BBC said it was the “night American democracy hit rock bottom.”
The Guardian dubbed it a “national humiliation.”
Deutsche Welle defined it as a “clusterfuck.”
They were all referring to America’s first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Their observations counted as the consensus for most people who aren’t diehard Trump fans. Trump, of course, was the one blamed for this national tragedy.
“[V]voters learned — and learned and learned and learned — that Mr. Trump has nothing but contempt for the values and norms that are essential to democracy: among them, truth, civility and respectful disagreement,” The Washington Post editorial board collectively wrote in a fit of anger. “Mr. Trump’s lies about mail-in ballots were poisonous, and his attacks on Mr. Biden’s family were particularly vile. But the lowest point came when the president would not commit to accepting legitimate election results or to tell his supporters to refrain from causing civil unrest. Instead, he said that he is “counting on” a Supreme Court with a new Trump-appointed justice to ‘look at the ballots.’ He called on his supporters to swamp polling places to look for ‘bad things,’ a recipe for chaos. The violent hate group Proud Boys, he said, should ‘stand back and stand by.’”
The Post editorial board demanded that future debates force Trump to follow “decorum and decency” or not have them at all. The Washington Post, which endorsed Biden, could only offer forced praise near the end of its editorial screed against the president.
It was a good sign for Trump that every commentator bemoaned the debate rather than praised Biden. Nobody thought Biden did a good job. He appeared old, weak, and utterly reliant on canned lines supplied by his handlers. Trump was smart to interrupt and bully him. If he didn’t, all the press attention would’ve centered on how Biden delivered a scathing rebuke to the dangers of Trumpism. Instead, we’re treated to the same old wails about the loss of “civility” and “norms” we’ve heard over the last four years.
There is something to be said about how the silly, Jerry Springer-esque debate represents rock bottom for American democracy to the chattering class. There are many things that could be counted as a low point for American democracy. The include rampant voter fraud, open ballot harvesting, importing foreigners to win elections, widespread distrust in the institutions tasked with handling the election, powerful tech corporations suppressing speech that threatens the elite order, and shadowy agents plotting coups against properly elected leaders.
Wait a minute . . . that sounds like all the things Trump laid out in his “offensive” response to whether he would accept an unfair election result. Maybe he had a point there . . .
The real low point of American democracy is not Trump’s trollish behavior nor the president making fun of Biden’s corrupt, shit-for-brains son. It’s the forces arrayed against Trump.
The insistence on norms and decorum are stupid, and Trump is right to discard them. Civility and mutual respect are hallmarks of high-trust, homogenous societies. 2020 America is far from a high-trust homogenous society. The pretense of civility pulls the wool over Americans and deludes them into thinking a multiracial America is just like 1950s America. Whether black, brown, gay, trans, indigenous, we’re all Americans! And we can respectfully debate the replacement of the historic American nation.
It’s a complete sham. Trump’s disruption of this silly facade is actually a highlight of American democracy. He’s giving the people what they want and pushing the nation’s inherent divisions to the forefront of public discourse. The media and elites can no longer pretend we’re one big happy country and our citizens share the same values. We’re a polarized nation–and it’s good our politicians reflect that.
There were low points of the debate, but they didn’t emanate from Trump.
One obvious example was the discussion over political violence. Trump pointed out the growing problem of left-wing violence and rioting in this country. In response, both Biden and debate moderator Chris Wallace demanded Trump disavow “white supremacists” and the multiracial Proud Boys. Trump said sure and demanded names to condemn. When offered the Proud Boys, militiamen, and white supremacists, Trump told these groups to “stand back and stand by.” But he made sure to emphasize that the violence is not a right-wing problem–“this is a left-wing problem.”
That drew derision from Wallace and Biden, both of whom couldn’t believe that Trump didn’t fully disavow alleged white supremacists. They both cited Trump’s own FBI director claiming white supremacists are the greatest threat to America. Biden also refused to disavow Antifa, saying it’s an idea not an organization. That same argument can be easily applied to white supremacists, however. Apparently, Biden believes all white supremacists belong to an organization known as W.H.I.T.E.S.U.P.R.E.M.A.C.Y.
He also made sure to call Trump a racist during the debate. Even though Trump’s insults were treated as a defilement of the Constitution, this statement was treated as a bold statement of truth.
Biden also brought up Charlottesville as the worst thing to ever happen to America, clearly ignoring the far worse violence the nation has seen in the last four months. On the current riots, Biden said violence is bad but didn’t bother to condemn anyone for it. Wallace certainly didn’t press him to denounce the Left. An ambiguous disavowal of rioting, which implicitly blamed the Right, sufficed for the Fox News anchor.
The whole thing was an insult to voters. The Democratic presidential candidate and the debate moderator told America that white supremacists are causing all the violence and are the greatest danger to the country. They were told to not believe their eyes and trust the Deep State’s analysis instead.
Outlets dub Trump’s message as “anti-democratic” because he refuses to trust the experts. These are the same experts who tried to topple him through the Russian collusion hoax, told him coronavirus wasn’t a big deal, and insisted open borders and Left-wing riots don’t spread a deadly virus. No wonder he doesn’t listen to them.
According to liberal elites, democracy only occurs when they have total power and their authority remains unquestioned. Former FBI assistant director Frank Figliuzzi said the quiet part out loud this week when he insisted the Deep State must vet all future presidential candidates to ensure we never have another Trump. The CIA determining presidential candidates is not a threat to our democracy, but interrupting your debate opponent is.
If we were a healthy republic, we would worry about the ballot harvesting going on in the Somali community, prosecuting intelligence officials who launched a coup against an elected president, and ensuring that no non-citizen votes in our election. Sadly, none of these generate much interest in the people who matter. There are just ordinary parts of life in modern America.
Our republic was rotten to the core long before Trump rode down the escalator. The president merely exposes the corruption for all the world to see. That’s why Big Tech, the Deep State, the media, and the military-industrial complex all want to take him down.
The real low point in American democracy will come in November if the historic American people are told to accept their own dispossession in the wake of a rigged election.
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