Donald Trump Is Running Against America
Tuesday night, people across America and across the world had one word on their minds: shitshow. CNN's Dana Bash said it on air. The dictionary helpfully tweeted at someone trying to decide whether shitshow is one word or two. (It is one word, and Merriam Webster agrees.) Some people were willing to say why it was a shitshow, and that it was solely Donald Trump's fault. Meanwhile, lazy-asses and many Beltway journalists (ah, but we repeat ourselves!) leaned into the notion that BOTH SIDES were just bein' CRAZY!
Both sides were not being crazy.
People widely agreed afterward that it was the worst debate in American history. Immediately, people started asking whether they should even have two more debates, or if the moderators should at least be allowed to have tasers. (OK, most pundit types said they should be able to cut Trump's mic, and did not say "taser." We are sure they were thinking it, though.)
Donald Trump came out with the crazed eyes of an abuser — a liar, a gaslighter, a predator — and did not stop for 90 minutes. His strategy, such as it was, seemed to be to not allow Joe Biden to speak, or moderator Chris Wallace to speak, at any time, for any reason. The camera had to be on him at all times, because he is that broken and needy.
Trump showed that he is not running against Joe Biden for president, not really. He's running against the election itself. He's running against America. Because he, by definition, is not America. He's running against the very idea of people voting and having their ballots counted, because he knows in a free and fair election, the people won't choose him. He's running against the process that says we have respectful debates, where the candidates make their cases to the American people, where candidates look the camera right in the eye and speak directly to the people they are asking for the privilege to lead. Trump didn't address the camera even once, not even to say he's sorry that 200,000 people are dead now because of his malevolent mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, to say he's sorry that in tens of thousands of debate-watching living rooms last night, at least one person was missing.
Joe Biden did fine. You try to stand onstage with the evil twin lying methed-out rabies Mr. Hyde version of Animal from "The Muppets." And he addressed the American people directly, multiple times.
There were "moments," to be sure. (And there were Trump lies, lots of those, too many to count.) The Biden campaign has already made a T-shirt out of the moment when Biden looked at Trump and said the thing on most Americans' minds at this point in our 2020 hellscape: "Will you shut up, man?"
At the end of that exchange, Biden also said "Keep yapping, man."
In a normal debate, people might have remembered that the exchange came during one of the few moments when Biden wouldn't directly answer a question, about whether he supports ending the filibuster or packing the court in order to retaliate against the GOP for shitting on our democracy by repeatedly stealing Supreme Court justices. In a normal debate, that mighta been a STORY, y'all! Joe Biden, Mr. Go-Along-To-Get-Along, won't say out loud that he DOESN'T support ending the filibuster so they can put 17 Black lesbians on the Court, in honor of Ruth Bader Ginsburg? Shit!
But Trump was too busy snorting up everyone's attention.
Biden called Trump a "racist" to his face. He said Trump is the "worst president America has ever had."
Both of those are self-evidently true, but Trump seemed hellbent on proving it. Trump said late in the debate that if Biden became president, "our suburbs would be gone." Because in Trump's mind, "our suburbs" are owned by white racists who fled the city because they're scared of Black people. Because in Trump's mind, it is 1968. Biden responded that Trump wouldn't know a suburb unless he "took a wrong turn," proceeded to explain that suburbs are incredibly diverse, that Trump's racist
dogwhistles airhorns don't work anymore, and that what the suburbs are really worried about is being able to live their lives without their kids bringing COVID-19 home to kill Nana.
And of course, there was the moment when Trump was given ample opportunity to condemn white supremacists, but instead ended up telling the Proud Boys to "STAND BY." Which ... is not the same thing as telling them to stop attacking innocent people.
Trump gave it to the Proud Boys so hard they smoked a whole pack of cigarettes afterward.
This. This is Donald Trump's America. https://t.co/wld2mmGTwe— Joe Biden (@Joe Biden)1601435940.0
Indeed, in the Adderall-esque word salad that came out of President Shit-Tyrant's thin lips during that section, he was far less concerned about saying there were "good people on both sides," like he did when Nazis attacked Charlottesville, Virginia, and more focused on attacking the imaginary monsters under his bed he calls "AN-TEE-FAAAAAAAA!" Biden tried to explain that even Trump's FBI director says white supremacists are a far greater threat than AN-TEE-FAAAAAAAAA, but Trump was still shitting his pants.
Biden also called Trump "Putin's puppy," but Trump was too busy listening to his own yapping mouth to react like he did in 2016, when he retorted with the oh-so-clever "NO PUPPET! NO PUPPET! YOU'RE THE PUPPET!" (Hillary called Trump Putin's "puppet." Biden called him "Putin's puppy." Both are true.) At that moment, Biden brought up the Russian bounties on American troops' heads, put there by Trump's handler Vladimir Putin. Trump can't be bothered to care about them, because on top of how Putin obviously has Trump's balls in a vice, Trump hates the troops, and is grossed out by troops who get captured or killed. Those murdered by Putin-paid henchmen would clearly fit in that category.
And speaking of the troops, if anything exemplified what an unfit, vile, manic sociopath Trump really is, it was the moment when Biden confronted Trump directly on how little he thinks of the troops, specifically bringing up his late son Beau Biden, who served in Iraq, who died of brain cancer. Any human being might take that moment to at least thank Biden's son for his service.
But Donald Trump is not a human being in any more than a biological sense, so he didn't do that. Instead, it activated his programming to yell one of his three talking points, which is HUNTER BIDEN! HUNTER BIDEN! HUNTER BIDEN!
BIDEN: Speaking of my son, the way you talk about the military, the way you talk about them being losers and being and just being suckers. My son was in Iraq. He spent a year there. He got the Brown Star. He got the Conspicuous Service Medal. He was not a loser. He was a patriot and the people left behind there were heroes.
DONALD TRUMP: Really?
JOE BIDEN: And I resent-
DONALD TRUMP: ARE YOU TALKING HUNTER? ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT HUNTER?
JOE BIDEN: I'm talking about my son Beau Biden, you're talking about Hunter?
DONALD TRUMP: I don't know Beau. I know Hunter.
"I don't know Beau. I know Hunter." He doesn't know Joe Biden's son who died of brain cancer. After all, Joe Biden's son who died of brain cancer never said anything nice about Trump, and never did anything that personally benefited Trump, so why would Trump "know" Beau?
The moment having passed, Trump continued to scream incoherent sentences about Hunter Biden, who isn't running for president. All while Trump's own loser grifter children sat watching.
Presidential historians, that wild-eyed radical lot, offered their assessments:
Democracy was trashed tonight by a President who ran roughshod over the rules, refused to condemn white supremacist… https://t.co/PpvMUdOOBK— Michael Beschloss (@Michael Beschloss)1601435163.0
No hyperbole: The incumbent’s behavior this evening is the lowest moment in the history of the presidency since And… https://t.co/hEYHctEHoJ— Jon Meacham (@Jon Meacham)1601432033.0
That's all just true. If you prefer commentators who cut even more to the chase, you could always go with Ruthie from Frank Luntz's focus group, who simply called Trump a "crackhead."
Whatever you call it, Trump found something new to shoot in the middle of Fifth Avenue last night, and he probably didn't lose one vote from the 30-percenter cult that worships him. But he certainly didn't gain any new voters, either. Because again, he's running against voters. He's running against America.
He's running against you.
Beat the shit out of him (WITH VOTES) on November 3.
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