After two months of two-day debate circuses, featuring 10 candidates on-stage, it’s time to look forward to the next round, where the qualifications are much stricter. To make the stage in September, candidates must have 130,000 donors and be polling at 2% in four polls.
That spells the end for many campaigns, including Marianne Williamson’s, who spoke about “dark psychic forces” released by Donald Trump, but made surprisingly good points about reparations and the Flint, Michigan water crisis.
Girlfriend, you were so on..? It also means trouble for low-polling candidates like Kirsten Gillibrand, who closed the last debate by asking for people to help her “so I can make the next debate stage.”
Only seven candidates have qualified so far, including Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker. Others who might qualify are Amy Klobuchar, Andrew Yang, and Julian Castro.
In honor of these debates ending, let’s take a look back at some of the best moments and burns, in no particular order:
1. “I don’t know why someone would go through all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for” – Elizabeth Warren
Many of the moderates on-stage Tuesday tried to paint Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren’s policies, such as single-payer healthcare, as impossible dreams and fodder for Republicans.
Warren, clearly frustrated with their lack of imagination and forward-thinking, responded. After this, Delaney’s Wikipedia page was briefly changed to “murdered by Elizabeth Warren during the July debate.”
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) July 31, 2019
2. “I wrote the damn bill!” – Bernie Sanders
Directed at Tim Ryan, who asked the Senator what Medicare for All would mean for unions.
While Bernie explained that union members would benefit, since Medicare for all would cover hearing aids, dental care and other services for seniors, Ryan responded, “You don’t know that.” Ryan definitely felt the Bern after that one.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 31, 2019
3. “You’re wrong.” – also Bernie
Bernie easily dismissed another Medicare for All critic — this time John Delaney, who claimed the plan was “political suicide” — with a simple “you’re wrong.”
— CNN (@CNN) July 31, 2019
4. “That little girl was me.” – Kamala Harris
A game-changer for her campaign.
In the first Democratic debate, Senator Kamala Harris announced that she wanted to talk about race, and began a (clearly prepared) story about how she was bussed to school growing up.
She then turned to Joe Biden and pointed out that he had opposed the policy during the Civil Rights era. The former VP was caught completely off-guard, and the exchange cemented her status as a front-runner.
It also put a target on her back, making her vulnerable to attacks during the second debate.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 28, 2019
5. “We’re up here with make-up on our faces and our rehearsed attack lines, playing roles in this reality TV show.” – Andrew Yang
Calling out the debates for the artifice that they really are. The “rehearsed attack” line instantly made me think of Kamala’s Biden attack last debate.
But it could also refer to Tulsi Gabbard’s attack on Kamala, or Bill de Blasio’s attempts to goad Biden into responding, or Julian Castro’s surprise critique to Beto O’Rourke on immigration.
It paints a really scary picture of American politics — and I think he’s right.
6. “You’re dipping into the Kool-Aid when you don’t even know the flavor” – Cory Booker
Whether or not people actually say this, it gave the Senator, who’s been solidly mid-tier this election cycle, his breakout moment. It came during an exchange with Biden, while the two sparred over their criminal justice records.
The moment Booker dropped Kool-Aid pic.twitter.com/4cuzvKeDL1
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) August 1, 2019
Analysts praised Booker’s performance, proclaiming he won that night of the debates.
7. “Girlfriend, you are so on.” – Marianne Williamson
Not a burn, but definitely one of the funniest things I’ve seen — not just on the debate stage, but on TV in a long time.
Asked what her first action as President would be, the self-help guru said she would call up the Prime Minister of New Zealand, to tell her she was… on?
At the moment, I genuinely thought this was a compliment to another female leader. Like, right on, girl!
But apparently, the New Zealand PM had promised her country would be the best place for children to grow up, and Williamson was preparing to compete for that spot.
8. “The first thing I’m gonna do is Clorox the Oval Office.” – Kirsten Gillibrand
I have to respect this answer: you gotta get the Trump disease out of there ASAP.
And now all I can think about when I say “ASAP” is Trump tweeting, “It’s been a Rocky Week, get home ASAP A$AP.” Great.