I wasn’t going to write about the debate. It was a big event. Thousands of pieces have been written about it. What could I say that’s original? I agree that it wasn’t fun. I agree that it was also hilarious.
But everybody said that. There are a few points that jumped out to me that I just haven’t seen anywhere else. I wanted to share a few.
· We had a debate for President taking place amid a pandemic, the nation’s economic collapse, national protests demanding racial justice and increases in violent crime. The Moderator wanted to act like it was normal times and then feigned shock when it went off the rails? Baby, we’ve been off the rails. LOOK AROUND.
· The candidates were asked why Americans should trust them to “deal with the race issues facing this country over the next four years.” The big problems this country has were broken into sections. You know, coronavirus, the cratered economy and race. Not racial justice. Not reconciliation or reparations either. Just race. Damn. I guess just having black people in America is a problem white folks need to solve. And no, it wasn’t at all uncomfortable having 3 90-year-old white guys argue about Critical Race Theory without knowing what it is. I guess they do the same thing with women’s reproductive rights so it fits.
· 60% said Biden won the debate. 28% said Trump did. After the 1st debate in 2016 62% said Clinton won. 27% said Trump did.
· It’s fantastic that climate change got a question at a presidential debate! It’s a shame the actual President thinks that means clean air and water. Both times he responded right away with “crystal clean” water and air. Even if they were protecting air and water, which they aren’t, that’s not the point.
· People got heated that Biden didn’t answer about packing the court but he did. They said he was going to defund the police. He said No! They said he wanted the Green New Deal. He said No! They said he wanted Socialized medicine. He said No! They said he wanted to pack the court. He said, “We have to wait and see.” That’s what my wife says when she’s already going to give the kids ice cream but wants them to still be good until it’s served.
· I know Biden was interrupted and he ain’t exactly the most charismatic candidate, but interrupting some more nonsense with, “it’s not about my family or his family, it’s about you and your family” was a strong line.
· I used to work with a guy who said everything was 12–15%. “We grew that 12–15%.” “We’re going to save 12–15%.” We caught it quick. The advantage Trump has is that Joe Biden stumbles trying to remember specific numbers while Trump just shouts 12–15% without caring if it’s true. It looks confident even though it’s some nonsense.
· Joe Biden was talking about his veteran son who passed. He was building to a moment. Then the President said, “I don’t know him. I know Hunter,” and then said the boy was a drug addict screw-up. And this is why regular people don’t run for President. I’d have punched a 74-year-old man in the throat if he had spoken on my family like that with an audience. Joe Biden chuckled.
· Trump said he had the military ready to start vaccinating people! And that they could do up to 200k every day! We know he’s exaggerating to get people excited and to drive his support. He can’t really do 200k every day. But if he could, and we got started today, we’d be done vaccinating the whole country by March of 2025. Just in case you were getting “back to normal” right after everybody got that shot.
· “There’s nothing smart about you, Joe” cracks me up. It sounds like something Slater would say to Zack to look tough. Saturday morning TV tough. I don’t know if the President thought it was tough or clever or he just can’t think quick on his feet. Either way I’m still laughing on that one.
· The President didn’t know the name of the woman he nominated to the Supreme Court. I’ve spoken in public and forgotten the name of a product or company or person. I know the tics. It’s hilarious that it’s question 1 and it’s about such a big issue. He called her “she” or “her” 8 times in about 40 seconds hoping that name would click. It never did. I mean, the Moderator just said her name but, in the President’s defense, he wasn’t listening.
· When asked about his rallies and the coronavirus the President said, “Well so far we have had no problem whatsoever.” That smelled like 12–15% to me.
I did some analysis.
I looked at his two June indoor rallies. On the 20th he had a rally in Tulsa. You remember. He wanted to have it on Juneteenth but he learned that day mattered so he moved it to the next day and killed Herman Cain. Anyway, he had a rally on the 20th. He also had a rally on the 23th at a church in Phoenix with a few hundred people breathing on all each other.
I compared the 14 day averages before those events and the 14 day averages two weeks later to see if there was a case increase. I compared that increase to the increase in the rest of the state to see if it’s growing faster.
In short, the counties where Trump had his outside rallies drove cases 50% faster than the areas without a rally. In Maricopa County, where cases were already going to increase 200% because of the overall outbreak, they increased 300% because of his ragged-ass rallies.
I did the same work with his next two stops in tiny towns in Minnesota and Wisconsin at the airport. Tulsa and Phoenix were big and indoors. Surely it’s not happening in tiny Blue Earth County, Minnesota or Winnebago County, Wisconsin.
Look, the President coming to your town means there’s going to be about 50% more coronavirus cases around. If Rihanna’s coming to town we can talk about risking that 50%. But the President?
Jokes aside, stop worrying about polls. The end game was made clear.
There’s a pandemic. It may not be safe to vote in person. People who vote for Democrats are using mail-in voting 4:1 to Republicans. They’re restricting drop-off locations. They’re questioning ballot structure to force reprinting. They’re suing to make sure election officials don’t count ballots now.
The plan, as he has stated clearly, is to declare victory on November 3rd based on the votes that have been tabulated to that point. Those votes will not include mail-in ballots in most cases. He will then appeal to the Supreme Court to declare him the victor and disregard outstanding ballots as those are against him and therefore illegal. He’s betting that the court choose him as the President.
Be clear. He’s not running to win an election. He’s running to stay in power. He’s broken norms. He’s broken laws. He’s broken the systems many of us took for granted. There’s not much Democracy left here.
We have to hope there’s just enough left for us to start all over again.