First 2020 Democratic Presidential Debate
June 18, 2019
University of California-Berkeley
Rachel Maddow, Chris Cuomo Moderators
Maddow: Good evening those of you watching around the world, good evening candidates.
Candidates: Good evening.
Maddow: Senator Sanders, let’s start with you. First question: do you watch my show? Just kidding! Here’s my real first question: Do you believe you can still make people ‘feel the Bern?’
Sen. Sanders: I do. There may be snow on the roof, but there’s still a fire down below, if you know what I mean.
C. Cuomo: Alright! Let’s get after it! Ms. Warren, many people say you and Senator Sanders are almost identical in terms of your policy beliefs. How can you separate yourself from Mr. Sanders?
Warren: Eww. Well, Bernie is as white as it gets, and, you know, I’m a person of color. I’m one sixty-fourth Cherokee. And three two-hundred-and-fifty-sixths Congolese!
C. Cuomo: You’re three two-hundred-and-fifty-sixths Congolese? When did you discover that?
Warren: Please don’t use the words ‘discover’ or ‘discovered.’ It makes my people think of Christopher Columbus.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: For God sakes, bro’, can’t we move on? Ask me a question, okay?
C. Cuomo: Alright, my man, let’s get after it! How do you respond to folks who think you aren’t well-known enough outside of the Northeast to win? And, for that matter, those who don’t feel your progressive enough to excite the party base?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo: Well, I think I’m nationally famous, and, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m sort of the anti-Christ to the conservative party.
Maddow: Wow. Senator Gillibrand, a two-part question: one, do you believe Trump has kept his promises, and, two, what do you think is the most important thing for Democrats to do if you become president?
Sen. Gillibrand: Rachel, I have a two-part answer: ‘One, No. Fuck no. And, two, if we’re not helping people we should go the fuck home.’
Maddow: I see. Fuck.
C. Cuomo: Well, Mr. Biden, what do you say to that?
Biden: This is a big fucking deal, Chris! I hope we all understand that. One of us on this stage tonight has to win, because we have to stop Trump. And, I believe I’m the only one that can do that. Remember, I said I’d have taken Trump out back of our school and kicked the crap out of him! I think I was the first one to say that, and the only one here tonight to have had the balls to say that!
C. Cuomo: Ah, Senator Harris, which one of your fellow candidates would you prefer to be stuck in an elevator with?
Sen. Harris: Does one of us have to come out of it alive, Chris? Hahaha. But seriously, we should be asking Republicans if they know of any laws that allow the government to make decisions about the male body, right?
Maddow: I agree, but that was kind of random, Kamala. Anyway, Mr. Holder, you have been outspoken in your beliefs about racial relations in this country. As president, how would you seek to address the issues of disunity and racism?
Holder: Well, as you know, whites can’t be victims of racial injustice, because the pasty bastards are inherently racist themselves. To quote myself: ‘In things racial, we are a nation of cowards.’ We have to change that……by having fewer white people.
Biden: Eric, stop with the ‘fast & furious’ attacks on white people. Over six-hundred-thousand of us did die in the Civil War to end slavery, okay?
Holder: Joe, when I was Attorney General, I tapped your phones. Remember when you publicly said: ‘I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s storybook, man?’ That was ‘a big fucking deal’ to Barack Obama, by-the-way. Well, I’ve got tapes of you speaking that make that comment sound like it was uttered by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Maddow: Mr. Avenatti, what are your thoughts on pornography? Specifically, how would you try to grow the industry while purging it of misogynists?
Avenatti: Well, Rachel, as you know, I’ve represented Stormy Daniels here. What’s more, I can now reveal that Bernie, Andrew, Joe and Eric all exposed themselves to young girls at frat parties some decades ago.
Maddow: What?! Can you corroborate this, Mr. Avenatti?
Christine Blasey Ford: I can. My recollection is that this happened. I think. Maybe.
Maddow: Dr. Ford, where and when did this take place? Were there witnesses?
Christine Blasey Ford: I don’t recall the location or the time. I was pretty hammered, Rachel. But I believe there might have been witnesses. It was pretty fuckin’ hot as I remember! I think. Maybe. Have I told you I’m afraid of flying?
C. Cuomo: Senator Booker, do—
Sen. Booker: Call me Spartacus, please.
C. Cuomo: Really? Okay, um, Spartacus, how would you address the potential threat from Russia if you were the president of the United States?
Sen. Booker/Spartacus: Well, this is my Superman moment. I would tell Russia not to meddle in our elections…or else! Also, I’d make them tear down the Berlin wall.
Maddow: Senator Boo- um, Spartacus, the Berlin wall is already gone. President Reagan famously asked Premier Gorbachev to ‘tear down this wall.’
Sen. Booker/Spartacus: Really? Do they have any other walls? I could demand they take another wall down! That would be my Reaganesque moment!
[Just then Hillary Clinton comes from backstage, pushes Bernie Sanders out of the way, glares at the crowd and the cameras, and screeches into his microphone: ‘Looking at these clowns, you might be asking yourself why I’m not already nominated and confirmed.’]
Maddow (mildly surprised): Well, not really. You never entered the race, Ms. Clinton.
HRC: Really, you’re going to go there? Like that’s my fault? It’s because of the vast right-wing conspiracy…and maybe the vast ultra-left-wing conspiracy, too. And the Macedonian content farms, wives who caved to their husbands, Russia, Bernie, the media, Trump, the deplorables, hatred of pantsuits, cheese-heads, misogyny, faulty voting machines, the NRA, fake news, Fox News…