter what they do, so they should just do whatever they want to do. “It’s time to stop letting Republicans set the debate.”

7:42–Tim Ryan tries to talk specifics about his own healthcare plan, and Tapper practically tells him to shut up. God forbid, they let specifics get in the way of a debate.

7:44–They ask Pete Buttigieg about immigration…Looks like we’ve got all they’re going to talk about for the next hour.

7:47–Senator Warren says she would decriminalize immigration, and it’s hard to know exactly what that means, but it sounds like…”Amnesty for All?”

7:49–Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar also weigh in on immigration, but Steve Bullock hits the nail on the head when he says “the biggest problem with immigration is Donald Trump. He’s using this to not only rip families apart, but this country apart.”

7:50–A ten minutes conversation about guns that I don’t really agree with, but luckily Steve Bullock uses a limited window to talk about “Dark Money” that is why nothing gets done.

7:55–Bullock has said in the past “until you get the money out of politics, nothing else will get done.” And he’s exactly right. All these issues they’re debating are wonderful, but won’t mean a damn thing until you get the big-money gone to actually do something about them.

8:05–Marianne Williamson tried to tarnish the rest of the field by saying they’ve all taken money from the companies they’re against, before Don Lemon goes to commercial break.

8:12–My signal cut out for a few moment, and now there’s a question “Is Senator Sanders too extreme to beat Trump?” and John Hickenlooper is answering. Man…I’d love to know what led up to that. It’s like you went to the bathroom, and come back to a kitchen fire.

8:13–Bernie and Hickenlooper are actually arguing about whether Bernie is too extreme to be President. You know that’s not the question you want to be answering if you’re Hickenlooper because it basically means you have no shot to get the nomination.

8:21–Amy Klobuchar is once again asked to kill America’s dreams. “Hey, you know what we should do? Run an identical campaign to Hillary’s but even MORE afraid of big ideas! That’s what the people want.”

8:24–John Delaney is asked about climate crisis, and it becomes even more obvious he’s only there to crap on liberal, progressive agenda.

8:25–The September debate will be a lot better without John Delaney.

8:26–Elizabeth Warren tried to talk about her climate plan and the pushback being “a Republican talking point” and CNN aggressively enforced the time rule–which they did not for Delaney and Hickenlooper.

8:28–I’ve noticed that every time one of the candidates starts talking about getting the big money out of politics and things being corporate-ruled, CNN gets real aggressive with that time rule.

8:30–Bernie talks about Democrats being afraid of big ideas, and Republicans aren’t. He lays out an aggressive climate crisis plan because our “children have no choice” and “if we care about children” then we owe it to them to do something big.

8:35–Amy Klobuchar is asked about Flint Michigan’s water (I think) and she starts talking more about infrastructure generally like increasing rural broadband. She talks about “the heartland” needing to be the origin point for climate crisis action…Uhhh…what does that have to do with a poor city’s water supply being poisoned? This lady gets it.

8:43–Amy Klobuchar follows up that last head-scratching answer by saying some people didn’t vote for Trump because they’re racist, but because they wanted better economic opportunity. And with that you can see she’s not even attempting to go after the minority vote…and a good snapshot of why Minnesota is so hopeless for black people.

8:45–O’Rourke says he will sign into law a bill to study the possibility of reparations, and the CNN moderators go to the next logic choice on this issue…Marianne Williamson.

8:46–To her credit, she does make a point when she says it’s time to stop studying things, and start doing things. And the black community isn’t going to benefit from a decade-long study looking into something everyone already knows. They need tangible, immediate action…and then she started talking about butterflies or something.

8:47–A commercial break, a good time for Delaney’s corporate donors to communicate their wishes to him directly.

8:53–The Democrats are talking trade, something even the billionaire sitting president doesn’t seem to understand. And honestly, most Democratic voters would rather talk just about anything else.

8:54–John Delaney goes after Elizabeth Warren on trade. Why is John Delaney talking so much?

7:01–Mayor Pete FINALLY says something no other Democrat has gone after: the gig economy. People don’t realize that the contractor economy leads to as much income inequality as a too-low minimum wage. “Gig workers should be unionized. A worker is a worker, and a gig is a job.”

7:03–Delaney and Warren argue about the exact right way to tax rich people. I’m sure Delaney’s plan would be implemented if he were President (wink, wink), and not totally disappear the moment he takes office.

7:06–Mayor Pete talks about why he doesn’t support total student loan debt being wiped away.

7:09–They go to the next most logical person on student loan debt…Marianne Williamson. BUT she does challenge Hickenlooper and Delaney (most likely) by saying “some of these people on stage, I wonder why you’re even Democrats. You don’t seem to believe in using government to change anything.”

7:11–Beto O’Rourke punts on the question of free college and isn’t for free 4-year college by saying “I support free two-year college.” I roll my eyes so hard whenever someone says this because I have an Associate’s Degree that is nearly worthless in the job market. Employers care about Bachelor’s Degrees only. “Free community college for two years” will make only a minimal difference in most people’s lives, and debt will still be astronomical for a credible four-year college Bachelor’s Degree.

7:15–They start asking the candidates about foreign policy…9/10ths of the way through the debate, even though it’s something the President actually directly controls.

7:20–Bullock and Elizabeth Warren are arguing foreign policy, but it doesn’t seem to be a strong suit for either one.

7:22–Pete is asked about his age vs. Bernie Sanders’s age. He doesn’t quite do what Eric Swalwell did at the last debate, BUT it’s revealing that Pete seems to actually have the energy for 2 and a half hour debate, whereas Bernie has basically been MIA after the first hour.

7:25–Last commercial break, looks like this is going to last longer than the agreed-upon two hours. Bernie looks like he’s about to pass out.

7:29–Steve Bullock gives his farewell answer…probably the last he’ll speak at these debates, BUT he’s still a worthy candidate that should be considered strongly for a cabinet post.

7:31–Marianne Williamson gives her farewell answer…hopefully for good.

7:34–John Delaney gives his farewell answer…don’t let the door hit you on the way out or do, I don’t give a shit as long as you leave.

7:35–Tim Ryan rejects this media notion of “who captured the right lane and who captured the left lane and who captured the middle lane” and hopes he captured “your imagination.” Is that really what he’s going for? His campaign seems a little grounded. I think he’s doing it wrong.

7:37–John Hickenlooper says he’s as “progressive as anyone on this stage” which is hilarious.

7:39–Amy Klobuchar “I am a fighter…” of your own staff. Man, these candidates really don’t see themselves clearly.

7:40–Is Beto O’Rourke seriously using his loss to Ted Cruz as a selling point for how he will beat Trump?

7:41–Mayor Pete says something. I guess I’m completely alone in wondering how and why he’s gotten the attention he has.

7:42–Warren is whip-smart, detail-focused, has great ideas, and…will never, ever become President. She has no humor, no warmth, and radiates with an intensity people just never really vote for for President.

7:43–Bernie goes back to corporate greed…as he encourages people to donate money, but I didn’t expect any different.

Welp, that’s all folks!

Let’s rank ’em!

10. John Delaney…Terrible, and seemed to talk much more than candidates who actually have a shot at the nomination. Grade: F

9. Amy Klobuchar…She is running Hillary’s losing campaign from 2016 at a year when it makes even less sense. She actually has a sourness towards most of the progressive platform. Grade: D-

8. Marianne Williamson…The fact that she made this high in the list despite existing for no other reason than to discredit the nominee should tell you how much I hate John Delaney and Amy Klobuchar. Grade: D

7. John Hickenlooper…A “centrist” joke who’s really a corporate stooge exclusively running to discredit more progressive policies. Grade: D+

6. Beto O’Rourke…A terrible performance? Not at all, but he’s not catching fire on anything meaningful. I couldn’t remember a single thing he said tonight, and he really needs a win. Grade: C-

5. Tim Ryan…Slightly worse than last time. Grade: C

4. Pete Buttigieg…The beginning of the upper tier. Solid, but won’t win any new fans I don’t think. Your opinion of him will be largely unchanged. Grade: B-

3. Elizabeth Warren…Had a really good night being the excellent but ultra-intense teacher you love, and I particularly loved her dressing-down of Delaney (“why would someone run for President just to tell us what’s not possible?”). Still, I think it showed so many of her key flaws (a lack of humor when literally scolding the audience “it’s not funny”), that it’s almost impossible for me to imagine her being President even if she wins the nomination.

2. Steve Bullock…Laid on the “rural charm” a little too thick, but a very, very solid performance from somebody who deserves more respect than they’ve gotten. He’s not some corporate-stooge like “Delaney” and “Hickenlooper” and is really more progressive than people like Biden, even if people are determined to put him in the “lame white guy” category. Grade: B+

I can’t believe I’m saying this…I really can’t…

Bernie Sanders…With only he and Elizabeth Warren there to be the lonely defenders of progressivism, and seemingly beset by corporate-stooge Democrats that have no shot but that CNN gave a lot of time to (Delaney, Hickenlooper, Klobuchar), Sanders had to really step up…and he did. Yes, I know people said he “yelled too much” but those are people who will probably never really get over Sanders’s treatment of Hillary back in 2016. I’m one of those people too, but he kicked ass the first hour of the debate. He wasn’t as good in the second hour, and–to be honest–looked a little sleepy. But he’s by-far the best of a fairly weak night, taking on Delaney, horrible moderators, and even the network the debate is on (CNN did have healthcare company commercials). Grade: A-

Having said all that, it would shock me if the eventual nominee isn’t on tomorrow night’s debate…specifically, either Joe Biden or Kamala Harris.

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