Miami summers have a way of defeating the weak-willed. Locals, who already don't go to the beach that much, truly stop sitting by the ocean. You start ordering takeout for dinner every night because it's too hot to carry groceries outside. Walking your dog for 15 minutes will annihilate any hairstyle you've bothered with and force you to take a shower before doing anything else that day. For six months of the year, Miamians sorta constantly feel like they're breathing through a damp sock.
So when an extremely large and mostly boring slate of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates came to town this week, we noticed something: Many of them were clearly unprepared for the heat. To be fair, it was one of the hottest weeks in Miami history, according to University of Miami scientist Brian McNoldy. Some candidates held strong on days when the heat index felt, quite literally, like 110 degrees. But others, e.g. pallid California bot Eric Swalwell, utterly wilted under the literal and figurative heat. Thus, the Sweat Index, a definitely scientific ranking of the 2020 Democratic candidates based on their relative preparation for and imperviousness to Miami humidity, was born.
For the record, this list wound up skewing along gender lines for unfunny reasons — female candidates face an unfair double standard by which they're judged more harshly on their looks and thus must work harder to keep up appearances — and funny reasons, in that guys like John Hickenlooper and Tim Ryan are huge oafs who look like their skin is rotting even in perfect conditions.
(These rankings also very clearly are not political endorsements and have zero bearings on whether anyone deserves to be president.)
So without further ado, here's the Miami 2020 Democratic Debates Sweat Index:
1. Elizabeth Warren
Elizabeth Warren has plans for many things, apparently including the heat. Light cardigan. Athletic shoes. Sunglasses. Perhaps a bit too much black for the midday sun but otherwise perfectly executed. Not a coincidence that she seemingly had the most energy out of anyone who turned up in Homestead this week. Crushed it.
Yesterday, I met activists who’ve been standing outside Homestead for months. I met grandmas and moms, dads and uncles. I met little children and a woman who said, “I’ll be here every day.” Together, we’re fighting for immigration policies that reflect our values. pic.twitter.com/RTImkW95iF— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) June 27, 2019
2. Marianne Williamson
It's entirely possible Williamson does not feel the concepts of "hot" or "cold" like mere mortals, and that she's elevated her consciousness to some higher plane where she only feels pure love, energy, and bliss at all times. That, or she had the chills from doing mushrooms at lunch that day. Or maybe her sweat glands were zapped away in some Gwyneth-Paltrow-style medical procedure. She also gets points for being one of only two people who opened their third eyes enough to realize you need sunglasses in the sun. Regardless: Cool as a cucumber.
The twitter queen Marianne Williamson was in Homestead today lol pic.twitter.com/KQ1MRdj6CB— Mariana (@Marianaatweets) June 28, 2019
3. Kirsten Gillibrand
One of the only four or five candidates who didn't seem to crack at all in the humidity. She could have been giving a speech in Montana for all we knew.
4. Tulsi Gabbard
Gabbard, who was born in American Samoa and grew up in Hawaii, should have been able to handle some humidity. For once with Tulsi's campaign, her Homestead visit seemingly occurred without incident.
Tulsi Gabbard looking over the fence at Homestead: “These kids belong with their parents...it’s despicable to see this happen at all, but to have a corporation profit off their backs—,” Gabbard says, adding, “This is not who we are, this is not something anyone should stand for.” pic.twitter.com/OpPgxiI3QY— DJ Judd (@DJJudd) June 27, 2019
5. Kamala Harris
It really seemed like Harris was going to pull through and make a run for Warren/Williamson territory here. But during her speech, a thin layer of sweat appeared to peek through. Still, she did significantly better than any of the huffing, wheezing dudes we're about to stare at. Kudos.
Summer blazer was a bold strategy, she mostly pulled it off but we got a little glisten going pic.twitter.com/4uD9AAvg4z— Jerry Iannelli (@jerryiannelli) June 28, 2019
6. Jay Inslee
Inslee wants to be the Climate Guy, and — honestly? — good for him for standing at a podium in the middle of a swamp and facing the sun head-on without flinching. (Alternately, Inslee has Big Golf-Dad Energy and is probably used to standing in direct sunlight.) Still, he seemed like the only dude who didn't show signs of falling apart in the heat.
We chose the beautiful Everglades for the release of my Freedom from Fossil Fuels plan because big polluters want to drill for oil there. That would be disastrous for our climate, our health, and it would put the water of 6 million people at risk. pic.twitter.com/Qvx4fZHVKw— Jay Inslee (@JayInslee) June 24, 2019
Thk u Gov @JayInslee 4 elevating the #ClimateCrisis, 4 listening to #Everglades issues, 4 caring 4 my Puerto Rico, for a #EvergreenEconomy & #FreedomFromFossilFuels plan. #OurMoment has come! Oh.. & for listening to light pollution issues. Let's add #EverNightSky to the plan! pic.twitter.com/LZzz2yeqRi— Diana Umpierre (@DianaUmpierre) June 25, 2019
Moreover, Inslee gets added points here because he actually bothered to get outdoors and take a walking tour of Little Haiti, a neighborhood currently fighting climate-based gentrification.
.@JayInslee, touring Miami’s Little Haiti this morning, is offered fresh coconut from a local vendor named Emmanuel. “How’d you learn this skill,” Inslee asks as Emmanuel machetes the coconut. “Life,” he replies. pic.twitter.com/rehtDLjjzM— Melanie Mason (@melmason) June 25, 2019
Temperatures hit 97 degrees on Tuesday, but Inslee seemed to handle it like it was nothing.
7. Amy Klobuchar
There's a worthwhile debate over whether wearing a cap in the sun will make your head sweat worse or not. But sunglasses — they're not expensive, folks! Never a bad idea. No big deal here, but she just sorta seemed uncomfortable at all times?
Daniel Varela with the Miami Herald snapped this shot of @elinashirazi and me covering Senator Amy Klobuchar's visit to the Homestead Detention Center yesterday, where i learned the most important rule of field reporting in Florida: hydrate. pic.twitter.com/67x3eYoDs3— DJ Judd (@DJJudd) June 27, 2019
8. Seth Moulton
New Times actually ran into Seth Moulton on the night of the second debate. That's because Moulton didn't even poll high enough to make the debate stage this week. So, in an utterly sad display, he showed up at the Arsht Center's front door and just kinda hung out for a while and took some photos with people outside. (And then presumably went back to his hotel room with a big, sweaty bag of empanadas.) Moulton benefited from showing up in the late afternoon, and there was some serious cloud cover at that point in the day. But that hair was starting to come apart and his shirt was getting sticky.
Adding Seth Moulton to the Sweat Index, but it’s sorta unfair since there’s cloud cover now. Doing okay but the hair’s wilting a bit pic.twitter.com/6W5kI3BBHe— Jerry Iannelli (@jerryiannelli) June 27, 2019
9. Andrew Yang
Way overdressed and looking like it's just dawning on him how uncomfortable he's going to be all day.
10. Pete Buttigieg
A full tie? In this
economy level of carbon-induced warming? Those cheeks were getting flushed!
Hicks and Buttigieg both went full-tie in mid-June Miami, heat index of 100 today. Garbage! pic.twitter.com/NBMP5o6FqY— Jerry Iannelli (@jerryiannelli) June 28, 2019
11. Bill De Blasio
The Blaz spent more time outdoors than some of the other candidates. He visited both Homestead and a worker strike at Miami International Airport. He started to turn a bit red after a while, but we're docking de Blasio points not for losing his physical composure in the hotbox that is Summer Miami, but for letting the heat get to his head. Bill the Butcher was having a great morning of press on Thursday when he grabbed a mic and decided to shout a Che Guevara quote in Miami, fully tanking any possible shot his campaign had in Florida.
“Hasta la victoria siempre...”— liz roldan (@lizroldancbs4) June 27, 2019
Says Bill De Blasio in *Miami* pic.twitter.com/fAc2Wds5YD
12. John Hickenlooper
Hickenlooper is pretty much only known for being the one Democratic presidential candidate who still openly supports the oil-and-gas industry and the concept of hydraulic fracking. This dude is gonna cook the earth. So he better learn to handle himself better in swampy weather — he looked at times like he was about to pass out. Also, Hickenlooper wore a full tie (!) in 100-degree weather. Our man here might not be that bright.
Honestly unclear whether Hickenlooper is overheating or if he naturally looks like he’s melting all the time pic.twitter.com/fbauqIdqLh— Jerry Iannelli (@jerryiannelli) June 28, 2019
13. Julián Castro
This reporter's face also sweats profusely. So, from one swampy comrade to another: sorry, Julián.
14. Beto O'Rourke
The Texans — Castro and O'Rourke — surprisingly did not fare well in Miami weather. From afar, it seemed like Beto was holding it together, but Getty Images captured a few shots of him sweating like he was in a Gatorade commercial.
And here’s the point of view for a reporter asking Beto O’Rourke a question outside the Homestead Detention Center: pic.twitter.com/As3jv5WnDP— DJ Judd (@DJJudd) June 27, 2019
15. Bernie Sanders
It gives us great pain to report that this brief trip outside damn-near killed poor Bernie. There are some absolutely harrowing high-res images of a frighteningly pink Bern circulating from this trip. He was seriously beginning to look like the inside of a grapefruit by the end of his visit. He's simply too old to be turning that red at any time. Please, for all of us, stay indoors.
From earlier, at the Homestead Detention Center in FL: Bernie Sanders tells reporters, “The United States of America should not be locking up children who have fled dangerous and disastrous situations back home,” adds that’s especially true for those with relatives in the US. pic.twitter.com/ObrVaM7IK2— DJ Judd (@DJJudd) June 27, 2019
16. Tim Ryan
It doesn't matter how hot it might have been under that MIA departure terminal overhang — one gets the sense Tim Ryan is cold-sweating 100 percent of the day, all day. That's a clammy man if we've ever seen one.
Firmly convinced you should absolutely never touch Tim Ryan for any reason— Jerry Iannelli (@jerryiannelli) June 28, 2019
17. Eric Swalwell
Our pasty Bay Area boy and Large Adult Congressman Eric Swalwell got absolutely annihilated in the heat. He looked so horrible that he's the entire reason we started this Twitter thread and subsequent list. Swalwell typically keeps his hair combed tight in one of those Ivy League, good-old-boy, business-guy cuts. Whatever he put in his hair this week, the Miami weather made quick work of it.
It’s stupid-hot this week in Miami (feels like 100+ with heat index) and I, for one, am pumped to see which candidates are unable to cope. Eric Swalwell looking like a melted stick of butter here: pic.twitter.com/2I2msAyIvL— Jerry Iannelli (@jerryiannelli) June 26, 2019
Eric — and we cannot stress this enough — Sweatwell.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
18. Cory Booker, Michael Bennett, John Delaney, and Joe Biden
These guys participated in the debate but pretty much never ventured outdoors at all. Booker's only trip outside was a brief appearance at a protest at 7 a.m. before the true heat hit.
Cory Booker joins the picket line: “Tu trabajo es increíble. Tus derechos son importantes.” pic.twitter.com/3DvaKV21T5— Taylor Dolven (@taydolven) June 27, 2019
The rest of these guys seemingly held no public events outdoors — thus losing the Sweat Index by default on account of cowardice. Bennett and Delaney likely know they've got no shot in the race, but Biden is, allegedly, the frontrunner at the moment. And so, much like he unequivocally lost the Miami debates, he loses the Sweat Index for never bothering to break a sweat at all.