Welcome, Earthlings, to what feels like the 19,837th presidential debate of the election! Tonight we have Bernie Sanders explaining to the American people why we'll be VERY VERY SORRY if we don't vote for him; and Hillary just standing there patiently waiting for the inevitable nomination like she's at a goddamn bus stop.
Join me for live mockery of the candidates. I'll be sharing pastry recipes whenever things get boring. And then afterwards at 8:30pm, I'll be palette-cleansing with a totally unrelated Twitch stream of Dragon Age: Inquisition, a game about political factions hell-bent on destroying each other through magic and military might, so that should get your mind off of the worst of whatever happens tonight.
Tweet at me with your comments — I'm @mattbaume.
6:02 Martin O'Malley somehow snuck onto the stage. He appears to have brought his own podium.
6:03 NBC's camera is swinging all over the stage like it's on a trapeze. If Fox News tried that it would break its hip.
6:06 Bernie: health care for all, living wage, rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. I made a cake last week that I seriously overbaked and it crumbled as soon as I took it out of the oven, so hopefully Bernie has some ideas for fixing that.
6:11 Here's a audio thing featuring a Bernie impersonator as a sex-talk radio show host. The joke is that he's talking about sex. People seem to like it.
6:22 Oh, fascinating — they're taking questions from YouTube celebrities, starting with Franchesca Ramsey. It's about disproportionate prosecution of people of color. This is a softball for Bernie, who says we need to demilitarize police; hold cops accountable for abuse.
6:12 O'Malley says some nice things about renewable energy.
6:15 O'Malley tells a distressing story about a 3-year-old who was shot in the head by drug dealers. Says he followed that by passing gun control legislation to restrict access to military-type weapons, "and we never interrupted a single person's hunting season."
6:18 O'Malley asks "who is satisfied" that we have more people in prison, disproportionately affecting minorities. Also rails against incarcerating people for pot possession, but not bankers who ruined the economy.
6:19 Bernie bragging, rightly so, about the amazing surge in his polling numbers. It's true — voters really seem to have warmed to him. Will that actually help? Who knows. Hillary has way more endorsements, and historically that's mattered more.
6:25 I'm flabbergasted — they're actually talking about important things: curbing police abuse, treating drug abuse as a health problem. No concrete proposals, but still some nice talking points.
6:26 "Just ten seconds," begs Martin O'Malley as the moderator ignores him and tosses to commercial. The last thing we hear before the break is Hillary chuckling like a supervillain.
6:28 Aaaaand we're in a commercial. So far, surprisingly good for one of these things that we call a "debate" but is actually just a chance for candidates to regurgitate slogans.
6:30 Now that we've hit our first break, I'd like to invite readers to weigh in. Anything in particular you're hoping to hear them talk about? I'm hoping they'll share some good pastry recipes, as I've been obsessed with baking since watching The Great British Bake Off. I recommend the chouquettes from Season 1 superhero Edd Kimber's new cookbook.
6:32 Hillary casts doubt on Bernie's health care proposals. "We finally have a path to universal health care. ... I don't want to see us start over again with a contentious debate. I want to see us defend and build on the ACA." What do you think about this — can the ACA be built on? It's good, but far from perfect, so can we fix it or is it fundamentally flawed?
6:33 Bernie says he wants Medicare for all. Has a lot of proposals for fixing Obamacare.
6:35 I just heard Martin O'Malley's voice from off-camera and it startled me because I forgot he was even there.
6:37 Bernie says we can't pass better health care because campaign finance is corrupt, and rich pharma bros and insurance companies run politics. Might not have wanted to bring that up, because it gives Hillary a chance to brag about how much the insurance industry hates her.
6:40 Getting kind of snoozy now. Hillary reading inspirational posters. About getting along with people: "It's hard. You gotta work at it every single day."
6:41 Bernie: "Congress is owned by big money and refuses to do what the American people want them to do. ... We have gotta make Congress respond to the needs of the people." While we're at it, let's make monkeys fly out of my butt.
6:43 We've moved on a bit from this topic but it bears saying:
6:45 Raindrop requests a macaroon recipe.
6:46 Inhumanly sexy Zac Efron impersonator Connor Franta has a question about how Hillary's going to engage with young people. Hillary's answer: make college affordable, reduce student debt, improve entry-level job opportunities, protect voting rights, protect women and gays and workers. Young people respond: sorry didn't hear you too busy googling "does connor franta have a girlfriend"
6:49 In answer to raindrop's request: Here's one that looks good. I question their use of cream of tartar, though. In my experience it doesn't help much as long as you keep an eye on your egg whites and don't overdo it on the beating.
6:53 Moderator asks difference between Bernie and Hillary. Hillary says that they agree that big banks are shitty. But she doesn't like that Bernie criticized Obama for taking donations from Wall Street. "I'm going to defend Obama for taking on Wall Street." Bernie counters that he's friends with Obama, but you can't reform Wall Street when you're on their payroll.
6:56 Ongoing fascination for YouTube celeb Connor Franta.
6:58 O'Malley attacks! Says he'll be tougher than Hillary on banks, says that her anti-bank claim "isn't true. ... You did not go as far as reigning in Wall Street as I would."
6:59 Bernie points out that Goldman Sachs has frequently owned the Secretary of the Treasury, and also pays Hillary.
7:05 Any recipe suggestions?
7:07 Question from Minute Earth about how evil rich energy companies force us to continue using dirty fuel. Bernie: "the debate is over, climate change is real." No policy suggestion during the debate, but he does have a comprehensive plan that you can check out on his website. He points out that GOP is funded by the fossil fuel industry.
7:09 Okay, we're in a break again. Over on Twitter, I've received some interest in phyllo recipes, which is fairly advanced. Any recommendations for doing those layers properly?
7:15 I missed that Hillary says that he doesn't mind Bernie criticizing her, "I can take it," she says, but then says that he needs to lay off the criticism of Obama. You know what Hillary I'm pretty sure Obama can take it too.
7:17 Are you following Topless Baker, and if not, how long will you spend tonight combing through his alluring photos and videos?
7:20 Josh Bis recommends Bakery Nouveau, Crumble & Flake, or Ba-Bar for macaroons in the comments. I'm skeptical. If God meant for us to buy pastries he wouldn't have given us kitchens.
7:23 Bernie is annoyed that Qatar isn't doing more to fight terrorism. For real, it's a big problem. But I do wonder if his criticism might alienate the country's leadership, rather than persuade them to take a more active role.
7:29 Okay, we're going down a wonky rabbit-hole now with international diplomacy. Obviously this is important, but a little impenetrable. Moderator asks what Hillary's relationship with Putin is like. She laughs, says "it's interesting." This either means they hate each other's guts or have made out at a frat party.
So clear HRC spent decades in rooms full of dudes trying to talk over her and has run out of fucks to give.
— stacy-marie ishmael (@s_m_i) January 18, 2016
7:31 Surprisingly pointed question about government spying and back-door vulnerabilities in electronic systems! "Government should get a warrant whether they want to come through your back door or your front door," says hunky Martin O'Malley, to whom my back door is always available.
7:37 Election graphics have changed surprisingly little in the last 30 years.
7:40 Moderator offers 30 seconds to Hillary. Martin O'Malley: "Can I get 30 seconds too?" Audience applauds, and O'Malley gives them a Fonzie-esque "eyyyyyyy" gesture.
7:40 I would really like someone to make a supercut of O'Malley begging for time.
7:44 Probably the memest moment of the debate:
7:51 "We'll start with Governor O'Malley," says the moderator after the break, and O'Malley is so startled he's temporarily at a loss for words.
7:53 Hillary goes after Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, an unmitigated asshole, for his role in poisoning Flint water. I'm surprised more people aren't talking about this incredible disaster — it's simply staggering, an outright attack on defenseless citizens. Sanders jumps in to add that he's demanded Snyder's resignation.
7:55 We're wrapping up on time! That's possibly the most impressive accomplishment of the night. Thanks for joining in, everyone! Particularly Mychael Patterson and his debate-party friends. I'm going to be turning off my thinking-brain now to switch over to livestreaming some video games at 8:30pst, so please do join me for that to see me run around Ferelden as a sexy little elf.