democratic debates

What You Missed in the First 2020 Democratic Debate

The debates are finally here. Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

After months, and months, and months of waiting, the first Democratic debate finally arrived. It was long, chaotic, and interrupted by some embarrassing technical difficulties. And we’ll get it do it all again tomorrow!

If you missed the excitement, here are the most important screengrabs and GIFs of the night:

Look at all these people

The ten on the left went tonight. The ten on the right are going tomorrow. And there are four candidates who weren’t even invited!

Booker gave Beto quite a look

Mediocre attempts to speak Spanish were the highlight of the first half of the debate. Beto O’Rourke kicked things off with a few lines en español that caught Cory Booker’s attention. Perhaps because he’d later do the same thing.

Warren gave Republicans material

The first “show of hands” question of the night came from Lester Holt, who asked the candidates if they would abolish private health insurance “in favor of a government-run plan.” Only Bill de Blasio, who won’t be the Democratic nominee, and Elizabeth Warren, who might be, raised their hands. We’ll likely be hearing more about that from the GOP.


O’Rourke and de Blasio were the first to mix it up when the New York City mayor criticized the former congressman’s unwillingness to abolish private health insurance. De Blasio looked so disappointed.

Booker seized an opportunity

The second “show of hands” question went the other way, with nine out of ten candidates affirming their support for the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran “as it was originally negotiated.” The only holdout was Cory Booker, who endorsed the deal when he was given the floor to speak. Shrewd move.

Technical difficulties

The second hour of the debate meant new moderators and microphone problems. Chuck Todd didn’t know what the hell was going on.

After realizing that the mics were still hot on the first group of moderators, Todd and Rachel Maddow threw up their hands and threw to commercial.

The troll-in-chief loved it.

Jay Inslee wanted to make a point

And so he pointed.

It worked!

Here’s Jay when he finally got to talk climate change.

Nearly 100 minutes in …

And this guy behind Lester Holt was spent.

Tim Ryan stared

The most entertaining back-and-forth of the night came when Representatives Tim Ryan and Tulsi Gabbard debated the war in Afghanistan. Ryan defended the idea of staying “engaged” in the longest war in U.S. history, while Gabbard said the U.S. needs to get out. Ryan’s creepy stare did not go over well online.

Hugs and handshakes

That’s it! For these candidates at least. Everyone else, meet back here same time tomorrow.

What You Missed in the First 2020 Democratic Debate