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Liveblogging The First Democratic Presidential Debate (Thursday Edition)

By Dan Hamamura | Politics | June 27, 2019 |

By Dan Hamamura | Politics | June 27, 2019 |


Welcome to the second night of the first Democratic Debate (is that the right terminology? Oh God why did I agree to this)! America is now only 496 495 days away from the 2020 General Election.

After last night’s shenanigans, will we get another pleasant surprise, like Julian Castro? Will someone else crash and burn like Beto O’Rourke? Will Bernie or Biden be ignored for half the night like Elizabeth Warren was? Let’s find out together! (Reminder, newest posts will be at the top.)


11:00: And that’s it! Final impressions:

- Biden was admittedly stronger in the second half, but he stumbled quite a bit and seemed, well, old. I suppose you could say that he wasn’t terrible, but it feels like he might have lost a little ground tonight.

- Bernie remains Bernie. He’s not going to change, which means whatever your opinion is of him, that probably also will not change.

- Harris was the most impressive to me, as she spoke with emotion and poise.

- Gillibrand had a much stronger second half to the debate than the first half, and may have left people who watched the whole thing with a more favorable impression by the end.

- Buttigieg was poised, but outside of his mea culpa on the police shooting question, he didn’t particularly stand out to me.

- If you placed a longshot bet on Yang, Hickenlooper, Swalwell, or Bennet, you probably don’t need to keep those tickets.

- Marianne Williamson has already dropped out (right? RIGHT? WHAT DO YOU MEAN SHE HASN’T?)

Thanks everyone for following along and watching together - I hope this was, at minimum, entertaining for all of you. We’ve done it! We’ve survived the first debate.

Only eleven more to go.

Oh no.

Good night!

10:58: Closing arguments! (Mercifully, the last part)

Sanders: Shockingly did NOT use the words POLITICAL REVOLUTION, which I think means I owe my bookie an irresponsible amount of money. (side note: who scoffed as he started up? Gillibrand?)
Biden: I’m a uniter, like Obama, remember? Uncle Joe?

10:56: Closing arguments! (Part Three)

Harris: First candidate to mention their website! (i.e. the “Martin O’Malley dot com Memorial Award)
Buttigieg: I’m young and from the midwest!

10:54: Closing arguments! (Part Two)

Gillibrand: Fight for women/fight against corruption!
Yang: Shoutout to the Yang Gang!

10:52: Closing arguments! (Part One)

Williamson: The food at this dinner party leaves much to be desired!
Bennet: wahwahwahwahwahwahColoradowahwahwahwahwah?

10:43: Good gravy, this “down the line” structure is fucking stupid.

10:33: We’re at the final turn!

Harris and Gillibrand had the best performances in that segment to me.

Bernie continues to say Bernie things, but it’s really sticking out to me that he seems inflexible in his ability to answer with specificity.

Biden getting hit a lot more. He’s woken up, but the words aren’t all there. What was that last bit saying everyone underestimated President Obama’s accomplishments? That was a Marianne Williamson-esque aside.

10:29: I take it back, that “first thing you do in office” Chuck Todd special made me dumber.

10:26: Pretty sure the end of that section on climate change made me dumber.

10:22: Harris uses climate change to take shots at Trump, Buttigieg uses it to remind us that he’s from the midwest.

10:18: Gillibrand finding her fire following Bernie here.

10:17: Bernie gets the first question on Roe vs. Wade (what would you do if it was overturned during your presidency), and fails twice to answer the question.

10:15: Gillibrand finding her footing as she jumps in between Biden and Bennet again, and she’s pretty much staking her claim as being the election reform candidate.

10:12: Sitting purple state Senator Bennet talking about needing to win the Senate, so that’s cool.

10:10: Bernie and Gillibrand taking what was, at one point, about diversity, and pivoted directly back to their stump speeches (Bernie talking about working class, Gillibrand about fixing Washington).

10:08: Harris took the thirty seconds she was given and made a moment, spoke personally, took a shot at Biden, and then pivoted back to her professional record.

Biden tries to defend himself, but he got run over by Harris and now he’s getting testy… until he stopped, again, mid-sentence, the moment his time was up.

10:03: Buttigieg gets the first question of the second half, about diversity in the South Bend police force and the recent police-involved shooting in South Bend. He didn’t really have a solution, but he did give a forceful answer where he accepted responsibility, which was powerful if nothing else.

Hickenlooper and Swalwell take shots at Buttigieg, and Williamson takes the opportunity to talk about reparations.

And then Harris announced that she would like to speak about race.

9:57: Halftime!

Bernie didn’t get much to do in that second segment. Biden felt like he got a little bit of his energy back, although that also came with the others taking more shots at him.

Harris continues to give strong answers. Gillibrand seems like she isn’t getting much to work with.

Buttigieg is composed, but is he saying anything all that insightful? Feels a little empty to me thus far. Meanwhile, Yang feels like the opposite to me - trying to be as detailed as possible, but it’s not the easiest to listen to in this compressed format.

And if Williamson wanders off the stage at some point, would anyone be surprised?

9:53: Did Bennet pivot back to immigration (away from trade) just so he could invoke the Holocaust?

9:50: Harris using her record as California Attorney General to differentiate herself from Biden (and Obama) is strong, although it may open her up later to attacks on her record as AG if criminal justice issues come up.

9:47: Biden finally said “bipartisan”, which seems to have recharged his batteries as he starts to answer more forcefully, although he received some pushback over Obama’s record on deportation.

9:45: Buttigieg going at religious hypocrisy! Kind of sad that it feels surprising that someone would bring it up.

9:43: *googles “Why is Marianne Williamson?”*

9:39: Harris with a strong answer on immigration, using the prompt (about the current border conditions) to also mention DACA and veterans. (Was DACA mentioned last night?)

9:36: First break!

So far it kind of feels like Bernie is being treated like the frontrunner, not Biden, who has been kind of forgettable so far.

Harris has impressed. Swalwell has, well, jumped in a lot.

Beyond that, the most memorable so far might be Williamson, although that’s mostly because my brain still hasn’t mapped out the train of thought in her answer.

9:35: Did Biden just stop mid-answer because time was up? I… didn’t know you could do that.

9:33: In the scrum, Harris was able to outlast Swalwell, but then he refused to yield to Savannah Guthrie, which seemed not great.

9:29: I… don’t know what Marianne Williamson just said.

9:25: Kudos to the moderators for pivoting to health care, which, if nothing else, stopped the debate (for now) from going off the rails, although it did push everyone (Gillibrand, Buttigieg, Biden) to prepared (albeit emotional) responses.

9:20: “America doesn’t want to see a food fight, they want to know how we’re going to put food on the table.”

Senator Harris is very disappointed in everyone else on the stage.

9:19: So Swalwell’s staking his entire claim on being young, I guess? Although now that everyone’s trying to get their shots in, things are already going off the rails.

9:16: Buttigieg (paying for education) and Yang (universal basic income) get the next questions, although Swalwell jumped in briefly to say something about the next generation or whatever.

Incidentally, I like the concept of UBI (especially as work becomes more and more automated) but my eyes glazed over as Yang tried to speed through his explanation.

9:13: Bernie goes right at Trump by calling him a racist and fraud, Gillibrand gets her way in and attacks corporate greed, specifically citing the NRA.

Bennet takes the first direct shot at someone (Bernie).

9:07: Biden and Harris going more directly at Trump and Republicans in their opening answers, which already feels more aggressive than last night.

9:05: First question goes to Bernie, who pivoted to his stump speech rather than answering Savannah Guthrie’s question about whether taxes would go up on the middle class (he eventually kind of answered yes after she prodded him for a direct answer).

8:55: My one real wish tonight? More than anything?

That Chuck Todd doesn’t speak MORE THAN MOST OF THE CANDIDATES.

8:30: Hello and thanks for following along with me! Tonight’s field is (based on polling, anyway) stronger than last night’s, although if the moderators run it in a similar fashion, I’d expect Biden and Sanders to be quieter as the lesser-known candidates fight for airtime.

(I’m just kidding. Does anyone expect Biden or Sanders to be content to sit back and say nothing?)

In the meantime, Roxana passed this along yesterday, which I thoroughly enjoyed:

Seems about right.

If you were here last night, welcome back! If not, welcome! A friendly reminder, let’s be decent to one another in the comments, please and thank you.

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Dan is the Comedy Editor and Podjiba Host. You can listen to him scream into the void on Twitter, or listen to him host the weekly TV podcast Podjiba.

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