Who Asked You: The recap for people who fell asleep during the second debates

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This podcast was recorded July 31, 2019.

GABBY: Hello, and welcome back to Who Asked You, The Daily’s first talk show. We’re your hosts, Gabby and Marissa.

MARISSA: So, we’re going to be talking about the Democratic debates again today. But we promise that this episode will be a lot more entertaining and interesting than the actual debates that happened tonight and yesterday because, honestly, those were a mess. Like, I’m sorry, I was so bored.

GABBY: My eyelids were drooping, similar to Tim Ryan’s. I really felt him in that moment.

MARISSA: So frickin’ boring.

GABBY: Alright, so before we start, Marissa, there’s been a lot of talk about Marianne Williamson. And I know you want to do a little disclaimer about why she shouldn’t just be treated as this meme queen and why that’s kind of dangerous.

MARISSA: Yeah, so we definitely make fun of her as we make fun of all the candidates on the show. But I think that we have taken a serious look at a lot of the evidence of her being anti-vaxx, and very fatphobic, and all the stuff that she said about the AIDS crisis. Even though we have a smaller reach than let’s say, like a large media outlet, I still think it’s important to make sure that when we interrogate Kamala Harris’s record, or Biden’s record or anybody else’s, I think Marianne should be treated with the same level of scrutiny. That’s that on that.

GABBY: So let’s talk about what happened each night. There was really one consistent theme that emerged —

MARISSA: My wanting to snore —

GABBY: And that was that CNN is trash, other than the sleepiness that affected you, me and John Hickenlooper, everything about CNN —

MARISSA: Oh, it was garbage.

GABBY: Of all the 20 candidates that were on stage and these two nights, there were three people who weren’t even candidates that really came across as the biggest losers of the entire charade to me, and their names are Jake Tapper, Dana Nash and Don Lemon.

MARISSA: Don Lemon, he was a star considering he was only black person on stage on Night One and the only person of color, period. So, I give him a pass only because I know he was roped into it and didn’t really want to do it.

GABBY: They just kept trying to force these narratives where you could tell they were like, “We’re gonna have to manufacture these moments to make it happen.” So they were like, “Oh, we’re going to do this Medicare for all vs. moderates. Like Democrats want to take away private insurance that’s what we want to say, so that’s what we’re going to frame the questions around.”

MARISSA: I think the candidates could definitely tell from the start that these questions were completely organized to pit people against each other. I think it was really more interesting to see how they reacted to that, so it was really cool to see that Sanders-Warren team-up above all of the pettiness I was thrown at them, whereas Delaney really leaned into it and was very like, “Oh these leftist policies don’t work, these progressive policies won’t work, we need something more moderate, someone like, I don’t know, me.” I think Night Two, Jake Tapper being like, Kamala Harris, especially with the healthcare stuff right away.

GABBY: I know it was very frustrating, and what was also annoying to me that they really chose their characters. So like Night One, they were like John Delaney and Steve Bullock are the voices of moderacy and centrism when someone like Amy Klobuchar is polling better than both of them. But they didn’t go to her as often as they went to Delaney or Bullock, which was, I’m sure frustrating for her and also frustrating for me, because I find Amy Klobuchar more interesting than John “My Father” Delaney.

MARISSA: We don’t know much about all these candidates so far, and that’s the reason we have primary debates. It’s so important for us to get the opportunity to hear their talking points and to hear what they’re really about and kind of weed out the people who don’t know what they’re talking about — which is apparently half of them — and the people who really do. That’s the other thing. CNN was so strict on these time limits the first night, it was actually horrible. Like I understand, like you have rules, but if you ask a candidate as a very serious question about something huge like healthcare or immigration, don’t give them 35 to 60 seconds to respond and then cut them off as they’re talking about their policies.

GABBY: These debates could have arisen naturally if they literally just ask, “Explain your healthcare plan, give your elevator pitch,” essentially, but instead… Some people might not even know what Elizabeth Warren’s specific health care policy is vs. John Delaney’s vs. Tim Ryan’s — which does he have a healthcare policy besides I love unions, I don’t know. But instead, they would ask these really ridiculously narrow questions. And they’d be like, “Will you raise taxes on the middle class in order to take away people’s health insurance” so that you don’t even know what the starting point is yes. And then you’re forced to defend your policy against these Republican talking point accusations — or on immigration, they’re like, “Will Sanders’ free college plan incentivize illegal immigration?” It makes no sense to talk about either education or immigration. So when you’re starting with these really narrow Mitch McConnell-written questions, you don’t even know where candidates are starting from.

MARISSA: I felt like I was at a dinner party and I arrived 45 minutes late, and everybody had their arguments and were discussing things already and I came in and I was like, “Oh, I don’t know what’s going on.”

GABBY: You don’t even know where people are coming from.

MARISSA: Both of us have been following these debates very heavily, and kind of the upcoming primaries, but at the same time, I still don’t know — I can’t name the top even two points of platforms for most of these candidates. And I think part of that is definitely, you know, some of them just don’t know, their own policies or only have one single issue. And part of it is like, these debates are not the greatest platform to have policy because then you have people who present their policy and then are demonized by another candidate. And they’re like, “We shouldn’t be even talking about policy right now — we should be talking about the fact that racism exists.” And it’s like, the way that the debate stage is set up, neither of those approaches seemed to work.

GABBY: The DNC was the big loser here, because with these 20 candidates and not saying you need to have a situation like 2016 was was pretty obvious that Hillary was going to be the nominee. But you need to get all the front runners on the same stage, because the moderate candidate for better or worse, is Joe Biden. So by having John Delaney be the one to attack Warren and Sanders, you don’t get to see what the eventual matchup will be, which is like Warren, Sanders, Harris, Biden, Buttigieg, Booker — that’s really the top six in my mind — so I just think getting I’m excited for September when so far, only seven people are qualified. By having so many people and by giving the same credence to like the JV players as the varsity players, you’re avoiding the criticism that Republican candidates gave in 2016, when they were like, “I didn’t even get my fair shot.” But it also means that like you’re not getting the matchups that actually will define the primary; you’re just getting — these people have to fill in these lanes of moderate or progressive or whatever, when they’re not going to be near the ticket at the end of the day.

MARISSA: And I think it’s definitely important for progressives and centrists to be challenged on their views and to be forced to deliver. I just — I really don’t come out of this a more informed voter I come out of this, like “What just happened?”

GABBY: And it’s tough for voters because if moderates make a good case, like if people agreed with what John Delaney and Steve Bullock were saying on Tuesday night, then those votes are probably going to go to Biden. And if people disagree with what Biden was saying those votes, maybe go to Harris maybe will go to Warren or Sanders, whatever, but they’re not going to these minor candidates. And so it’s also frustrating because I do think John Delaney and Steve Bullock did a better job of pushing back on progressivism and advocating for centrism, than Joe Biden — they’re better able to articulate their things — but Joe Biden’s going to be the one who has to defend moderacy. So other people are doing Joe Biden’s work for him, thereby propping him up when Joe Biden should be forced as the frontrunner to have to defend moderacy. It definitely makes the frontrunners have to punch down in a sense, but it also means they can rely on other people deliver their talking points in some sense and not have to show that they have the debate mettle to do that.

MARISSA: I think another big L was that it was all white candidates on the first night. I’m sorry, that’s just ridiculous. This is, I think, the most diverse field of candidates they’ve ever had. I mean, definitely the largest, so that makes sense. But you can just you can tell, especially when issues like race came up, it was such a different conversation than the first round of debates, they were talking about things like trans rights, black trans women’s rights, women’s healthcare, Latinx issues. I mean, even if the conversation wasn’t necessarily the best or the most nuanced, they still brought up really interesting topics that really don’t get discussed a lot at debates.

GABBY: And I think that this was the first night was things like criminal justice reform, like only came up on Night Two or women’s healthcare —

MARISSA: Voters’ rights.

GABBY: And then I was also frustrated that K-12 education was barely talked about, voters’ rights was barely talked about and election interference was barely talked about. So I think having sections on electability just makes no sense at this point because there’s so many candidates to say, “Oh, I’m the one to take the fight to President Trump because…” There’s not enough to go off of there, but there’s so many more issues that could have been given time that just weren’t.

MARISSA: Yeah, and I think having like the really heavy hitters and champions of this more inclusive field like Gillibrand, Booker, Castro — that was helpful for me as a voter, because those are things I care about. I care about what the candidates have to say about black people and about Latinx people and about Asian people and about women. And so if I’m not even given the opportunity to hear when a candidate has to say… and then even people like Pete Buttigieg who again, is resonating with 0 percent of black voters at the moment —

GABBY: Hey, the racial divide lives within him.

MARISSA: Sorry, I’m sorry, OK.

GABBY: There’s no racist bones in there, but you know what is: the racial divide.

MARISSA: There is a lot of fractures going on in there. Even him I wasn’t able to really hear his policy being discussed because he said, “Douglass Pla—” and then CNN was like, “You’re done, shut up, moving on,” you know, and so it’s just really fascinating.

GABBY: Yeah, it was when Pete was like, “I like don’t like the way these questions are being asked,” And then Dana Nash was like, “What we’re not going to do is that.” Alright, let’s talk about this cluster that went on with healthcare. I thought it was articulated more clearly on the first night. The second night it was just like Biden and Harris talking about their plans — neither of them seemed really sure what their plans even were. Biden kept saying, “Your plan is going to cost—” When he was talking about other people’s plans’ costs, he kept alternating between, like, number of zeros. I was like, “Okay, which is it?” This is 30303.

MARISSA: We cracked the code, Gabby. It was a cipher.

GABBY: He was trying to explain how much people’s healthcare plans are going to cost. So candidates who are more progressive like Warren, Sanders, and de Blasio, I guess — if he counts — are for this idea of Medicare for all, which is the idea of adding everyone onto existing public insurance, Medicare, which is currently only for people over 65, and doing away with private insurance, based on the idea that its this for profit entity that puts market forces on what should be a basic human right.

MARISSA: Meanwhile, a lot of the moderates were saying that public insurance is great, and there should be some form of that. I think all of them agreed on that. But a lot of them are saying people like Delaney or Tim Ryan were saying that you should be able to keep your private insurance if you like it. Their main argument is that people like their private insurance and that the government shouldn’t be allowed to take that from them.

GABBY: Yeah, I like Warren’s point that like, “We’re the Democrats — it’s the Republicans that are trying to take away people’s healthcare.” And also, it should be said that like people like Delaney brought up that currently, some doctors won’t take Medicare because rates are cheaper than what private insurance pays. And so he’s saying, if everybody pays at Medicare rates, hospitals would have to shut down because they won’t make enough money, which… it’s more complicated than that. But like, it’s a somewhat valid point.

MARISSA: Also, if everyone in this country was insured, more people would go to the hospital, more people would go to doctors because it’s not an insane amount of paperwork and money and debt that you have to go into to go to the hospital. You should be able to walk into the ER, walk into your doctor’s office and say, “Oh, something’s wrong with me” — or even get a physical without having to rearrange your entire finances. And that’s the case for so many people in this country. It’s really annoying for me to listen to people say, “Oh, but like people like — ” No, no one likes their private insurance unless you’re super rich because that’s what’s frustrating to me.

GABBY: Because even the best insurance plans, nobody’s like, “My insurance is excellent.” Nobody’s like, “Oh my God, Blue Cross Blue Shield, like my ride or die. Kaiser Permanente, would take a bullet for my insurance agent.” Nobody’s feeling that way.

MARISSA: The only people who love their insurance are the top 1, 2 percent of the country because it’s better than someone else’s. That’s the only reason that insurance works — as a scam.

GABBY: And so I think the idea behind Medicare for All is, in order for it to truly be the same quality of care, you have to get rid of private insurance because as long as there is private insurance, then there’s going to be a difference in quality of care because some doctors won’t take Medicare. Obviously, you can mandate that. People like Castro are like, “Anybody can buy into Medicare’s what I want,” and then eventually, private insurance kind of gets phased out. But the big thing there is when you’re negotiating that healthcare deal, private insurers don’t get to negotiate the deal. They don’t get to lobby because obviously lobbying in their own interest. Politically, I think Warren and Sanders, on the first night, especially — the second night, I think the healthcare debate was pretty muddled, and like policy and detail was muddled. But I think Warren and Sanders came away as the winners. They had more highlight-reel moments. If you’re a moderate, and you’re interested in this debate, I think, Delaney and Co. definitely made some interesting points. But I think Warren and Sanders had the moments people will be talking about, and I think they did a really good job coming out stronger.

MARISSA: The lack of candidates who are very able and willing to explain policy clearly to the American electorate, not only their own, but just how the system works overall, especially with candidates like Hickenlooper or Tim Ryan, whenever someone called on them, they’d be like, “What?”

GABBY: They would snap out of a trance.

MARISSA: You literally could have been like, “Hey, Tim Ryan, you have five minutes. Explain your top three platform goals as a presidential candidate.”

GABBY: “Well, Number 1, Chief, Number 2, Manufacturing, Number Three, Officer!”

MARISSA: OK, well, maybe Tim Ryan’s would be a little bit easier. But people like Hickenlooper, they were completely unprepared even Bennet. Like, oh my God, when Bennet was just sputtering on stage. It just sounded like a mess because it was.

GABBY: A lot of them — the camera would pan to them, they’d ask them a question, and they would look like like Raven when she comes out of having a vision.

MARISSA: They were probably envisioning the end of the debates! Alright, another large conversation that happened was surrounding immigration. It is insanely frustrating the way it works in this country. I have friends who I’ve known since elementary or middle school, who are still waiting to become full citizens after getting their green card when they were little children. We’ve all seen stories on Twitter about people who have literally died or had to give up on waiting for a visa because it took 10 or 12 years. And so I think people like Castro bringing up the fact that the immigration system itself is broken is such a huge step. And it shouldn’t even be a huge step. But it is at this point because we can’t talk about border politics when people who are trying to “do it the right way” nowadays, and it’s so selective based on where you come from the color of your skin, your income level and your level of influence in the government.

GABBY: This is the area where candidates are most likely to criticize President Obama and that came across. Castro and Biden kind of got into it. Biden was like, “We worked in the exact same administration, and he didn’t seem to say these things then.” Castro’s like, “I’ve learned from the past. I don’t think you have.”

MARISSA: That was a good line.

GABBY: There was also a moment where I think it was Bill de Blasio was like, “What kind of conversations were you having, Biden, in the Obama administration?” Biden was like, that’s my — it was off the record, essentially, what he said — which was, like, “Dude, this is public service. This isn’t journalism.” Warren was in favor of decriminalizing the border — and when we say decriminalizing, they’re all talking about making it a civil rather than a criminal offense. In addition, a lot of candidates called for expanding legal immigration. Michael Bennet touted his record as being in that Gang of Eight who tried to work on a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

MARISSA: Bennet’s a member of the “My Mom’s An Immigrant” club.

GABBY: Booker made a really good point that for a lot of this debate, and general debates about immigration on the left, it’s about the person’s worth and what they are going to give to the society because it’s such a individualistic way of thinking, like this person is going to contribute to the economy, so we can let them in, but if they’re not going to contribute to the economy, they don’t deserve to be here.

GABBY: And it’s worth noting that the majority of white people in this country are here because we had open borders for a very long time in the late 1800s, in the early 1900s. That’s why so many people are here. You know, the difference is that it was decriminalized in that sense for white people — it was white people coming over. Now you can put the face of, oh, it’s a Latinx person and someone coming from Central America, or back in the day, people from China were not allowed in. Whereas, you know, white people from Europe were.

MARISSA: With the Chinese Exclusion Act, that being repealed because they wanted more cheap labor to happen until they tried to exclude other groups from coming in — Italians and Irish people being considered white and Jews becoming white as well through this process, because they want to pit that set of groups against black people and against brown people in this country. It’s such a liberal talking point too, which frustrates me to no end, like, “Oh, we should be accepting these immigrants because they’re the only ones who are going to farm our fields.” People shouldn’t have to move to this country to get a job and prove their worth to us. Race is tied to immigration a lot and they kind of separated out race as an issue.

GABBY: You know that because they asked Castro the question every time.

MARISSA: Oh my God, they had Don Lemon ask Castro about immigration, and I was like, “OK.” And then Don Lemon had to ask the race question when he was on the first night, when he was the only black person on the whole stage. I was like, I love CNN so much. So anyway, Biden and his racist bag of bones really didn’t handle this super well. May I note that during the national anthem, Biden did not cover his non-racist heart, but instead he was covering his lower rib cage, a.k.a. he’s trying to stop the racism from leaking out of his bone structure.

GABBY: Yeah, well, he knows it’s not in his bones. So it must be in his like muscles or something.

MARISSA: Well, it splayed itself all over the stage tonight. The biggest debate prediction by far was this whole, “Oh my gosh, it’s going to be Kamala Harris and Cory Booker vs. Joe Biden.” And I think part of that did play out — again, very manufactured by CNN, what were your thoughts on this?

GABBY: Harris is a little shaky, because her own past as a prosecutor, especially in prosecuting marijuana offenses, which disproportionately affects people of color that really came up a lot, so she was rendered a little less effective. And she seemed to me a little less energized. Cory Booker, I think, really was able to hammer home on Biden on race and other issues. You know, like when Biden said “You did X in Newark.” And Cory Booker said, “Do you really want to compare pasts?”

MARISSA: I said, Cory, you tell him!

MARISSA: He said, “Look, the crime bill that you wrote, it’s not about the past — it’s about the present because there’s so many people in jails, who are not being rehabilitated, and we have a whole recidivism problem and XYZ because of this thing that you touted, and you use tough-on-crime politics to get elected. And that affects people now, now that it’s not popular, you know, you’ve changed your ways.” A lot of times Biden, and especially in issues on race, he seems unable to meet the other person’s eyes when they were like, talking in a negative way —

MARISSA: Because he knows!

GABBY: He would seem, not surprised, but just like, horrified by the indignity that anybody would like deign to come after him because —

MARISSA: He was vice president under a black president. That means he could not possibly be racist.

GABBY: And that was another argument for Cory Booker, when he said that you can’t claim Barack Obama when it’s convenient and not when it’s not.

MARISSA: I just think it’s interesting considering how race will play out in a larger sense with the total electorate, which I think it was Booker who pointed out that black women are some of the most, if not the most, engaged voter demographic in the country, and they consistently show out for Democratic candidates. They had the highest percentage of voting for Democratic policies in candidates in past elections, especially recently. And they always show up for the Democratic party, and the same can really not be said for a large majority of, not only white people, but other people of color.

GABBY: They’re definitely not white women.

MARISSA: Well, we know you guys and your sins, it’s fine.

GABBY: Listen, when Kirsten Gillibrand invites to the Zoom call where white women will debate who we will be supporting and what annoyingness we will be getting up to this year, I’ll let you know how it goes.

MARISSA: I don’t want to know, honestly.

GABBY: Yeah, so no more debates until September, thank God. For the next debate, you have to have a certain number of individual donors and you have to have reached at least 2 percent in four credible national polls. So the candidates who have qualified so far are Harris, Biden Sanders, Warren, Booker, Beto and Buttigieg, so we’ll see how many come through now but I just really hope candidates take a long hard look in the mirror, see what this campaign is doing to them healthwise and that they need better Medicare For All to be able to afford some care.

MARISSA: Tim Ryan needs to look in the mirror and be scared by his own eye bags.

GABBY: If Tim Ryan looked in the mirror and said Tim Ryan three times, the ghosts of the United Auto Workers would pop up.

MARISSA: Okay, well, speaking of Ryan, let’s talk about losers from the past two debates. Especially out of the more conservative people. I think Delaney came out maybe the best because he had the most speaking time by far, but people like Ryan — I was just like, “Ryan, shut up, like literally go.”

GABBY: There’s not even anything to say at this point. Listen though, he wants to make a chief manufacturing officer.

MARISSA: Well, the one line by him that bothered me the most when he was like, “Oh, all these
workers who come home and shower at the end of the day, they want to keep their health care.” I was like, “What demographic are you speaking about?” Like, he’s obviously alluding to people who work in like dirt-on-your-nails kind of thing. The whole point of unions is to yes, fight for the individual and fight for their members, but also, a lot of their policies end up helping the rest of America. It’s not like this weird exclusive club that no one else gets the benefit from, for the most part, and so when he was like, “Oh, those people who go to work and do their work and then come home and like their private insurance. That’s really great.” I’m like, a lot of union insurance really sucks, as well. This is a broken system by far.

GABBY: It’s all they have in this changing world.

MARISSA: He literally said, one thing they can hold on to is their insurance — not their family, not anything else.

GABBY: There was so much speaking to like divides and division like, you know, they’re like, we need to heal the racial divides. We need to heal the partisan divides, like I don’t think the divides of like time of day you shower.

MARISSA: Who else was a loser?

GABBY: CNN. But we’ve already we’ve already been through that.

MARISSA: Specifically Jake Tapper was the biggest loser on the stage, by far.

GABBY: Beto was better than last time — he had more conviction, he didn’t look as sleepy. But he disappeared too often.

MARISSA; I think he would be in the medium category for me. I don’t think he completely lost. He had some good soundbites, but he definitely did not do as well. I don’t see these polls skyrocketing after this debate. Also, Steve Bullock being like, “Oh, I’m a blue governor in a red state,” like Montana has had a Democratic governor since 2005, and one of the Senate seats has been blue for almost a century.

GABBY: And also Montana doesn’t have to deal with a lot of the same problems that America as a whole has. There’s not really an urban-rural divide, because like it’s all rural. And there’s not really racial divide because it’s all white.

MARISSA: I think one of the winners, for sure, I hate to say it was Pete Buttigieg. I think that he played the whole moderate versus progressive policies very well. I wrote down many times Pete equals “I’m baby” because he kept referring to how young he was, which I think, to a certain extent, he was pushing it a bit. But he had a point. He’s like, “I’m a very young candidate,” — Jake Tapper really pointed it out — “And I have a fresh perspective on things.” He put up a really solid fight in my mind.

GABBY: I think he’s more top of the middle of the pack to me. Somehow, every single national issue seems to have a perfect microcosm example in South Bend, Indiana, which just got grating after a while. I think he did make good points. He had good sound bites. And he always, of course, sounds very put together very intellectual. Especially when he’s talking about like big structural reform, whatever. But like he had that line, when he was like, “The racial divide lives inside me.”

MARISSA: Well, I don’t know where it lives.

GABBY: And then also, I don’t think he necessarily got any new voters from this performance. I think people that like him were like, “Great performance,” and people that don’t care were like, “Whatever.” And then I think black supporters, which is where he really needs to make some sort of headway… I just don’t think he is. I think he had a question on race that I didn’t think he had like a super strong answer on.

MARISSA: To be fair, I think he started talking about the Douglass Plan. But even that, talking about policy may not be enough in this arena, especially for him when he was literally polling at 0 percent with black voters, saying “The racial divide lives within me,” and “South Bend is a perfect example of America.” Like, that doesn’t apply to most black voters in this country.

GABBY: I think the big winner was Sanders and to a greater extent, Elizabeth Warren. I think they really dominated the first night in terms of getting A) viral moments but B) I think they work together really well. Sanders sort of used his old man on a stump thing of talking big picture of the millionaires and the billionaires, and Warren’s ability to weave in anecdotes and like the sort of academic perspective but then also speak to people — she just distills policy into these one-minute long explanations that make so much sense and that are so appealing, and then Sanders comes in with the big picture. I think they defended progressivism really well. And then I think in Night Two, it really showed that there were no strong policy defenders who were super capable of explaining policy in a way that really translated.

MARISSA: When people like Michael Bennet are literally stuttering over their own words, not making any sense, looking completely lost when anyone calls on him — like that was just really sad to see because, again, maybe not everyone’s the strongest in policy, but that really showcases when people just do not know what they’re talking about, like Bennet.

GABBY: I thought Delaney and Bullock as moderate foils were effective. And then I thought Sanders and Warren as progressives were super effective. And on Night Two people were great at explaining their personalities and having that come across, and taking on Donald Trump, whatever that means. But the ability to translate policy into something that gets people excited, and that was Warren to a point: let’s nominate a change-maker, let’s nominate someone who makes us excited. When Democrats know what they want and they have somebody who has a vision and can communicate it, that was her point. That’s when Democrats succeed. And I think her presence was great Night One, and it was obviously lacking on Night Two. I think, overall, she won this Tuesday, Wednesday.

MARISSA: We are a few months into people’s campaigns. At this point, they really should have more than one issue that they care about. And you can really see the more experienced politicians or even ones who have clearly thought a lot about the issues they want to represent — you can see that in the way they explain their policies, and in the way they talked about things. But when people like Tulsi Gabbard, who do not have more talking points than being a soldier. Pete was also a soldier, but he can talk about it in a more nuanced way and kind of move on from that, but Tulsi Gabbard really only has that talking point, and she uses it somewhat effectively. But she can’t move past that. Or, Andrew Yang with his $12,000 a year. What can you do beyond that? Nothing. Or when people are literally forced to explain their own policies and they can’t even do that, like Bennet or Hickenlooper when they’re put on the spot. And they’re just like, “I don’t know.”

GABBY: And a lot of times, people who’ve been in Congress for a really long time just, you know, will name sections of code or bills or whatever, and it doesn’t come across as well. I think that’s what Klobuchar falls into sometimes, or Gillibrand. But, Warren is able to so effectively not just be like, “Well, I worked on X law and Y law and Z bill.” She’s like, “I have fought the big banks.” And she uses this language of fighting and taking the fight to these common enemies. And I think she really just distills her message so effectively, and then in the absence of it, it’s super noticeable. So yeah, I think overall win for her. And I think Kamala and Biden were kind of in the middle for me. They had some wins, and they had some losses, mostly against each other; I almost think they kind of cancelled out. But Biden took a lot of hits tonight definitely, from a lot of sides, you know, wasn’t just Kamala Harris this time. And I think — I think Biden will continue to drop a few points. The question is, who are those points going to go to?

MARISSA: Also, I think the way that Gillibrand and Harris were attacking him about things that he said in the past, I think that he definitely was faltering, considering how much time he had and the fact that he knew it was going to come up regardless of who was on that stage with him. But at the same time, when Gillibrand was constantly pushing like, “Oh, you wrote this op-ed, you wrote this op-ed,” it just came off as desperate.

GABBY: He was really ready for that.

MARISSA: And Kamala Harris had the same thing when she was pushing him on this one policy he had. That worked in Debate One because he was completely unprepared for that, but because he was maybe thinking about it a little bit more, it just came off as her being desperate.

GABBY: Whenever she would get attacked, she would say, “That’s simply not true,” or, “That’s false.” And I think you need to be able to not just say it’s wrong, but like show us in some way.

MARISSA: The way that she kept going over her time limits — I think that just painted her is very unsympathetic because most of the other candidates were able to follow the rules for the most part, even though CNN was being a little bit more lax in the second night. But if other candidates aren’t doing that, I think you should recognize that and kind of cede to what the crowd is doing.

GABBY: And then the same thing for Biden when the moderator like “Vice President” and then he just stopped in the middle of a sentence instead of just finishing it.

MARISSA: That’s because he didn’t know what he was doing.

GABBY: Right. Then, it seemed like he didn’t know what the sentences were going. Also I think we have to talk about 30303 or whatever the hell he said at the end. If we’re talking about age, ooph.

MARISSA: Speaking of age, Hickenlooper literally looked like a disaster on stage.

GABBY: He looked like a fossil.

MARISSA: Every time someone asked him a question, he was like… like when they asked him about race, he was like, “I’m sorry, I was asleep during the Civil Rights Movement.”

GABBY: Bernie’s whole thing is like, I’m the grandfather of the progressive movement, and Hickenlooper is like, “I just woke up.”

MARISSA: These debates are so boring. And I feel like I learned more negative things about these candidates and who I really don’t like versus who I would potentially vote for in a primary.

GABBY: These moderates that are kind of punching above their weight class with these lower-tier candidates attacking people — if Biden or Harris loses some polling, is that going to go to Warren and Sanders? Is that going to go to Booker and Beto and Pete and Castro? Or is that going to Delaney and like, dare I say Hickenlooper?

MARISSA: Please do not!

GABBY: Like obviously, it’s not going to go to Hickenlooper. I’m sorry I brought that energy into this world. That’s what I’ll be looking for in the weeks to come.

MARISSA: Normally, we have a Something Fun section. But alas, these debates literally sucked the life force out of us, and we’re not feeling very fun right now. But don’t worry because definitely a lot of new segments coming along. Stay tuned for that.

GABBY: Nobody asked us, but here we are.

Email: mmartinez@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @mar1ssamart1nez

Email: gabriellebirenbaum@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @birenbomb