Transcript from The Upcoming Biden-Sanders Debate
Spoiler alert: Bernie's usual ravings will be unchanged by the COVID-19 pandemic
|Greg Olear||Mar 13|| 20||8|
THIS SUNDAY, the two remaining Democratic candidates—actual Democrat Joe Biden and fake Democrat Bernie Sanders—are slated to square off in Arizona in the first one-on-one debate. There is no reason for this event to happen. With the coronavirus pandemic, neither of the septuagenarian candidates should risk their health, and the health of the others involved, for this sort of frivolity. For one thing, it’s the Ides of March; don’t tempt fate! But more importantly: we already know exactly what’s going to happen. Biden is going to present as the infinitely more qualified of the two, just as Hillary did in 2016, and as in 2016, Bernie will go negative, and try to sow doubt in the voters’ minds about the “establishment” candidate he so despises. Joe will try and unite, gently pointing out that he’s already got the thing sewn up, and Bernie will try and divide by denying math and objective reality. What’s the fucking point?
What follows is not exactly a transcript of the debate, but rather the speech Bernie gave at his press conference on Wednesday, March 10—you remember; when some folks thought he’d announce the suspension of his campaign, and I insisted that this would never happen, and that he’d stick to the Democratic Party like a barnacle—interspersed with what Biden would say, if it were actually me on the stage, wearing lifts, dressed in a Biden costume.
To virtual Arizona we go…
Bernie Sanders (BS): Thank you all very much for being here. Let me begin by reiterating what I have said from Day 1 of this campaign, and that is that Donald Trump is the most dangerous president in the modern history of our country and he must be defeated.
Joe Biden: Day 1? Don’t you mean Day 1,095? You’ve been campaigning for five years now. Trump wasn’t president when you kicked off your little ego trip that cost Hillary the election.
BS: Tragically, we have a president today who is a pathological liar and who is running a corrupt administration. He clearly does not understand the Constitution of the United States and thinks that he is a president who is above the law. In my view, he is a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a xenophobe and a religious bigot, and he must be defeated, and I will do everything in my power to make that happen.
JB: If you’re serious about doing “everything in your power to make that happen”—if defeating Trump is really your #1 priority—you should suspend your campaign, right now, and join me in the fight against the racist bigot. Because we need you, Bernie. We need you, and we need the enthusiasm of your fine supporters. (The not-fine ones can find another Russia’d up Useful Idiot to work for).
BS: Tuesday night, obviously, was not a good night for our campaign from a delegate point of view. We lost in the largest state up for grabs yesterday, the state of Michigan. We lost in Mississippi, Missouri, and Idaho.
JB: Yeah, I pretty much kicked your ass. But no, that’s giving me too much credit. I had nothing to do with it, really. Remember, my campaign was broke and running on fumes. What happened is that Black voters came out, en masse, and shot you down like a clay pigeon your NRA backers like to use for target practice.
BS: On the other hand, we won in North Dakota and we lead the vote count in the state of Washington, the second-largest state contested yesterday. With 67 percent of the votes having been counted, we are a few thousand votes on top.
JB: And with 100% of the ballots counted, I beat you in Washington by a mere 27,000 votes. But it’s not like Washington is known for its progressive policies or anything. Oh, wait, I’m wrong—Seattle is in Washington. You couldn’t beat me in the state that contains Seattle. But you’re right about North Dakota. I guess the 7,600 people who voted for you there will change the name of the capital to “Bismarx.”
BS: What became even more apparent Tuesday is that while we are currently losing the delegate count, approximately 800 delegates for Joe Biden and 660 for us, we are strongly winning in two enormously important areas which will determine the future of our country.
JB: Yes, I’m winning. By a lot. My lead is pretty much insurmountable. And I’m going to get Amy’s delegates, too, Bernie. And Mayor Pete’s. And Liz Warren’s as well, after the Jill Stein-voting trollbots who run your campaign shanked her. Also, you’re going to lose in Florida by an astonishing margin, which is what happens when you campaign there on “Fidel Castro was actually pretty good.”
BS: Poll after poll, including exit polls, show that a strong majority of the American people support our progressive agenda.
JB: A majority support a progressive agenda. My agenda is progressive. Yours is radical. Big difference. You want to nationalize the banks. You want to immediately do away with private health insurance. You want to go to war with Wall Street. Do you know what would happen to the economy when you do those three things? It’ll make the current Trump Slump look like San Francisco in 1849.
BS: The American people are deeply concerned about the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality in this country, and the American people want the wealthy and large, profitable corporations to start paying their fair share of taxes. Overwhelming support for that.
JB: Yeah, if the American people survive the COVID-19 pandemic, we for sure want to tackle income inequality. I studied a little economics. Bulging Lorenz curves are bad. Why are you staring at me blankly? You’ve been raving about income inequality for two decades; do you seriously not know what a Lorenz curve is?
Whatever, it’s irrelevant at the moment. Right now, Bernie, as we stand here before the zero people in attendance—where I am safe from your idiot supporters rushing the stage instead of seeking out Mitch McConnell—we face a global public health crisis, and you haven’t even mentioned that yet.
BS: The American people understand that the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour is a starvation wage. They want to raise the minimum wage in this country to a living wage of at least $15 an hour.
JB: You still haven’t mentioned the pandemic, Bernie. Why can’t you deviate from your talking points? We’ve heard them all before. It’s like Hillary said in that great Hulu documentary—you’ve been peddling the same bullshit for 20 years. Speaking of Hillary on Hulu, everyone has lots of free time this month to watch it! Episode two concerns Bernie.
BS: And the American people understand that if our kids are going to make it into the middle class of this country, we must make public colleges and universities and trade schools tuition-free.
JB: Or fix the tuition at an affordable rate. Why does tuition have to be free? Why is everything always free with you? Having free tuition makes it too easy to abuse the system. It’s not unreasonable for college students to pay something towards their education.
Another thing we could do is force schools with endowments larger than the GNP of some small countries to spend half a percentage point more than they now do. I’m not sure of the exact math, but a school like Harvard could easily, I mean really easily, pay the full freight for every student by being forced to spend an infinitesimally small amount of the stockpiles of cash they’ve accumulated.
Why are you looking at me like that? You have no idea what I’m talking about, do you? Oh my God, you’re going to ignore these comments completely and go right to the next canned section of your stump speech, aren’t you?
BS (wagging finger even more): The American people understand that we cannot continue a cruel and dysfunctional health care system. And it is amazing to me to see that even in conservative states like Mississippi, there is an overwhelming understanding that we are now spending twice as much per capita on health care as do the people of any other country, while 87 million of us remain uninsured or underinsured. And this crisis, this absurd health care system, is becoming more and more obvious to the American people as we face the challenge of a coronavirus pandemic that we are currently experiencing.
JB: Wow, way to work that keyword into your stump speech. Well done. You finally mentioned the elephant in the room. You finally pandered to the pandemic! Let’s make this really clear: You know who has a really great universal healthcare system? Italy. Doesn’t matter, because health insurance is only one factor when dealing with a global pandemic and it’s not remotely the most important one. We need test kits, we need crisis management at the federal level, we need breathing machines and hospital beds. None of this has anything to do with what you’re talking about.
BS: Imagine facing a pandemic and having 87 million people who are having a difficult time going to a doctor when they need.
JB: The job of the federal government is to fund relief efforts when this sort of disaster strikes. But you’re not talking about that, you’re talking about health insurance. And you’re right that those 87 million need to be on the rolls, but just to be clear—these are two different things. I’ve put together a task force to deal with COVID-19. I have a plan in place. What have you done in this regard, other than use the disease as a pivot to your usual talking points?
BS: And the American people know, unlike Donald Trump, that climate change is an existential threat to our country and the planet and that we need to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.
JB: Yes, Bernie, all Democrats know this and are committed to it. But the process is incremental. And step one is, get rid of Trump. He’s the ogre on the bridge to the Green New Deal Paradise. Nothing happens until he’s gone. That’s what you and your supporters cannot grok. And yet your lawmaker buddies, the so-called “Squad,” want to primary Nancy Pelosi, because they question her purity? Be gone with this fanatical malarkey. If you feel so strongly that Nancy Pelosi is the problem, you’re not actually a Democrat, and also, you have no fucking idea how government actually works.
BS: And the American people also know that we need fundamental transformation of a broken and racist criminal justice system as well as a cruel immigration system that keeps millions of people living in fear.
JB: Again, all Democrats agree with this. If you were an actual Democrat, you would know that.
BS: But it is not just the ideological debate that our progressive movement is winning. We are winning the generational debate. While Joe Biden continues to do very well with older Americans, especially those people over 65, our campaign continues to win the vast majority of the votes of younger people. And I am talking about people not just in their 20s, but in their 30s and their 40s, the younger generations of this country continue in very strong numbers to support our campaign.
JB: Your campaign has done a terrific job of inspiring young people—I guess they are too young to vote? Because they sure as shit didn’t turn out for you in the primaries. My coalition did turn out, and I will only grow that coalition between now and November. Meanwhile, you continue to divide, to sow chaos and discord. Why is that, Bernie? Why is your staff all Jill Stein voters, shit-stirrers, and Russian bots in human form?
BS: Today, I say to the Democratic establishment, in order to win in the future, you need to win the voters who represent the future of our country, and you must speak to the issues of concern to them. You cannot simply be satisfied by winning the votes of people who are older.
JB: I think you need to look up what “establishment” means. You use it pejoratively, and what you’re doing is putting down the 7.5 million Democrats who voted for me, the 2 million Democrats who voted for Mike Bloomberg, the 1.2 million Democrats who voted for Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar. Maybe the Democratic establishment keeps rejecting you because—wait for it—you’re not a Democrat.
BS: While our campaign has won the ideological debate, we are losing the debate over electability.
JB: Losing that debate by 1.4 million votes. Not that anyone’s counting.
BS: I cannot tell you how many people our campaign has spoken to who have said — and I quote — “I like what your campaign stands for. I agree with what your campaign stands for. But I’m going to vote for Joe Biden because I think Joe is the best candidate to defeat Donald Trump.” End of quote. We have heard that statement all over this country.
JB: Well, sure. Those people are smart. And there are literally tens of millions of them. They are compassionate enough to want progressive policies, but sophisticated enough to know that you are incapable of delivering those policies. They know I’m not perfect, but they also know that I’ll try my best to get stuff done. You’re all talk. You always have been. They’ve made you as a fraud, Bernie.
BS: Needless to say, I strongly disagree with that assertion, but that is what millions of Democrats and Independents today believe.
JB: Yes. Millions. Like, tens of millions. And I know you’re too much of a narcissist to see it, but they are right, and you are wrong.
BS: I was very much looking forward to the debate in Arizona with my friend, Joe Biden. And let me be very frank as to the questions that I will be asking you, Joe.
JB: Oh, do we get to be frank? Great, I’ll start. Bernie, what’s your ejection fraction? Because you aren’t sharing that information with the American people, and you’re even older than me, and you just had a heart attack, and you look like you’re going to have another any minute now.
You’re not going to answer, are you? Okay, whatever, forget it. Calm down. Take a deep breath. Seriously, my man, I don’t want you to have another heart attack right now. Because there is most certainly not a doctor in the house. You have questions for me? Fire away.
BS: Joe, what are you going to do for the 500,000 people who will go bankrupt in our country because of medically related debt? And what are you going to do for the working people of this country and small businesspeople who are paying on average 20 percent of their incomes for health care?
JB: Look, Trump and the Republicans are trying to dismantle the ACA. He wants to destroy Obamacare. The Trump people are literally in court, right now, suing to get to eliminate the pre-existing conditions clause. Trump wants us all sick and bankrupt. We Democrats don’t. There are several good ways to accomplish this, and I’m going to put together a blue panel of experts, figure out what is the best route going forward, and do it. The goal is to quickly insure as many as possible—not to wave a magic wand and expect that it will all be amazing on Day One. Which, let’s be frank, is what you keep promising.
BS: Joe, what are you going to do to end the absurdity of the United States of America being the only major country on earth where health care is not a human right? Are you really going to veto a Medicare for all bill, if it is passed in Congress?
JB: I will work closely with Congress to improve healthcare, it will be a priority, and I’ll obviously vote for what we come up with.
You really think that, as president, you can get a Medicare for All bill passed? You? Bernie Sanders? Obama is way more popular than you, he had a mandate, he had both the House and the Senate and one of the greatest Speakers of all time in lockstep with him, and he couldn’t get everything he wanted. You think you’re going to achieve what Barack Fucking Obama could not? You’re even more delusional than I thought. As your “bros” like to tell some of my supporters on Twitter: seek professional help.
BS: Joe, how are you going to respond to the scientists who tell us we have seven or eight years remaining to transform our energy system before irreparable harm takes place to this planet because of the ravages of climate change?
JB: Maybe I’ll do what you did in your 30 years in Congress: name a few post offices.
BS: Joe, at a time when most young people need a higher education to make it into the middle class, what are you going to do to make sure that all of our people can go to college or trade school, regardless of their income? And what are you going to do about the millions of people who are struggling with outrageous levels of student debt?
JB: I’m going to build a wall and have Mexico pay for it! No, wait—I’m going to tax Wall Street speculation, and have them pay for it! Sorry, meant to use your bullshit promise, not Trump’s.
BS: Joe, at a time when we have more people in jail than communist China, a nation four times our size, what are you going to do to end mass incarceration and a racist criminal justice system? And what are you going to do to end the terror that millions of undocumented people experience right now because of our broken and inhumane immigration system?
JB: You can’t even ask me a question without paying homage to communists! What is it with you and the Soviet Union, anyway? Why did you vote against the Magnitsky Act, and the Russian sanctions? And spare me the line about how the sanctions weren’t tough enough on Iran—we both know that was an excuse. Why did you not renounce Russia more strongly in 2016? If you knew Putin was still helping you—and you must have known—why did you run again in 2020?
BS: Joe, what are you going to do about the fact that we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any major country on Earth and are living with the fact that 500,000 people tonight are homeless and 18 million families are spending half of their income to put a roof over their heads?
JB: Why are you asking me that? Do you think I’m pro-childhood poverty? How about this: we let some of those people move into two of the three houses you own.
BS: Joe, importantly, what are you going to do to end the absurdity of billionaires buying elections and the three wealthiest people in America owning more wealth than the bottom half of our people?
JB: Says the dude with three homes. One percent of Americans own three homes, Bernie, which makes you…a one percenter! And a hypocrite. How did you rake in all that coin, anyway? Book sales, was it? What percentage of those royalties came from your campaign bulk-buying your book? Is that legal under federal election law? Not accusing, just asking out of curiosity. How many people who bought your book actually read it, do you think? Greater or fewer than the actual readership of Triggered, by Donald Trump, Jr.?
BS: So, let me conclude the way I began. Donald Trump must be defeated, and I will do everything in my power to make that happen.
JB: And let me conclude where I began: If defeating Trump is so important to you, Bernie, why do you remain in a race you can’t win? Is it ego? Narcissism? Or are you more than just a Useful Idiot for Russia?
Thank you, and good night!