Another Democratic debate has come and gone. If you didn’t know that it was happening, you’re not alone. The Democratic National Committee, for reasons passing in understanding, has chosen to have as few debates as possible in the worst times as possible. At one point, 350,000 people were watching the debate on YouTube, which was a strategic partner in the NBC debate. Great numbers for the Internet, but to put that in context, 11 million people watched the GOP debate on Thursday.
Another strange problem you probably noticed with the debates, were the insane amount of commercial breaks. TIME broke down the percentage of time each candidates got when answering questions and addressing issues. Sanders and Clinton both got 33 percent and a close second was advertising time, which took up nearly a third of the entire debate. Governor Martin O’Malley is polling at 2.3 percent — which is roughly equivalent to what Rand Paul and John Kasich are polling on the GOP side.
If it was a strategic decision by the DNC or NBC to put O’Malley in the corner, it backfired with both Twitter viewers and audience members who felt bad for him.
But if you missed the whole thing, here’s a recap… in gif form:
1. What’ll you do when you first enter the White House?
Sanders, unsurprisingly wants the first things to be economic based.
Clinton’s first things are equal pay, good jobs, clean energy.
O’Malley: wages, labor unions, comprehensive immigration reform.
A fight broke out between Sanders and Clinton over firearms. Sanders defended his record on guns by saying he’s from a rural hunting state, while Clinton pointed out he voted against the Brady Bill, but he also has a D- from the NRA. Sanders said, “Gun manufacturer’s liability bill has some good provisions.”
Clinton: “Yes, look, I have made it clear based on Sen. Sanders’ own record that he has voted with the NRA, with the gun lobby numerous times. He voted against the Brady Bill five times.”
O’Malley called BS on both of them, saying that both have flip-flopped on the issues of guns. “No self-respecting hunter who doesn’t need an AR-15 to take down a deer.”
3. Everybody wants criminal justice reform.
Everyone wants cops to be held accountable for shooting unarmed civilians. Sanders would have his Justice Department run the investigation and Clinton asked, “One out of three black men could end up incarcerated, what would we do if it was one out of three white men?” Well said.
Everyone agreed the War on Drugs has failed. Clinton made it about heroin, and said cops and first responders need the antidote to save overdose victims. “We need to move away from treating the use of drugs as a crime and, instead move it to where it belongs — as a health issue.”
Sanders wants a revolution for mental health since addiction, he said, is a disease. He also brought up Big Pharma’s responsibility in the matter of drugs since many more people are addicted to prescription drugs than drugs like heroin.
Nobody talked about national legalization of marijuana.
500 points were then given to Gryffindor:
The major difference was Clinton’s more practical approach and Sanders’ more idealistic. Clinton praised the successes of the Affordable Care Act and wrapped herself in the warm embrace of President Obama. She said she wanted to defend and build upon it. Sanders touted the fact that he actually wrote the ACA bill in the Senate and wants to work toward universal health care. But Sanders doesn’t think it’ll ever happen because money in politics is too powerful and corporations own Congress.
Wall Street was all:
6. Young people
Finally, a question about the largest demographic, the Millennial Generation, who this year eclipsed Baby Boomers as the largest block of voters. (Yes, I’m biased because I’m a Millennial.)
Clinton went immediately to college affordability and touted her plan. Moderators then broke in and asked what Clinton thinks about the fact that Millennials support Sanders by a 2-1 margin. She said she’s leaving no voter unturned and is going after everyone’s vote. Great answer, but Sanders is still winning young voters.
That’s all NBC sought to ask about the topic and it was left for only one candidate to answer. FAIL
7. Wall Street
Sanders is the clear winner when it comes to slamming Wall Street, but Clinton wouldn’t cede the ground. Sanders slammed Clinton for taking money from Goldman Sachs for a speaking gig and for having a Super PAC which Sanders refuses to have on moral grounds. Clinton said there should be no bank that is too big to fail and then bizarrely went after Sanders — who apparently called Obama out at one point for cozying up to Wall Street. An interesting pivot, though I’m not sure a wise decision to draw attention to past mean statements about Obama.
O’Malley came to Sanders’ aid by calling out Clinton’s plan, too. At this point we hadn’t heard from him in a while, so it was nice to see the moderators realized he was still there.
8. Climate Change
Exciting to see a question about climate change. You won’t see that in a GOP debate. But the question and answers were short-lived. Unfortunately, with such an important issue facing our country, NBC couldn’t spend more than a few minutes on it.
Sanders says that young people get climate change and are demanding action. The deniers are dying off. He also cracked a joke about Donald Trump, who said that climate change was invented by the Chinese. It’s true, here’s the tweet:
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
O’Malley begged for 30 seconds to talk about it. The audience applauded efforts to get the moderators to allow O’Malley back into the debate. He encouraged both candidates to take the pledge to make the United States 100 percent on clean energy by 2050.
Clinton wasn’t allowed to answer, Holt went to commercial, for like the 30th time.
9. Everyone likes the Iran Deal.
Dems to the GOP be like:
Clinton said no to ground forces. Sanders chastised the GOP for not learning lessons from Iraq and for wanting the United States to rush to another costly war in Syria and send in ground forces. O’Malley, however, crushed it with this one: “Please don’t refer to my son as a pair of boots on the ground,” he said quoting a request from the mother of a soldier he met.
An issue more complicated than the 2 minutes everyone got, but that’s all NBC gave them, because they really needed to take another commercial break to make those Benjamins.
Everyone wants to defeat and kill ISIS. Sanders wants to get rid of Assad. Both are glad Russia is on board now. O’Malley wants us to be using human intelligence and diplomatic (or covert) intelligence a hell of a lot better.
Clinton wants us to lose some of our nukes and Russia’s too. When asked about her relationship with Putin she said it was “interesting.”
13. Spying on Americans
O’Malley said we’re endangering our liberty every time we forgo privacy for so-called security. Sanders touted that he voted against the U.S. Patriot Act. Clinton was pleased when the Obama administration approached Silicon Valley for better solutions on this issue. Andrea Mitchell said that intelligence community was turned down by Silicon Valley. Clinton said that wasn’t what she heard.
14. What will your Cabinet look like?
Mitchell specifically asked Clinton if her husband would be involved and she said those conversations would begin first at the kitchen table. She plans to have the best experts she possibly can have. Sanders takes issue with Cabinet officials who are Wall Street appointees. “If elected president, Goldman Sachs is not going to have — bring forth a Secretary of Treasury for a Sanders administration.”
Not something corporations like to hear.
15. Mitchell’s truly BS Bill Clinton question
For reasons passing in understanding, co-moderator Mitchell asked about previous statements Sanders said attacking Bill Clinton’s history and behavior. Sanders said that people like to ask him these questions because they want to generate conflict between the campaigns but he’s sticking to an issues-based campaign and hates these questions. That said, when asked the question by a reporter, Sanders did answer it and attacked Clinton.
16. Is there anything you haven’t gotten to say tonight?
True story, after giving 3 percent of the debate time to Martin O’Malley, the moderators said, “We believe we’ve learned a lot here, but before we leave, is there anything that you really wanted to say tonight that you haven’t gotten a chance to say. And, we’ll start with Governor O’Malley.”
O’Malley gave the most epic deadpan and the audience went nuts. It was by far the highlight of the debate. Sadly.
Both Clinton and Sanders used the opportunity to talk about the Flint water crisis, which NBC didn’t mention once. In such little span of time, there obviously wasn’t enough to call out “small government” but Clinton said she sent an aid to Flint and then went on TV to talk about it and call on the governor for action. Sanders said that Governor Rick Snyder needs to resign.
In the end, the only winner in this debate was NBC, which probably made a good amount of money on advertising since a third of the debate was spent on commercial breaks. O’Malley could chalk up a sympathy win because the Internet certainly seemed to side with him on the lack of attention he was getting from debate moderators. A more obscure win also happened online. ABC News reported that Bernie Sanders was the most Googled throughout the course of the debate, so more and more people are looking into his candidacy.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 18, 2016