Who Asked You: Recapping the First Democratic Debates

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MARISSA

Hello, and welcome to Who Asked You, the show featuring one poli sci major and one girl who dropped out of Intro to American Governments by Week 3. 

GABBY

I’m Gabby. I was the campus editor of The Daily in the spring, and now I am an old, shriveled hag. Now I’m nobody. 

MARISSA

I’m Marissa. I am the current summer editor of The Daily, and last spring I was one of the managing editors.

GABBY

And what happened to you in Intro to American Government?

MARISSA

And yes, I did drop Intro to American Governments by Week 3 because I was like, this is exactly like APUSH, which I got a 3 on, so I don’t need to be here right now, so I left. I thought I was gonna be a poli sci major when I entered college, and now I’m like, oh.

GABBY

Alas, you still ended up on a podcast, so it all worked out. 

MARISSA

So, why did we start this podcast, Gabby? 

GABBY

We feel like we have interesting things to say. We’re both 20 years old. We both are that critical youth demographic that everybody loves to demonize, but needs our votes. So you know, if you want to know what creates a viral moment or what’s going to be a meme tomorrow, we’re definitely part of that online conversations always happening about these candidates. 

MARISSA

I think also speaking to both of our experiences a little bit — I’m a woman of color — the media landscape in 2016 changed my perspective on politics because again, even though I’m not a poli sci major, politics affects my life a lot in a lot of different ways. And this election is political for me, but it’s also very personal. And I really enjoy bringing the sides of sociology and history, and also my personal experiences to analyzing things like the Democratic debates and the race and the candidates. What about you, Gabby? 

GABBY

As a woman — which is a phrase you’ll hear a lot on this podcast, from both of us for sure — definitely Marissa and I talked often about, like how being a woman affects us in professional settings, so that makes me really interested in how women in sort of the ultimate professional setting here of trying to run for America’s highest office — how they’re perceived in contrast to their male colleagues. My mom was an immigrant. You want a Victoria Justice me? 

MARISSA

My mom was also an immigrant.

GABBY

So, we both are interested in that. And that’s a big topic here, so I think we have a lot of identities that we bring to bear when we talk about how the candidates are perceived, how they’re being talked about and the media environment that comes around the debates. So today, we’re talking about the Democratic primaries, even though literally nobody asked us. 

MARISSA

So, let’s get into it. 

GABBY

First of all, sort of our general themes from the night — our takeaways. We thought the first night, especially in comparison to the second night, was a lot more cordial. I thought it was actually so much more policy-focused in terms of details. There were challenges in terms of things like immigration policy, healthcare policy on some candidates getting into the minutiae of what’s different in the two of them, noticeably Beto O’Rourke and Julián Castro did that.

MARISSA

Also, can we just say, Warren — she shined last night. That was spectacular. She’s obviously the person to beat this point, especially on that stage where she was by far the highest polling person of the 10 people, but whenever she spoke, everyone was just stopping and really taking in what she had to say. And I think that’s something that a lot of people are looking for in a presidential candidate.

GABBY 

And something that we talked about a lot is the sort of bullshit idea of electability and how that sort of harms women in the sense that, you know, we’ve never had a female president, we haven’t had a lot of female party leaders, things like that. So, when you say electability is sort of referring to what the traditional model of intellectual person is, which is usually a white man, but I think Warren, definitely, last night made it clear she can take on Trump — she can be inspiring. She used a lot of mixtures of data, anecdotes about herself, analysis and policy details to really bring them all together into a coherent story. 

MARISSA

No, absolutely. 

GABBY

So yeah, we’re impressed, I would say.

MARISSA

Also, someone who’s a really surprising standout was definitely Julián Castro. 

GABBY

Let’s plug ourselves real quick. Why was Julián on the debate stage, Marissa?

MARISSA

Well, Gabby, because we signed a petition that said he should be able to get on the stage.

GABBY

And now he emails me every day.

MARISSA

I used a fake email, not going to lie. 

GABBY

Literally every day I was proud to receive that email the day after the debate because I finally, first of all, got a little bit of a sense of who he was. But go ahead, go ahead, talk about it. 

MARISSA

Once he got on the debate stage, he really impressed me because, I mean, I knew that he had the chops, having been a mayor of a really large city, having been in the White House. Honestly, there’s a huge double standard because he is the only Latino candidate. Where he’s shown the most was that immigration question where he was like, ‘You know what, I am pissed off.’ And then he actually named Óscar Martínez and his daughter, Valeria — the people who recently drowned — and I think that is just a small gesture, but it means that he is paying attention, and that this is something both personal and political for him. 

GABBY

And I think notably in contrast to Cory Booker and to Beto O’Rourke, both of them kind of stuck to their stump speeches. That sounded pretty rehearsed. And I think Castro did a good job of, like, A.) not sounding super politician-y, which I liked. You know, and he was like, ‘This photo, frankly, pisses me off.’ I was like, yeah, I like that he’s keeping it real like that. And I think B.) it speaks to, like, he is younger. And I think he captures more of that Twitter demographic that like we’re definitely part of. He made a mistake by saying trans women instead of trans men when he was talking about reproductive rights and justice, but like, just the inclusion of trans people, and we’re talking about reproductive rights is something that is almost unfathomable even a few years ago, and it speaks obviously a lot to trans activism. 

MARISSA

The fact that they bought up a hugely important issue, trans rights in America, especially in the time — like, black trans women especially are being killed in high rates. Cory Booker bringing that up was a really good move on his part because it’s an important issue that politicians don’t talk about nearly enough.

GABBY

I think that somebody on stage used the word Latinx. Like, that’s probably a first. Klobuchar saying things like, ‘I don’t care about Trump at 5am in his bathrobe,’ — there are a lot of plays to sort of the way people speak on Twitter and things that are things that people our age sort of used to be respectful, and I thought that came through a lot more on the first night than I did in the second. Let’s talk about what didn’t work. I think Beto O’Rourke — not his best night. To me, he looked like he was kind of like sweaty. I don’t know, something was off about him. He had a darkness in his eyes. Just there was a sadness there. Whatever was going on with Tim Ryan’s eyes? Yeah, the eyes all around on first night stage needed some work.

MARISSA

They needed some cold brew. Just saying.

GABBY

They do. And they need some eye drops — something needed to be done. But yeah, Beto, I think, had a really poor showing. And part of the reason he was so popular, and I think why he decided to run for president, was because he was so charismatic on the Texas front. But I think what works maybe in a state race doesn’t necessarily work in a national race, especially this whole thing about connecting with individual voters and live streaming and all that.

MARISSA

This debate really exemplified that there are just so many candidates — like literally every other day, someone is signing up for this race. But you can visually see it on day one and day two, and there’s just 10 candidates packed on stage. And it was handled a bit better, think, in the first day, than maybe the second day in terms of just talking over each other, maybe, but there were just way too many candidates on the stage. And I don’t know what a solution would have looked like. I definitely would not have one to sit through three days of debates, or even four days, like some people suggested. But that was not great. 

GABBY

This was exhausting enough. Let’s talk about some of our biggest takeaways from that debate before moving on to the next one. The use of Spanish — it was just overall cringe. As someone who speaks Spanish in the way that Beto and Cory Booker do, just like, no. I cringed for them. I cringed about the whole thing. It just seemed super pandering. 

MARISSA

Like, I do appreciate the fact that people speaking in Spanish probably couldn’t have happened again, a few years ago, but there’s a way to do it, I think, that does not come off corny — that does not come off strange. So for instance, when Beto was asked a question about economic reform, and he clearly doesn’t have an answer, saying we need democracy or something in Spanish, that means nothing. And that’s a disservice to all the people listening. And I think it’s a really interesting move to use Spanish here because, you know, they’re in Miami, a large Latinx population, they are broadcasting on a Spanish language network. I mean, 40 million people basically in the United States speak Spanish. And so it’s not a bad move at all to speak Spanish, but when you only bring it up in the context of immigration, it insinuates both that Latinx people only care about immigration, and that immigrants are only Spanish-speaking people because obviously we know there are so many other types of people that immigrate to the United States that don’t speak Spanish or English, and they are also not being given a fair chance in the spotlight. 

GABBY

One thing I actually liked about this debate — it was refreshing to hear Democrats talk about their potential administration and their potential policies because I think it looked towards this post-Trump future. And it reminded people that politics before Trump, well, obviously it wasn’t great. It was at least sort of civil and positive and optimistic and forward-thinking. So I think getting people back into that sort of mindset of what politics was and how inspirational political figures can be when we’re not wasting all energy hating them, like that can be exciting. And so I think it was refreshing to talk about it in that sense, and to keep it on policy, as opposed to Trump, because, you know, they’re not fighting Trump right now, they’re not trying to beat Trump. They’re trying to beat each other before they can do that. 

MARISSA

He’s definitely a reaction to what Obama was, the same way that Obama was a reaction to Bush, and so while definitely this next candidate will probably be a reaction to Trump in some way or another, I think it’s really important to remember that we’re dealing with politics as a whole. A lot of the problems Trump has exacerbated — sure, he’s made them worse — but they existed before Trump did. So I think blaming everything on him — while definitely, again, he’s made so many things so much worse — that’s not the most productive way to get me to understand what you will be like as President. 

GABBY

I do understand that bringing up Trump is big for the Democratic base. That’s what people want to hear. But I don’t know — what people want to hear versus what people need to hear in this instance, is sort of an interesting dynamic. So I think talking about policy and things is how we distinguish Democratic candidates — you know, they all hate Trump. Maybe it’s a question of who can take on Trump the most, and we can get to that when we talk about Kamala Harris in the second debate, but I think keeping on policy for the most part in this debate, like served a good function.

MARISSA

Yeah. Also just in terms of, like, a debate itself I felt like the beginning was so energetic. Like, I remember getting super hyped up. I was like, “How would you say that,” like, “I want to hear more about that,” like whatever, but towards the middle, I was just like, ‘okay.’ Also, just in general, it’s really interesting to look at the numbers, just purely of time talked. NPR released a little infographic. Cory Booker talked the most, almost 11 minutes, Beto talked about 10 minutes, and then Warren only talked at 9:20, considering again she’s the only one in double digits polling numbers. She talked almost two minutes less than Booker. And then Amy Klobuchar came up there at 8:20, but she was still a minute away from Warren’s time. 

GABBY

And, to bring up women again, I think Warren knew that for her to interrupt would not be perceived as well as somebody like Bill de Blasio. I think it played well for him to, like, literally just scream until he was allowed to speak as a big New Yorker energy, but also a big guy thing that if Warren had tried to do that, everyone would be like, “Literally what are you doing?’ So I think definitely she knew how that would be perceived. So she just didn’t really speak unless asked a question, which I think was fine for this, but she’s gonna have to get in to the mix more, I think, as things go on. Yeah, but for now, generally, I think the first debate — biggest things — I think Castro surged, Warren should be happy and Beto was the person who I think really needs to consider his strategy and consider taking the right DayQuil, consider looking at the color of the pill. 

MARISSA

He definitely still does have a chance, it’s just a matter of yeah, like, rebranding it a bit and making sure he’s just more energetic because if people really want to tack onto this mediocre white guy whose main facet is him being quirky then you need to play that up because you can’t get by on literally just looking sallow on the stage.

GABBY

And everyone’s like, Pete Buttiegieg took his lane but, Beto made no claim to retake that lane, and Castro then came for Beto’s lane of Texas so he’s really left with like, no lanes. Beto seems really lost and confused. He seemed like one of the many candidates over the course of both nights to see like they’re only advocating for expanded healthcare, so they themselves could take whatever medication they needed because he looked ill.

GABBY

Alright, night two 

MARISSA

The vibes were so different this time. 

 

GABBY

A lot more infighting, a lot more Trump talk.

MARISSA

Yeah, Kamala Harris really stood out for I think both of us just for so many reasons. Like, she’s literally the definition of Legally Blonde, like, ‘What? Like it’s hard?’

GABBY

Like Kamala, if you hear this, we’re trademarking it, so don’t steal this, but Kamala Harris, colon, ‘What? Like, it’s hard?’ You should think about that. 

MARISSA

She just had so much poise. She was so concise and clear. She used her emotions, but I think well again, there’s that huge double standard, but I think she played into it the correct amount. Same with Warren. They just practiced. You could tell that they were ready for pretty much any type of question that would be thrown their way. 

GABBY

You know, she talks a lot about parents, a lot about kids. Eric Swalwell would say, ‘I think we all have kids.’ He tried to jump in on that point. He is the Victoria Justice of the stage. And if you get that reference, you should keep listening to this podcast. But, yeah, I think she did a lot of that, you know, ‘When it’s 3 a.m. what are you worried about? When you’re sitting outside the emergency room with your kid wondering about the cost of the emergency room visit’ — things like that. It was a lot of things that I think parents in particular will really, really appreciate. And I think that’s really going to play well for her. 

MARISSA

A black woman being able to talk about segregation in schools, a huge issue of contention. That never could have happened a few years ago. She definitely did pander a bit to a general, more white audience, so I’d be curious to see how she handled the issue in front of a different audience. But, I mean, she literally said, ‘As a black person, I would like to say something about race.’ And just that sentence meant so much to me. Kamala Harris has a lot of issues with her past — the prosecutor like that will never be unmentioned by me. But at the same time, I think she really made it clear that she has been affected as a black woman in this country by a variety of policies that a lot of the people on that stage supported at one point, and I think that is a really bold move to make, but it’s the right move. Because it is personal and it is political to her. 

GABBY

And I think that moment also spoke to the generational generational divide we were talking about so for Biden to be like, ‘I made this policy,’ and for Kamala to be like, ‘It literally affected me as a child,’ I think, A.) shows the difference between them. And I think B.) generational issues were spoken to. I think that was what Pete Buttigieg tried to hammer home in his sort of closing thought he wanted to leave people with and in his statements, you know, like ‘I served in Afghanistan, my husband and I have student loan debt’ — all sorts of those things. He’s really trying to hammer home his generation, and our generation even more so, is one that are affected by these things. And I think it played really poorly for Bernie when he basically says something to the extent of ‘Unless we have some you know, a more revolutionary person like myself, we’re never going to achieve change.’ He was like, ‘Look at all these people on the stage. If any of them gets elected, it’s more of the same feel.’ Like to me something different. I was like, Bernard, you have literally been in the Senate for how many years and I know you don’t have the support but for you to be like, ‘They’re more of the same and I’m something new.’

MARISSA

It felt like he kind of phoned it in half the time with his answers. And I think he kind of coasted on the fact that he has big name recognition across the country. And he had a wide amount of support from both parties at the time of the 2016 election, and so I think he’s going to have to really step it up in terms of his political correctness, but also just policy because a lot of these big names are having similar policy ideas to what he had in 2016.

GABBY

The other sort of policy leader, right, is Warren and I think, if Warren were to not win the nomination, but her ideas move people to the left, and she’s been implemented, I think she’d be legitimately happy. When I think Bernie has an idea and his mind, he’s like, ‘These are my ideas, and I’m the only person who can see them through,’ and it’s about him, more than it is about helping. I think he’s very caught up in this sort of persona and ego that is created for him. I think he was fine tonight, but in a pretty packed stage like that, when there were a lot of front runners, people aren’t really gonna remember him. It was they’re pretty similar to sort of 2016 whole shtick that he was going for.

MARISSA

Because in a lot of ways, definitely economic justice does mean racial justice. It does mean gender equality, it does mean all these things that we’ve been talking about. But that’s a lot of steps to get there for the average voter who may not understand or have the full vocabulary to say, ‘Okay, well, when you do tax billionaires, let’s say that funds can be used towards education, can be used towards health care,’ all these other things that will inevitably affect, you know, black voters, trans voters, immigrant voters, stuff like that. I agree with you completely, that he’s not making those steps to say that explicitly that I think is really needed at this point. Again, it can’t just all be about economic justice because you can have that be your main platform, of course, but you need to show voters how that connects to the really intricate details of their lives day to day.

GABBY

I think that is, for me, the main difference between Sanders and Warren. They have a lot of the same economic policies, but, I think, Warren speaks those issues, you know. She has plans for an entrepreneurship fund, for communities of color and then she has you know her plan to do some sort of redistribution for all the tax benefits that LGBT couples missed out on.

MARISSA

So, yeah, I think that mods did a pretty good job overall trying to make them stick to the question and making sure they kind of kept on time. It definitely faltered here and there, but you know, that the debate, but also I feel like it was kind of weird when Chuck Todd for instance would be, like, ‘OK, we’re going to do this wide sweeping poll across the 10-person debate stage and then ask these incredibly complicated questions that require literally two minutes of nuanced conversation and be like, OK, two words GO! What’s the biggest geopolitical threat?’ Like, definitely, you can see the candidates that practiced those types of questions really stand out. But also, as I was laughing at them, I was also like, ‘OK, to be fair, you said, one to two words max, and you’re giving us 15-20 word answers.’ But like, obviously, what were you expecting? 

GABBY

And then Chuck would get so worked up, and he’d be like two words two words! Like, can you count? But also, if you’re going to ask a question like that, make it something like, what’s your fucking name? Because we don’t know that every candidate at this point.

MARISSA

No, it was literally such a mess, and then they’re all talking to each other. They’re all trying to put it in their closing speeches and these questions — I was like, ‘No, just stop.’ Answer the question, but also reformat the question in the first place. That was such a mess.

GABBY

I did appreciate that they asked specific candidates specific questions that needed to be asked. Joe Biden is sort of predicating his whole campaign on this idea that people will believe he’s the only one who can be Trump, but he opened his message with that he closes message with that. And even though Kamala Harris used his name and more of a sense of like, look what he’s done at the border, look what he’s done here, like in sort of inhumane and moral sense, her ability to cross-examine Biden shows people more than anything, ‘Oh, she could definitely take on Trump,’  like she has that prosecutor. She’s not taking any bullshit. 

MARISSA

Yes. You have these people, specifically Bernie and Biden. They’ve been in politics for so long — and in the Senate together. Yeah, exactly. And they’ve been making these policies that really affect people like the rest of the people on stage. Right, you know, for so long. And also Biden’s whole thing is like, ‘I was a part of the Obama administration.’ And so while he was definitely a progressive champion in some aspects, he really wasn’t in others. And I think that, especially since Trump came right after, they didn’t really have the chance to say Obama was really great here. But also he did so many deportations, he really treated immigrants poorly, like so many things happen under his watch that could have maybe been prevented or handled that he just didn’t do. Again, he was in a very unique position being the first black president, but at a certain point it only gets you so far — that excuse. And so I think Kamala Harris did a really good job of stating, ‘If you’re really going to attach yourself to that train, you are implicated in that, as well, Biden.’

GABBY

I thought it was impressive when she was like, ‘I worked with President Obama. We had a great relationship. I really respected him.’

MARISSA 

I just felt personally attacked as soon as he was like, ‘When I did…,’ I was like, ‘Okay, I didn’t do anything to you, I’m sorry, take my money, I don’t care.’ Stop yelling at me.

GABBY

He’s like, ‘When I was Vice President with Barack Obama’ — we know, we literally know. You’ve said it 40 times.

MARISSA

It just seems like unhinged old white man in the park versus someone who’s passionate about their idea. 

GABBY

You know, let’s talk about how Joe Biden said his first move in office would be to defeat Trump. Like, sir, sweetie, that’s a given. What next? What’s after that? He understand the question either. Okay, first of all, Bernie let’s talk about — Bernie couldn’t hear the whole time and literally looked more confused than Beto. Beto just looked sad. Bernie looked confused. 

MARISSA

No, literally Bernie wanted the Medicare just to buy his own hearing aids.

GABBY

That’s what Medicare for All is.

GABBY

Before we move into our final segment, can we talk briefly about Marianne Williamson? I think she deserves a whole podcast. The voice, first of all, she sounded like she came straight out of one of those black and white episodes of PLL. I’m gonna say it. And just I was so confused. 

MARISSA

De Blasio did a similar thing, I think in the first night where it was like, they both were just saying, not obvious things, but just obvious things about the Democratic party. That definitely is not cutting it anymore. And I think just say, yeah, the system is corrupt like, OK, great. What are you going to do about it? What are you going to do is I think the difference. 

GABBY

Like de Blasio was saying these things that are much more sort of politically calculating type of way, and trying to taut his New York record which, by the way, New Yorkers hate him, but whatever. 

MARISSA

All right, did I believe everything that came out of his mouth? No. Do I care? Yes.

GABBY

Marianne, like every time she opens her mouth it’s because like a Wind Spirit whispered to her to do it. It came out of literally nowhere every time.

MARISSA

This whole thing was a giant SNL sketch. I’m so mad they’re on hiatus right now because this would be comedy gold.

GABBY

I hope Cecily Strong is sharpening her pencils, taking notes on Marianne Williamson. She has the range in the way these candidates do not. 

MARISSA

She has more range in acting than they do in policymaking, and that’s the real facts.

GABBY

And lastly before I do superlatives, just to all the Democratic candidates. to anybody or working with them, to anybody associated, you guys it’s LGBTQ, okay? It’s literally five letters. Practice it, say it a few times in the mirror. Like, I don’t know what advice you need but stop butchering the word. Literally young people will notice, and it’s awkward. 

MARISSA

You can tell that none of them have ever said it before in their entire lives. Yes, none of them have ever heard the word LGBTQ ever. And it literally shows and it’s like, yeah, it’s funny, but also the LGBTQ community is — they’re having so many issues to deal with right now in this country that should be properly addressed and looked at by every single presidential candidate. And while certain candidates definitely did bring up, you know, again, Cory Booker and Castro, like they brought up trans rights — that was so important — but when the rest of the people on the stage came and say LGBTQ, you know, just what are you doing? Um, we should also talk about the woman thing.

GABBY

Oh, the woman thing. 

MARISSA

So, they’re, what, like six women on the stage.

GABBY

I mean, there are six women in America. So they all showed up according to Congress.

MARISSA

I think it’s gonna be really interesting to see these women have to navigate — again, whether their platforms are good or bad — whether they can navigate this whole double standard. It’s going to be really interesting to see that dynamic play out as well as the men of color for instance, like Castro, how he navigates being the only Latino candidate on stage, and seeing how that plays into how people ask him about immigration and how people ask him about certain issues in the country that no other candidate would be asked in the same way. 

GABBY

And that’s why I really think they need to ask a male candidates or the white candidates, these questions, especially in light of 2016, and how sexism played such a huge role and like, gonna plug Hillary’s book, What Happened. Like she talks a lot about how she thinks sexism affected it, and sort of the sexism she’s experienced in her career. And I think candidates especially like Bernie, who was there at the time, should have to address, ‘What are you going to personally do to make sure that the same problems don’t show up?’  because ultimately if the Democratic candidate is a woman, if these male candidates — or if the Democratic candidate’s a personal color — and these white candidates are not being held accountable to these standards, A.) and are B.) enforcing the problems, then it’s going to serve to the Democratic Party’s detriment so I think it’s important not only to create equity within the candidates, but be just for whoever the nominee is.

MARISSA

So for our last segment…would you like to introduce it, Gabby? 

GABBY

We are young people — we are the youths, as they say, so we want to end with something fun, something we feel like only we can do. 

MARISSA

Superlatives for the candidates!

GABBY

So, yeah, let’s just go back and forth.

MARISSA

Okay, my first one would definitely have to be Beto. Most likely to just need some Vicks Vapor Rub. Kind of rub it on your chest, you know, get a little pep in your step because he was dragging that entire stage all night.

GABBY

If you’re in college, you probably know somebody who studied abroad for, like, one semester in a place that everybody else studies abroad and watch enough about it — me and MARISSA are going abroad in the fall, so that will be us soon, not gonna lie — but in the Democratic pool, that’s definitely Marianne Williamson. 

MARISSA

She either the type who has studied abroad or went to Europe for a six-week trip and was like, ‘I know Europe, like I just know Europeans. I know that thinking, like, guys, I got this.’ That’s her vibes, and I was not taking it.

Okay, Joe Biden. Definitely most likely to have graduated like 25 years ago but still show up at every high school football game, like wearing his class ring, the varsity jacket, somehow he has like seven of them on all of his fingers. ‘He’s like, hey, guys, what’s up?’ 

Kamala Harris. Definitely most likely to be the mom friend. I was really digging it when she’s like, ‘As a parent,’ like, I believed her. And when Eric was like ‘As a parent’ I was like, ‘Are you? Are you sure?’ I remember his New York Times, like those answers like the video thing. He literally brought up his daughter like every other like frame I was like, ‘Okay, even the women didn’t do that. You’re imposing this weird standard on yourself.’ 

Wait, Do You Even Go Here? award definitely goes to my man, John Hickenlooper. Like, what was he doing the whole time?

Every time the camera panned to him, I was like, ‘Oh, you’re on stage again.’

GABBY

Ma’am, This Is A Wendy’s award goes to Bill de Blasio because literally zero people asked him to scream about anything or really even participate. 

MARISSA

Closing thoughts? What did you take away from the past two days of debates?

GABBY

This whole idea that the Democrats should run some sort of milk toast boring white guy, I think, sets us far more backwards than it does forwards, even if that means you get a win, you know, which is like at this point, I don’t think we know who can be Trump. I don’t think we know who can win. I think the whole playbook was kind of tossed out when Trump won in the first place. But I think Kamala showed she can definitely take the fight to Trump and anybody. You know, she’s a woman. She’s a woman of color, and she was the strongest person on that stage tonight, full stop. So I think, if nothing else, these debates showed that Harris, Warren and even Gillibrand at times and Julián Castro, talking about men of color, definitely, we don’t need to run milk toast, and I think those type of candidates came off the worst. I think they were boring. I think they seemed not super educated on issues. They struggled to hold my attention. Whereas the more dynamic candidates I think were the ones that came off better and those were often women or people of color. 

MARISSA

And also I think it’s because we have to be more dynamic, you know, to stand out because again, you literally look at the swath of candidates we had they’re mayo on white bread. The whole saying is, ‘Work twice as hard to get half as far,’ and I think a lot of that is really starting to show through in the female and the people of color candidates because you see people like Warren who is just like, every single question, she was on top of it the whole time and that’s not a coincidence. Whe works very hard and a way that, like Buttigieg, oh haha, he learned two words of Norweigan in one day, what a boy genius, you know — she’s an actual academic who knows things. You know, say what you will about a variety of her issues or platforms, but she knows what she’s doing, same with Castro. On that stage, he knew what he was doing and what he was saying most of the time. 

And same with Kamala Harris. Just these people have been conditioned their whole lives, to have to fight for what they need to say and have to be clear and concise, otherwise, no one’s gonna listen, and that really paid off, I think, in these past two days. 

GABBY

I think it’s also interesting to point out somebody like Bernie Sanders is time is dynamic, but Bernie’s whole thing is screaming and getting worked up. His dynamic is literally going off the rails.Whereas someone like Elizabeth Warren doesn’t have to raise her voice, doesn’t have to, you know, get all worked up. But for her to say, ‘I’m Elizabeth Warren. I grew up in Oklahoma’ in a way that’s cool, calm and collected, but meaningful and emotional. I think that goes just as far, and I think it was really cool to see that and to see these people with marginalized identities are not only there, but they’re really thriving in my mind.

MARISSA

And still know that we have such a long way to go — but taking those steps now as opposed to saying, Oh, we’ll deal with the diversity thing 10 years from now. The fact people like them can run now, people like AOC and Ilhan Omar and people like that can run for Representatives seeds and Congress seeds. It’s just like — we’re going in the right direction. I think with the party, it’s just a matter of, you know, not letting old white men dominate the conversation anymore. 

GABBY

And that’s the question facing us and 2020 and that’s a question we will continue to track this primary season. So, we’ll see how candidates are doing, how they’re pulling how they’re tracking. We’ll see if Marianne Williamson and dissolves into a wisp in the wind. There are many storylines to track, so stay tuned. Stay with us. Nobody asked us, but here we are.

Email: mmartinez@u.northwestern.edu 

Email: gabriellebirenbaum2021@u.northwestern.edu

Twitter: @mar1ssamart1nez

Twitter: @birenbomb

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