Thursday night President Donald Trump, former Vice President Joe Biden and NBC’s Kristen Welker took to the stage at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee for the third scheduled debate of the 2020 presidential contest. Let’s review and explore.
There was a previous debate this cycle that devolved into Romper Room almost from its outset. The second scheduled debate never happened when Trump pulled out. Welker was the moderator and her mission was to keep it from resembling a food fight in an elementary school. (That may be an unfair assessment of most elementary school student’s behavior and maturity.) While that may seem like a low bar, with Trump on the stage it is more like pole vaulting with the bar set at an Olympic record height. Overall Welker did a great job. For the first hour or so she kept Trump almost perfectly in check. If his people sedated him the medication wore off a bit in the closing minutes.
Biden entered the evening with a lead in every “beauty contest” poll and ahead (but in most cases within the margin of error) in most credible battleground state polls. In other words he appears to be in a position to win assuming a free and fair election. His mission was not to beat himself. While his fracking answer was less than optimal he did not make a fatal mistake. Without getting into a “blow by blow” he not only held his lead he won the night.
Biden and Welker get a solid rating of mission accomplished.
Well over 40 million Americans had already voted before the trio took the stage Thursday night. I am among the many who feel there aren’t many undecided voters left out there to win over. Therefore we turn to voter turnout. Biden didn’t hurt himself with his supporters. The contrast was clear and the motivation to get off the couch was if anything enhanced.
The Trump era has been anything but normal. With that being said, in a normal election Trump would have to have viewed his situation similar to a basketball team down 15 with four minutes to go in the game. The chances of winning are extremely slim and you have to do something(s) different than what you have been doing for the first 36 minutes. Trump ran the same offense.
Trump told lie after lie most of which were of the long debunked zombie variety. He supplemented the lies with right wing mythology. Between the mythology and the incomplete sentences the literate in the listening audience often were left wondering exactly what he was saying.
If Trump’s mission was to placate his base he may have succeeded. In a free and fair election his base alone is insufficient to win. Was it simply his ego getting in the way of reality? Does he know the fix is in or is so dependent on it that he is playing by different rules? Again using the basketball analogy, he ran the same offense that has him behind in the closing minutes of the game. Does he know he is going to get a good whistle and the clock will malfunction to his benefit?
I know Biden and Welker accomplished their missions; in the case of Trump I’m not sure what he thought his mission was.
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