The first pair of Democratic Party debates in Miami created headlines, viral moments, and for a few, hangovers.
There is danger of that again in the second round, to begin tonight. The candidate field remains enormous, if changed. Last time, of 24 hopefuls, 20 participated, with Massachusetts congressman Seth Moulton and Miramar (FL) Mayor Wayne Messam among those not on stage. A podium was left open for vanished aviator Amelia Earhart, but she did not return.
Messam and Moulton are still on the outs, having failed to reach 1% in the polls as well as secure 65,000 unique donors. The qualifying groups have changed. Missing from the stage this time will be California congressman and future Junior Anti-Sex League leader Eric Swalwell, who has dropped out. Meanwhile Montana governor Steve Bullock, blacked out last time, made the cut.
Two new candidates, Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak and billionaire investor Tom Steyer, both failed to qualify. A breathtaking 25th candidate, former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel, is being dealt with in a unique manner. Since the Democratic National Committee has no “Because we just don’t like that freaking guy” provision written into its charter, it’s elected to keep Gravel out of the debate on the grounds that he hasn’t met the polling requirement (he has enough donors).
CNN helped, publishing a write-up about the field and its entrants that ingeniously did not mention Gravel at all. Fortunately, the party and its broadcast partner balanced this decision by having lineups for the individual debates chosen via a randomized lottery ripped off from the NBA (The Ringer even wrote a story about it).
As for the debate rules, in the interest of preserving life, we’re loosening them. Take bonus or voluntary shot when any candidate talks about a real job he or she had once, brags about immigrant roots, or attempts to virally cancel another candidate.
Double shot when Harris pretends to be in favor of Medicare for All, Williamson uses the word “love,” Delaney reminds you at any point of John Kasich, Hickenlooper talks about pie, Sanders begins a sentence with “Good,” or Joe Biden invokes Obama or looks to the moderator for help.
Then drink EVERY TIME you hear:
- Existential threat
- Mitch McConnell (double for “Moscow Mitch”)
- Trump is (rehearsed witticism)
- (Something something) is a human right
- (Speaks Spanish)
- “This is not who we are.”
- “Not above the law.”
If you feel you must, drink after “Baltimore” or “go back,” and finish the remainder of the bottle at any misuse of the word, “literally.”
Designate a driver!