Home / General / The not so great debate

The not so great debate

/
/
/
996 Views

Never before the history of an inherently dubious practice has there ever been anything quite as pointless as Thursday’s “debate” between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

Consider that:

(1) Both men have each spent a full, or nearly a full, term as president already.

(2) Both have been prominent public figures for longer than most Americans have been alive.

(3) Each represents an ideology — liberal post-New Deal democracy v. authoritarian white Christian nationalism — that could not possibly be in starker opposition with the other.

(4) Nothing about the format of the debate will include any actual debating. This is a pure made for TV spectacle, in which the candidates will give canned answers to purely scripted and stylized questions.

The whole thing, in other words, is completely absurd.

But this is how we do things in America these days, and, given the demographics of the race, this absurd exercise may play a decisive role at the margin, which is where the election will be decided.

It is a measure of this curious rematch that some of Trump’s opponents are eager to boost his visibility. Because Trump posts almost exclusively on his own social-media site, and most broadcasters do not air his rallies, Rachel Maddow, the MSNBC host, said last week that she suspects voters have not absorbed how “pornographically violent” his rhetoric has become. As George Conway, the former Republican strategist, put it recently, “The more you see of him, the more you say, ‘What is wrong with him?’ ”

On the one hand, this format seems inherently bad for Trump, whose whole method is to do pseudo-comedic improv off an audience’s real-time reaction to whatever schtick he’s performing in the moment. On the other, the format is the opposite of spontaneous, and thus provides less opportunities for the kind of on its face craziness that Maddow and Conway are referencing.

As for Biden, what’s most concerning is the extent to which, in purely theatrical terms, he simply reads as “really old” to a TV audience. I saw a clip this morning of him walking to the presidential helicopter, and couldn’t help but notice that his very stiff and deliberate gait is the kind of thing that isn’t going to play with the Ariana Grande vote.

But it is what it is at this point, although if Biden stumbles verbally at all we know that a hundred “he must withdraw for the good of the country” op-eds are already in the publication queue, just waiting for every Ezra and Matt out there to hit the send button.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
This div height required for enabling the sticky sidebar
Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views : Ad Clicks : Ad Views :