CNN #DemDebate Liveblog: Election Boogaloo

The CNN Democratic Debate is tonight! Bernie Sanders & Hillary Clinton are going head to head, as we drudge into the next round of caucuses and primaries. In a couple weeks time, more than 50% of delegates will be spoken for, so this upcoming stretch is key for an underdog candidate like Sanders.  As I wrote earlier today:

Yesterday[‘s primaries] hardly locked up a nomination for any candidate on either side, so we continue trudging forward in this strange game we call Democracy. There’s another string of primaries and caucuses coming up over the next 10 days, with plenty of delegates at stake on both sides of the aisle: 888 Democratic delegates (~1/3 of total delegates needed to win the nomination), and 577 (~1/2 of needed delegates) for the Republicans.

The debate is taking place in Flint, Michigan, where the Flint Water Crisis is finally starting to receive nationwide attention. Last week’s GOP Debate took place in Detroit, and GOP Candidates had a chance offer their solutions to the water crisis (after Trump guaranteed us the size of his penis was “no problem.”). Tonight we will likely get to hear both Democratic candidates talk about how they’d handle the Flint situation (hopefully with less talk of Trump’s penis).

You can live stream the entire thing live (no cable needed) through one of the following methods:

Come back throughout the night for updates, and snark galore!

10:03 PM Update: 

And that’s a wrap! Join us on Wednesday, because there’s going to be yet another one of these damn debates.

10:00 PM Update: 

Closing statements:

Sanders: “We are the wealthiest country in the history of the world. But most people don’t know that because most of the income is going to the top 1%. It is too late for establishment politics.” Also says ordinary people need to stage a political revolution. This is a strong message to his base, but I’m not sure it’s going to bring in anyone new at this point.

Clinton: “I’m running for president to knock down barriers to America realizing its potential. […] We have a lot of work to do.” Gives a shoutout to the barriers of financial inequity AND system racism. This is a solid answer that speaks to Clinton’s ability to know how to speak to a broader group of voters than just her base.

9:56 PM Update:

Question: “To whom and for whom do you pray?”

Clinton answers that she prays for the will of God to be known. I wish there had been a broader and more inclusive answer here.

9:56 PM Update:

“[Being Jewish] is an essential part of who I am.” – Bernie Sanders

9:52 PM Update:

Question: “Do you believe God is relevant and why do you feel that way?”

Sanders has a great interfaith answer here, and then he speaks to his own secular values (without using those terms). Overall, a good answer.

9:52 PM Update:

Sanders: “I would love to run against Donald Trump.” Can you imagine the yelling?

9:48 PM Update:

Here’s a great resource on what HRC really thinks about fracking:

Clinton, who was sworn in as secretary of state in early 2009, believed that shale gas could help rewrite global energy politics. “This is a moment of profound change,” she later told a crowd at Georgetown University. “Countries that used to depend on others for their energy are now producers. How will this shape world events? Who will benefit, and who will not?…The answers to these questions are being written right now, and we intend to play a major role.”

9:45 PM Update: 

Commercial Break! You know what that means. Gif recap!

9:44 PM Update: 

Ehhhh Bernie, that ableist “lol republicans are mentally ill” stuff isn’t a great look.

9:43 PM Update:

9:39 PM Update: 

Honestly surprised to see climate change brought up tonight. Dems always seem to avoid this question. Sanders calls climate change a “national crisis,” and says the scientists back up his assertion. Yay science!

9:38 PM Update: 

On the question of fracking, Clinton says that she has too many conditions that allow fracking to exist. Bernie simply says “No” to supporting fracking.

9:37 PM Update: 

Sanders says that engineers suggest we need “trillions” to get our crumbling infrastructure up to a “decent” level again. Says he would start to fund that by cutting corporate welfare and create jobs in the process.

9:34 PM Update: 

Time to talk infrastructure. Spoiler alert, it’s a mess!

9:28 PM Update: 

Sanders: “We will have the best education system in the world.” I want to hear more about how that would happen.

9:27 PM Update:

“Who’s going to ensure that the policies & procedures will be put in place that will ensure a successful future for our students?”

Sanders response is first to applaud her for working for change. I think Sanders understands the power of direct action much more than Clinton does.

9:24 PM Update:

Your periodic reminder on why Jamil Smith is a national treasure:

9:20 PM Update: 

Commercial Break! Time for a gif recap:

9:11 PM Update: 

Hillary shouts out Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, and systemic racism. Says she will never understand what it’s like to give your kid “the talk.”

Bernie Sanders talked about how a young black man couldn’t take a taxi twenty years ago (it’s honestly not much better today), which is not his strongest answer. He brings it back to another individual talked to him about how everyday activities are harder for black people, then says “My answer would be the same as the secretary’s [Clinton’s].”

Gotta say that Clinton’s answer was stronger here.

9:10 PM Update: 

Don Lemon: “What racial blind spots do you have?”

HRC: “Well let me answer that other question…”

Don Lemon: “I’m gonna ask this again…”

9:05 PM Update: 

Does Sanders really not understand that throwing back to his civil rights work in the 60s isn’t a good look? This is why he’s losing votes from people of color.

9:05 PM Update: 

Sanders brings the question back to the here & now, saying if he’s president, “we will not have more people in jail than any other country.”

9:03 PM Update: 

Clinton deflecting with “Well Sanders voted for the ’94 crime bill too!” isn’t an answer.

9:01 PM Update: 

This pretty much sums up my entire thought on that whole gun control back & forth:

9:00 PM Update: 

Clinton is making a great point, that accountability forces gun manufacturers to make their products safer.

8:52 PM Update: 

Clinton demands accountability for gun manufacturers – good.

8:52 PM Update: 

Mad props to the father of Abigail Kropf, who was injured in the Kalamazoo shooting. Says he doesn’t want to hear any answers that include tightening gun restrictions around mental illness.

8:49 PM Update: 

Annnnd we’re back! Cooper leads into a question about the Uber driver shooting in Kalamazoo, MI. I hope we hear something about gun control tonight.

8:45 PM Update: 

Commercial break! Here’s my gif recap of the night so far:


8:43 PM Update:

A Twitter account about Donald Trump’s penis is @’ing us on Twitter, so you could say I’m pretty over 2016.

8:41 PM Update: 

“Democrats are not always right. Democrats are often supporting corporate welfare. Democrats have supported disastrous trade polices.” – Sanders

8:33 PM Update: 

Twitter is pointing out that Sanders did in fact eventually support the auto bailout. Did he bring this up & I just missed it?

8:31 PM Update: 

Clinton brings it back to Bernie’s single-issue tendencies. This is a smart strategy, as Sanders continues to get hammered on the perception that he focuses on economic issues to the detriment of other issues.

8:27 PM Update: 

Sanders pivots away from the auto industry and brings it back to economics (his specialty). Clinton sort of set him up there, but the way he shouted down Clinton wasn’t a good look for him.

8:25 PM Update: 

Sanders is right that NAFTA brought huge economic problems to much of America. As would TPP, something Clinton has supported (she now claims to be against it).

8:20 PM Update: 

I thought for a second Clinton’s “carrots and sticks” was a Trump penis reference.

8:20 PM Update: 

Bernie sounds defensive when asked why he just showed up in Flint a week ago. Neither candidate has a great record here.

8:13 PM Update: 

Sanders is asked whether he’d fire the head of the EPA. His response is basically “I’d fire any motherfucker who knew!”

8:12 PM Update: 

After an amicable opening, Bernie is the first to take the gloves off, asking whether we should turn to Wall St. to fix the Flint Crisis. #Bern?

8:10 PM Update: 

Sanders brings up that Flint residents are paying 3x more for poisoned water than he is for clean water. Good to see him bring up that these residents shouldn’t be paying for this water at all.

8:03 PM Update: 

Bernie Sanders starts his opening remarks, by saying the Flint Water Crisis is “beyond belief.” Actually it’s not – because it’s not just Flint.

Both Sanders & Clinton call for the recall of the governor of Michigan – contrast that with Rubio who said this shouldn’t be politicized. I don’t believe I’ve heard Clinton make that call before.

8:01 PM Update: 

Right off the bat: promises to address questions about the Flint Water Crisis. I’m hoping we get more substance here than we did at the GOP Debate.

8:00 PM Update: 

Ugh, Don Lemon. Can we not?

7:59 PM Update:

The proceedings begin with moment of silence for Nancy Reagan. Maybe we can have a moment of silence for all the lives her and her husband’s policies ruined.


Courtney Caldwell

Courtney Caldwell is an intersectional feminist. Her talents include sweary rants, and clogging your social media with pictures of her dogs (and occasionally her begrudging cat). She's also a political nerd, whose far-left tendencies are a little out of place in the deep red Texas.

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  1. Just a quick note: Sanders only ‘shouted down’ Clinton when she was speaking during his time. Debates have rules. You’re only given a certain amount of time to answer each question (to prevent Gish gallops), and she consistently went over, and interrupted him. That said, most people don’t care about debate rules, so it’s a case of “lose five to gain fifty”. (I can’t help but think of the OJ Simpson case. The LAPD is racist, no doubt, and most of them don’t go traipsing around in a Klan outfit like Fuhrman, but OJ even had the balls to write a confessional later.)

    Sanders supported the auto bailout. He did not support the bank bailout. Some of the second bank bailout was redirected to the auto industry. That’s what she’s getting him on.

    Actually, the bill in question would’ve meant that say, Bob acquires a gun. The background check checks out, or Bob purchases it on the black market, or Bob stole it. Bob fires the gun at a bunch of people. Their families can now sue the manufacturer. (The gun worked properly. Bob was just defective.)

    Bernie did score points with “superpredators” (If I were the Sanders campaign, I would’ve been playing that message from Day One.), but stuff from over half a century ago was so yesterday.

    Finally got some questions where we get to point out the difference between the parties on science. Democrats accept it.

    Religious question was probably intended to remind the anti-Semites that Bernie is, in fact, Jewish.

  2. Sanders is awesome- I’ve always supported him. Loved his direct answer to the fracking question and his support for clean energy and he always called for the Michigan governor to step down.

    Always follow the money trail.

  3. I loved how Sanders stated the Golden Rule in response to the question about believing in a god. Sanders is definitely a different kind of Jew from Netanyahu.

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