What’s the difference between the Democratic debates and the mountain regions of central China? In China, ‘panders’ are endangered. (You’re on your last warning – Ed).
Yes, tonight on CNN you won’t have to watch too closely to pick up on the candidates’ desperate attempts to gee up their poll numbers. Speaking minutes will be limited, interruptions are discouraged, every moment will count: especially if you’re dwindling in the single-digit doldrums.
Attention, therefore, is the ultimate commodity. The Miami debates saw the Democratic contenders bopping Biden and Beto, pledging to abolish ICE and private health insurance and habla-ing mucho-mucho español. So what hijinks will Detroit have in store? Cockburn suggests you keep an eye out for the following…
- A candidate smiles in a self-satisfied fashion after nailing a pre-prepared soundbite. They are met by muted half-applause
- A Midwestern candidate arrives onstage with their hands covered in oil, fresh from fixing a car engine, and laments how America ‘used to make things, man’
- A female candidate accuses a higher-polling man of ‘mansplaining’
- A candidate name-drops a sexy celebrity fan, like Cardi B, or Ariana Grande, or Narendra Modi
- A candidate takes a knee during the ad break to protest the corrupt capitalist hegemony…and has trouble getting up again unaided
- A candidate asks Bill de Blasio if New Yorkers have enough power to watch the live broadcast
- An older candidate references Motown. Tim Ryan responds by rapping ‘Lose Yourself’
- A younger candidate asks one of the millionaires on the stage to help pay off their student loans
- A candidate sparks up a blunt on stage to celebrate weed becoming legal in Michigan this year
- A candidate pledges to name Ilhan Omar as secretary of state
- A candidate code-switches while talking about Detroit’s African American community or Trump’s ‘racism’
- Another round of Joe Biden ‘offense archaeology’ where someone (let’s say Kirsten Gillibrand) unearths a now-contentious stance on women’s rights that Joe held in junior high
- A candidate proposes open borders with Canada and the freeing of Québécois children from cages
- A leftist candidate slams the DNC for shutting Mike Gravel out of the debate
- A candidate gets into a confrontation with Jake Tapper and loses time for it. Tapper blocks the candidate on Twitter after the debate
- A candidate utters the magic words ‘Robert Mueller’, stunning the stage into an embarrassed silence
- A candidate proposes that all vacant DCCC positions are filled by trans people of color
- A candidate douses Joe Biden in Flint water
- Marianne Williamson sits down mid-debate to practice transcendental meditation and cleanses the theater of ‘aggressive energy’
- A one-percenter drops out in their closing statement, announcing a congressional run instead
Tune in to the debates on CNN from 8 p.m., E.T this evening. Or don’t: you can read the Spectator USA write-ups and watch the final of The Bachelorette instead.