democratic debates

Snap Judgments of Every Candidate in the Second Democratic Debate, Wave One

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Welcome back, everyone. Doesn’t it feel like we were just here? “Here” being sitting on our respective couches, watching a bunch (10? 14? 23?) of Democrats sputter through two-thirds of their intended sentences before getting cut off by moderators citing time constraints? (It has, would you believe, been a month since the first debate.) Except this time the debates are three hours instead of two. Which means ample time to really get to know candidates and what they stand for or, uh, something. The something being what you’re about to read: brief recaps of each candidate that are completely measured, researched, fair, and logical.

Night One

Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Bernie Sanders

Day job: Junior senator from Vermont.
Is right about: Medicare for All. You’re WRONG, John!
Wrote: THE DAMN BILL!!!!!!!!
Improved on: His volume. Didn’t have to touch the remote all night. Congrats to the Sanders debate prep team.

Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Marianne Williamson

Day job: Best-selling self-help author whose most famous quote is often misattributed to Nelson Mandela.
Astrological sign: Cancer.
What she thinks about Donald Trump: Something something “dark psychic energy” something something “radical truth-telling.”
Wait a minute: Her reparations plan was actually pretty good?

Photo: joe raedle/Getty Images

John Delaney

Day job: Self-made millionaire and former Representative for Maryland’s Sixth Congressional District.
Can name: Several failed presidential candidates whose names anybody born after 1988 would have to Google.
Do a shot every time: He invokes his union electrician father.
My God, who at CNN did this man bribe to get so many questions tonight? Great question.

Photo: joe raedle/Getty Images

Beto O’Rourke

Day job: Texan. Lost a recent senate race to Ted Cruz.
Will not: Decriminalize crossing the border.
Seems to have learned: Not to gesticulate quite so wildly while he talks.
Wait … he did?: Yeah, spoke too soon. Sorry about that. [Waves hands in dramatic apology.]

Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Pete Buttigieg

Day job: Mayor Pete.
Once again: Was quite effective at sliding in lines about his military record, like discussing assault weapons he’d used in Afghanistan while answering a question on gun violence.
Brown shoes with a blue suit: It’s a lewk, okay?
The racial divide lives where? Within him.

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Elizabeth Warren

Day job: Owner of a very good dog.
Wants: Democrats to stop using Republican talking points.
Also wants: John Delaney to stop talking.
Wanted: To be a public school teacher before the cost of college prohibited her from achieving her dream. As noted in her closing statement … just like the first debate.

Photo: joe raedle/Getty Images

Amy Klobuchar

Day job: Minnesota senator.
Wishes: Somebody had told her Elizabeth Warren had planned an identical outfit.
Dodged: A question about her comments that her fellow candidates are just making empty promises to get elected.
What was that about cable and college? She wants to make them cheaper. Which, for me, great! I watched this debate using a cable log-in I stole from my girlfriend’s dad.

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

John Hickenlooper

Day job: Former Colorado governor. Brew pub owner.
Opened his mouth and: Prompted a friend of mine to look up from her phone and say, “Not a top lip in sight on this stage, eh?”
Tariffs are for: Losers!
Can: Throw his hands up too, Bernie!
Is mostly just: Really thrilled debate security recognized him as a candidate this time. “What a night! I loved it!”

Photo: joe raedle/Getty Images

Tim Ryan

Day job: Who is this man?
Notably: Did not put his hand on his heart during the national anthem.
Hates: Polls.
Chief Manufacturing Officer: Creating this position is, apparently, Ryan’s only plan.
Still isn’t: Tim Robinson, sketch comic and creator of the Netflix hit I Think You Should Leave.


Steve Bullock

Day job: Governor of Montana.
Owns: A gun. But would still like you to know he’s sad about losing his 11-year-old nephew to gun violence on a playground.
“Nu-cu-lar:” “Nu-cu-lar!” (It’s apparently 2001 all over again.)

Democratic Primary Debates Two: 2 Fast, 2 Many Candidates