It was a shitshow. Worse than that, because it can always get worse, there was never a chance that it would be anything but a shitshow from the outset. Trump came in with the purpose of proving to his hard core right wing fringe supporters that he was the tough guy they so admire in him. And when asked by Chris Wallace, who was completely incapable of reining in Trump, to condemn white supremacy, the most Trumpian of things Trump could say came out.
Stand Back. Stand By.
There is a reason Trump could not bring himself to condemn white supremacists. They love him and he wants their love. It’s not that Trump loves them. Trump loves Trump and nothing but Trump, but to the extent they serve Trump, he will say nothing to lose their love. As for anything else about them, he couldn’t care less.
Some have suggested that this was a canned phrase, a prepared response carefully crafted by his debate preppers, Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie. This was a call to arms, or at least a call to stand ready to fight when he loses the election because the disaffected Americans who believed that this nation’s political class needed to be shaken up by an outsider who refused to play by their rules now they see that not any vulgar, amoral, deceitful ignoramus will suffice.
Biden didn’t do himself proud when challenged to condemn Antifa either, claiming they were only an “idea.” Like Trump, he can’t afford to alienate his fringe, who already despises him and will suffer his election so they can destroy him as soon as possible.
But Biden, for all his frailties, is not a vicious animal.
This was called a debate, but it obviously wasn’t. The question for America is whether we want a debate, a comparison of policies and approaches, answers to the questions we have about candidates, or a shitshow. There is no shortage of derogatory words and phrases to describe the Catastrophe in Cleveland, and the harsher they are, the more they resonate. The word disgrace falls far short. Embarrassment doesn’t begin to capture it.
Had it been Biden against someone whose only tool wasn’t to behave like an animal, it’s unclear whether it would have been a useful debate, a forum to learn what the candidates would do and how they would govern. We live in a time when no one answers questions with actual information and deflection and obfuscation are the rule. That’s one of the reasons an outsider who spoke “plainly” was embraced by some.
But Trump didn’t speak “plainly.” Trump didn’t say anything, just as he never says anything of substance. He has no health care plan. He has no COVID plan. He lacks the intellectual capacity and focus to make a plan. He lies shamelessly to try to bullshit his way through his inability to have a plan because, in what passes as the mind of Trump, the object is to make it out the other side. If lying is the only path he’s got, then it’s the path he has to take, entirely justifiable in his contorted capacity to reason if it saves him from exposure as the fool.
This was not a debate. We cannot endure another display of the diseased state of our politics. This cannot be our nation, for if it is, then there is no hope for the future of our institutional integrity. This has nothing to do with right, left or middle, per se, but with being so sick that we would put an animal in charge. There can be no more of these debacles unless and until we’ve learned our lesson that if we can’t be better than this, then we have no justification for our existence.
Facts and logic matter.
Trump is the death of all that matters. Trump is our punishment for abandoning the things that matter.
This isn’t to endorse Biden, but to condemn Trump.
I am disgusted. If you take delight from this burning down of all that America has, is and could be, then bear in mind that there is nowhere to go from here but down. Last night, debate died. The only question remaining is whether America will die as well.