The opening and perhaps only 2020 Presidential debate was a debacle that damningly frames the fate of the nation
By Mark Cromer
Once upon a time in American politics, the vast sea of voters were for the most part a relatively middle-of-the-road bunch that presented on a spectrum of ‘liberal’ to ‘conservative’ but who were actually stitched somewhat close together through the common bonds of cultural cohesiveness and a broad stroke of general consensus that the United States was indeed a land of opportunity that made it an enviable place to live.
Sure, there were caveats and qualifiers to the popular mythology of America, but there was a fundamental underlying truth to it and Americans in virtually every station of life sensed the possibilities the nation held.
With the working class looking for some upward mobility into more comfortable environs and the middle class primarily interested in safeguarding what they had achieved, the rich were first and foremost wary of any candidate or policy from either major party that might result in some sort of sociopolitical explosion that could trigger a chain-reaction and unleash the pitchforks and torches marching upon their many fine castles and countryside estates. For the wealthy in America, the social stability provided by a broad middle class was its best defense, and likewise the beacon of possibility that middle class America provided the working class was its best hope.
And once upon a time in America wasn’t really all that long ago at all.
But the opening and quite possibly only 2020 Presidential debate highlighted in the starkest of terms just how far gone America now is and how fast her descent into the cold grave of history is occurring. For just 90 frenetic minutes the debate played like an infomercial for impending doom — and an hour and a half was all that was needed.
From the opening moments onstage in the heartland city of Cleveland, Ohio, it was a freak show—with the chief freak standing there onstage all aglow as he veered into a manic blur of surreal petulance that as the night wore on suggested perhaps Hunter Biden wasn’t really the only corrupt crackhead voters need to worry about come November. With his carnival act of a presidency buffeted by a pandemic and shaken by an orgy of organized riots replete with mass arson and wanton mob violence that has exposed Donald J. Trump’s inability or unwillingness to effectively lead an administration let alone a badly fractured nation facing disintegration, Trump used the debate to recast all of his chronic disabilities as bold strategy.
Faced with the weakest Democratic contender since George McGovern, Trump sought to conceal his own lack of preparation and the purely transactional nature of his character with high-volume bombast played in heavy rotation and supplemented by a parade of petty insults and incessant interruptions he hoped would accomplish either knocking Joe Biden into a fresh bout of incomprehensible word salad or at least keep the stage production so dysfunctional and chaotic that serious consideration of the critical issues was impossible.
Trump did manage to accomplish the latter, as more than 73 million viewing Americans were not provided with even a moment’s worth of thoughtful discourse of where the nation stands, what it is facing and specifically what either candidate seriously proposes to do about it.
Given the composition of Trump’s inner-circle, there’s little doubt that after he stepped offstage he was greeted by glowing reports of his most magnificent debate victory, though perhaps they distilled it for him to a familiar parlance that’s easier for him to understand: “No one has ever seen anything like it, to be quite honest with you, Mr. President. People from everywhere are saying you’re the best they’ve ever seen, if you want to know the truth. It’s so beautiful. So beautiful. Really, really beautiful. Very strongly so.”
But the cold, hard truth is that Trump simply blew it once again and squandered what may well have been his last best opportunity to directly connect with and convince the voters he needs if he is to be reelected. If you’re campaigning to ostensibly ‘save the suburbs’ its generally not a good idea to come across as a fast-talking flimflam man from the boroughs hopped up into a highly agitated state. No, a far more prudent course of action on the debate stage would have been to show up prepared and in a reassuringly calm and linear manner paint the very sobering picture of the future America now faces and why his leadership, however flawed it has proven to be in the past (just a dash of genuine public humility still goes a long way with most Americans) is far more desirable than the grim alternative that a Biden Administration will mean.
Engaging Biden with civility and common courtesy would have been not only very appropriate, but it also would have been the curve ball Team Joe didn’t see coming.
Letting Biden attempt to explain his positions would have resulted in only one of two outcomes: he either would have revealed that he had little to actually offer beyond platitudes and homey proverbs that were sugared with calorie-free reminders of ‘I am not Trump’ or, in the very possible alternative, he would have become lost in the fog of time that increasingly clouds his mind, leaving him to stumble and stammer as he chases his thoughts that flutter as wildly as a butterfly eluding the net. And that could well have spelled political catastrophe for Biden’s third run for the White House.
A disciplined debater working off even a mediocre moderator could have focused the audience on the true stalking horse nature of Biden/Harris 2020, challenging Biden to explain precisely why he has repeatedly denounced the very popular crime bill that he himself ushered through the Senate in the summer of 1994 and that passed with 61 bi-partisan ‘ayes’ before it was signed by President Bill Clinton? For the devil is indeed in the details and Biden would have been hard-pressed to offer any detailed analysis of what was wrong with the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 — other than perhaps it came way too late for the Americans that had been victimized by vicious street predators as crime spiked and spread in the 1980s and early 1990s.
No, Biden would have been reduced to some fabricated deflection about how the watershed legislation that supplemented state-based efforts at locking down habitual criminals—such as California’s popular ‘Three Strikes’ law that played an immense role of putting recidivist violent criminals behind bars for good—had resulted in that most dubious of phrases: ‘mass incarceration.’ The specter of mass incarceration has become a key slogan among the progressive Left’s compliance squads, but like so much else that’s shouted in the streets and preached from the pulpit of Hollywood, it’s little more than agitprop served hot to the hungry mouths of the Professional Victim Inc. crowd.
So a disciplined and prepared debater could have blown that dodge to smithereens and in doing so added some vital factual nuance to the issue of so-called criminal justice reform. If one believes in science, then one also must believe in empirical data, and the data simply does not support the premise that America is effectively a prison state that hunts, kills and incarcerates ethnic and racial minorities for the sport of it.
As of spring 2020 there were approximately 2.3 million inmates serving time across the United States; from local jails to state prisons to federal penitentiaries. This figure, which also includes involuntary mental health confinements, immigration detentions and juvenile halls (or ‘Gladiator School’ as they’re more popularly known among their frequent guests), amounts to roughly .07% of the 320 million people that are living in the United States—a total population statistic that may be an undercount of 20 million or more people since a comprehensive effort to identify and quantify people that are illegally present in the United States has never been undertaken by the government.
Simply put, for a First World nation that also has the third largest population on the planet, a statistic of 2.3 million convicted criminals behind bars is nothing more odious than a benchmark of a country that was at least momentarily serious about protecting its law-abiding citizens. It’s nothing more ominous than the sign of a real national commitment to the ideal that when a jury convicts some bipedal oxygen thief with a rap sheet that could be used as a yardstick of yet again shoving a .38 into the neck of the night clerk at the corner market to terrorize his way into the cash register that such miscreants deserve to be caged to protect society and punish the criminal, not to rehabilitate anyone.
It’s rather revealing that proponents advocating for even greater levels of mass immigration into the United States and particularly in support for the caravans snaking out of the shanty towns across Central America like infantry divisions on a forced march to the frontlines under orders from their commissars cite the virtual non-existence of a functioning legal system in these states as grounds enough for entry to be granted without challenge.
The argument is that Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala have become too dangerous for people to live in and are so fundamentally broken, in fact, that they cannot be changed. As such, that argument is effectively a concession that these former countries cannot emerge from a primitive state of existence and evolve back into functioning nation-states that provide a baseline level of services, opportunities and legal protections for their citizens.
In essence, Central America has been declared a complete write-off.
And by that standard, since more than 90% of violent crimes in Mexico go unsolved and the country has collapsed into a narco-confederation replete with mass graves and public beheadings as the cartels vie for preeminence along the contraband transit routes—in July 2015 Frontline reported that between 2007 and 2014 alone the narco-cartels had slaughtered more than 164,000 Mexicans in their war to control production centers, routes and markets, a death toll higher than both Afghan and Iraqi civilian casualties following the American invasion of those nations—the vast majority of Mexican citizens should also be able to walk freely into the United States and into the constellation of social services that were once the province of American citizens alone but increasingly open to all-comers which further erases the very meaning of citizenship.
A disciplined debater could have quickly cornered Biden and revealed the real issue at hand in 2020 is that clearly visible behind Biden is a demolition team ready to detonate the base charges that will take the entire legal system down.
If Biden sputtered something about it was time to ‘reimagine’ law enforcement and the legal system in the United States, if he had blathered something about the supposed promise of ‘restorative justice,’ a disciplined and focused debater could have pounced and pointed out the actual reality in Democratic-led states and cities where tens of thousands of hardened criminals are being poured back onto the streets to effectively victimize today at will and without the nuisance of real consequence looming over their heads. A disciplined debater would have eviscerated the canard that ‘property crimes’ are essentially victimless affairs by pointing out the devastating impact home burglaries take on the residents and the deep-bleeding businesses suffer as a result of rampant shoplifting, commercial burglaries and looting that the states now effectively aid and abet.
On the issue of crime, Biden is at his most vulnerable.
But alas, letting Biden speak at any length, however plainly appropriate and politically prudent for Trump to do, would mean in Trump’s mind that people weren’t paying attention to him—and he can’t have that. He viewed the debate as just another episode of The Trump Show and he is the star. So it’s no small wonder that Trump didn’t start making fart noises and shooting rubber bands at Biden every time the former vice president tried to answer a question.
His boorish antics aside, however, Trump’s refusal to come prepared to wage a serious debate and offer thoughtful estimations of the issues that confront the nation and the best way to address them was yet another brazen betrayal of not only the Americans who cast ballots for him in 2016 but for every American citizen who should expect as much from their sitting president whether they voted for him or not. That Trump is impervious to embarrassment and possesses no self-awareness is cold comfort to Americans who were looking for substantive answers on issues such as race-relations, rising crime, the economic viability of the nation amid the patchwork of state-led responses to the pandemic and the prospects for ending American involvement in wars on foreign shores, both secret and well known.
In lieu of this, Trump decided to double-down once more and taunt Biden for signing the 1994 crime bill while boasting that he was letting convicted criminals out of jail. Trump apparently considers his disastrous embrace of the Democrats criminal justice reform narrative, along with moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and recognizing Israel’s illegal annexation of the Golan Heights, to be among his peak first term accomplishments. But even more grotesque was Trump’s declaration from the debate stage—and for the umpteenth time—that he could immediately halt the carnage that has unfolded on a near nightly basis across American cities but only if the Democratic governors and mayors ask him to do so.
Trump bragged “If they called us in Portland, we could put out that fire in half an hour” and then digressed further into puerile fantasy by declaring: “If you look at Chicago, if you look at any place you want to look, Seattle, they heard we were coming in the following day and they put up their hands and we got back Seattle. Minneapolis, we got it back.”
As American citizens all over the nation are attacked on the streets, swarmed on the highways and pulled from their cars and beaten by frenzied mobs of radical Left terror squads and the criminal savages that the progressives herd in human cattle drives like so much realpolitik livestock and as American citizens’ businesses are burned to the ground and their homes ransacked, Trump stood on that stage in Cleveland and offered a rather sadistic spoken word rendition of James Taylor’s classic You’ve Got A Friend: just call out his name and you know wherever he is (Mar a Lago, Ninth Hole) he’ll come running.
Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, all Americans have to do is call…eh, not really.
Consider that more than 63 million Americans dialed Trump’s 900-line from the polling booths nearly four years ago and went to bed on election night feeling exhausted yet exhilarated. The hangover preceded the inauguration but less than a hundred days after Trump was sworn in the ugly truth was growing ever more clear: Trump really was just a political phone sex operator who talked a good game but expecting him to actually show up in Washington and deliver the goods he had promised on the campaign trail quickly degraded from fantasy to hallucinatory.
Still, perhaps the greatest betrayal witnessed on that Cleveland stage was Trump’s bumbling response to Fox News anchor Chris Wallace’s question about so-called Critical Race Theory that could have been a walk-off home run for the president. You could almost hear Wallace doing his best Bugs Bunny impression in the windup on the mound: “Ehhh, I think I’ll perplex him with my slow-ball.”
Instead of waiting for it and then sending it over the centerfield wall, Trump infuriatingly but unsurprisingly flailed frantically at Wallace’s changeup as it floated across the plate in front of him.
“This month, your administration directed federal agencies to end racial sensitivity training that addresses ‘white privilege’ or Critical Race Theory. Why did you decide to do that, to end racial sensitivity training?” Wallace asked. “And do you believe there is systemic racism in this country, sir?”
Trump’s answer out of the gate wasn’t so much wrong as it was a simplistic retort devoid of any of the power the question actually provided him with a chance to unload with, beginning with quick explanation of what Critical Race Theory is rooted in and then ticking off why it explains a nation that’s about as real as Wakanda.
A prepared and disciplined debater would have answered that Critical Race Theory was formulated in academia decades ago by radical racialists that worked in a fashion not unlike biochemists cooking up a deadly virus in a bioweapons lab would; with an eye on creating a social pathogen that maximizes its vector potential by turning K-12 education and post-secondary education into Hot Zones all over the nation and, left uncontained, spreads rapidly into virtually every cultural institution across the nation, mutating as necessary to gain a foothold in its host organism, survive any immune response and then overwhelming its victim.
With Critical Race Theory, the virus is engineered to kill not only the construct of the nation but the very concept of the country by reprogramming the collective memory of its inhabitants to process the present through a thoroughly malevolent lens of perspective in viewing its past. Thus the advent of ‘micro-aggressions,’ an indispensable psychoactive ingredient of the virus that convinces some and confuses many others into believing that real oppression against all racial minorities—but none more so than blacks—is so innate in America’s society and culture that as Trevor Noah has become fond of saying: “Racism is the corn syrup of America. It is in everything.”
Everything. As in the smile from the young white couple who say ‘good morning’ to their black neighbors to the white grandmother who offers a friendly ‘goodnight’ to her Latino in-laws. Critical Race Theory holds that literally everything whites do is informed and inspired by a nuclear core of racism.
A prepared and disciplined debater would have answered Wallace that among the psych-warfare techniques being employed through ‘racial sensitivity training’ based on Critical Race Theory is an exercise where white employees in federal government agencies are being coerced into writing personal letters of apology to black Americans as well as other ethnic and racial minorities. The specific confessions of the apology letters is apparently left somewhat up to each of the white employees convicted of being white while at work—hell, actually being white while breathing—but one has to assume letters deemed to have been insufficiently remorseful make their way into the employee’s personnel file for further review and action as needed at a later date.
A prepared and disciplined debater would have looked into the camera and in a calm and cool fashion reminded America that in 2008 she voted into the most powerful position on planet earth a black American who struggled and worked his way up from a single mother household and did so in a nation that as flawed as she is, made that possible. And that same nation approved of President Barack Obama’s choice of Eric Holder as Attorney General of the United States.
A black president and a black attorney general, twin facts that simply don’t align with the relentless narrative of Critical Race Theory that America is an inherently racist nation.
But Trump doesn’t possess either the intellectual depth or mental dexterity to effectively address the core components of the racial issues that Critical Race Theory has distorted into a cultural pandemic, he doesn’t possess enough command of the facts to calmly but vigorously employ the real-world data that reveals more unarmed white Americans are killed each year by police than blacks and that more white Americans are victims of violent crime perpetrated by black criminals each year than blacks who are victimized by white perpetrators, according to Department of Justice and FBI crime statistics.
No, Trump didn’t go there during the debate because he simply doesn’t know how to, all while Biden is happy to mumble some more slogans he has been taught to memorize and recite when he hears certain trigger words.
Trump’s response to Wallace’s Critical Race Theory query was typically truncated, somewhat blurred into half-thoughts and utterly devoid of the vital detail that would help him clinch the case against it: “I ended it because it is racist. I ended it because a lot of people were complaining that they were asked to do things that were absolutely insane. That it’s a radical revolution that was taking place in our military, in our schools, all over the place. And you know it and so does everybody else,” Trump replied.
But see, that’s the rub and that’s where Trump comes out sounding like the rube. No, not everybody else knows it and in fact tens of millions of Americans are still somewhat in the dark as to what actually has been occurring across academia and the media but also corporate America and throughout the government as well under the auspices of Critical Race Theory. No, most Americans were not—and are still not—aware that white government employees were being forced to write apology letters for being white.
So Wallace’s question was a perfect opportunity to lay that out for them. To get right down to it and call Critical Race Theory out for exactly what it is and indeed what it was always meant to be: relentless warfare against white Americans across virtually every aspect of American life; from white Americans history to their very own homes, from their workplaces to their recreational pursuits. Critical Race Theory is a declaration, blueprint and playbook for Total War against working white America.
But Trump couldn’t even bring himself to call white Americans by their name as he spoke ostensibly in their defense.
“If you were a certain person,” he told Wallace on the debate stage, “you had no status in life. It was sort of a reversal. And if you look at the people, we were paying people hundreds of thousands of dollars to teach very bad ideas and, frankly, very sick ideas. And really, they were teaching people to hate our country. And I am not going to do that. I am not going to allow that to happen. We have to go back to the core values of this country. They were teaching people this country is a horrible place. It’s a racist place. And they were teaching people to hate our country. And I am not going to allow that to happen.”
If you were a certain person…
That restraint or calibration actually required an amount of forethought and self-control by Trump he rarely displays and it surely attests to those around him effectively drilling into him these past four years: ‘You can stand up for white people, but whatever you do don’t say their name. Don’t call them white people. Call them ‘certain people’ or ‘some people,’ but never ever mention their name in an affirmatively positive manner or defend them by name. Never, ever-ever.’
So the progressive Left has no problem mentioning white Americans by name three times in practically every sentence as they pass judgment and sentence upon them daily, but the man for whom white Americans in overwhelming numbers put in the White House couldn’t say it even once in their defense and on the national stage as much of the nation looked on. Ivanka and Jared must be so proud of Trump.
It’s just a shame Wallace didn’t follow up by factually noting: “In fact, Mr. President, that’s exactly what you have been allowing for virtually the entirety of your presidency to-date. You signed that executive order that applies to federal agencies alone just a few weeks ago, and Critical Race Theory has been coursing through the veins of the federal government for more than a decade, so why did you wait until about a month out of the election to act? And why haven’t you acted to confront it in public schools and private workplaces all over the nation?”
But it probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference even if he had asked such a question.
Trump has declared he has secured the border and ended illegal immigration, all while the border remains effectively open and millions of immigrants have crossed illegally into the nation during his watch.
Trump has declared that he will never allow America’s heritage and history to be destroyed while he is in the White House, all while cultural Maoists and the nihilistic mobs the progressive death cultists in the Democratic Party have unleashed tear down, deface, defile and destroy any and all manner of American history and heritage that they have stumbled upon.
Trump has declared that he will not allow Big Tech companies to wage a reign of mass censorship targeting political opponents and heretical viewpoints, all while Big Tech has turned their platforms into publishing houses and enthusiastically undertaken the elimination of their opponents from the digital public square and harnessed their platforms to optimum performance for the destruction of opponents in an act they’ve hygienically termed ‘cancelled’ and all from a government provided safe-zone that protects them from the litigation or sanction traditional publishers would otherwise face.
Trump has declared that he will never allow the safety of Americans to be threatened or the nation’s streets to be overrun with crime, all while highly organized bands of street terror squads descend at will upon their victims of choice while freelance urban berserkers prowl and poach victims that they film for entertainment and Internet infamy. Trump declares himself a law and order president all while overseeing one of the largest crime waves in modern American history, with District Attorneys freeing criminals and targeting civilians seeking to protect themselves and what is theirs since the government charged with protecting them has become unwilling to do so.
And now Trump has angrily declared he will not allow the infection of Critical Race Theory to run its fatal course throughout American institutions, all while Critical Race Theory has advanced completely unchallenged and utterly unimpeded from the boardroom to the basketball court, from academia to the Academy Awards.
Trump’s bizarre performance on that Cleveland stage—cloaked as it was beneath all the bellicose bravado and bitter bickering—perhaps betrayed that he may well sense the electoral boom is about to drop and his presidency cancelled by voters as a failed mid-season replacement.
Biden’s faux friendly posing as something of a political rerun of I Love Lucy, something that can bring the whole family around the table again as long as Americans pay no never mind to the Night of the Living Dead that lurks right behind him, is looking increasingly like that programming deal may be close to closing.
Given the magnitude of the calamity now facing the nation, maybe it would have been a bit of good fun if Wallace would have closed that first presidential debate with a wink and tip of the ol’ hat to doomsday by coyly asking the candidates:
“In closing gentlemen, a question to each of you. Mr. President, if come November voters reject your reelection bid, have you given any thought as to what country you and your extended family will immediately be seeking political asylum in? For all the chatter about Russia, a plurality of the Vegas book seems to split between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, or maybe both? And to you, Mr. Vice President, if you do actually manage to prevail in November, can you share with viewers your own best guess as to just how long it will be after your inauguration that the country awakes one morning to find President Kamala Harris mournfully informing the nation that you had passed peacefully away in your sleep but the very night before? Do you think we’re talking months or perhaps even weeks? And how long do you think she’ll be able to suppress that gorgeously radiant smile of hers during the announcement that you’ve gone to heaven? What about her happy dance, will she be able to refrain?”
Considering the freak show Cleveland was and the accelerating national shit-show it surely precedes, such a question may not have been as out of line as much as it would have provided some desperately needed comic relief, as both Trump and Biden would have surely taken the bait and answered it in another argument—and that would have been worth the price of the previous 86-minutes.