Debates and Elections

I wasn’t going to blog about the presidential debate, because there wasn’t more to say beyond “Shit Show!!!” It wasn’t a debate of ideas. Rather, it was a testosterone-fueled, fact-free, rule-free temper tantrum. Ideally, a viewer should come out of a debate with a better understanding of where the two candidates feel about key policy issues. That performance just gave everyone a headache.

Did anyone feel that Trump behaved appropriately? That he should do that again in the next debate. I have no idea. I actually have Fox News on in the background today, because I want to know what his supporters think.

If I was a Democratic strategist, I wouldn’t let Trump gain the “law and order” mountain. Biden needs a one-liner on this topic – he supports the police and public safety, as well as better training of police and the greater involvement of mental health professionals to support their efforts. I think most people would be cool about that.

I would lay off the talk about white supremacists, because most people aren’t convinced that there is a huge nationwide problem with KKK-type folks in hoods and burning crosses, just as there isn’t a huge problem with radical anarchists on the left.

I would be more specific about how Donald Trump mismanaged the virus. He shouldn’t overstate his responsibility for the death count. 206,000 are dead. If Trump was a better person, that number still wouldn’t be zero, because this virus sucks. However, greater leadership from him on mask-wearing would have helped in states like Texas, Florida, and Georgia. I also think that testing in our country is still horrible and that a whole lot more could be done on that. Our death rate would be lower, if managed better.

Side story: So, Jonah had a friend crash on his sofa two weeks ago, after a late night poker game. Three days later, the friend finds out that he was exposed to the virus. The friend tests positive. Jonah goes to health services to get tested. They give him the run-around for a few days, he finally gets an appointment for a test. Three days later, the test come in. It’s inconclusive, so he has to go through another five days of getting an appointment and finding out the results. We still don’t know. It’s been TWO weeks. Meanwhile, if Jonah’s positive, he probably infected his roommate, who is a waiter at Applebee’s. That kid could be a super spreader to half the state of New Jersey.

On the other hand, maybe Biden shouldn’t even bother with a debate of ideas, because nobody cares about them anyway. If he just sits back and lets Trump continue his antics, it will hopefully turn off a few Trump voters, who will simply not vote in November. In the best of times, ideas and policy proposals don’t have a huge impact on elections, even though geeks like us love them. If Biden can project maturity, rationality, and professionalism with a few prepared zingers – they have to be ten words or less — that might be enough.

I loved this morning’s The Daily about Election Day problems that could occur around the mail-in ballots. Please vote in person, if you can. Please share voting information websites with people on Facebook. Put a sign in your front lawn. Please see if there are volunteer opportunities in your community. Turnout is going to be super important. Let’s make this election a referendum on ideas and truth v. slime.

UPDATE: After watching Fox News for 30 minutes, I now know about the Trump side is framing his debate performance. His side is saying that Biden was weak, and that he couldn’t answer Trump’s tough questions. They are fighting any changes to the rules in the next debate, including giving the moderator the opportunity to cut the mic.

If the rules aren’t changed, I’ll boycott the next debate. The first debate offered no benefits to the American public, so should not be allowed free television time.