How is This Fucking Buffoon Our President?

In tonight’s debate, Trump proved to us once again that he is an absolute clown, a liar, and a danger to our democracy. Biden proved he is, mostly, mentally cognizant and not as susceptible to Trump’s bullying as we all thought.

By Roland T. Flackfizer

Artwork by Justin Hampton

Shit has gone full reality TV.

It is hard to believe that the shitshow debates of 2016 could be made to seem ‘normal.’ By comparison, they were well behaved and at least audible. It was hard to discern much of what was said tonight and that was likely Trump’s strategy. Though interrupting and overspeaking seemed laughable and novel in 2016, our current state of affairs does not allow Americans to view such political discourse as entertainment anymore. With 200k dead from Covid-19, the country on the precipice of financial collapse, and a culture war threatening to upend the continuity of our nation, Trump’s shenanigans are stale and untimely. 

A few takeaways from tonight: 

• Who knew Chris Wallace had it in him? 

Sure, he grilled Trump pretty well on Covid numbers a few weeks ago but many of us were afraid that was some ‘credibility’ set up so he could lob soft balls at the first debate. Wallace shushed Trump when needed, pressed him on vaguely answered questions, and did his best to keep the trains on time. Tough job indeed.

• Who knew Biden had it in him?

Sure, the 77 year old did as well as a withered man of his age could have done. Yet I wonder if what it took to disarm Trump tonight was just that. Biden smirked, shook his head, and delivered an aces performance of a cantankerous old man who can’t be bothered with bullshit. He did a reasonable job of dialing into facts while Trump delivered predictable hyperbole. He did an admirable job of ignoring Trump’s insults though he surely appeared like he would have loved to smack the President at points.  I figured that old scrapper had one left in him. He would do well to get elected, manage the pandemic effectively, and die in year 3 as the flawed, old man that saved the republic. 

• Best Line of the Night: “Will you shut up, man ” Biden told Trump.

• Trump refused to disavow White Supremacists or acknowledge the reality of climate change.

I wish there is more to say about this. There is not.

• Covid-19 on our minds.

Trump is either in absolute denial or delusion for his bungling of Covid-19. The pandemic colored the entire debate from the physical venue arrangement to the dampened volume of applause usually present at such debates. Trump did some sloppy gymnastics to try and remove blame from himself: He blamed China, he said Biden would have been responsible for a million deaths had he been in charge, and he made unsubstantiated claims that we are on the precipice of a vaccine. Biden put Trump’s feet to the fire quickly and frequently and ascribed blame to him for the more than 200,0000 Americans who have died thus far. “The president has no plan,” Biden said. “He panicked.”

• The debate missed quite a bit of important shit.

Unfortunately, we were over-served personal infighting and Trump’s audacious claims instead of diving deep into some issues or even mentioning some all together. With the exception of Trump’s ubiquitous China-bashing, foreign policy was non-existent. Historians will look back on tonight’s debate and watch in wonder how a declining world hegemony nearing the brink of war in several theaters ignored foreign policy all together. Maybe that is because there is little daylight between Republicans and Democrats as to how the day to day of U.S. Empire is handled? Or maybe it is because a disproportionate amount of time was spent talking about Hunter Biden. Little time was spent on particulars in the economy, specific strategy to handle the pandemic, or how we move forward after the pandemic. 

• Was he more orange than usual tonight?

All in all, the debate is what many of us expected. Trump had no tricks up his sleeve and merely gave us an approximation of his 2016 antics. The hope is, not everyone is buying his bullshit this time.

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