Last night was the first presidential debate between President Trump and former Vice President Biden. It was a grudge match; “hard to watch” and similar sentiments are the main comments I’m seeing on social media.
As a Trump supporter, I enjoyed the debate for GEOTUS’s zingers and no-nonsense combativeness. He was aggressive and feisty, and clearly understood the Leftist slanting of the questioning (as Milo Telegramed, “Why are we still talking about climate change?” Chris Wallace was clearly in Biden’s corner in terms of the tack of his questions, and he didn’t interrupt Biden the way he interrupted Trump.
To be fair to Wallace, Trump was talking over Biden and Wallace frequently, and as the role of a moderator is to moderate the debate, Wallace’s job was to try to keep the candidates to the two-minute rule. That said, Trump was responding to a number of inaccurate and false accusations against him, including the widely debunked but oft-repeated Charlottesville myth.
I do think on the substance of the issues, Trump hammered Biden. Trump has facts, history, accomplishments, and morality on his side. His first term has been wildly successful by any metric. The irony of Trump’s presidency is that if it were anyone else in his position, they’d be lauded as the greatest president in a generation, but anyone else wouldn’t have had the cajones to accomplish what Trump has.
Unfortunately, for all that I loved Trump’s aggressive attempt to rattle the ailing Biden, I’m afraid it came across as bullying and unprofessional to squishy swing voters. Trump’s base is with him no matter what (especially after he refused to be maneuvered into denouncing the Proud Boys, a completely benign organization unfairly slandered as “white supremacists”). He’s got to win over those undecided folks in key swing States who probably love the president’s policies, but find the president personally distasteful.
It’s been a very busy week, and with a slew of lessons and some open mic nighting yesterday—plus an early start this morning—I was unable to get a post written last night to go live this morning. Further, I attended a teachers’ conference in a city about 90 minutes from my school, so I was unable to sneak in any surreptitious blogging amid sessions.
For tomorrow’s SubscribeStar Saturdaypost, I’m going to write more about one of the conference sessions I attended, which was about the importance of faculty culture to the functioning of an independent school. I think it holds within it some important lessons about culture more broadly, and is worth discussing in more detail.
For this evening, though, my time is quite limited, so I thought I would share some general reflections on today’s conference. I’m scooting off to a very cold pressbox for the evening, from which I’ll be announcing a playoff football game, and getting some hastily-rehearsed singers out onto the field for a brief Veterans’ Day presentation. When the head of your Board of Directors wants something, he gets it.
Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day for August 2 demonstrates the fear and distrust that grip our public discourse. According to Rasmussen’s polling, 22% of voters are afraid to share their political views most of the time, with another 25% fearing to do so some of that time. That means that 47% of voters are afraid to discuss politics with their co-workers, friends, neighbors, etc.
Of those voters polled, 39% who strongly approve of President Trump believe they are discriminated against because of their political views.
Last night’s first round of Democratic presidential primary debates was what I expected—a contest between largely identical candidates competing to see who could promise each other more free goodies. Cory Booker came off as a bit light in the loafers, with a bulging lazy eye and a peeved reaction to Robert Francis O’Rourke’s cringe-inducing Spanish (per the rumors that Senator Booker is a closeted homosexual, I thought the look on his face was a mix of annoyance and arousal, but who can say). Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts just came across as an angry scold. When will Democrats learn that running a nagging woman is not going to win them elections?
Only Tulsi Gabbard, the mega-babe from Hawaii, seemed interesting, but she barely received any screen time. Then there were cookie-cutter dudes like Mayor Bill de Blasio and Washington Governor John Inslee who just looked the same, not to mention that guy from Ohio. In fact, the forgettable dude from Ohio got one of the biggest applauses with a quintessentially Trumpian promise to restore manufacturing (never mind that The Donald has already accomplished that).
Tonight we’ll get more of the same, though hopefully entrepreneur and math nerd Andrew Yang will spice things up with Asiatic wonkery. Otherwise, the only thing to see will be how many racial gaffes Vice President Joe Biden makes (I would love it if he made reference to Yang’s “Asiatic wonkery”).
So far, it all looks like good news for Trump. Of course, a weak, generic Democratic field might attract some doomed third-party hopefuls. That’s why for this week’s #TBT, I thought I’d look back to a lengthy piece from 2016 about the structural disadvantages of third party candidates, “Third Party Opportunity?“