Yet another Democratic primary debate was held on Tuesday night in South Carolina, and “it was wild,” said Trevor Noah on the Daily Show. “I haven’t seen white people go that hard since khakis were on sale at Banana Republic.”
After a disastrous first debate appearance in Nevada last week, the former New York City mayor and billionaire Mike Bloomberg “was praying for an easier debate this time”, said Noah, “but it doesn’t seem like it worked”. Right off the bat, Senator Bernie Sanders said the economy was working well “for people like Mr Bloomberg and other billionaires”, while Senator Elizabeth Warren pointed out Bloomberg’s past financial support for Republican campaigns, including the South Carolina senator and Trump stalwart Lindsey Graham.
Bloomberg did not help himself when he touted his record for supporting Democratic candidates with a telling slip of the tongue: “I bought – I, I got them.”
“That’s not a good look,” said Noah, imitating Bloomberg: “There’s a ton of Democratic candidates that I bought, I mean that I own, I mean that I pay, I mean that I bribe – that’s poor people’s words – that I supported, that I supported.”
“Bloomberg didn’t do himself any favors with that answer for two reasons,” said Noah. “One, money in politics is one of the things that most people are angry about in this country. And secondly, you probably shouldn’t brag about buying people in South Carolina.”
Another senator, Amy Klobuchar, tried to play up her midwestern roots in the gun reform debate; when she reads proposals, she said, she thinks “do they hurt my Uncle Dick in the deer stand?”
“Uncle Dick in the deer stand?” asked Noah. “And where’s Aunt Vagina, in the beaver hut? I feel like even Uncle Dick was sitting at home watching that being like, ‘I think at a debate you can call me Richard.’”
Noah acknowledged, though, that it was “a great campaign slogan, if you think about it – ‘leave that dick alone’ – that’s 10% of the vote right there.”
South Carolina is the first state in which black voters hold sway, and the candidates tried to address it, “but once the white privilege PowerPoint presentation of the evening was done,” said Noah, “it was time to get to the main event: going after Bernie Sanders.” It’s not surprising, Noah concluded, since Sanders is now the clear frontrunner. And given half the candidates’ reluctance to drop out, “it seems like as long as all the moderates decide to stay in the race, Bernie is going to have a pretty clear path to win the nomination.”
On the Late Show, Stephen Colbert also dissected the Democratic debate in which “these folks said a lot of words, and I did not hear many of them”.
This time, “all the candidates had their torches out to set fire to the wicker Bernie,” Colbert said. For instance, Pete Buttigieg proposed a thought experiment: “Imagine spending the better part of 2020 with Bernie Sanders v Donald Trump.”
“Personally, I think it would be great,” said Colbert, “because Bernie and Trump are the only two impressions I can do.”
Attempting to address the diverse constituency in South Carolina, Bloomberg bragged that more than 100 black elected officials endorsed him, some of whom were in the audience. “A lot of them are in the audience tonight,” Colbert said, mimicking Bloomberg. “Officers, stop them and check their pockets, there’s an endorsement in there someplace.”
Bloomberg continued to “workshop his comedy”, Colbert deadpanned, by saying: “What’s right for New York City isn’t necessarily right for all the other cities, otherwise you’d have a naked cowboy in every city.
“For those of you out there who don’t live in New York City,” explained Colbert, “there is this crazy man who wanders around the city and will not leave people alone, and that man’s name is Mike Bloomberg.
“So there it is: seven candidates, five moderators, two hours and one powerful message for America,” Colbert said of the debate, cutting to a clip of the candidates squabbling for airtime and unintelligibly talking over each other. That message? “It’s gonna be tough to fit on a bumper sticker.”
Jimmy Kimmel addressed revelations by the former White House doctor Ronny Jackson, who told the New York Times he regretted not doing more to help the president’s health while in office, and revealed some strategies used to add vegetables to the president’s diet. According to Kimmel, “this is a real quote from the man who was the actual doctor for the actual president of the United States: ‘… we were working on this diet. We were making the ice cream less accessible, we were putting cauliflower into the mashed potatoes.’
“That is what we do with our five-year-old at home,” Kimmel said. “Imagine having to sneak cauliflowers into the president’s mashed potatoes, and hide the ice cream as if you’re camping and don’t want to get bears in the camp.”
Meanwhile, as markets tank under the threat of the coronavirus, Trump tweeted that it’s under control, “which means we’re in a lot of trouble, right?” said Kimmel. “I mean, we just found out that they had to trick him into eating vegetables – do we really think he has a handle on the coronavirus?”