Winners and Losers from the November Democratic Debate


Owen Leonard, Radish Staff Writer

The November democratic presidential debate provided an opportunity to clarify what has become an increasingly close and contentious race.  Many candidates had standout, potentially campaign-defining moments. Pete Buttigieg kept up his momentum, and we even saw some impressive performances from lower-polling candidates like Cory Booker.  With that, let’s get into the winners and losers.


Winner: Pete Buttigieg

Mayor Pete started out strong by thanking all five of his donors.  His being the only candidate able to refer to all of his donors by their full names in his two-minute opening statement could give his campaign a more personal feel, which experts say is critical for electability.  When asked a question about healthcare, he launched directly into a thirty minute explanation of soybean subsidies in a resoundingly successful effort to avoid telling Americans what he actually believes. When the moderator repeated the healthcare question, Buttigieg answered in a Sumerian dialect previously thought to have died out in the fourth century BCE.  The audience went absolutely wild. Later on, Mayor Pete played Beethoven’s famous Moonlight Sonata on a melodica which he had hidden under his podium. Despite the moderator’s pleas to stop, Buttigieg finished all three movements to raucous applause. Overall, Mayor Pete’s latest debate performance seems to have increased support among his core demographic of people who have “Live, Laugh, Love” signs in their living rooms.  Even so, Buttigieg struggles to dissociate himself from cartoon look-alike Alvin of Alvin and the Chipmunks fame.  Whether he can shake that association remains to be seen, and could be a major factor in his viability as a candidate.


Winner: Elizabeth Warren

With Pete Buttigieg’s rise in the polls proving that you don’t need serious beliefs or convictions to make a presidential run, Warren returned to her usual uncommitted self.  After indicating earlier that she was abandoning her “Medicare for All” plan in favor of a “Medicare for All Who Want It” plan, last night she unveiled an even bolder policy. Tentatively titled “Medicare for All Who Can Pay for It”, it would involve corporations selling private versions of Medicare called “insurance” on a competitive market.  Innovations like this could make Warren more attractive to moderate conservatives. Warren’s best moment, however, came when a moderator asked her whether she believed more Americans should join the military. “Of course,” she responded confidently. “Military experience can be an impactful part of a young American’s development. It allows you to see the world and overthrow democratically elected governments in all kinds of countries.  Without our armed forces, who would kill foreigners to defend the interests of multinational corporations?” The senator’s answer caters to the shockingly large portion of Americans who continue to have a positive view of the United States military. It will most likely decrease her support among foreigners, but luckily for Warren their opinions don’t matter.


Winner: Mohammad bin Salman

Reports seem to indicate that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman didn’t actually watch the debate, as he was engaging in his usually evening activity of watching Yemeni children starve to death in real time through a pair of very powerful binoculars.  Instead of appearing himself, he sent his ambassador Reema bint Bandar to collect the traditional blood sacrifice. At intermission, each of the candidates pricked their palms with an enchanted blade, then placed their hands on a glowing orb and recited the ceremonial chant.  In a heartwarming moment of unity, all ten candidates repeated the words, “I will approve the sale of billions of dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia. I will ignore the genocide in Yemen. I will ignore the provisions of arms to terrorist groups. I will ignore any violation of human rights, no matter how egregious, so long as the oil continues to flow.  Amen.” Thomas Friedman later described the event in his New York Times column, writing, “In the present moment of hyperpartisanship that threatens to destroy the very fabric of this country, it’s beautiful to see that there are some things we can still all agree on.” While there were rumors floating around that the blood sacrifice to Saudi Arabia would be combined with the oath of fealty to Israel to save time, the two classic staples of the November debate remained distinct.  There was a brief moment of tension during the latter event when Joe Biden accidentally raised his left hand instead of his right, but a spokesperson for his campaign later made it clear that he had simply forgotten the difference between the two.


Winner: Israel

Prior to the debate, Israel’s leadership had been on a diplomatic visit to South Africa to study their political model and potentially apply some of its aspects back home.  Tragically, they were forced to return early upon learning that the aparthied system had actually ended some time ago. Despite the disappointing premature end to the trip, Benjamin Netanyahu and his advisors arrived in Jerusalem to good news: President Donald Trump’s administration had declared that it no longer considered Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be violations of international law.  The move came as part of an agreement between Washington and Jerusalem. For their side of the bargain, the Israeli government announced it would be choosing ten Palestinians at random to be given the right to vote. With progressive policies like this, a two state solution seems more and more possible. When asked if he supported a two-state solution, Joe Biden said, “There should be at least three.”  A spokesperson for his campaign later clarified that he had misheard the question and thought the moderator was asking about gender.


Winner: Barack Obama

Any time Former President Barack Obama’s name was brought up, some candidate would jump forward to offer their unflinching defense of his legacy.  Interviewed later, Obama said, “It almost makes me feel bad that I thought about ordering a drone strike on the place. You get so used to it, you know, and it’s really a lot of fun.  Weddings are my favorite, but orphanages are cool too.” Support for Obama remains so strong that his former vice president, Joe Biden, continues to poll well even after twice referring to the United States as the “Great Satan.”  A spokesperson for his campaign later apologized, saying that he was confused and believed that he had been vice president under Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini when in fact, of course, he had been vice president under the aforementioned Barack Obama.


Loser: Andrew Yang

Yang experienced a brief surge in the polls this week after appearing in public wearing a hat which read “METH” instead of the customary “MATH”, but the spike normalized after he apologized and corrected the mistake.  While he typically polls in the single digits, he has a strong base among STEM graduates who prove that being able to code doesn’t mean you can understand complex social and economic issues. Unlike some other candidates, Andrew Yang has a clear and well-articulated agenda.  Tragically, this agenda is incredibly stupid. Although MSNBC generously tried to prevent him from speaking, he managed to get a word in after thirty-two minutes. “Data-driven,” he said. Then Joe Biden started telling a story about a part-time job he once had hand-stitching bolo ties for John D Rockefeller, and Yang never got another opportunity to speak.  His supporters were furious, with some even going so far as to tweet about it. That said, Yang’s campaign slogan, “Not Left, Not Right, Forward” may earn the support of traditional conservatives with its message of preserving the status quo indefinitely. Unfortunately for Yang, it is very unlikely that he gets to the point where their support will be necessary.


Loser: Bernie Sanders

Although The Radish could be considered an “alternative media” outlet, we are nonetheless a media outlet and thus obligated to portray Senator Bernard Sanders negatively.  For his opening statement, Sanders read directly from a signed copy of the Communist Manifesto. When asked to clarify what exactly he meant by “communism”, Sanders explained it like this: “Communism is when the government does things.  The more things it does, the communister it is. I learned this from my mentor, George Soros, who is also a communist.” This is likely to be bad for Bernie, as communism still polls poorly among most Americans. Nobody knows why this is, but a popular theory is that the inventor of communism, Thomas Communism, never did a speaking tour in America.  Much of the system’s popularity in the east is attributable to Thomas’ impressive oratory, but all English transcripts of his speeches were destroyed during the Cold War. In any case, Bernie Sanders’ poll numbers don’t matter and you shouldn’t look at them or vote for him.


Loser: Evo Morales

The CIA’s recent coup against Bolivian President Evo Morales was not discussed at all during the debate, although some of the candidates had voiced their opinions on Twitter.  Elizabeth Warren took advantage of the opportunity to pander to millenials with some hip lingo, sending out a #TBT to some other classic coups orchestrated by the United States in previous decades.  Attached was an image of Warren wearing bell bottoms and a headband photoshopped into a picture of the CIA-backed overthrow of Chile’s Salvador Allende in 1973. In interviews, some candidates expressed excitement that they themselves might get the opportunity to participate in a fascist coup.  “The tradition of ousting democratically elected Latin American leaders and replacing them with right-wing dictatorships has been lost in recent years,” said Cory Booker, “and I’m glad to see it return. It’s a real rite of passage for a United States President, and doing it in the Middle East just isn’t the same.”  No matter who wins the nomination, it seems like the inhabitants of the other thirty five nations on the American continents will have to wait at least one more election cycle before they’re allowed to choose their own leadership.


Loser: Everyone Else

Although Yang, Sanders, and Morales were the biggest losers of the night, there were plenty of others who definitely weren’t winners.  Cory Booker started with a well-received joke about Joe Biden’s opposition to marijuana legalization, but the rest of his stand-up set flopped spectacularly.  Tom Steyer forgot to attend the debate, but almost nobody noticed and CNN even called him a “winner” for taking a more moderate position. “In an era of increasing polarization, where many candidates are totally unwilling to compromise their positions on debate attendance,” they wrote in their summary of the event, “it was nice to see Steyer offer an alternative to the partisan dogma of showing up.”  Amy Klobuchar came out strong on gun control. “Weapons of war should not be used to kill American civilians,” she declared, “They should be used to kill Iraqi civilians, like they were intended to.” This was unpopular with the important demographic of moderate Republicans, who believe that Americans too have the God-given right to be gunned down with military-grade firearms. Tulsi Gabbard took a small dip in the polls after endorsing Donald Trump in her opening statement.  Kamala Harris’ decision to wear a Mission Impossible-style face mask of Hillary Clinton was poorly received.  Overall, tonight was a major victory for moderates like Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg and a major loss for people who want things to change.  We can only hope for the return of Marianne Williamson, who will banish the moderate menace to astral prison and misalign the chakras of anyone who stands in the way of progress.