LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
FEBRUARY 19, 2020
9:00 PM: The 9th Democratic Primary debate opens at the Paris Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Moderator Lester Holt explains that in honor of the venue, answers will only be accepted in the forms of heavy-weight prize fights or a series of increasingly bad decisions with lasting consequences. Attempting to use “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” as a joke may result in immediate expulsion from the debate stage.
9:02 PM: Holt begins by addressing Bernie Sanders, asking why he believes he’s better positioned to win than Mike Bloomberg. Sanders responds that in order to beat Trump, we need the biggest turnout and the Mayor’s stop-and-frisk-them-to-the-polls strategy will not work. Bloomberg responds by saying this is unacceptable because he paid for a much better podium than the one he’s been put at and demands that the manager of Nevada take care of this immediately. Elizabeth Warren jumps in to say that they’re running against a billionaire who calls women “fat broads” and “horse-faced lesbians,” and she’s not talking about Donald Trump, she’s talking about Mayor Bloomberg. Amy Klobuchar adds, “Oh, we’re doing this, OK, let’s do this, here we go,” and heads towards Bloomberg’s side of the stage but is stopped by Pete Buttigieg who says, “Yes. We must acknowledge a truth that, indeed, Mayor Bloomberg is ‘no bueno,’ but neither, it must be said, is Senator Sanders.” Bloomberg tosses him his car keys and $150 and tells him to keep the Tesla close.
9:15 PM: Moderator Chuck Todd turns the conversation to health care. Sanders says that we’ve been talking about guaranteeing health care for 100 years and we still don’t have it and it’s time to act. Warren responds, like a woman who has just sat through three-hour-long meetings that could have been an email and no longer has time for this bullshit, that Pete doesn’t have a plan, he has a Powerpoint that would leave people uninsured; Amy has less than that, she has a Post-it note; Bernie has a good start, but hasn’t answered important follow-up questions. Buttigieg replies that he’s “more of a Microsoft guy,” and then swears that joke is much funnier if you hear it in the original Urdu. Chuck Todd says he just heard a neat phrase called “name-checking” and Warren just “name-checked” everyone and, yes, he’s pretty sure he’s using that right.
9:29 PM: The discussion focuses on Bloomberg’s time as New York Mayor and the stop-and-frisk policies he championed. Bloomberg says he’s apologized for that and that he’s “talked to a lot of black kids who were stopped so I could understand what we can do to keep the city safe from them and their unrelenting crime.” Biden squints, “Actually, Obama is the one who fixed stop and frisk and Obama doesn’t like you, Bloomie, he’s my friend and not yours, he told me that, because we’re friends.” Warren points out that Bloomberg is merely addressing how the policy turned out and not the racism the policy was designed to perpetuate. Bloomberg looks around in some confusion, snapping that his assistants know better than to allow a woman of her age to get close enough to speak to him.
9:34 PM: Chuck Todd’s hair begins to twitch, it stretches and stands alert, it begins to tell a story of a time it met a real estate developer right here in Las Vegas, leading to a question about who each candidate would be if they were a sushi roll, but that is drowned out by the candidates yelling in alarm. The hair asks if anyone even noticed how Tom Steyer isn’t here this time. Lester Holt pulls out a medieval looking comb, grumbles “not again,” and starts wrestling the hair creature into submission.
9:41 PM: Moderator Hallie Jackson directs her questioning to Bloomberg, pointing out that many of his female employees have claimed he’s made derogatory remarks about them. Bloomberg defends himself saying, “I have no tolerance for the kind of behavior that the #MeToo movement has exposed because those men didn’t get away with it, which must mean they didn’t have enough money to pay for it to go away, and if there’s one thing I hate, it’s the poor. Sure sometimes I make jokes, but every woman I pay to say I’m great thinks I’m great.” Warren mutters, “OK, enough of this,” reaches into the interior pocket of her fuschia jacket, pulls out a 70-lbs flamethrower, and aims it calmly at Bloomberg, engulfing him in flames. “For someone who claims to like jokes,” Warren says, “you really should smile more.” The other candidates stare in silent awe at the pile of ashes where Bloomberg had stood, except for Bernie, who throws in, “Yeah, and ask the ash pile about why he supported George W. Bush!”
9:52 PM: Moderator Vanessa Hauc points to Amy Klobuchar’s recent inability to name the President of Mexico, asking, “Shouldn’t that be something our president knows?” Klobuchar responds that yes, she made a mistake, but she knows a lot of other things, like how many pretzel stands are in the Mall of America or what nationality the Minnesota Wild’s goaltender is. Buttigieg jumps in, saying, “You’re staking your candidacy on your experience, and you’re on the committee that oversees the border, and you don’t know this?” Klobuchar replies, “Are you trying to say I’m dumb, college boy? I admitted I messed up, but as I said, I know a lot of things, like how many members there are in the Knesset and where your tiny baby body is eventually going to be found and in exactly how many pieces.”
10:18 PM: While discussing the economy, Sanders points out that billionaires are paying a lower effective tax rate than average families. The pile of ashes that formerly was Bloomberg slowly reconstitute themselves into a nearly human-form and, in a strange voice, taunt, “and whose fault is that?” Bernie, confused, asks, “how are you even talking?” Bloom-borg answers that he owns both Elizabeth Holmes and Elon Musk’s Pakistani equivalent, and they prepared him for something like this. Lester Holt addresses the former and newly formed Mayor Bloomberg by saying, “Bernie Sanders says billionaires shouldn’t exist. Should you exist?” Bloom-borg explodes, ‘IT IS YOU WHO SHOULD NOT EXIST, PUNY HUMANS. I EARNED ENOUGH MONEY TO CRUSH YOU ALL,” at which point Sanders says, “OK,” puts on a beige trenchcoat, pulls out a cigar and starts to slowly walk off stage, stopping at the edge and turning back towards the Mike machine. “One more thing, Mr. Bloomberg,” he says, “maybe it wasn’t you who made all that money… maybe your workers played a role in that as well.” The Bloom-borg glitches, smoke pours from the back of his jacket, and he repeatedly says, “I’m. Mike. Bloom. Berg,” until an assistant runs out with a wheelbarrow, puts Bloomberg in, throws hundred-dollar bills in the air and yells, “This was all just a new cool meme, we’re doing cool meme stuff, see? Get it! It’s hip! Ha! You’re laughing now, happy money, OK bye!” and wheels Bloomberg off.
10:42 PM: Vanessa Hauc turns the questions back to Amy Klobuchar asking her, “What is your plan to protect the DREAMers permanently?” Klobuchar responds, “To win and beat Trump.” Buttigieg’s ears visibly perk up at the sound of Amy’s voice, “Oh Amy, oh, I am certain you think you can beat President Trump but let’s be realistic here, you’re the Democrat most likely to vote for Trump’s judges, and you called me a child last debate and I haven’t stopped thinking about it for a minute.” Klobuchar smiles and draws a picture of Pete as a small rat next to a bottle of rodent poison and hands it to him. “I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete.” Pete looks at her with faux civility and replies, “So do I, Amy.” Klobuchar grits her teeth, “Oh, bless your heart! Poor boy being a Mayor, so young and inexperienced. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for you, hated by your town. Oh golly, to fail so dramatically in front of so many people like that, you poor thing! I baked you a pie to make you feel better!” She hands him an apple tart with a lovely crust with a cut out smiley face with “x”s where the eyes should be. He narrows his eyes, “Oh thanks, Amy, but I insist you have the first piece,” and reaches into the pie and smears warm apple goo over the Senator’s face. Klobuchar wipes it off, and as the moderators try to move on, adds, “I swear to god, I am going to shove this glib little bastard into a pan and bake him into a hot dish and leave it in my car for 15 minutes to heat up the seat on a cold March morning, and it will be the first time this smug fuck was useful in his whole tiny life.” Biden responds that if they have any ice cream, he’d also like some pie, thanks.
10:48 PM: Chuck Todd asks the candidates if they believed that, by the national convention, the individual with the most delegates should receive the nomination? Candidates each respond that the convention should proceed by doing whatever most helps their own individual situation.
10:52 PM: CLOSING STATEMENTS
KLOBUCHAR: What unites us is bigger than what divides us and we are all united in our belief that Mayor Pete is a smarmy rat-faced hockey puck.
BLOOMBERG: I demand to speak to America’s manager.
BUTTIGIEG: We are running out of time. We must defeat Trump. If you look at a choice between revolution and status quo and feel you don’t fit in, join us, because we promise that at some point, we will pretend to be both.
WARREN: I have a flamethrower, and, more than that, I know how to use it.
BIDEN: (Interrupted by protestors or possibly Biden supporters that recognize they’re going to have a better shot at this if they can keep Biden from speaking.)
SANDERS: OK, good, see you next week.