Courtesy of the El Paso Times

Last night marked the latest iteration of debates for the Democratic Presidential primaries. The introduction of two new(ish) candidates – Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), who failed to make the September qualifications but met the October threshold, and billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer, who made his debate debut – made these debates the largest debate stage in history, with 12 candidates total.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who has lately seen her star – and requisite polling – rise, saw her frontrunner status cemented by several lower-tier candidates lobbying attacks her way. Tulsi Gabbard accused CNN of personally attacking her campaign. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) fielded questions about his ability to hold office after suffering a heart attack a few weeks prior. Former Vice-President Joe Biden did a sexist thing.

Overall, a pretty run-of-the-mill debate night.

For those of you who are (or just missed last night's debate), we've decided to recap the highlights from last night.

On our expectations

Shruti Rathnavel (SR): I’m interested in seeing how they’ll speak about impeachment now that House Dems are putting off a vote.

Madison Smith (MS): I feel like the centrists will dance around the impeachment questions while my favorite wonder twins of progressive policy (Warren & Sanders) are gonna go IN.Who the hell is Tom Steyer? There are way too many candidates in this thing right now. Let’s narrow it down people!

Gaby Nadler (GN): What topics are we hoping they’ll cover? You know I’ve gotta say the treatment of news media. Y’all see that video that played at the Trump campaign event?

SR: I’m hoping we get more of a climate and ecology focus this time.


On Impeachment

Courtesy of CNN

MS: “I read the Mueller report. All 442 pages” wow Warren, what a flex. (I love it)

DG: Biden was the last person to call for impeachment, so it's interesting to see him so forceful now...though, given that Trump's getting impeached for trying to get Ukraine to investigate his family, this was a given.

SR: I think Joe Biden only called for impeachment now because the current issue involves him. It’s really not in his interest to have a President Pence.

DG: Sen. Harris is delivering a very strong answer on impeachment, it’s giving me Debate Night 1 vibes. And that debate was a turning point in her campaign.

SR: To be fair, that turning point didn’t last long. I think that anything she accomplishes here that’s short of actual stances isn’t going to have a long term impact.

DG: SIS LMAO. I honestly just want to see what Tulsi will say on impeachment. She’s been criticized roundly for pretty much using Republican talking points on impeachment…..which is why it’s so funny that she still endorsed impeachment before Biden did.

GN: This is honestly too close to the SNL “Impeachment Town Hall” for comfort. Literally no differences between their responses except the way they word it.

DG: Should we watch that skit at our next meeting LMFAOOOOO

On Medicare-For-All

Courtesy of NowThis

DG: SENATOR WARREN, A TOTAL STRANGER TO ME AND SOMEONE I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT AT ALL, IS GIVING A GREAT ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION THAT SHE KEEPS GETTING ASKED ALL THE TIME!!!! I don’t understand why people are so desperate to hear her say the words “I will raise taxes on the middle class” y’all if I pay $500 in taxes and then have a $3000 medical bill, but then M4A happens and I don’t have a medical bill but I have $1000 to pay in taxes……………..I save money! Again, I’m totally unbiased and have absolutely no opinions on Sen. Warren whatsoever…………..

MS: “Will you raise taxes on the middle class to pay for Medicare for All?” THEY’VE ONLY ASKED THIS QUESTION TWENTY MILLION TIMES! Pick a new angle here!

GN: She just said how she’s going to!!!!

SR: Politically, I don’t see why Pete’s attacking approach is smart. He seemed to be trying to look like the fresh face who doesn’t want to be a part of the Washington bickering. I feel like progressives have to be willing to hit back on candidates taking from healthcare industry donors.

MS: I’m sorry how would a well constructed Medicare for All bill make our country more divided than it is now? Just because Obamacare was a flop? If we have someone who is willing to go all the way with Medicare for All how would that be a divisive thing? We see it working in almost every other developed nation, why not here?

DG: I am getting a little tired of the “I wrote this damn bill” line from Bernie lmaooooooooo it was absolutely hilarious the first time it was delivered but that was… July…….

GN: “We’re going to do better than the Canadians” ok Bernie……..

DG: As a Canadian, what are YOUR thoughts Gaby

GNL I mean we have OHIP and it DOES WORK!!!!!!! I don’t know if Americans can reverse their whole system so easily though. I think it’s possible, but will they do better than Canada considering the reluctance of many Americans? I doubt it.

On T*lsi G*bb*rd

Courtesy of the New York Post

DG: Ok Miss Tulsi’s makeup is SNATCHED, I’d say she’s serving but the only thing she’s served is testimony in court while advocating for conversion therapy


MS: Wait. Is Tulsi attacking the media right now? Is that what we’re doing now? What in Republican talking points…. Cancelled.

DG: I had a feeling that Tulsi would attack Warren the way she did Kamala, but it didn't land.….I am actively speechless at what Tulsi Gabbard is saying. I am disgusted that she would continue to defend actively meeting with someone that gasses his citizens as “non-interventionism.”

SR: Tulsi shouldn’t be hitting other people with no good reason, but she’s fundamentally right that the ideal is complete withdrawal. It isn’t our prerogative to decide how other governments should work through military engagement and huge damage in civilian lives.

DG: When Tulsi says “end regime change war” she is playing on our own ugly history of regime change to defend a war criminal who we did not start the war in Syria with. Also, this is a war criminal she had a secret lunch with or whatever. This isn’t about regime change, it’s about human rights. No one is arguing that we should invade more countries willy-nilly, that’s ridiculous, but it’s not a zero-sum game.

MS: Does Gabbard really not understand the implications of taking our troops out of Syria? Does she not see what’s been happening since US troops were pulled out? As the only major world superpower the US doesn’t have the liberty to only focus on its own self-interest once it’s taken actions in a foreign country. Every move has ability to have disastrous effects. AS WE’VE NOW SEEN. She’s on a very right-wing streak tonight, between her views on Syria and by calling out the media. Not here for it.


DG: Why is Tulsi landing an unnecessary jab at Hillary Clinton. She is tired of everyone's shit INCLUDING yours, ma'am

On Pete vs. Beto (and mandatory buybacks)

I just had to, I'm sorry – David

SR: This is devolving so fucking fast. David is gone

MS: Drink every time Beto says something dumb or in Spanish. (Full send if it’s both)

MS: So I’m all for gun control but Beto is ridiculously over-simplifying and under-explaining this so called “plan” of his. He’s like – he’s literally just throwing out these big ideas he think will please progressives. How is he going to enforce buybacks?

GN: Please specify what the consequences for people not giving up their weapons will be Beto, you’re avoiding answering the question.

SR: Beto & Buttigieg - "I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t a white man"

MS: “I DON'T NEED LESSONS FROM YOU IN COURAGE.. WE SHOULD BE UNITED.” Buttigieg just bitch slapped O’Rourke in front of the entire nation.

MS: You know that new movie with Will Smith where he fights his own twin? That’s what I feel like I’m watching with Beto and Pete right now.

GN: I’m still confused about Klobuchar’s reasoning against a mandatory buyback. How is anything Klobuchar says defending her voluntary buyback over a mandatory buyback?

SR: Yeah nothing to defend voluntary buybacks instead of mandatory buybacks. Didn’t expect to agree with Kamala on anything lmao

MS: Say what you will about her but she's one of the strongest leaders in gun policy rn

DG: I'm back from screaming. The Mayor Pete/Beto fight was…..a lot. I support getting guns out of our society, but I have no idea how Beto plans on enforcing mandatory buybacks. I just want him to explain it that's all please Daddy

GN: Ok, I appreciate Castro giving a legitimate reason against mandatory buybacks.

SR: I think his point about the difficulty of mandatory buybacks is very valid. That isn’t a nice thought but it makes sense.

MS: Yeah I agree, I don’t think a mandatory buyback program would work. 1) People would retaliate. 2) It’s unrealistic. 3) It doesn’t address the issue of gun violence as a whole. It’s a cop-out answer. I mean MAYBE an incentive program would work? But still doesn’t address the whole issue.

DG: Personally? Federal registration and licensing, a waiting period, voluntary buybacks, cracking down on guns crossing state lines, and taxing the shit out of guns.

On Joe Biden

DG: I mean, we agree this is bad, right?

GN: “I got you votes” to me it sounds like Biden’’s undermining Warren’s work which is not a good look

MS: You’re right, it’s really not. He comes across as entitled and bitchy. It’s gross.

SR: Yeah like she did the work but he wants brownie points for jumping on board HES SO PATRONIZING

MS: [Warren] “I am deeply grateful to President Obama” AND I OOP- whelp that’s what you get for trying to take credit for creating the agency that Warren built from the ground up! Scumbag! I think he’s deadass trying to mansplain her own agency to her right now! Not! Here! For! It!

DG: Also, people are totally gonna miss this, but when he was talking about the courts he just had to plug that Justice Elena Kagan used to work for him. Ugh!

On that last debate question

GN: They’re really asking about Ellen? In this debate? Feel like there are more relevant and high stake issues they should spend time on

SR: Last question was name one friend?? And they picked this over the climate crisis??????????????????

SR: Castro was caught very off guard

MS: Everyone was caught off guard with this dumbass question. This is stupid. No further comment.

DG: This Ellen question can fucking go to hell where it came from.

GN: These stories are all completely useless and I’m annoyed

Editor's note: David Guirgis was a field organizing fellow with the Elizabeth Warren campaign in Iowa this past summer. You know, if the sarcasm over my not knowing about her wasn't already palpable. The views presented in this story belong to the writers are not necessarily reflective of North by Northwestern as a whole.