Winners and Losers From The September 13 Democratic Debate

Yet another debate is in the books! Here’s who won and who lost.


Beto O’Rourke: Gave some excellent, passionate answers on gun control and racial justice, suggesting that he’s finally building up a tolerance to the sedatives his handlers have been slipping him before every debate

Pete Buttigeg: Cemented his place as the candidate who sounds the best when you listen to what they say, but don’t really listen to what they say

Bernie Sanders: Brilliantly illustrated the need for universal healthcare with a live demonstration of how much less appealing a politician can be when hobbled by a cold

Cory Booker: Demonstrated once again that he’d make an amazing Vice Presidential candidate

The Onion: With a devastating jab against former owners Univision, the fabled comedy newspaper was the true winner tonight

Andrew Yang: With his overwhelming lack of charisma and weirdly technocratic approach to many issues on full display last night, it was obvious to all why Yang has built such a rabid following

Marianne Williamson: Not qualifying for this debate was only a minor setback for our next President


Kamala Harris: What happened to the fiery, combative Kamala Harris from the first debate back in June. The Kamala Harris who drove a stake into Joe Biden’s heart. Who snapped her fingers and turned Joe Biden to dust. Who vindictively ran Joe Biden over with Gatsby’s car when he ran into the middle of the road. Who shot one continuous pulse of liquid fire on Joe Biden and turned him to ash. Who turned Joe Biden and all his followers into snakes. Who stuffed Joe Biden into her top-secret experimental rocket and fired it across the Atlantic until it reached its last unmeasurable gap above the roof of a forgotten cinema, its last delta-t

Elizabeth Warren: Tough to see how her “being obviously the most prepared, driven, and charismatic candidate running on a platform of progressive ideas with broad appeal” schtick will ever topple Joe Biden’s unassailable “propped up by a bizarre consensus that he’s the best option to defeat Trump even though he seems increasingly incapable of stringing together a coherent sentence, let alone a defense of his indefensible record” strategy

Julián Castro: ABC pundit Rahm Emanuel called his remark about Joe Biden’s memory “disqualifying”, so it must be true. Never mind that the pundit class said the same thing about dozens of Donald Trump’s remarks and it didn’t do a dang thing to stop him. Never mind that Emanuel once mailed a dead fish to a pollster who he felt had wronged him, or that his attempted cover-up of the shooting of Laquan McDonald quite literally disqualified him from re-election as mayor of Chicago

Climate change: Given like five minutes’ airtime in the longest debate of the season, a sobering setback for the seminal issue of our time after recently gaining traction as a Thing We Should Be Talking About

Amy Klobuchar: Seems, for some reason, to be banking on the “smug, condescending dismissal of progressive policy” approach that made everybody hate Steve Bullock and John Delaney

Joe Biden: Holy cow, I didn’t realize that in his worst answer from last night, he initially said “televisions” and then corrected himself to say “record players” instead

(also, there’s the far more substantial issue, addressed by Giridharadas below, of how Biden frames the lasting damage of America’s original sin as a parenting problem, but that’s not as awkwardly funny)

Fans of John Delaney and Tulsi Gabbard: These people, who for some reason exist, can’t have been happy that their candidates didn’t qualify for last night’s debate

Joe Biden’s closing statement: Quoted Søren Kierkegaard, which is appropriate since Biden and Kierkegaard’s words make about the same amount of sense when written down:Screen Shot 2019-09-13 at 9.50.11 AM.png

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