CNN gets you hooked, there’s no doubt about it. The televised introduction to the debate is something out of a sporting event— montage of headline-worthy chants set to make your blood boil. Watching each candidate step onto the stage is gladiatorial, what with the superficial formalities, almost misleading to what always follows: a political bloodbath, wrought with treachery, deception and each candidate nauseating self-promotion.
You could distinguish the candidates into three primary groups: progressive (Sanders and Warren), moderate (Buttigieg, O’Rourke, and Kloubachour), and finally an indistinguishable collective of straight white men who would have been hot shit thirty years ago (Delaney, Hickenlooper, and Ryan).
For the conservative Democrats (addressed last), the name of the game was recognition, as with their consistently low polling, Tuesday was make or break. Although written off by every major politics publication, according to my fifty-something father they’re the real deal. Everytime John Delaney spoke Dean-o would mutter an increasingly redundant, “I like him,” even after Elizabeth Warren opened a can of whoop-ass on the stammering Delaney—going as far to question the legitimacy of his candidacy - “I don’t understand why anybody goes to all the trouble of running for president of the United States just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t fight for”
Sanders was the winner of the night. Bernie did more than dismiss claims that he was too old for the highest office. He, laying his younger contemporaries down for an early nap. While discussing health care, Sanders adequately defended his Democratic Socialist ideology, thus obliterating what once was John Delaney. Imagine, Delaney hears Bernie’s “Medicare for all is comprehensive… It covers all health care means.” He gives himself a silent pep-talk, carefully formulating the words, then blurting out a half-assed “You don’t know that… [Mr. Sanders] doesn’t know all the union contracts in the United States. Bernie doesn’t know that” only to be politically ended with a sharp “I do know it. I wrote the damn bill!” I figure it will be no time before we see it on a t-shirt.
The antithesis to Sanders's borderline rockstar performance stood at the far left stage. Representing an increasingly popular form of political appeal (ie… glitz and glamor and no substance) Marianne Williamson, self-help author, drew praise from Donald Trump Jr. who, in his expected Fratboy manner, tweeted: “People are gonna think I’m trolling, but compared to what else is on this stage I think Marriane Williamson is actually winning this thing.”
Williamson is representative of something deeply fucked up in contemporary politics. Why elect someone with political depth when you have the soundbite? Why spend years formulating ideologies and gaining political clout when you can say something slightly psycho and have the major news outlets devoting primetime coverage to you and what some would say, lack of substance.
If we’ve learned anything from our most recent presidency, it’s that fucks are no longer given to the most applicable solutions. The debate, regardless of the party, is all politics and no policy. We saw it in Trump, and, if we’re not careful, we’ll see it in Williamson.
Luke Iandoli is a sophomore at Simon's Rock and the Director of Current Events for The Weekly Cad.