CNN hosted the second round of Democratic debates among the crowded field of 2020 presidential hopefuls in Detroit at 8 p.m. ET July 30, and featured 10 of the 20 candidates. Hopefuls included Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren representing the progressive wing of the party, as well as moderate Democrats such as Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former Texas congressman/post-hardcore bassist Beto O’Rourke.
Rounding out the debate stage were South Bend, Indiana, mayor and noted Dave Matthews Band fan Pete Buttigieg, Rep. Tim Ryan, former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, former Maryland congressman John Delaney, and Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana. If you can pick any of those last four guys out of a lineup, we will Venmo you $10. (No, we won’t.) Representing the anti-vaxx woo-woo demographic was self-help author Marianne Williamson. Anyone who hoped to see a person of color on the debate stage will have to tune in Wednesday, July 31, for the second set of hopefuls.
Relive the evening’s agonizing hurdle along the path to picking the Democratic challenger who will eventually face off against President Donald Trump in the recap of the night’s highlights below. Also, make sure to vote in our poll on which candidate you think made the strongest showing.
10:36 p.m. ET: Tim Ryan, a man with the charisma of a used Band-Aid, hopes he captured your imagination tonight.
10:32 p.m. ET: Williamson isn’t going to get the nomination, but she’s gonna make a great Secretary of Vision Boards
10:22 p.m. ET: Bullock pronounces it “nu-cu-lar.” You hate to see it.
10:18 p.m. ET: This is the Dances With Wolves of debate runtimes.
10:04 p.m. ET: The amount of speaking time Delaney has been granted tonight is insane given how he’s basically a footnote in this race.
9:59 p.m. ET:: “I’ve literally never seen this man in my life,” the home viewer every time Hickenlooper is on screen.
9:48 pm ET: Good thing someone in this debate has the courage to address the real evil facing this country: dark psychic forces.
9:45 p.m. ET: Warren on racism: “We need to call out white supremacy for what it is: domestic terrorism.”
Warren: We need to call out white supremacy for what it is: domestic terrorism. We live in a country where the president is advancing environmental racism, economic racism, criminal justice racism, health care racism. The way we do better is to fight back & show something better. pic.twitter.com/6n7uVl8rOO
— Axios (@axios) July 31, 2019
9:38 pm ET: Williamson turns out to be the candidate who most explicitly discusses environmental racism. Huh.
9:33 p.m. ET:
Bernie just said what is the truest thing anyone has ever said: Democrats are afraid of big ideas, Republicans are not afraid of big ideas.
— Tanvi (@Tanvim) July 31, 2019
9:21 p.m. ET: Warren points out the problem with pragmatism and earns a robust applause break in the process: “I don’t understand why anyone would go through the trouble of running for president just to talk about what we can’t do and what we shouldn’t fight for.”
Sen. Warren: “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…I’m ready to get in this fight. I’m ready to win this fight.” https://t.co/lrVE7B6VCO #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/n8kwp3VjpA
— CNN (@CNN) July 31, 2019
9:24 p.m. ET: We’re a third of the way through the debate and we’re now just getting a substantive climate change question
9:14 p.m. ET: Hickenlooper and the rest of the nondescript white guys at the bottom of the batting order keep coming for Sanders and failing because Sanders has been thinking about how to fix class inequality for decades.
9:08 p.m. ET: Check out Williamson’s blatant pandering to the coveted Seinfeld fan demographic with “yadda, yadda, yadda.” Shrewd.
9:02 p.m. ET: Nearly halfway through the debate and no Spanish from Beto. Now he’s only dodging questions in one language.
8:55 p.m. ET: Tim Ryan finally distinguishes himself from a forgettable also-ran to the guy who set himself up for a brutal own by Sanders:
— Variety (@Variety) July 31, 2019
8:41 p.m. ET: Delaney’s whole purpose seems to be setting up Sanders and Warren to completely ether him:
JOHN DELANEY: My colleagues don’t understand health care as a business
BERNIE: The point is, it shouldn’t be a business#DemDebate
— Jacobin (@jacobinmag) July 31, 2019
8:34 p.m. ET: Warren has a really good way of redefining the conversation: “We’re Democrats. We’re not taking away health care from anyone. That’s Republicans, and we should stop using their talking points.”
"We are the Democrats," says Sen. Elizabeth Warren, "We are not about trying to take away health care from anyone. That's what the Republicans are trying to do." https://t.co/oRT2pUk1W4 #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/nFYhoUy028
— CNN (@CNN) July 31, 2019
8:32 p.m. ET: Elizabeth Warren just shut down a laugh break while discussing the failings of private insurance was incredible.
8:26 p.m. ET: Bernie Sanders gets the first applause break by railing against the broken healthcare system. “Healthcare is a human right, not a privilege” is a strong message and he took some good swipes at Delaney’s incremental pragmatism regarding healthcare reform.
8:15 p.m ET: Marianne Williamson could do an incredible job in a Margot Kidder biopic.
8:14 p.m. ET: America, get ready to meet and then instantly forget Steve Bullock.
8:04 p.m. ET: In the intro, CNN calls Marianne Williamson a “Washington outsider” which is a nice way to say “your weird aunt who is super into The Secret.”