Democratic Primaries

Janny Wang - 2B Nanotechnology
Posted on: July 10, 2019

When Benjamin Franklin invented
democracy after a particularly frisky
night at the brothel, he probably
did not anticipate that it would all
culminate in a very evidently stoned
spiritual advisor promising eternal
love, while a short Asian businessman
struggled to make angry libertarian
noises in the background- yet so it
was.

The election of Trump in 2016
sparked off an era of increasingly
outlandish scandals, and for three
and a half years, American liberals
clutched their pearls and their snazzy
protest signs to absolutely no effect.
In this fertile atmosphere of rot and
dismay, presidential candidates sprung
up like flies.

There are the two major contenders;
Sanders, the self-proclaimed socialist,
and Biden, establishment politician
extraordinaire, followed by a gaggle
of semi-known politicians, all more
or less trying to be Bernie Sanders
without being Bernie Sanders- and
after them a panoply of one note
nothings whose mothers might
consider voting for them. So crowded
was the field that the candidates had
to be split into two separate debate
nights.

Night one consisted of Elizabeth
Warren, the progressive senator
perhaps best known for not being
Native American, and some other
people. The evening began on a high
note, when failed Senate candidate
Beto O’Rourke was asked a decidedly
straightforward question about whether
or not he supported a 70% marginal
tax rate and responded by spouting
platitudes and speaking Spanish. This
pretty much set the trend for the rest
of the night; candidates displayed their
mental acuity and presidential wit by
dodging questions and fleeing facts
with such ductility as would make a
gymnast blush.

The major winner in night one
was probably Julian Castro, a
relatively obscure candidate who
distinguished himself from the
crowd by having concrete solutions
instead of interminable stories about
grandmothers dying of cancer. In
one particular refreshing moment, he
challenged Beto O’Rourke to provide
a substantial response to the border
crisis, whereupon the latter stuttered
something about hope and love.

Happily, the first debate was
prevented from floundering into
indecency by the lack of any real
stakes present; except for Warren, none
of the candidates were consistently
polling above five percent. It was,
in effect, a bit of a masturbatory
exercise.

Most of the substantiative candidates
were packed into the second debate.
Alongside Sanders and Biden, the
debate feature Senator Kamala Harris,
a former California Attorney General
widely reviled by the left flank of her
party for enacting an anti- truancy
law which put parents in jail if
their children played hooky, and
Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend
and apparent paragon of progressive
American masculinity.

The effect was, as Harris graciously
put it, “a food fight”. The moderators,
never particularly distinguished to
start off with, absolutely disgraced
themselves by ineffectually pleading
with the candidates for a modicum
of order. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
made herself particularly obnoxious
by inserting herself into every single
exchange to shill for Bernie on his
behalf, while Representative Eric
Salwell screamed at all and sundry to
‘pass the torch’. Amidst all this din,
Pete Buttigieg distinguished himself
by possessing the countenance of a
relatively decent human being, lack of
substantial policies notwithstanding.

Biden, undoubtedly the frontrunner
going into the debate, spent the
entire night reminding everyone he
was Obama’s vice president and
subsequently getting attacked from all
sides. In one particularly noteworthy
moment, Kamala Harris criticized him
for his dubious civil rights record,
whereupon he decided to boldly buck
the leftward trend by resurrecting the
state’s rights argument from the 70s.

The second night had its own
breakout star, of an entirely different
character from the first. Marianne
Williamson, a self -help author and
self-proclaimed spiritual advisor,
was, by some evident flaw in the
democratic process, allowed to
wander onto the stage and ponder at
length on the aura of the American
people. The viewers were treated to
a singularly surreal moment, when
Mrs. Williamson declared that her first
act as President would be to call the
Prime Minister of New Zealand. While
other candidates attempted to flash a
semblance of an actionable plan, Mrs.
Williamson promised to harness the
political power of love to transform
the souls of the American people.

The substantive winner of
the second debate, however, was
Kamala Harris, who won points for
dunking on Vice President Biden
and projecting a general aura of calm
competence. Biden, on the other
hand, tumbled nearly ten points to a
tenuous lead, when it transpired that
being Obama’s vice president was
not commendation enough for most
voters. Sanders’ polling numbers
were relatively unchanged, probably
because he conducted himsel with the
demeanour, and the eloquence, of a
slab of socialist stone for most of the
debate, and said nothing remarkable
for good or ill.

The debates have wrought some
remarkable changes over the
political scene, particularly with
regards to the unexpected rise of
Julian Castro and the unnecessary
name recognition now possessed by
Marianne Williamson. However, the
primaries are still months away and
it is, to ape the favoured phrase of
political commentators everywhere,
‘still too early to tell’.

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