Liza Donnelly
Jul 31 · 4 min read

I wish some would be more animated

Last night, ten of the Large field of Democratic candidates for president debated in Detroit. It was a wild evening, and I tried to catch many of the key moments in real time. I try not to draw after the fact — for me, it’s about the experience of listening and watching, picking up on what I’m seeing in facial expressions, key ideas, and words I hear. And I share immediately on twitter. I do miss things, like when Marianne Williamson channeled Seinfeld and said “yadayadayada.”

The format seemed to pit candidate against candidate. A few seemed to drift into seeming to not be there, like Hickenlooper (sorry). Conversely, as is his manner lately, Bernie Sanders was heard to be yelling most of the time, and had his arm raised even when not yelling. Elizabeth Warren came off as impassioned, Bullock made his mark as the new guy, Beto seemed pretty good but not a standout. This debate had a lot of specificity to it, concerning plans and programs, and O’Rourke spoke in platitudes a lot at first. Also, his face seemed worried a lot — perhaps that’s just his way, but it didn’t come across as confident. Williamson was the big standout to me, if only because she spoke spoke in a different way that seemed to cut through what she called “wonkyness” and shine light on basic ideas. Mayor Pete was effective, carefully showing his religiousness and military background when possible. Some of these candidates are better at having prepared sound bites, not that that’s a good thing necessarily. But this kind of fast paced debate, and the critical parsing the day after, lends itself to sound bites and catchy one-liners.

That’s all I remember… except Ryan is VERY tall and Delaney often had a deer-in-the-headlights expression. Body language is fun: Warren’s posture is very recognizable- her body is fluid and almost floppy, in a happy way. Sanders hunches, scowls and points. The others stand straight and don’t move much. I wish they would, it makes my drawings more interesting when the candidates use their limbs!

Here are my visual impressions. More tonight, of course!

Liza Donnelly

Written by

Cartoonist/writer for New Yorker, CBS News, CNN, Author, performer, TED and SXSW speaker, Barnard Fellow. Looking to change world w humor. lizadonnelly.com

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