Immigration, corporate power, climate change, and wealth inequality dominated the night at the first 2020 Democratic debate as 10 candidates jockeyed to stand out. The most prominent mention of LGBTQ people came in this moment from Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ):
Booker’s response came after moderator Chuck Todd asked Tulsi Gabbard, “One of the first things you did after launching your campaign was to issue an apology to the LGBT community about your past stances and statements on gay rights. After the Trump administration’s rollbacks of civil rights protections for many in that community, why should voters in that community or voters that care about this issue in general trust you now?”
Responded Gabbard: “Let me say that there is no one in our government at any level who has the right to tell any American who they should be allowed to love or who they should be allowed to marry. My record in Congress for over six years shows my commitment to fighting for LGBTQ equality. I serve on the Equality Caucus and recently voted for passage of the Equality Act. Maybe many people in this country can relate to the fact that I grew up in a socially conservative home, held views when I was very young that I no longer hold today. I’ve served with LGBTQ servicemembers, both in training and deployed downrange. I know that they would give their life for me and I would give my life for them. It is this commitment that I’ll carry through as president of the United States, recognizing that there are still people who are facing discrimination in the workplace, still people who are unable to find a home for their families. It is this kind of discrimination that we need to address.”
At that, Booker interrupted: “But it’s not enough. It’s not enough. If I can add to this, it’s very important. It’s not enough. Look, civil rights is someplace to begin, but in the African American civil rights community, another place to focus on was to stop the lynching of African-Americans. We do not talk enough about trans Americans, especially African-American trans Americans… and the incredibly high rates of murder right now. We don’t talk enough about how many children, about 30 percent of LGBTQ kids, who do not go to school because of fear. It’s not enough just to be on the Equality Act. I’m an original co-sponsor. We need to have a president that will fight to protect LGBTQ Americans every single day from violence in America.”
According to the New York Times, Booker got the most speaking time during the debate, followed by Beto O’Rourke, Elizabeth Warren, and Julian Castro.
Here are some highlights:
And here are the Google search trends for the debate.
The Washington Post reports: “…the biggest spike in search interest for any of the candidates over the course of the first Democratic debate on Wednesday night went to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, after he mentioned his son Dante, who is black. Across the two hours of the debate, according to Google Trends, de Blasio averaged the fifth-most search interest. But mentioning his son gave him the biggest pop of any candidate. Compare that with Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). Booker had the highest average search interest over the course of the debate, with each of his early answers yielding spikes in interest about him. His biggest spike, like de Blasio’s, came from a personal comment; in his case, about gun violence in his neighborhood in New Jersey. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) had the second-most search interest on average and also the second-biggest spike. Gabbard is something of a favorite of the Internet; her campaign announcement was also one of the better-searched for the field.”
Stephen Colbert unpacked the debate live after it aired. He took shots at Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker’s statements in Spanish, or as he called it, an “Español-off.”
Said Colbert: “I’m not entirely sure why [O’Rourke] felt he had to do that. He’s either trying to lock up the Hispanic vote or running for ‘Embarrassing dad at a Mexican restaurant.’ Cory Booker was not having it. Check out the side-eye he gave Beto: ‘Damn! That was going to be my thing.'”
After playing a clip of Booker making his Spanish-speaking attempt, Colbert quipped, “Oh snap! It is on! It is on! It is an Español-off. Or, as they say it in Spanish, ‘Grupo de idiotas.'”
Who do you think came out ahead in the debate?