There are still too many people running for President.

That’s all I could think while watching yet another Democratic presidential primary debate, the latest once again on MSNBC. To the credit of the all-female led moderator team, the debate did manage to finally break new ground on topics like affordable housing and family leave — issues that have not received as much attention as they should have in past debates. However, it’s still too many damn people, and as a result of them being too many damn people, it’s increasingly difficult to learn more about the differences between the candidates themselves. Or anything, really.

The first question of the night centered on the obvious story of the day: the impeachment hearing. Elizabeth Warren highlighting that The Mueller Report alone confirmed that Donald Trump is not fit for the presidency before putting the issue in the larger context of government corruption. Kamala Harris also framed the issue towards her general campaign theme of justice, but it was Pete Buttigieg’s answer that stuck out most to me for no other reason than its inspiration seemed drawn from an episode of Barney. Much like Harris, I don’t care to focus on the “tender moment” after Trump is out of office, but rather Sweet Potato Saddam finally being brought to justice. 

Tender moments are for romantic and dated network comedies, not the white supremacist game show host who cheats his way to power.

But, I can say Buttigieg’s could have been worse. See Joe Biden, who struggled immediately to sustain basic coherence when answering a question. I know many of your elder kin love this man because he’s friends with Barack Obama, but seriously, enough. Donald Trump is a damn fool, but he is a lot quicker than this man. See Biden responding to a question about male violence against women with the following tone deaf comment: “We have to keep punching at it, and punching at it, and punching at it.”

Or that odd comment he made about coming out of the Black community. He tripped over his words, which is not exactly a new hobby of Biden, but one that’s worsening with time. His stumbles only increased as time went on in this debate. That’s why I laugh at Biden’s claims that Trump’s Ukraine scandal serves a testament to the assertion that he is the most formidable Democrat seeking the nomination. Someone needs to stop confusing an easy target with being the hardest to defeat. 

If they really wanted to scare Trump, they’d nominate a woman. But to his point, he does command a huge portion of the Black vote so we may be stuck with him. Please convince your relatives next week to save me from this. Since the Democratic establishment, in all its continued uselessness, can’t. 

Before I go to the other candidates, I want to note how much I loathe the same tired framing of Medicare for All. As Bernie Sanders once pointed out on CNN, health insurance companies and drug companies advertise heavily on all of these networks, and you can often tell by the framing of the questions. I know they swear they adhere to objectivity blah-blah-blah, but that’s long been a myth and you know who pays their bills. And it’s obvious. 

Now, the candidates overall. 

Cory Booker

His dad jokes have gotten better and I appreciated him directly confronting Biden over his refusal to let us smoke weed freely nationwide. I don’t understand how anyone seeking to replace Trump as president doesn’t understand the necessity of weed at a time like this. On the other hand, I’m not sure how the Booker campaign gets the traction it needs to rise above the single digits.

Amy Klobuchar

I’m not being facetious, but was she cold? She was visibly shaking on stage. A lot. I’m fidgety at times, too, but thankfully I didn’t have that weird zoom in MSNBC kept doing on all the candidates — which likely made me more aware of it. Outside of that, I’m not a fan of centrists who love telling folks to not bother daring to dream, but this was one of the better performances from her. But, like Booker, I’m not sure how she ticks up unless a bunch of the competition finds something else to do. Still, slow church clap to her for that line about raising $17,000 from her ex-boyfriends.

Bernie Sanders

Fresh from an Ariana Grande concert, he was sharp and consistent as ever. He didn’t talk/yell enough. I feel cheated. And good on him for speaking about Palestinian rights. 

Elizabeth Warren

My only comment is she should tighten the language she employs to sell Medicare for All. 

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Tulsi Gabbard

Uh, I’d rather not, but I’ll say I don’t think that exchange with Buttigieg was as bad for her as others felt even if I don’t agree with much of what she says, ever. (I don’t know how to say this in Russian, so don’t consider this an endorsement of any sort, Gabbard fans that aren’t bots.)

Tom Steyer

Can’t you just spend your money registering new voters and propping up Senate and House candidates?

Andrew Yang

Does he want to be Secretary of Labor? Is that the end game? Please advise.

Pete Buttigieg

As a gay Black man fully aware of that so many poor Black and brown gay men are dying from HIV/AIDS for no other reason than lack of access to healthcare, I find the idea of framing making access to healthcare a human right as “divisive” to be reprehensible — especially if you are a gay man himself. That’s just such an odd turn of phrase to employ. I also am not a fan of the condescending way he speaks to his competitors at times. I’m just bored with this vanilla latte Obama bit. I’m even more bored with him getting away with all of this. It’s not just using a stock photo; it’s using a stock photo of Black folks in Kenya in addition to misrepresenting support from Black South Carolinians while also throwing older Black folks under the bus based on a trope about homophobia rather than acknowledging his own failures as a politician. 

Klobachur won’t say it, but I will: it’s not just if he were a woman, he wouldn’t be on stage. If he were a non-white queer person of any other gender, he wouldn’t be a thing at all. He is literally skirting by thanks to white manhood. 

Kamala Harris

Better late than never with respect to targeting Gabbard and kudos for saying “Donald Trump got punked.” And her answer about the Democrats essentially paying lip service to the Black women who saves the donkey party’s asses every single cycle was one of her finest moments. And although I did wish she hit Buttigieg a bit harder, at the same time, his failures should have been addressed to him, not her. 

Joe Biden

As previously explained, he needs to wake up or go home. 

Julián Castro

Should have been on stage.

In sum, this was two hours I will never get back because there are too many damn people and it defeats much of the purpose. This cannot go on like this for much longer. Well, it could, but to the Democratic Party’s peril — and more than likely, Joe Biden’s benefit.