Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy yell at each other during the Republican debate.

The Second Republican Debate Was a Fully Unwatchable Disaster

The second Republican presidential debate took place Wednesday night and I am extremely jealous of everyone who prioritized their own well-being and didn’t watch. The seven candidates—Nikki Haley, Mike Pence, Ron DeSantis, Chris Christie, Doug Burgum, Tim Scott, and Vivek Ramaswamy—were hard to watch for all the reasons you’d expect, as they made false and insulting claims about immigration, attacked unionized workers, spouted attacks on trans people and “CRT,” and so much more.

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But however unpleasant it is to listen to one Republican politician rattle off a hateful rant, these candidates found an infinitely worse experience: all of them doing it at the same time.

From the very first minutes of the debate, the candidates refused to stop talking over each other. Moderators at the 2019 Democratic debates (rightfully) faced criticism for losing control of the candidates but Wednesday’s spectacle made those events look well-oiled and mild-mannered by comparison.

Doug Bergum interrupted the moderators to rant about “rare earth minerals.” Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy screamed over each other about TikTok. Ramaswamy, DeSantis, and Tim Scott repeatedly yelled over each other about I literally don’t even know what because you couldn’t hear either of them. They were all clearly doing the thing where they thought if they just kept talking loudly and forcefully, the other person would tire out and give them the floor—except no one ever gave up, they just all kept talking.

You kind of have to hear the madness for yourself:

This went on ALL NIGHT:

The moderators (Dana Perino, Ilia Calderón, and Stuart Varney) were repeatedly reduced to using preschool-teacher voices, begging the candidates to just. Stop. Talking. Absolutely nothing of substance was said the entire night but everyone felt the need to say as many words as possible, all at the same time.

It really was an unwatchable mess, both in substance and in form.

We did at least get this great malapropism out of it:

Still definitely not worth those two hours of pure cringe, though.

(featured image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.