Gasping for Air: A Recap of the Presidential Debates, but it’s only the Ones who Sucked

My first year living in Collegetown has been fantastic. I’m one of six guys living in a newly renovated house. Being quite political, it excites me to be at school during the 2020 race—especially since my friends are truly representative of America’s current ideological landscape. Between my housemates and I, we have a communist, an ultranationalist, an ecoterrorist, an incel, an anti-Semite, and five guys who don’t follow the news. Therefore, it falls on me to keep them informed.

Now, look: I may not “be registered to vote” or “pay my taxes,” but I’m a first-class political junkie. And that’s why I’m here! I’m going to break down the catastrophic performances from the first three presidential debates, so you don’t get confused when the one face you recognize from the cover of Time Magazine isn’t on stage anymore.

The debate’s loser bracket started with a quip from Andrew Yang, who challenged the fiasco that has been this primary. A proponent of universal basic income, he asked “Why are we even having a debate? What are you fucking dumb? It’s a thousand dollars a month, this isn’t hard.”

Literal rising star Beto O’Rourke used his opening statement to climb atop the debate podium. Not to be outshone, Cory Booker quickly copy-catted and stood his glistening, bald head with O’Rourke at the highest vantage point. Then, Beto, always one step ahead, pulled a stepstool out from Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s backpack, placed it on top of the podium, and stood on top of that.

In the midst of the pissing contest, Amy Klobuchar (whose team has marketed to the youth market as Amy Klobu-Charizard, even though she comes across more like Amy Cliché-buchar) declared, “The tallest tree falls the hardest!” She then unsheathed an axe, channeled the energy of her Minnesota, lumberjack constituents, and bisected O’Rourke. 

Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard used the casual violence to pivot towards America’s controversial war policy. “I have seen first-hand the United States’ plans to weaponize Experiment 626 for imprecise strikes which will maim thousands.” Some people got the reference, but a lot more were too distracted at how unexpectedly baritone her voice is.

Recovering from his injuries, but falling several points in the polls since, O’Rourke took another crack at the limelight by getting into a Spanish-language back-and-forth with Julian Castro (AKA the other Castro brother from the other Castro brothers). Nobody knew what they were saying, but combined with Joe Biden’s senile, beatbox-like mutterings, it sorta sounded like a rap battle, which was fucking sweet.

At that point Andrew Yang asked the moderators, “I can sort of speak Cantonese. How many points is that worth?” But just as MSNBC was going to have Yang’s vocal cords severed, Pete Buttigieg—looking real spiffy in his hall monitor uniform—took the opportunity to share some empty polemics about party unity. Unfortunately for Pete, Julian Castro came back with a doozy. 

Being an expert at riding the fence between establishment and progressive, Castro gracefully appealed to both the party’s religious moderates and abortionier-left. “I value God, but I’m also active in the child-free subreddit. That’s why whenever I volunteer to baptize babies at my church, I always make sure to drown a few.”

Seizing the moment, Bill de Blasio
queued up a video on an iPad and just let it play. When it was over, moderator Jake Tapper followed-up, saying, “Expand on that.” To which de Blasio responded, “No.”

During the closing statements, Andrew Yang reminded everybody, “It’s not left, it’s not right, it’s straight into your motherfucking bank account.” Kamala Harris said something cringey about Trump, but I couldn’t understand her because she kept laughing over her own joke.

And there you have it! That was everything that the irrelevant people did over the past three debates. Hopefully now the media will focus more on the serious candidates like Mike Bennett, Mike Gravel, and Firecracker Mike who keeps his stash in the sewer behind the elementary school. Oh wait, did I mention that you have to be named Mike to be President? Because that’s kind of important.

M.D. ’20

Header image credit: Shane Goldmacher and Adriana Ramic’s piece in the New York Times, edited by E.S. ’20, B.F. ’21, and V.R. ’21

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