Drawing The Joe And Bernie Debate

The final debate led me to muse about my own political past

Liza Donnelly

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the candidates greeting one another with elbow bumps, Biden initiating the greeting

Last night we witnessed a fairly civilized debate between the two remaining viable Democratic candidates in the race for president (Rep Tulsi Gabbard has not ended her candidacy, but only has two delegates and was not on the stage). Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are seasoned politicians , and so the debate was heavy on policy, although it did get heated several times. Because of the corona virus pandemic currently sweeping the globe, the organizers decided that there would be no audience. No applause, and no one to pander to. There were few soundbites and the conversation at times seemed substantive — but mostly it was attack and defend.

I drew some highlights and picked up on comments that to me seemed to be indicative of the debate. Visually, it was rather boring and static. The two men were further apart from each other than usual — again, because of the corona virus — but that didn’t stop Bernie from grandly gesticulating as he is want to. Biden, a man who stands fairly still during debates (I’ve been watching him through every single debate), quietly used his body in expressing himself this time. While Bernie often took up space using both arms, Joe shifted back and forth, bending his elbows and sometimes demonstrably leaning back as he listened to and looked at Bernie’s statements. Cameras were held on both men most of the time, so when one was talking, I could watch the other’s facial expressions. Both men would smile (or grimace) from time to time at the (to them) outrageous statments coming from the other man. Bernie’s face betrayed more responsive reaction than Joe’s, in the end.

Bernie is down in the delegate count, so he entered this debate the underdog. Joe offered a few olive branches that Bernie really did not accept. Perhaps because he is the underdog, I heard attacks from Sanders, and very few from Biden who attacked mostly when on the defensive. In essence, they both…

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Liza Donnelly

Visual journalist/writer for New Yorker, New York Times, WaPo, CNN. TED, SXSW speaker. Looking to change world w humor. newsletter:https://lizadonnelly.substack