Drawing The Third Democratic Presidential Debate

A smaller crowd but still too big

The field of candidates who are seeking the Democratic presidential nomination is getting smaller, but it’s still big. Last night in Houston, ten hopefuls — seven men and three women — took the stage to show off what they know. I live drew what I saw and heard, and the drawings are below.

The three hour debate covered almost everything, and was well organized. Some candidates seemed to get more time than others, but everyone got sufficient time. It was less of a scramble for sound bites and attention than previous free-for-all debates. At one point, the camera showed all the candidates standing behind their podiums waving their hands at the same time for the moderator’s attention. It was funny, I wish I had drawn it. Maybe I will.

But I did draw the most talked about moment in the evening.

Julian Castro challenged Biden, suggesting he had just forgotten what he’d said moments before. Castro repeated the question and it was a very awkward moment. It came across as mean. Several candidates rose to Biden’s defense (who had not forgotten anything). It was nasty ageism.

But other than that, there were some poignant remarks, well told stories. Another outstanding moment was when Beto O’Rourke said yes, absolutely, he would take away people’s AK47s. (I had read before the debate that ABC was hoping the candidates would curtail their strong language….Beto did pretty well just this once using a four letter word. No one dropped the f*** word last night at all).

In terms of drawing the candidates, I find Elizabeth Warren the easiest to capture quickly. Her look is distinctive, her features unique and her body language is always in motion. I didn’t animate her, but her seemingly constant movement makes me feel animated as I draw her — I can even show movement in the still sketch.

Other candidates are more difficult. I have trouble with Mayor Pete and Corey Booker. Both have distinctive features, but ones that are hard to capture.

Kamala Harris also is difficult. But I’m learning her face the more I draw her.

We shall see who I need to get better at drawing soon — the candidates will continue to peel away. I think Castro is toast, for sure.

It’s hard to say right now, the race is still in the early stages. Sanders, whom I have a lot of experience drawing and who is easy to draw, will not go away for a while. Experience tells us that.

And as much as I enjoy listening to Andrew Yang — he is a fresh voice and does not speak in platitudes and political jargon — he will probably drop out soon.

Joe Biden is here to stay for quite a while, in my opinion. He’s not easy to draw, his features are very recognizable but somewhat subtle. But I will get him down with practice.

Amy Klobuchar may drop out, but she is a good possibility as a veep choice, as is Beto. But if we have a white male candidate to go up against Trump, it may be important for the veep choice to be either a woman or a person of color. Or both, which of course is possible in Harris. But who says the veep selection will come from this crowd? And we may have a woman lead candidate, in which case the veep should be male. Happy that we have so much diversity in our choice, finally! It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

The one thing I noticed that was not talked about at all, which should have been a topic, was women’s rights. Completely absent from the stage. It’s as relevant as ever — #Metoo, trafficking, rape culture, violence against women, the Equal Rights Amendment….it should have been a topic.

On to the next debate! Who will be there?

Visual journalist/writer for New Yorker, New York Times, CBS News, CNN. TED, SXSW speaker. Looking to change world w humor. lizadonnelly.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store