Your Democratic Debate Wrap-Up Will Pretty Much Ignore The Men

The one millionth Democratic primary debate took place Wednesday night in Atlanta, Georgia. Everyone watching received a free toaster. MSNBC and the Washington Post co-hosted the debate. The moderators were all women -- Rachel Maddow, Andrea Mitchell, Ashley Parker, and Kristen Welker -- so the questions were significantly less stupid.

There's no compelling evidence that these debates have much impact on voter choices. But we should talk about some of the key moments, like it's a reality show recap for Television Without Pity. Kamala Harris came out swinging from her carbonite prison. She's owed Tulsi Gabbard some payback after the Russian representative shivved her on stage during the July debate. Last night, Harris flipped her hair with style and dragged Gabbard to the curb for trash pickup.

Gabbard talks a lot of smack about the Democratic Party. She also loathes the former Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. She frequently criticized Barack Obama during his presidency. Her own YouTube channel proudly posts her appearances on Tucker Carlson's white supremacy hour. Harris pointed out how odd this is for someone running for president as a spoiler candidate supposed Democrat.

Kamala Harris rips Tulsi Gabbard's Fox News

HARRIS: I think that it's unfortunate that we have someone on this stage that is attempting to be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States, who during the Obama administration spent four years full time on Fox News criticizing President Obama; who has been full time criticizing people on this stage as affiliated with the Democratic Party; when Donald Trump was elected, not even sworn in, buddied up to Steve Bannon to get a meeting with Donald Trump in the Trump Tower; fails to call a war criminal by what he is, as a war criminal; and then spends full time during the course of this campaign, again, criticizing the Democratic Party.

Gabbard, who ranks up there with Mother Gothel as one of my favorite modern Disney villains, countered what she called Harris's "lies, smears, and innuendoes" (i.e. rational observations) with her own lies about how a President Harris would continue the "Bush/Clinton/Trump foreign policy of regime-change wars." I didn't know Trump had a foreign policy. He just does what Putin tells him. "Regime-change wars" is also an obvious Putin talking point.

Biden Touts Support from Only Black Woman Senator, Forgets Harris Onstage at 5th Democratic

Harris had another great moment later on when Joe Biden forgot she existed. He was selling his legitimate bonafides with black voters and boasted about his endorsement from former senator Carol Mosely Braun.

BIDEN: I have more people supporting me in the black community that have announced for me because they know me. They know who I am. Three former chairs of the Black Caucus. The only African-American woman that had ever been elected to the United States Senate.

Cory Booker just stared in stunned silence for a moment before saying, "That's not true." This reminded me of playing Trivial Pursuit at a dinner party years ago. I was stumped on a question about the invention of the cash register. My partner kept dramatically pointing to herself. She was from Dayton, Ohio, where the cash register was apparently invented. I'd just met her a few hours ago, so this was not a helpful clue. Biden, though, has met Harris.

HARRIS: No. The other one is here.

That should be a bumper sticker.

BIDEN: I said the first.

He did not. She threw up her hands in amused disbelief, as if to say, "You believe this shit?" She might have to bring children's letters to her at the December debate to conclusively prove her prove. The true tragedy of only two black women ever serving in the US Senate is that one of them running against Biden cuts his endorsement percentage in half.

Amy Klobuchar also had a good night. She was sharp and on point. She always is, but it doesn't matter. She's still tied with Andrew Yang, who doesn't even wear ties. We need to have a heart-to-heart with all the "pragmatic moderates" out there. You say you don't want a revolution. Well, you know, Klobuchar doesn't want to change the world, either. She's worked across the aisle and "gotten results." She has a record not a stump speech. If "electability" is really your priority, she's your gal. She won re-election in Minnesota with 60% of the vote, unlike some people who can't even win statewide. She carried Michele Bachmann's former congressional district. She can serve two terms. It's sad because she's the Lisa Simpson candidate who follows the rules and tries so hard to be inoffensive, certainly never "loud." It seems though that the so-called "grown up" voters only want a white man to make them feel good again, which is an acceptable preference at a massage parlor, but this is the presidency.

Elizabeth Warren was as great as ever. She's not buying the BS that Donald Trump is America's only problem, the corrupt pebble in the nation's shoe. She's fully prepared to improve things across the board. Still, as you might've noticed, she's a woman and a smart one at that. It's downright unsettling for some voters. David Gergen said after the debate that he's looking for a "healer," and Warren won't shut up about her "plans."

GERGEN: She has a plan for everything. She's gonna throw everything out and start all over again. And it seems both impractical and there's a hectoring quality there.

Fuck you.

OK, we're back.

Look, it's also "impractical" to imagine the next president buying the country one large Coke and leading us in a song of peace and harmony. It's very hard to heal what half of the country doesn't believe is broken. America doesn't need a Dad after Trump; it needs a fumigator. Besides, a nation that freely (more or less) elects Trump might require a full-system reboot. No, Warren isn't "hectoring." She's not an arrogant bully. No, she's arguably the most practical candidate running.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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