The last time I did this was– Jesus— almost a God damn year ago, and since then not only has Kamala Harris dropped out, but so has everyone else I wanted to vote for except for Buttigieg, who has spent most of the last eleven months making me dislike him. I have gone from a Democratic presidential primary where I went through eight people before even entering “meh” territory to one person I want to vote for– Warren– a bunch of people who I despise, and Amy Klobuchar, who I wouldn’t have even considered a serious candidate any longer until New Hampshire, and frankly I probably shouldn’t start treating her for-real seriously until she does better in more than one state.
What I have been saying for the last several months remains true: this race is still Biden’s to lose, despite his poor performance in Iowa and New Hampshire, because unless the poll results have shifted radically in the last couple of weeks he’s still the only candidate with a serious base of support in the black community, who are still the base of the Democratic party and who haven’t had a chance to vote yet because of how fucking stupid our nomination process is. I have heard tell that those numbers are starting to shift, though, and if they are, Biden’s fucked, which is kind of fine because I think he’s slowly losing his shit and I don’t really want to vote for him.
But … God, I don’t want to vote for any of these fuckers other than Warren, and every time I try to think seriously about ranking them, I spend most of my time pondering the inevitability of death instead. I mean, to be clear: I’m voting for the fucking Democratic nominee in November, full stop; I don’t give a fuck who it is. But I really don’t like any of them beyond Warren, and I remember enjoying being able to vote for candidates who I wanted to hold office, damn it.
2. … Klobuchar, I guess? Who is an asshole, and a moderate, and she’s shitty to her staff, but that’s all I’ve got and she hasn’t managed to personally piss me off yet? Plus, she’s a woman and she doesn’t have one foot in the grave or any obvious decline in her mental facilities? So, yeah, sure, Klobuchar’s second, I suppose, mostly because someone has to be.
3. Buttigieg. I have voted for Pete Buttigieg literally every single time he has run for office, and I don’t want to ever vote for him again. Yes, in March I was somewhat enthusiastic about his candidacy. And he’s spent damn near every second since then trying to drive me away with his Jesusiness and his Kumbaya approach to “working with” people who would literally rather see him dead than in office. But much like Klobuchar he has the advantages of not being senile or nearly dead, and I’m not convinced he’d be a shitty President, and he’s smart, if perhaps not as smart as he thinks he is, and if he made a sensible pick for VP he might not be a disaster as a President, although of the current group I think he’s the one most likely to run for a second term and lose.
4. Fuck it, Biden. Who is running an absolute shit campaign, and who is perhaps not as senile as I thought he might have been a bit ago (I was unaware until recently that he has battled a stutter his whole life, and that explains a couple of things) but is still noticeably not as sharp as he was a decade ago, and has run for President three times now and so far still has not ever managed to finish higher than third in a primary. And he clearly doesn’t understand the nature of the opposition he’s facing, either, because he’s competing with Pete for the Kumbaya naïveté awards. But at least he’s not either of those other two assholes, and of the group of three he’s the one most likely to have some fucking sense and not run for a second term in the first place. Leaving me with …
Bernie and Bloomberg, and fuck both of ’em, I’m not ranking them. I loathe Bernie Sanders. I like his policies but Warren’s are every bit as good as his and she’s not a garbage human and she’s actually got some accomplishments in her life, unlike Mr. Myocardial Infarction Where The Fuck Are Your Taxes, whose life’s work boils down to not having a job until he was 40, naming a couple of post offices, and exactly three black-and-white photos of him being a massive civil rights hero on par with Malcolm X, Jesus and Martin Luther King combined. He will be a desperately shitty President and nothing will be accomplished during his single term in office, if he even lasts that long without dying, because who the hell knows what kind of condition his God damn heart is in; his campaign has lied about it endlessly and he’s refused to release his medical records. Which is not fucking forgivable even before you get to the part where he’s basically a cult leader and I cannot tolerate the idea of an America where the Bernie Bros have political power.
(Am I calling every Bernie voter a cultist? No. I am explicitly not doing that, and if you are a Bernie person and I know you I am also explicitly not calling you personally that. But I stand by the statement nonetheless, particularly in the context of the vile hordes of his people I have to deal with online.)
Bloomberg, on the other hand, is a racist piece of shit and a blood-gorged tick on the nuts of humanity, and he’s carefully and clearly exposing every single thing wrong with what we are still calling our “democracy” for some reason. I have no idea why anyone would ever choose to vote for him, and the fact that he’s registering in the polls at all is a sign of how dangerously and completely fucked we are. If somehow the race is down to these two by the time the Indiana primary rolls around I’m probably just not going to vote. Again, I’ll vote for the nominee even if I hate him, which is looking more likely by the day, but I’ll be damned if I endorse either of these fuckers twice if I don’t absolutely have to.
(EDIT: When and if Bloomberg turns out to be a serial sexual harasser and/or a rapist, which I’m figuring even odds on, he immediately falls off the list altogether. That would be one thing that would definitively shove him under Sanders for me.)
So here’s the thing: a few hours from now, or maybe a couple of days depending on how complicated things get, results will be released from the Iowa caucuses and someone– probably either a white dude whose name starts with B or Elizabeth Warren– will have won them. And that person will have just a smidge more actual delegates than the three or four people behind him or her, and all the press in the world won’t make a damn bit of difference to the fact that the actual delegate edge gained by this contest– y’know, the thing that matters— isn’t gonna be much of anything.
But there will be yapping, oh so much yapping, about What It All Means, and Bernie’s people will find a way the process was rigged against him even if he wins, and it all doesn’t fucking matter because Black people are the base of the Democratic party and right now no one and I mean no one has done a God damn thing to cut into Joe Biden’s huge lead among Black voters and unless that changes this shit is already all over but the shouting. And am I happy about it? No, not at all; with Kamala Harris out of the race I am an Elizabeth Warren man through and through, and Biden may actually be my last choice among the serious candidates (every time I try to think hard about whether I’d vote for him or Bernie at gunpoint my small intestine jumps out of my body and chokes me until I’m unconscious) but right now hard demographic reality is gonna make him the nominee unless something changes. Is that impossible? No. Does fucking Iowa have much chance to make a difference? Also no.
Fuck caucuses, and fuck Iowa. Caucuses, particularly how they’re practiced in Iowa, are undemocratic as hell and as wildly, painfully ridiculous a way for grown folks to choose a presidential candidate as they could possibly be. They disenfranchise old people, poor people, people with night jobs, people with children, people who don’t want the assholes who they live around to know who they want to vote for, people who don’t like spending hours arguing about politics in public with strangers, and no doubt a host of other people as well. They introduce a lovely veneer of social pressure into an event– voting– that is supposed to be private and secret. They are unnecessarily complicated. And Iowa is damn near as lily-white as it gets and I am sick as fuck of losing good presidential candidates– particularly in this cycle– because a state full of cracker corn-fed white hicks didn’t decide to get excited about them.
(Yes, I am from Indiana. When I get so fucking arrogant about Indiana’s position in the primary that I insist I should be able to personally shake hands with every candidate you can call me whatever the fuck you want.)
There needs to never be another Democratic Iowa caucus again– I don’t give a fuck what the Republicans do with their primaries– and Iowa needs to never again be allowed to be the first state to vote. Fuck New Hampshire, too, while we’re at it, but they don’t get as much attention and they’re not voting caucusing tonight so they aren’t what this post is about.
I fucking demand that the Democratic party come up with a fairer and more representative way to select our presidential candidates in the future. Caucuses are bullshit and the stranglehold Iowa has on our country is bullshit and I am fucking done hearing about either of them. Fix this bullshit, and fix it now. There are 50 Goddamned states in this country and I’m pretty sure you can find another one with fucking county fairs that also has some damn Black people in it. I won’t even fight you on which one so long as it’s a better choice than fucking Iowa.
Which, really, shouldn’t be all that fucking hard.
4:08 PM: Anticipating a busy evening, I get this post set up in advance. Unlike last night, I know who nearly all of these people are, and also unlike last night, there are only about one and a half of them on stage who I am even slightly interested in seeing as President. Maybe two, if Buttigieg and Gillibrand count as half each. At least two of them, Williamson and Yang, don’t belong up there at all, and three are also-rans of the Delaney/Ryan type. I enjoyed last night’s debate; I do not expect to enjoy this one.
Talk amongst yourselves for the next few hours, if you like. I’ll be back.
5:58: So, thinking about this a bit more: prior to it actually happening, last night’s debate was kind of widely panned as the B team plus Warren, and it was really interesting to me how 1) Castro and Booker, certainly, and probably also Klobuchar showed themselves to be ready for prime time and 2) absolutely everyone on stage was noticeably deferring to Elizabeth Warren for the duration of the debate.
This debate is going to have a very different feel, I think; there is not anyone out there who is going to hold back in attacking Sanders and Biden if they get a chance, and of the four A-tier candidates (Sanders, Biden, Harris, and Buttigieg) three of them have either seen serious drops in their poll numbers or have taken a hell of a beating in the press lately or both. There’s blood in the water at this debate in a way there really wasn’t last night; it’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out.
For the record, I think Kamala should be able to mop the floor with most of these bozos. It’ll be interesting to see how Buttigieg does; I kind of feel like he’s the wild card tonight but he’s had a seriously rough couple of weeks and I won’t be surprised if he’s way off his game.
8:43: I put on my Jackass wristband.
8:44: In addition, I have an honest-to-God bottle of an alcoholic substance at hand, because I don’t think I can get through this without it. It will likely go unfinished, but still.
8:48: I find a selection of pictures to liven the post up with.
8:55: The debate has not started yet and somehow I am already aware that Andrew Yang decided this wasn’t worth putting on a fucking tie for.
8:57: The closed captions are on and I don’t know how to turn them off. They were not on last night and I haven’t changed anything.
9:00: I see that Jesus didn’t give Chuck Todd throat polyps overnight like I asked him to. That guy never does anything I want.
9:02: Mr. Orange Tie has made some bad decisions.
9:03: First question out of the box is to Bernie: “Will you raise taxes on the middle class?” C’mon, now. He’s not gonna answer that. They give him 10 seconds to try again and he actually says they’ll pay more tax but they’ll get better health care as a result.
9:04: One of the people who doesn’t belong up there tries to interrupt. Already? Sit down.
9:06: Biden gets asked about his “nothing will change” statement and makes no attempt at all to answer the question.
9:08: Kamala points out that no one ever asks Republicans how they’re gonna pay for stuff. Hickenlooper starts yapping about how we don’t want Republicans to call us socialists. They’re gonna do that anyway, no matter what we do.
9:09: Ah, so Hickenlooper is gonna be the Inslee tonight.
9:10: Bernie says the way to beat the shitgibbon is to “expose him for the fraud he is.” Good man.
9:11: Did Gillibrand actually get asked a question or was that an interrupt?
9:12: Why does Bennet get to talk before Buttigieg? And why isn’t he paying enough attention to know he’s being talked to? He goes straight after Sanders– like I said, tonight’s gonna be more combative.
9:13: OF COURSE BUTTIGIEG IS THE FIRST TO SPEAK SPANISH.
9:14: Swalwell jumps in to point out that he is also young. Andrew Yang looks weirdly pissy. He gets asked about his UBI proposal and literally acts like he didn’t hear the question at all. He’s talking way too fast and I’m pretty sure a lot of his numbers are voodoo.
9:16: Somebody online already pointed out that Swalwell looks like a televangelist and they are absolutely right. He uses Biden’s words from thirty years ago against him and starts repeating “pass the torch” over and over again. Biden gets a rebuttal and literally says he’s keeping the torch.
9:18: Oh Bernie I dare you to wag a finger in Kamala and Kirsten’s direction. You’re not getting that finger back. And bam, Kamala’s the adult and shuts the whole goddamn stage down.
9:20: “No American should have to have more than one job to put a roof over their head and food on the table.” Harris won the last 30 seconds.
9:21: You can tell Gillibrand’s a New Yorker. She takes no shit from anybody and shuts down Hickenlooper when he tries to talk over her.
9:22: Has Marianne Williamson said a single word? I mean, I don’t mind, but still. Also, his name is booty-judge, not buddha-jitch.
9:23: As someone who has been going through some similar calculus regarding his parents’ health recently, I am also extraordinarily grateful to Medicare for making sure I didn’t have to worry about bankruptcy on top of everything else. Good answer, Pete.
9:26: I’m actually genuinely surprised that Williamson hasn’t horned into a question yet. I wouldn’t even blame her.
9:27: yooman! yuge!
9:28: Williamson gets a question finally. She chides everyone for being superficial and then says that the person in the White House won by saying “Make America Great Again,” which is … literally a four-word superficial slogan.
9:30: Some nerd goes after Sanders again and I’m tired. Harris jumps in and just talks until he shuts up. Swalwell was absolutely taking notes from de Blasio last night.
9:32: The answer to “why would your government health care program cover undocumented immigrants” is “Because they’re people.” Biden took WAY too long to put his hand up.
9:34: …and then he immediately gets called out on it by the moderator. He points out that undocumented immigrants pay into Social Security but gain no benefits from it. And then, okay, I was typing, but it seems like he just … stops? Mid-sentence?
9:38: And now let’s move into the immigration debate. Harris gets first shot at it. She takes a minute but gets around to “what will you do about asylum seekers” eventually. And then knocks it the fuck out of the park. I love this lady.
9:40: Hickenlooper gets a question and Williamson starts to answer it. I think she genuinely thought it was for her. Is there something going on with the mics again? This isn’t the first time it’s happened.
9:41: Williamson has this energy going where if I’m just listening to her I like what she’s saying, mostly– and I’m halfway through typing that sentence and she goes off on a crazy-lady tangent about how no one is talking about Latin American foreign policy when the immigration section of the debate just started like 30 seconds ago. Anyway, the point was she probably comes off better in print?
9:43: We need to abolish for-profit prisons, period. End of conversation.
9:44: Buttigieg smoothly takes over the stage after another hand-raise question and nobody tries to talk over him. He goes straight to his liberal Christianity and sticks a shiv in the religious right. He’s the first candidate to mention God on stage, and I think that includes last night.
9:46: Did the Obama/Biden administration deport three million Americans?
9:47: I am halfway through my hard lemonade.
9:48: I note that they are talking about Central American foreign policy, but Sanders gives credit to Biden for it. Hmmm. I note that I can’t figure out who at least one of the white guys on stage is. The guy standing next to Swal … well? Is that his name? Does the guy who looks like a preacher have a name that sounds like Falwell? Goddammit get these folks off the stage.
9:49: Harris stumbles a bit with the beginning of this answer. By the end she warms up and gets back on stride.
9:50: Can we not do the one-word answer thing again? Oh, that guy’s name is Bennet.
9:52: He did a lot of yelling while I was looking for that picture and I didn’t hear most of it but I suspect I’d have thought it was crazy talk if I did.
9:54: Buttigieg is doing a good job. He’s staying out of the scrum for the most part and being his typical self when he gets to talk.
9:57: Second commercial break. They’re gonna bring that nitwit on now. One thing about tonight so far: no one is impressing me who I didn’t expect to impress me.
9:59: It would be cool if Chuck Todd’s mic stopped working but not anyone else’s.
10:00: Ooooh shit, Rachel Maddow goes straight at Buttigieg about Eric Logan. I was wondering if this would happen. She asks how the police force is still only 6% black and he answers, simply, “I didn’t get it done.”
10:02: We know the answer to that, Mr. Hickenlooper. It’s racism. Swalwell hollers at him about firing the police chief– the current one! — and holy shit the daggers in Buttigieg’s look back at him.
10:05: Harris demands to get to talk about race as the only black person on stage and goes directly at Biden about his comments about palling up with segregationists. Harris gets one of the biggest rounds of applause of the night.
10:06: Biden basically says he’s okay on race because he had a black boss.
10:06: I really think Swalwell needs to watch his back on the way home tonight. Pete’s gonna cut him.
10:07: Kamala’s basically bathing in Biden’s blood right now.
10:08: Wait, are we asking the guy from Vermont about diversity?
10:09: Oh, hi, Kirsten! Still up there, huh?
10:11: Wait, I think Chuck Todd just asked a good question. Unfortunately Bennet is answering it.
10:12: Biden is shook, y’all. He’s bragging about raising taxes. (Also, I don’t understand why we talk about “permanent” tax cuts or increases. We have the word “indefinite’ for a reason!)
10:16: Took me a minute to find this. Kamala Harris:
10:17: Okay I’m paying attention again.
10:19: Kamala Harris comes from the Hillary Clinton school of An Anecdote for Every Question.
10:20: I am not sure that the question Todd just asked Buttigieg is completely coherent but at this point he ought to be able to answer a climate change question half-asleep. He uses the 1000-year and 500-year flood story again. Bernie is waving his Taunting Finger around but Maddow calls on Hickenlooper instead.
10:22: How, exactly, is Hickenlooper a scientist?
10:23: I hadn’t noticed it until now, and I’m not sure if it’s been ongoing, but Biden is really slurring his words a lot. Is that just how he talks or has something changed in the last twenty minutes or so?
10:25: Williamson and Swalwell sniping at each other is something I can get behind. She says “included” really weirdly.
10:27: Chuck really thought he was gonna get two-word answers from these folks?
10:28: Audible laughter in the audience when Yang talks about his UBI program again. Williamson doesn’t even try to answer the question.
10:31: Commercial. It’s muggy in here. Or maybe it’s the alcomohol. I don’t drink, like, ever, so one bottle is actually gonna Do a Thing for me.
10:32: *checks thermostat* I think it’s me.
10:34: Maddow tries to go to somebody in the audience and it doesn’t and then has a serious womp-womp moment as she tries to joke about it. Nah, we were watching last night and you don’t get to joke about tech issues now.
10:35: Oh, wait, shit, that’s why Swalwell is wearing an orange tie and the orange ribbon: gun violence. I take back the tie criticism.
10:36: Sanders accuses Maddow of mischaracterizing his gun record and she immediately claps back that she’d just read a quote from him. Oops!
10:37: Swalwell goes after Sanders’ record on guns and comes off ahead for it. Good man.
10:38: “If more guns made us safer, we’d be the safest country on Earth.” YOU GO MAYOR PETE.
10:39: Biden claims to have banned “number of magazines sold.” He’s still kinda stammery. And now we’re to Lester in the audience again. The question is “How are you gonna fix the fact that the shitgibbon fucked everything up?”
10:41: NO MORE FUCKING DOWN-THE-LINES, CHUCK. GODDAMMIT.
10:43: The best answer is Buttigieg’s, who says that he can’t predict who he’d call first because we don’t know who the Current Occupant will have pissed off most recently. Williamson has already said that she’s calling New Zealand first earlier tonight (and out of nowhere, for no clear reason) but does not mention them when asked specifically who she’d call first.
10:49: I feel like I might like Eric Swalwell if he wasn’t Eric Swalwell. Unfortunately I think he’s probably pretty committed to being Eric Swalwell.
10:50: My feed goes nuts while Williamson is talking and I’m okay with that. She’s radiating homeless lady crazy energy right now in a major way.
10:51: Bennet has the ability to make simple things incoherent.
10:52: Hickenlooper is apparently also a small-business owner in addition to being a scientist. He abruptly ends his 45 seconds by warning everyone against the dangers of socialism. God, shut up.
10:53: Gillibrand made less of an impression on me than I was expecting her to. And I just finished my hard lemonade. Woo.
10:54: The rich tech businessman is not a good example that anyone can become President. Frankly, Buttigieg and Harris are both better exemplars of that.
10:55: Harris/Warren or Warren/Harris. I don’t even care which. I love her.
10:56: Buttigieg is about to mention the word “again,” watch. (EDIT: Wrong!)
10:57: Bernie, who has been in Congress forever and has no accomplishments whatsoever to his name, should not be giving the closing speech he is giving right now. You’ve had plenty of time to have guts, Bernie, and there’s no damn legislation with your name on it anywhere.
10:58: It is not true at all that the shitgibbon is the only white supremacist ever to occupy the White House, Mr. Biden. Not remotely close.
10:59: Whoooooa Biden has a hell of a bald spot going back there.
11:00: Well, I think Harris walked away with that, with Buttigieg close behind, which is pretty much exactly what I thought would happen. Biden got his ass slapped around hard, by multiple candidates; it’s too bad that it’s so early that it won’t make much difference.
11:01: I interrupt myself to point out that Biden is talking to the moderators while everyone else is in the crowd or still talking to each other.
11:02: Actually maybe I was done. Williamson, Swalwell, Bennet, Hickenlooper and Yang can all go away now. We’ll see how the rest of them sort themselves back out over the next couple of weeks.
11:05: Probably not a good sign for Gillibrand that she made so little impact on me that I forgot to include her on the list of folks who should head for the door. I was looking forward to hearing from her, too. Too bad.
8:55 PM: I put on my Jackass wristband. Livetweet won the poll from earlier; I’ll probably do both.
8:56 PM: I need you to understand that I pay close attention and I do not know who half of these people are just from their faces. I only care about the four on the outside. One of them might be Jay Inslee, I suppose, who is interesting but I don’t actually know which of the white guys he might be. There are too many white guys. The dude on the bottom row next to Castro looks like Jon Stewart in old man makeup.
8:59 PM: Man, Julián Castro is way shorter than I thought he was. I wonder if his people made a stink about podium heights.
9:01 PM: Oh, shit, I think Jon Stewart is Inslee.
9:02 PM: “We are not gonna be shy about making the candidates stick to time.” Sure, right.
9:03 PM: Was that the first use of the word “Latinx” in a debate? Nice opening statement, Sen. Warren.
9:04 PM: Sen. Klobuchar, would you like to attack Senator Warren’s ideas?
9:06 PM: “If billionaires can pay off their yachts, students should be able to pay off their loans.” It’ll be interesting to see how much the candidates actually go directly after each other. Beto is speaking Spanish. Slow Spanish. I don’t know if this is a good move or not. Interesting.
9:07 PM: Beto and Klobuchar have already stomped all over the time limits. I don’t know this lady’s name but she’s trying her damnedest to get people to go after Warren.
9:09 PM: Jesus, Cory, blink. I’m gonna stop putting PM on everything. It’s all PM.
9:10: Come see the violence inherent in the system!
9:12: Castro, who is actually Hispanic and not Irish like Beto, does not speak Spanish in his first answer. Gabbard gets a question and immediately mentions her military service which I’m not convinced has anything to do with the question.
9:13: Wait, is that Jon Stewart? Shit, are Bill de Blasio and Jay Inslee the same person?
9:14: “There’s plenty of money, it’s just in the hands of the wrong people” is a good line. I don’t know who is talking right now– he’s bald so he’ll never be President– but he was the first person to mention education.
9:16: Boy I had something really snarky to say about Jay Inslee just now and I’ve forgotten it already. This thing is moving fast. Nice green tie.
9:17: I don’t know who this guy is either but he’s terrified.
9:18: Warren gets another question. Klobuchar is literally waving her hands around trying to get noticed. My feed is starting to stutter a little bit. Drink every time Warren says “this is what I propose.”
9:21: Klobuchar is using her time effectively. It’ll be interesting to see who I like more at the end of this debate than I did at the beginning and right now she’s doing well.
9:23: We’ll see if Beto dodges this question in Spanish again. He gets extra points for me for bringing up mental health care. Good answer, Beto.
9:24: de Blasio takes control of the debate and all hell breaks loose. The hand-wavers are just jumping in now. Chaos! Worth pointing out: when they asked who supported moving directly to Medicare for All, Warren’s hand went up immediately and de Blasio distinctly looked around first before his did.
9:26: I’m behind now, but whoever it was that made the point that hospitals would close under Medicare rates: I don’t know that I actually believe that statistic, and would like to see how closely interrogated it’s been. I hate to keep harping on Booker’s appearance but he’s got a weird skin color thing happening around his eyes and I don’t know what’s going on with that.
9:28: And now Warren’s in charge. Good job enforcing those rules, guys.
9:29: Jay Inslee touts his bona fides in defending choice and reproductive health and Klobuchar slaps him down like he’s some sort of wild animal.
9:31: Julián Castro also winning the “Do I like you more now?” contest.
9:33: I think Cory Booker has a shank strapped to his leg. Beto’s talking about weed all the sudden and I think I blacked out and someone changed the subject. I like his tie too. Good ties all around, guys.
9:36: Who the hell is the preacher and how did he get on stage?
9:37: Julián is knocking the immigration question the fuck out of the park.
9:38: Wait, Booker speaks Spanish too? I feel like I’m kind of being unfair to him right now; if I don’t look at him while he’s talking I like him a lot more but he’s seriously creeping me out.
9:40: de Blasio has clearly decided that he’s not gonna get to talk if he doesn’t interrupt. He’s right, but he’s still kinda being a dick and the moderators are letting him get away with it. That said, I gotta admit I like what he’s saying.
9:42: Now the moderators are speaking Spanish. Castro is getting a splitscreen while Beto answers an immigration question and he doesn’t look like he’s having Beto’s answer at all.
9:43: More tie talk: Beto and Julián are wearing nearly identical ties. Castro may be getting just a little bit too much in the weeds on the law here; I genuinely don’t quite know what he’s talking about.
9:45: I want a .gif of Klobuchar’s eye-roll to that question, and the Internet being what it is me asking for one brought it into existence. Warren is about to do something interesting, I know it. She’s probably taught herself Spanish since her last question.
9:47: Tim Ryan is undeniably winning the Not Ready for Prime Time award for this debate. He looks like he’s going to vomit at any moment. He pulls it out by the end, but he’s the most obviously uncomfortable of anyone on stage.
9:50: I’ve been blowing Inslee a bit of crap but that was a good answer. I predict Gabbard gets an Iran question.
9:52: Amy Klobuchar’s body language is pure She’s an Asshole but She’s My Asshole right now. Honest admission: I don’t know shit about what we should do about Iran, but I’m certain that the current administration shouldn’t have anything to do with making those decisions.
9:53: And, hey, look, Gabbard gets an Iran question. Did you know she’s a veteran?
9:55: Wait, is this a 90-minute debate? I thought it was an hour. de Blasio is trying to horn in again as they cut to commercial for the second time.
9:56: Warren has gone awfully quiet. I think Castro won that section.
9:57: By tomorrow’s liveblog I need to have some images ready before the debate starts. This one’s gonna be awful bare, sorry about that.
10:00: Everyone’s mics are on and we cut back to commercial. Oops!
10:02: I genuinely don’t know if they’re just re-airing those last couple of minutes or they’re reenacting it. Wait, we’re back to technical issues. Now the mic is screaming. Whee, competence!
10:04: Back to commercial again as the audio’s still all screwed up. The candidates clearly can’t hear anything the moderators are saying.
10:07: Still at commercial. NBC done fucked up.
10:09: I think I’m actually behind the debate now, because I’m seeing Tweets that seem to be responding to stuff I haven’t seen yet. That’s frustrating.
10:10: Repeal the fucking second amendment.
10:11: Chuck Todd has been moderating for four minutes and has annoyed me twice. Booker’s intensity really works for a guns question.
10:14: Oh crap is Tim Ryan actually the best candidate on education right now? Because this interruption was 100% on point and the right thing to do. Good answer, congressman.
10:16: O’Rourke is entirely right about the Stoneman Douglas kids.
10:16: Gun buybacks are not confiscation you idiot.
10:17: Which Klobuchar says immediately; good for her.
10:19: New biggest loser of the night is Delaney, who Rachel Maddow just shut the fuck down– and, hilariously, then pivoted to de Blasio, who has been profiting the most from interruptions.
10:20: I note that Warren has not spoken much during this section either. Pretty fucking ballsy of de Blasio to pull the “I have a black son” card with Cory Booker standing on stage. Ryan looks like he’s about to fall over.
10:21: I’m not 100% sure that Warren just answered the “how do you handle McConnell” question but I like what she said anyway.
10:22: Delaney is the kumbaya candidate on stage right now and he can sit down.
10:25: Nearly an hour and a half in and Inslee finally gets a climate change question. I don’t think this guy is ever gonna be President but if he doesn’t end up in the Cabinet somebody seriously dropped the ball.
10:26: This is going to be over in four minutes, right? Is this a two hour debate? Oh shit this is a two hour debate isn’t it.
10:28: What the fuck is Chuck Todd talking about people “living where they shouldn’t be”? Can we have him go away and just let Maddow run the rest of the debate? He’s an idiot.
10:29: They pull away to a wider shot and at this point I actually think Ryan has thrown up at some point during this debate.
10:31: I said sit down, Mr. Delaney.
10:32: Listening to Todd repeatedly blabber “thank you” while he gets steamrolled by the candidates is getting old. Gabbard is now talking about her views on LGBTQ people and I’m pretty sure I heard someone in the audience laughing.
10:34: Booker actually brings up the murder rate of black trans women, and Goddammit this is why I’m a fucking Democrat because there is no chance at all that that ever gets mentioned at the Republican debates.
10:36: Good answer, Mr. Castro. Oh, God, we’re not doing viewer questions, are we? We’re doing viewer questions. Let’s not and say we did.
10:39: “God forbid there is a genocide, but not without Congressional approval” are the words that just came out of de Blasio’s mouth.
10:40: Tim Ryan is going to unhinge his jaw and eat de Blasio whole.
10:41: God please grant me this split screen as a .jpg, because he’s gonna eat Gabbard after he eats de Blasio.
10:43: Ryan and Gabbard are getting an awful lot of minutes to yell at each other. Can we hear from someone else?
10:44: Jay Inslee answers “Donald Trump” to the greatest geopolitical threat and I can hear his poll numbers go up. de Blasio is the only one to mention Russia, which is the correct answer if we’re discussing a country. Ryan says something about China “wiping us around the world” and I guess after all the eating of the other candidates he maybe needs a nap.
10:46: I’m genuinely unsure who has done the most talking but I’m absolutely certain it hasn’t been Warren. She’s been middle of the pack at best.
10:47: Delaney thinks Pelosi knows more about impeachment than “all the 2020 candidates combined” and now he doesn’t get to sit behind his podium any longer. It’s under the stage for you.
10:48: My laptop just blacked out for the second time while I’ve been sitting here. I can’t afford a new laptop right now, Goddammit.
10:51: I think they get closing statements now. Is this almost done? This is almost done, right?
10:53: Going from Delaney straight to de Blasio implies that Warren will have the last closing statement, which means I can sleep for a couple of minutes.
10:55: I would like to point out that I do not like Tim Ryan’s boring-ass tie. I also do not like Tim Ryan’s boring ass.
10:57: Julián’s introduction of himself in Spanish would have had more impact if half the goddamn stage hadn’t said something in Spanish already.
10:59: Somebody else just mumbled something in Spanish and I’m not sure who it was. Klobuchar is the second candidate on stage who I’m pretty sure is carrying a shiv.
11:00: Beto had to think very carefully before saying his daughter’s age, and I actually am not snarking at him about that because that’s totally something I might fuck up under similar circumstances.
11:01: Laptop cuts out again. Shit.
11:02: Elizabeth Warren for motherfucking President, y’all.
Okay, honest moment: I just spent two hours snarking, but that was fun. I actually do like the vast majority of these people and I think overall that went very well. But I have to go to bed now, because tomorrow I have to do this again, only Joe Biden and Bernie fuckin’ Sanders are going to be on stage, and I don’t know that I can do that without alcohol.