Here we find ourselves, at last, at the start of the Democratic primary. The for real start. The true launchpad. The very first Democratic presidential debate of the 2020 election, fully a year and two weeks before the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee. There should be plenty of time in this primary to whittle down from over two dozen candidates to the one sole winner without the conflicts and drama of the 2016 primary and it all begins tonight on a debate stage in Miami. And who will be on that stage? Ten people picked at random.

Yes, the Democratic National Committee put the top twenty Democrats into a hat and drew the names for each night of the debate. This has produced, as some have noticed, a slightly lopsided debate: Of the six candidates who routinely poll above 10%, four are on the second night and just two are on the first night. Perhaps that’s an opportunity for someone unexpected to shine.

We’ll have live-blog coverage of the Democratic Presidential Debate in Miami June 26 and June 27 at 9pm

Since the dawn of time immemorial Our Long National Nightmare has been chronicling the candidates in what at least one person called the “very excellent” Who The Fuck Are All These Fucks? series. In anticipation of tonight’s debate, here’s a quick recap of the ten esteemed candidates appearing on stage:

Elizabeth Warren

United States Senator

Elizabeth Warren was born in Oklahoma City in 1949. Fast-forward a few decades and she became a professor at the University of Texas School of Law in the mid-1980s specializing in bankruptcy law. Fast forward a few more decades and suddenly everyone is very interested in bankruptcy law and this is when Warren hits the national spotlight. Full article

Warren’s big issues: corporate lobbyists, student debt, campaign finance reform, Medicare for All, maybe call your mother a little more often

Beto O’Rourke

Former U.S. Representative

Robert O’Rourke was born in El Paso, Texas, in 1972. He’s Irish, if that wasn’t clear from the name “Robert Francis O’Rourke” and grew up in a political family; his step-grandfather, Fred Korth, was Secretary of the Navy during the Kennedy administration. His nickname, “Beto”, is a shortening of Roberto and a common nickname for Roberts in the area (it was given to him by his parents, emulating their neighbors). A two-term congressman, he ran for the U.S. Senate in 2016 against incumbent Ted Cruz; although he lost, the election launched O’Rourke into the national spotlight. Full Article

O’Rourke’s big issues: immigration reform, campaign finance reform, Medicare for All, criminal justice reform, skateboarding is not a crime

Cory Booker

United States Senator

Cory Booker was born in Washington, D.C., on 4/27/69, which is so close to being Internet gold. Elected to the Newark City Council in 1998, Booker thought that “Stanford-Oxford-Yale graduate” might mean people would listen to his ideas on social inequity and the struggles of working class people living in the city. He ran for mayor in 2002 unsuccessfully and in 2006 successfully; his tenure included reforming the city’s civil service and lowering the deficit. Now a U.S. Senator, Booker is best-known for his antagonistic approach towards the Trump administration. Full Article

Booker’s big issues: civil rights, LGBTQ+ rights, social justice, marijuana legalization, getting more vegetarian options on the menu at Applebee’s

Amy Klobuchar

United States Senator

Amy Klobuchar is, as Wikipedia says, “daughter of Rose Katherine (née Heuberger), who retired at age 70 from teaching second grade,” and Jim Klobuchar, a sportswriter. She has a law degree from the University of Chicago and worked as a county prosecutor in Hennepin County, which includes the Minneapolis half of the Twin Cities. In the Senate, she has a reputation as a doer, accomplishing an impressive slate of legislation that rivals quite literally every other sitting senator. She’s known for reaching across the aisle, especially on defense and finance bills, which means pretty much exactly what you think it does. Full Article

Klobuchar’s big issues: public option Medicare/Medicaid, minimum wage, student loan reform, climate change, speaking to the manager

Julian Castro

Former United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Julian Castro is one-half of the twin political duo Castro brothers – brother Joaquin is a congressman – and easily the oldest, born a full minute before baby Joaquin. He graduated from Stanford, became Mayor of San Antonio, and was tapped as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in 2014. Full Article

Castro’s big issues: whatever the presidential nominee wants their vice presidential pick to believe in

Tulsi Gabbard

U.S. Representative

Tulsi Gabbard is a Congresswoman representing Hawaii. She’s been in congress for six years; before that, she was on the Honolulu City Council and, from 2002 to 2004, in the Hawaii House of Representatives; she was just 21 when she was elected to the state legislature. Her one term in the Hawaii House was cut short because she was a field medic in the Hawaii Army National Guard and volunteered for service in Iraq, a distinction that has garnered a lot of attention. She’s also garnered a lot of attention for saying she would “do everything in my power to keep the American people safe” when asked about her views on torture. Full Article

Gabbard’s big issues: ending endless war, funding veteran health care, indigenous rights, renewable energy, can’t we forget about the things I said when I was young?

Tim Ryan

U.S. Representative

Tim Ryan was born in Ohio and did a lot of Ohio things in his youth, culminating in the most Ohio thing you can do: work for an Ohio politician, in this case Ohio political legend James Traficant, who later went to jail. This opened up a great opportunity for Ryan and he has represented Ohio in the House ever since. Once a blue collar labor Democrat he’s now closer to the party’s progressive wing. Full Article

Ryan’s big issues: climate change, agriculture, green technology, Medicare for All, how can I be in the House for two decades and no one knows who I am

Jay Inslee

Governor of Washington

Jay Inslee was born in Seattle in 1951 back when Seattle was tolerable. He was an all-American boy, a star athlete with good grades and a high school sweetheart who later became his wife. He graduated in 1969 and went to Stanford to study medicine, but his family didn’t have Stanford money and he returned to Seattle to study economics at the University of Washington. Serving as Governor since 2012, he’s been known for his pragmatism and ability to compromise while still being a Pacific Northwest liberal. Full Article

Inslee’s big issues: environmental justice, climate change, marijuana legalization, not upsetting Boeing, Amazon, or Microsoft

Bill de Blasio

Mayor of New York City

Bill de Blasio (born William Wilhelm Jr.; he later adopted his mother’s maiden name) was born on May 8, 1961, in Manhattan. He studied at Columbia with an interest in politics and public service. In the 1980s, he distributed food and medicine during the Nicaraguan Revolution and supported the Sandinistas, the socialist government of Nicaragua that was fiercely opposed by the Reagan administration. He then served for a number of political campaigns including David Dinkins’ 1989 mayoral race, Charles Rangel’s 1994 congressional re-election, and Hillary Clinton’s 2000 election to the U.S. Senate. Full Article

de Blasio’s big issues: surely he believes in something and he’s very passionate about it

John Delaney

Former U.S. Representative

John Delaney was born in New Jersey. Later, he left New Jersey. This was a smart move and he has not regretted it. He rejects the label “moderate” but like… he’s broadly moderate, supporting stronger criminal justice laws, cannabis legalization, action on climate change, a balanced budget, term limits, and DACA – but he opposed single payer healthcare (until it became the kind of thing that virtually every other candidate supported) and is more hawkish on foreign policy than most progressive candidates. Full Article

Delaney’s big issues: infrastructure, “BetterCare” universal health care plan, climate change, economic growth in the ‘heartland’, minimum wage, student loan reform, running for president

This series is funded by readers at Ko-Fi. Every contribution helps ensure that we cannot escape the vortex of the election and must cover its lowest lows for your amusement. Support here:

The featured image for this article comes from verno45 under a Creative Commons license.