The Democratic Debate Separated the Bud from the Stems

A Whole Bunch of Presidential Hopefuls Will Drop Off After Last Night

Tuesday night’s Democratic debate was a garish, depressing and ugly event, and if you missed it for a much more pleasant appointment—like, say, a root canal or a midwinter hanging in a small 17th century New England town—then good on you, because this was some real soul-crushing stuff. The only good thing about it is that the worst offenders are going to be gone soon.

The conditions to be met to qualify for September’s debates have been substantially raised and fewer than ten candidates currently qualify. Many of those destined for the Land of Wind and Ghosts were on stage in Detroit on Tuesday, and as soon as I heard their opening statements, I knew I was in for a rough two and a half hours. Let’s begin by wishing them a hearty farewell as these turds get flushed.

Democratic debate - Steve BullockSteve Bullock

If you’re looking at this name and thinking “wait, who?” or “oh neat, the Deadwood guy” then congratulations, you’re a normal person and you’ve probably landed on this page by mistake. Bullock didn’t qualify for the first Democratic debate and won’t qualify for the third. He’s one of a few in this race with the brilliant strategy of re-running Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, including lifting lines directly from one of her 2016 debates. Do you remember Hillary Clinton saying “I am a progressive who gets things done, and the root of that word, progressive, is progress” in the February debates in 2016? I do! I was covering the debates and as soon as I heard the line, I knew it was too ridiculous, too ugly, too maddening to disappear into the ether. Fortunately, Bullock will likely not be able to reach the 130,000 individual donors necessary to qualify for the September debates.

Democratic debate - John DelaneyJohn Delaney

There’s a reason no one had ever heard of this guy before now, and it’s the same reason he’s not going to reach the quotas for September. But Tuesday night he had a moment to stand out as the go-to moderate all too willing to tell you pie-in-the-sky progressives that better things aren’t possible and that offering bold measures to fight the monied interests currently immiserating a greater and greater portion of the country will only ensure another Trump victory. He even went so far as to reference the 1972 election as proof of this, instead of, say, Clinton’s loss in 2016 or the victory of bold progressive Jeremy Corbyn just months later. Jim Messina, who worked on Clinton’s disastrous campaign in 2016 and then directly went to work on Theresa May’s disastrous 2017 campaign, could’ve helped him with the research, but what the hell let’s use an event half a century ago instead. At any rate, Joe Biden already owns the role of “out-of-touch dipshit moderate” in this election, and he doesn’t repulse people the way Delaney does. So long, John!

Democratic debate - Tim RyanTim Ryan

Here’s another dud using a line from the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign in his opening statement. Does he have brain damage or do I? Why are these dopes trying so hard to re-run a campaign that missed a free-throw so hard that that it broke reality? Just fade away, Tim! Your restless ghost needs to find the head Tulsi Gabbard took from you in the last Democratic debate so you can cross the threshold into the next world.

Democratic debate - John HickenlooperJohn Hickenlooper

This is the guy who bragged about being the governor of the first state to legalize marijuana in the first Democratic debate despite having actively opposed the very legislation that legalized it. He’s a weird dunce and a fraud and there are stronger candidates willing to do the bidding of fracking companies, so it’s no wonder that he’s been having fundraising issues. He and Sanders had a few confrontations but the odds that he stood out enough to get the number of individual voters he needs are extremely low.

Democratic Debate - Marianne WilliamsonMarianne Williamson

As much as it hurts me to report, as of this moment she does not meet the necessary minimum of 2% in polling to qualify for September. Her “politics of love” have not been enough to garner the support she needs to keep going, which means the one pure soul in this race is almost certainly getting the axe. We never deserved your heart, Marianne, and we’re glad you took the time to visit us, but it’s time to ride your dragon back to your own dimension.

The remaining candidates are either already a lock — like Warren and Sanders — or seem to be on track to easily meet the quotas in time for the mid-September debates, like Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg. Tuesday night was a pretty uneventful night and Klobuchar was the most uneventful person there, which may have been a wise move. Tuesday was the last chance for losers like Delaney and Ryan to somehow make enough of a dent in the public consciousness to make their campaigns remembered by anyone other than a Trivial Pursuit card, but Klobuchar is already cruising to the next Democratic debate in relative comfort, so why rock the boat?

Former rising star Beto O’Rourke desperately needed to re-invigorate his base and attract some fresh blood, but I don’t think he made it happen. His campaign is crashing so hard I think he’s literally fading away — actually physically disappearing from our reality. I heard him talk, but none of his words could take purchase in my brain and I swear, I couldn’t even remember his name or picture his face just now. I knew there was one other person I was supposed to mention, but it was just a flesh-and-denim blur in my mind. I hope he makes it to September just so he has a Marty McFly moment live on stage.

All in all, Tuesday night was a dull affair. The split in the Democratic Party is growing more and more obvious and the Washington Post had a some fun putting together a clip of the candidates attacking one another with varying levels of animosity and viciousness. It’s hard not to side with progressives like Warren and Sanders over the moderate wing, especially when said wing is currently being championed by freaks and dummies like Hickenlooper and Delaney, or a guy who just can’t stop shooting himself in the foot every week. Why would anyone trust the moderate Democratic leadership to do anything to stop the coming horrors? In the midst of ICE detaining an American citizens for weeks because he looked too foreign and a looming war with Iran that the US will not win — or any of the insane things the President does with total impunity, all the time — what is the moderate top ranking Democrat leader in DC doing? Asking the FBI to investigate Face App because of its links to Russia. It’s going to be a long primary.

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