Anderson Cooper: Welcome to Flint, Michigan. We’re going to do our best to have a substantive debate tonight. “Substantive,” as you no doubt suspect, is a euphemism. It means “dull.” When people have had a good exciting time, they do not come home and report that “we had a really substantive evening.” But look, we’re trying. If you want an, er, roosterfight, you know this is not the right party. Ahem.  Here is an actual Flint resident.

Actual Flint Resident: How will you rebuild our trust in government?

Hillary Clinton: First off, I am so, so sorry for what you have been through. Your government has failed you. Especially the part of your government that was run by Republicans. You deserved better and I am sorry.

Sanders: Me too! I am sorrier!

Clinton: Can I get you anything?

Sanders: Hand-towel? Cushion?

Clinton: Photo-op? You deserve only the best.

Cooper: (stage-whisper) The water is still not working.

Clinton: And, of course, water. That is the number-one thing.

Cooper: Sen. Sanders, government has failed here. Why is government the answer?

Sanders: Well, CORPORATIONS sure aren’t the answer!

Cooper: No but, why is government the answer?

Sanders: Well, WALL STREET sure isn’t the answer!

Flint Newspaper Editor: Secretary Clinton, Flint is in your ads, you’re holding rallies here — but where were you before? Are you just here to score political points?

Clinton: No. Look, uh, (stirring music begins to play) for years, not just here in Flint, but all throughout the country, I have fought. I fought as a young lawyer and activist, to build bridges. I fought for hard-working Americans and to make the world a better place for people just like–

Flint Newspaper Editor: Is this — is this an ad right now?

Clinton: No. This message has been sponsored by Hillary Clinton 2016.

Flint Newspaper Editor: Sen. Sanders, your first visit to Flint was a week ago.

Sanders: No, that’s not right. I visited Detroit months ago.

Flint Newspaper Editor: Flint and Detroit are different.

Sanders: I came to Detroit and talked to the Flint families. I think a lot of people here in Flint are worried that eventually the cameras will stop paying attention to them. I sympathize. Cameras have not paid any attention to me for the better part of my political career and I, too, am always a little frightened that they will turn from me at any moment.

Detroit Worker: How will you keep American jobs in America?

Clinton: Carrots won’t work. Sticks won’t work. Instead, I will use an elaborate contraption that I have built from a combination of carrots and sticks. If the donkey, in this metaphor, is jobs, the donkey will be so confused by this stick-carrot combo that he won’t be able to go anywhere, let alone out of the country. He will sit down and be baffled and we will have him for good.

Sanders: Secretary Clinton came to this issue too late!

Clinton: You opposed the auto bailout.

Sanders: Well, yes, but your sinister friends in the —

Clinton: You know–

Sanders: (slams hand down on hood of passing taxi) I’M TALKIN’ HERE!

Audience: (upset noises)

TV Viewers Everywhere: Oooooooo

Sanders: Just for once let a man finish what he has to say!

Clinton: Yes, historically, it has been hard for men to get a word in edgewise.

Sanders: Could I finish? You’ll have your turn, all right?

Clinton: (clutches his arm, suddenly speaks in a terrifying guttural tone) I’VE BEEN TOLD TO WAIT MY TURN FOR THE LAST TWENTY YEARS AND BY GOD MY TURN IS NOW (mutters) but like if you’ve decided that this shushing thing is what you’re going to do I’m not going to STOP you, it sounds a tad bit sexist and is not a great look for you so, you know, keep going if you want to I’ll just stand here and try to look presidential and maybe quickly unwrap myself a lozenge, we both really need lozenges.

Sanders: In conclusion, I oppose NAFTA. Wall Street is a blight to everything that it touches. It touched both of our vocal cords at the beginning of this evening which is why we sound like a chorus of sad frogs being forced to swallow cheese graters whole.

Cooper: Sen. Sanders, you’ve mentioned before that you wanted Secretary Clinton to release her speech that she made on Wall Street for thousands of dollars.

Clinton: I will release the transcript of my hundred-thousand-dollar-plus speeches to Wall Street when all the other candidates release their speeches that they made to Wall Street for the same amount of money.

Sanders: Is this a thing other candidates have done? I’ve gone to Wall Street to make speeches but usually those speeches were from the sidewalk while holding a bullhorn and they wound up costing me money because I was fined and asked to leave. I guess yours must have been truly Shakespearean.

Clinton: Bernie, if I could give a Shakespearean speech, do you think I would give the speeches I give? Look, you’ve heard me speak. Picture basically that but with more money clinking together in the background.

Cooper: Sen. Sanders, you recently tweeted a picture of some dilapidated buildings in Detroit and said they were the fault of Secretary Clinton’s failed trade policies.

Sanders: No, no, they were the fault of everyone who made bad choices in the 90s.

Clinton: Please, let’s not argue about the ’90s. Put those behind us. Let’s look into the future instead, which will be nothing like the 90s, where people will watch “Full House,” obsess about the OJ Simpson trial, and talk about a Clinton in the White House.

Cooper: That was a very obvious joke but I guess someone had to make it.

Sanders: And now let’s talk about something interesting: THE EXPORT-IMPORTANT BANK! Or as I like to call it, the “Boeing Bank.”

(Six policy wonks laugh hysterically. The rest of America changes the channel to see if Downton Abbey is on yet.)

Cooper: Here is the father of a victim of gun violence. Look him in the eyes and talk about your stance on gun control.

Clinton: Here is my usual stance but delivered with far greater intensity than usual.

Sanders: Um, uh, look, gun violence — I don’t know that you can say for sure you’re going to prevent it, you know. And, uh, I don’t think you should hold gun manufacturers liable for the legal sale of guns. And —

Cooper: This is going well for you.

Don Lemon: Secretary Clinton, what about the 1994 crime bill that some blame for locking up a generation of black men?

Clinton: My answer is that I wish you would ask him this question, not me.

Don Lemon: Both of you, what racial blind spot do you have?

Clinton: This — you realize — this is a paradox you’re posing us here. How do we know what we don’t know? Who are you, Donald Rumsfeld?

Don Lemon: Look, uh, how about you just speak awkwardly about race for a good five minutes.

Clinton: Okay.

Don Lemon: Senator? Racial blind spots?

Sanders: I have many blind spots, some of which I will reveal in the course of this speech! For one thing, I have no trouble catching cabs at all, as any of you who have seen me gesturing during these debates will not be surprised to hear. And “when you’re white, you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto. You don’t know what it’s like to be poor.” (Why are you waving your arms at me so frantically, campaign manager? Is it because I am doing well? Is this a good answer, the one that I have just given, one that will endear me to people?)

Cooper: Talk about schools. How do we make them better?

Sanders: By schools, I assume you mean colleges. We need to make college affordable!

Cooper: I meant all levels of school, actually.

Audience Member: Do you believe in God?

Sanders: Yes.

Cooper: Which God, specifically?

Sanders: I am Jewish and proud of it. Like Magneto. And like Magneto, I know close-up the horror that extremism can wreak, I am now leading a movement full of hip young people with vibrant haircuts, and I love to gesture dramatically with my hands. However, unlike Magneto, I am no mutant separatist, and when I gesture with my hands, metal does nothing. (gestures sadly) You see?

Audience Member: Secretary Clinton, whom do you pray for?

Clinton: I pray to the great Snake Monster who dwells beyond the rain, to give me triumph over my enemies and make them commit potentially sexist faux pas during debates.

Member: For. I asked who do you pray “for.”

Clinton: Oh. My mistake.