Winners And Losers From The October 2019 Democratic Debate

Apparently there are going to be eight more of these?!


The climate crisis: Was not the topic of a single question during the debate, which must mean it’s no longer a pressing issue. We solved it, y’all! High fives all around

Pete Buttigieg: Once again, was arguably the most polished and eloquent person on the debate stage, cleverly distracting people from his recent shift to the right apparently bankrolled by billionaires and lobbyists

Tom Steyer: A random rich white guy bought his way onto the debate stage and didn’t make me completely hate him? What sorcery is this

Bernie Sanders: Gave a display that was outstanding on its own terms and all the more so for having suffered a heart attack just two weeks ago, though that didn’t stop the pundits from beginning their post-debate wrapup with the usual spiel about how well Amy Klobuchar performed

Elizabeth Warren: That was perhaps Warren’s shakiest debate performance to date, but it doesn’t matter, because she’s finally being treated as the frontrunner, and as Joe Biden demonstrated, that’s better for your polling and standing than anything you yourself do as a candidate

Beto O’Rourke: Such a shame that this version of the candidate was locked in a basement for the first few debates

Amy Klobuchar: Received the third-most speaking time behind only Warren and Biden, fitting for a candidate who consistently polls at 1-2%, reliably less than at least six other candidates


Joe Biden: Had a good night going until he foolishly tried to claim credit for helping Elizabeth Warren create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, at which point Warren opened the Ark of the Covenant right in his face. She ripped off his head and used it as a lantern for the rest of the game. She used him for a magic trick where she made a pencil disappear. She tossed him into the Sarlacc pit, where he’ll be slowly digested over the next thousand years, though I understand that some Expanded Universe stuff retconned that a bit. She wrecked him, is the point

Tulsi Gabbard: Between her utterly anemic answers, her reluctance to pick fights just days after teasing a debate boycott, and her fundamental disagreement with Bernie Sanders on Syria, it’s easy to see why Gabbard is the second choice for a number of Sanders supporters. Wait, no it’s not. Why is this a thing. Who are these people

Julián Castro: Very subdued after his jab at Biden’s age in the last debate, a disappointment given that with his slender poll numbers he might as well go for the jugular and take down one of the big boys with him

Cory Booker: Employing a seemingly contradictory strategy where he makes soaring appeals to unity with one breath and then brings up the fact that he’s vegan with the next

Andrew Yang: Continues to cruise on his soaring, guy-who-decided-to-run-for-class-president-because-he-thought-his-good-ideas-on-their-own-would-be-enough-to-get-people-to-vote-for-him rhetoric

Kamala Harris: There’s definitely a “Kamala Harris is a cop” joke to be made about how she brought the hammer down on Joe Biden’s history with race in the first debate and then totally neglected to pursue the issue further, but frankly I’m not going to put any more effort into making it than she seems to be putting into these debates


Image: Paul Becker (Becker1999) via Flickr Commons