You may not have realized it, but a Democrat was using Twitter on Wednesday night as the Republicans took the stage at the Reagan Library.
That candidate was Sanders, and while he may not have been physically present on stage in front of the retired Air Force One that made the backdrop of the second Republican debate, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t making his voice heard.
Sanders started with a light discussion of the lack of focus on actual issues being discussed by the top eleven Republican candidates, but as the debate moved on, Sanders used twitter to begin to dissect everything wrong with what some may mockingly call a Presidential debate.
@BernieSanders: At a time when media looks at politics like a baseball game, will the serious issues be discussed tonight? Let’s see. #DebateWithBernie
Sanders began by asking if any of the issues facing millions of Americans, such as a growing wage gap, real unemployment, or the impending crisis of climate change. But as the night wore on, Sanders began to focus in on the candidates’ particular stances, and did not shy away from using a bit of sarcasm and wit to make his points.
@BernieSanders: Rubio knows California has a drought. Will he have the courage to connect that to climate change or reject the science? #DebateWithBernie
This particular post followed Rubio’s opening statement, which included a joke about bringing his own water because California, the state the debate was being held in, is in a drought. But Sanders didn’t just stop at criticizing Republican’s on their bad jokes:
@BernieSanders: Kasich. You don’t know ANYBODY who doesn’t think we should defund Planned Parenthood? Really? You apparently don’t know the American people.
@BernieSanders: Trump: “I will take care of women.” Really? What about respecting the right of women to control their own bodies? #DebateWithBernie
Sanders also didn’t refrain from bringing up issues from his own stump speeches, and questioning whether these issues would be discussed at all by the candidates on stage.
@BernieSanders: Rich get richer. Median fmly income $5k less than in 1999. One of the highest rates of childhood poverty. Any discussion? #DebateWithBernie
While Bernie tweeted, the main focus of the debate focused on Republican talking points such as overturning the Iran deal, Clinton’s email issues, de-funding Planned Parenthood and building up the military. Of course one of the main focuses of the debate also rested on statements made by Trump during the campaign, and large portions of time were spent on back-and-forths between Trump and other candidates in battles that were more “he said, she said” then anything disputes over policy.
The Republican candidates spent large portions of time invoking the name of Reagan and even at times praised the presidency of George W. Bush, and Sanders didn’t hesitate to comment on this either.
@BernieSanders: @ChrisChristie George W. Bush — gave us Iraq war, Wall St crash — was one of our great presidents. You are right. #DebateWithBernie
@BernieSanders: Okay. Let’s vote for Reagan. Sounds better than any of these guys. #DebateWithBernie #GOPDebate
Sanders’ sarcasm and sincerity about the lack of focus on real issues seemed to have resonated with many of his twitter followers, with most of his tweets getting thousands of retweets. Bernie also appears to have added over 40 thousand followers on twitter today, his largest single-day rise in followers for some time.
During the first Republican debate, Sanders also held a live-tweet session, and became the most retweeted candidate on twitter that day. He may have matched that tonight before he decided to end his session tonight, evidently out of frustration.
@BernieSanders: Thank you all. I’ve had it. I’m going home. Talk to you soon. #DebateWithBernie