The Democratic candidates held their first debate of 2016 last night, and it was a doozy! Just kidding — it was mostly rigged again for Hillary Clinton, who appears to be the candidate of choice for debate moderators. Here’s a recap of the parts we stayed awake for, from a conservative Republican’s point-of-view.
Lester Holt: Good evening from South Carolina. I’m here with my partner, Andrea Mitchell! Our purpose tonight is to examine and highlight exactly how awesome Hillary Rodham Clinton is. We will also do our best to frame the questions in a way that makes it impossible for you to want to vote for anyone but her. Let’s get started.
Sec. Hillary Clinton: Good evening. We stand here on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, ready to continue to fight his fight. I saw him speak in my teens, and it was transformative. Much like it will be for teens seeing me speak today.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: Here we stand on the eve of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, ready to continue his vision to transform our country. I too saw Dr. King speak. In fact, I tried to get him to endorse me in my first term. He liked me, and I liked him. Also, the economy is rigged.
Gov. Martin O’Malley: Hi, my name is Martin O’Malley and — ding!
Holt: I’m sorry, Gov. O’Malley, you’re out of time. Our first question is to Sen. Sanders. What big plans do you have for your first 100 days in office?
Sanders: My first 100 days will be about bringing America together with universal health care for everyone, a $15-an-hour minimum wage and free, government-provided bagels on Tuesdays.
Clinton: In my first 100 days, I will find clean, renewable energy for our country, improve on ObamaCare and finally get equal pay for equal work for women — starting with me.
O’Malley: Iwanttogetwagesupforallandmakeiteasierforeveryonetoworkandraisetheminimumwage andfightclimatechangeandgetanewagendaforAmericancitiesand — ding!
Holt: Sorry again, Gov. O’Malley, your five seconds are up. Nice job fitting so much into your allotted time, though! Next question is again for Sen. Sanders. Sen. Sanders, you’ve really changed your stance gun control over the years. Some, such as the Clinton campaign folks handing us questions, might even call you a “flip-flopper.” Have you flip-flopped?
Sanders: THAT IS SO DISINGENUOUS. I HAVE A D+ FROM THE NRA. THAT IS BARELY ABOVE AN F. AND NOW YOU’RE MAKING ME SHOUT WHEN I PROMISED I WOULDN’T UNTIL I SAID “SUPER PAC.”
Holt: But did you flip-flop?
Sanders: Of course not. I voted on bills with good stuff in them — good stuff! They had a little bad, but mostly good, which is why I voted on them. Also, Sec. Clinton is disingenuous. I like that word and use it at least once every debate.
Mitchell: OK! Another question for Sen. Sanders. Sec. Clinton is beating you pretty fiercely in all the polls. What do you have to say about that?
Sanders: I think sometimes polls lie. I’m going all around the country, talking to these youngsters, and they like me! We are going to start a revolution! A revolution with a near-centurion at the helm. It’s amazing!
Clinton: If I may jump in, my campaign is doing all the right things, which is why we are leading in the polls. It’s my turn. I may have lost to the young, hip guy in the 2008, but this time I am the young, hip one.
O’Malley: I’m not convinced the polls are right either. They say I’m at 2 percent, but I’m pretty sure I’m at at least 3 percent. Maybe 4 percent.
Holt: That’s enough talking from you, Gov. O’Malley. On to a video question from a YouTuber.
Holt: (after the video question) Sen. Sanders, what’s your answer?
Sanders: (waking up) What? I’m sorry, I fell asleep and couldn’t hear the question. It’s after 9 p.m. on a Sunday, for Pete’s sake!
Holt: The question was, how will you be sure police officers are properly investigated when they are involved in on-duty shootings?
Sanders: By “properly investigated” you mean indicted, right?
Holt: I’m pretty sure that is what was meant.
Sanders: OK, easy. Every single police shooting will be investigated federally by the attorney general’s office. They did such a great job with Fast and Furious, I’m sure they will have no problem with every single police shooting across the nation. Also, we need more diversity on the police force. A police force should reflect the community it serves. I’m sure that won’t be hard to do at all — make police departments only hire a certain number of each race?
Clinton: If I may jump in here?
Holt: Of course, Madame President.
Clinton: Thanks. Listen, we need to have change. When I think of that poor young man, Walter Scott, being shot in the back as he ran away? It hurts my heart. Well, it hurts the space where a heart would be if I had one. We can’t have more of that. He had his whole life ahead of him! He was only 50 years old. We need to ensure more of that doesn’t happen. I know the officer involved was charged with murder, but we need to be sure all officers in all shootings are charged with murder.
Holt: Well said, Sec. Clinton, as everything you say always is. On to another YouTube question.
(Video question best summarized as, “Y’all are all old. How will you connect with young people like me and win our votes?”)
Clinton: I’d like to tackle this one first, please. Young YouTuber, this is a great question, and to answer it, I would say this: I will do whatever it takes to connect with you and win your vote. Did you see my interview with Lena Dunham? I pop into SNL anytime they let me. And my God, I went on the Ellen Show and whipped and nae naed. I’m just like you! I dance just like you! I’d do it right here, but our focus groups all showed no one would be watching this debate, and I like to save stunts like that for times when they will be actually seen by young voters. You young whippersnappers are all watching football right now. But seriously, I will do anything to win you back from Bernie over here. I don’t understand his appeal at all — none of the polling data showed you wanted someone even older than I am.
Sanders: I don’t need to connect more with you — I’m already the most popular candidate in colleges! Ben and Jerry’s is going to make an ice cream flavor in my honor! Do you know how much street cred that will get me with the stoner crew? Hillary wishes she was as cool as The Bern.
O’Malley: You know, I’m not that much older than these young people we are talking about, and I can easily connect with them based on — ding!
Holt: Sorry again, Gov. O’Malley, your time is up. On to a topic we all love: banks and Wall Street. Sec. Clinton, you’ve been hit hard by Sen. Sanders on your relationships with both. Care to defend yourself? Take all the time you need.
Clinton: (long, rambling answer that has seemingly no end but includes the very self-unaware statement that “no individual should be too big to jail.”)
Sanders: GLASS-STEAGALL! TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLAR SPEAKING FEES! CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS!
O’Malley: Can I get 30 seconds too? Please?
Mitchell: Absolutely not, strange man whose name I’m not even sure of.
Holt: Moving on. Sec. Clinton, your husband was president for eight years. How much input will he have in your presidency? Just kitchen table discussions, or will he advise you in an official capacity?
Clinton: Well, considering I don’t talk to Bill outside of official appearances, I don’t think he’ll be involved much. I’m kidding! Not really, I’m quite serious. We haven’t shared a bed in years.
Mitchell: I’ve just received this question from Sec. Clinton’s campaign staff — Sen. Sanders, you said some pretty mean things about Bill Clinton. Would you like to apologize? Take all the time you need (mouths to Sec. Clinton, “I love you so much.”).
Sanders: I meant what I said. He did some deplorable things back in the day. But if it hurt her feelings, I’m sorry. I don’t like to hurt feelings. Here, have a Werther’s Original. They make everything better.
Holt: OK! Time for closing statements! Sec. Clinton?
Clinton: I am a woman of action. I get things done. When I find out bad things are happening, I send aides into the field, then I issue statements on TV. It is how change happens, and it is how my presidency will be run. Thank you.
Sanders: VIVA LA REVOLUTION. FEEL THE BERN.
O’Malley: Is it my turn now? For real? Like, I get to talk? OMG OK! So, I have big plans if I win this election. Let me quickly tell you why I need and deserve your vote — ding!
Holt: That’s all the time we have for tonight. We are finishing up a few minutes early because we are way past bedtime for these candidates, especially on a Sunday night before a federal holiday. If you accidentally tuned in looking for a playoff game, we are sorry for disappointing you. We will work better to hide the next debate so you aren’t likely to stumble across it again. From South Carolina, good night!
(Bonus! Bernie side eyes, which is the very best thing ever!)