DECEMBER 19, 2019

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8:01 PM: The sixth Democratic presidential primary debate takes place in an auditorium at Loyola Marymount before a large crowd of people who thought they were there to see the new Star Wars movie. An audience member holding a plastic lightsaber behind the moderators is heard talking excitedly about the new cute muppet droid-smith Butti Gieg.

8:04 PM: Newshour anchor Judy Woodruff kicks off the debate by asking each candidate to reflect on the dominating news story of the day, impeachment. Former Vice President Biden gives the first response, that Trump is bad and no one likes him. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders adds that Trump has sold out the working class. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren agrees with them both. Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar adds that if Trump is innocent, why aren’t his people testifying? Also, she made peach-mint upside-down cake, her grandmother’s famous corrupt-presidency recipe, does anyone want some? South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, skeptical of his fellow candidates, warns that we all need to refuse and reject cynicism. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang points out that he’s not only the sole person of color on stage, but he’s also the only person not wearing a tie, so why are the moderators confusing him with Tom Steyer? Rich person Tom Steyer is wearing a plaid tie and eating a slice of Amy’s cake.

8:18 PM: The moderators note that the economy under Trump is good right now and ask how the candidates will deal with that in their campaigns. The candidates, in some surprise, all individually ask if the moderators have ever heard of the middle-class, the working-class, the poor, people juggling multiple jobs, wages flat-lining, families struggling with debt and without enough savings to handle a small emergency? The moderators note that those are, of course, incredibly technical and rather elite terms they had previously been unaware of and quickly move the conversation forward.

8:30 PM: Politico correspondent Tim Alberta says that even if we create perfect environmental policies by 2050 it will already be too late, and asks if the candidates consider moving the United States to the moon. Senator Klobuchar says probably, or at the very least she will make sure everyone gets a moon pie, the best former American presidents all loved moon pies and were 5’4” and from the Midwest and named Amy — isn’t that weird?!

8:45 PM: Moderator Amna Nawaz notes that the Democrats rely on Black, Hispanic, and Asian voters, and asks Yang, why he is only person of color on the stage. Yang replies by pointing out that fewer than 5% of Americans donate to political campaigns, and the thing that would fix that would be… he then points to the audience, who do a wave and shout “ONE. THOUSAND. DOLLARS. A. MONTH.” Confused, Steyer begins writing checks. Nawaz then turns the question to Sanders, who begins, “I want to go back to the climate—” and is immediately cut off by Nawaz. “The question was about race,” she says. Sanders replies with “Yes, and people of color will be the people suffering most if we don’t fix climate change,” allowing everyone to project their own preconceived notions of good or evil onto Sanders in a single instant like some sort of presidential inkblot we should all probably be discussing with our therapists privately but instead will scream about on Twitter and pretend that counts as mental health care. Buttigieg then replies by saying what is really needed when it comes to race is a long list of buzzwords, buzzwords he memorized exactly.

8:56 PM: Moderators ask if the US should boycott the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Buttigieg responds that we shouldn’t limit ourselves and that everything should be an option that we never try to do. Steyer replies that China is our frenemy, and our best bet is to make passive-aggressive Tik Tok videos about Hong Kong, and then text them an old pic of us hooking up with their new boyfriend totes “accidentally.”

9:05 PM: The debate breaks, and there’s a pounding at the doors from the outside. A few brave audience members peer through the cracks. Suddenly, one member shouts, “IT’S MARIANNE WILLIAMSON. SHE’S HERE. AND SHE WANTS REVENGE!” Screams erupt. The broadcast goes dead, and a bubbly ad for a psoriasis medication comes on.

9:12 PM: As the debate continues, moderator Alberta brings up President Obama’s recent comments that women should be in charge, and that too often old white men won’t get out of the way. He first asks Sanders’ thoughts. Sanders replies that the problem fundamentally lies with who has power and that currently, billionaires hold the power because they are buying elections. Yang quietly adds “burrrn,” and glances at Steyer, who looks confused and takes out his wallet. Biden adds he was sure Obama — who he sent a Christmas card to and hasn’t gotten one back from but DEFINITELY will, maybe the mail’s slow — his very best friend, wasn’t talking about him! “There are a lot of guys named ‘Joe,’ so coulda been any of them, and that’s no malarkey.” Alberta turns to Warren, noting she’d be the oldest person ever inaugurated, to which she replies, “I’d also be the youngest woman ever inaugurated,” and the giant flashing “LINE OF THE NIGHT” sign drops from the ceiling as everyone applauds and throws confetti.

9:18 PM: The debate turns to campaign funding as Warren brings up the fact that Buttigieg recently held a closed-door fundraiser for high-end donors in a wine cave. The lighting dims, a spotlight shines on Warren, who suddenly has a hat and cane. The other candidates begin chanting “Wine cave wine cave wine cave” and a big musical number breaks out as Warren belts, “What’s a wine cave?!” Steyer sing-talks. “Did you say Bat cave?” Warren replies, “I said wine cave!” Klobuchar, pirouetting across the stage, “I’ve been to a wind cave.” Warren, “That’s not it, babe! A wine cave’s big, it’s fancy too, for the rich and corrupt who will tell you what to do! The rich donate, then have ‘one request.” Buttigieg breaks in, “I’ve had enough of your purity tests!” Warren continues, “I don’t hide donors, I don’t sell time, 10,000 selfies work out just fine!” Sanders jumps in, “My friend Joe has a lot of rich friends, don’t worry, Pete, you’ve got some weekends! You’ll catch up; you can both represent the wealthy needs of the one percent!” The entire audience continues to chant “Wine cave wine cave wine cave,” as the lights in the room flicker and then explode. Someone yells, “MARIANNE WILLIAMSON, SHE’S IN!” and the room descends into chaos.

9:40 PM: Klobuchar brings up old beef, reminding Buttigieg that he previously mocked the “experience” on the stage, telling him, “you should value it, you little arrogant twerp.” Buttigieg responds, “I think we have bigger fish to fry,” to which Klobuchar erupts, “DON’T TALK TO ME ABOUT FRYING FISH, I’LL MAKE A WHOLE FRIED FISH CASSEROLE OUT OF YOU AND THEN I’LL RUN THAT CASSEROLE FOR PUBLIC OFFICE AND IT WILL GET MORE VOTES THAN YOU’VE EVER SEEN IN YOUR TINY BABY LIFE.”

10:16 PM: Judy Woodruff drops her debate question cards and is unable to grab any in time to read them and desperately scrambles, asking the candidates if they’d ask forgiveness of anyone on stage or give anyone a gift, or if they’d like to show off a special skill or something — can anyone juggle? Warren suggests a general strike but unfortunately had not put in the time unionizing the candidates first and so faces a failed workers’ movement. Yang, who has one thing, one single thing he talks about giving people at every chance, offers to give everyone his book. Buttigieg has already taken everyone’s phones and is downloading his book into them. Sanders also suggests his book. Steyer and Biden probably do too, I don’t know, who cares, come on, there are like infinity times a billion possible questions they could have been asked and THIS is what you all landed on? We’re taking time out of our stupid nights to watch this shit, we don’t deserve this. I ordered PIZZA for this shit, and I should not be eating pizza, there’s all these holiday parties coming up, I’m going to be eating a ton of junk, I should be eating spinach salads and going to bed early on nights like this but instead I’m sitting here listening to this absolute drivel. I could have seen Star Wars and gotten mad about that instead! But no. Anyway, Warren and Klobuchar both reminded everyone that being a woman is exhausting sometimes by being the only two candidates to ask the others to forgive them for being smart and saying words out loud.

10:28 PM: Candidates give their closing statements.

STEYER: I’m different because I take on unchecked corporate power. Rich people shouldn’t be able to do things like purchase their way onto a presidential debate stage, and I see no irony in this.

YANG: I know what you’re thinking, how am I still on this stage when happy hour started 2 hours ago? Math.


BUTTIGIEG: We need to build politics not by who we exclude. If we simply ignore that certain people exist, we can’t be accused of not reaching out to them because did we even know they were there?

WARREN: I think it’s really nice that Marianne Williamson found a way in here today. I think there’s room for all of us, adults, children, floating spirits, to fight corruption together. Because no matter what metaphysical realm you exist in, we all can agree: fuck Amazon.

SANDERS: For 45 years, Americans have been listening to great speeches and nothing’s changed, including me, who has been saying the same thing about how all of this needs to change consistently for decades. It’s time to change that! Join the revolution!

BIDEN: (squinting) Am I president now? God bless us every one.