“Our Characters Are on the Ballot”---Now, Get Out and Vote October 23, 2020
October 22, 2020—the final presidential debate between GOPer Donald Trump and Joe Biden. After Trump’s 9/29/2020 farce of a debate which cost him “bigly” in the polls, this final encounter was hyped as Donald’s last chance to “game change” his downward political spiral with millions of people watching. Because of Demagogue Donald’s non-stop first debate interruptions, the debate commission made the decision for the second presidential debate to mute each candidate’s microphone during the other’s two-minute opening responses. The viewing audience, therefore, managed to get a “semblance” of a debate where both candidates were better able to stake out their opposing positions (See Poniewozik, nytimes.com, 10/23/20). However, let’s not kid ourselves. It was the same whiny Demagogue Donald doing interrupting cross talk during Biden’s responses and repeating over and over his lying, reactionary, and bigoted “golden oldie” talking points. As journalist David Dale noted, “Trump was ‘better behaved,’ but he lied more (cnn.com, Asmelash, 10/23/20).” When Donald falsely attacked Biden over his supposed ties to China and other foreign entanglements, Biden aptly called Trump’s charges “malarkey,” a word of Irish origin that Biden often uses. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “malarkey” as “insincere or foolish talk; bunkum (cnn.com, 10/23/20, Asmelash).” IMHO, Trump’s entire final debate performance was nothing but malarkey that Biden utterly demolished. Let’s look at this final Biden-Trump verbal slugfest.
The major issue of this campaign is Trump’s horribly botched response, frankly, cruel non-response to the COVID-19 pandemic that at the time of this debate had claimed almost 223,000 American lives. Trump’s response to this horrible crisis? Arguing against all scientific evidence that our country is “rounding the turn, we are rounding the corner.” Of course, COVID-19 is currently surging across the nation and according to health experts, will rise in the months ahead. Trump could care less about scientific professionals. Trump, again, against all scientific evidence, talked of a vaccine developed by the end of the year that some great general of his would get out to most of the public very quickly (10/22/2020 Debate, Nagourney, nytimes.com, 10/23/20). And hey, after all, Trump was easily cured of this virus. What’s the big deal? You can be too. Yes, if you get tons of doctors treating you with cutting-edge treatment after being helicoptered to Walter Reed for free. According to “head in the sand Donald,” we can open our businesses and schools quickly and learn “to live with this virus, not hide like Joe (Biden) in a basement.” Biden demolished Mr. “I Live in an Ignorant Bubble” Trump by saying, “Americans are learning to die with this virus,” not live with it. Biden showed his empathy to the families of Americans who have lost loved ones to this horrible virus. He stated that hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost loved ones now missing at the dinner table or in their bedrooms. Biden, doing what a President-to-be should do—acting as Comforter-in-Chief. Biden, not Trump, knows all about personal tragedy (nytimes.com, 10/23/20, Herndon). Biden strongly stated, “Anyone that is responsible for that many deaths should not be President of the United States (latimes.com, Barabak & Mason, 10/23/20).” Despite Biden noting that millions of people have lost their health insurance during this COVID pandemic, Trump kept arguing for repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a better plan. He still has no better plan and never will. Biden rightfully called for putting a public option into Obamacare and called his plan Bidencare. It’s about time we do this (Debate 10/22/2020).
When Trump attacked Biden’s son Hunter over FOX News nonsense about his ties to China and getting some ridiculous amounts of money from Russia, Biden attacked Trump’s unreliable buddy Rudy Giuliani for spreading such drivel. He went after Trump for his bank accounts in China and for paying more to China in taxes than he did to the U.S. Trump, who once argued that not paying taxes to the U.S. showed he was “smart,” now stated he had “prepaid millions” of taxes to the U.S., another lie. However, he still would not show us his tax records because the “unfair IRS” was out to get him with audits (10/22/2020 Debate). Biden, besides calling all these attacks on his son and other family members “malarkey,” noted that all these Trump false charges constitute a diversion from the real issues. The real issue was not his family or Trump’s but viewers’ families, “middle class families who are getting badly hurt now (10/22/2020 Debate, nytimes.com, Herndon, 10/23/20).”
Trump, of course, repeated the utter nonsense that he was the “least racist person in this room.” He went on to repeat again the ridiculous claim that “with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln, nobody has done what I’ve done.” Biden rightfully lit into Trump here. He mockingly called Demagogue Donald, “’Abraham Lincoln here’ as one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history. He pours fuel on every racist fire (nytimes.com, Nagourney, 10/23/20).” He mentioned Trump’s efforts to ban Muslims from the U.S., calling Mexican immigrants rapists, and his terrible response to the recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations. Biden didn’t even mention Trump pandering to white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and KKKers after the 8/2017 fatal Charlottesville riots, the issue that got Biden into this race. Trump became flummoxed when mocked as Lincoln. Biden said, “This guy, (Trump) has a dog whistle as big as a foghorn (latimes.com, 10/23/20, Barabak & Mason).”
And if we didn’t know how callous and cruel Trump remains over immigrants, this debate, again, showed it. When Biden attacked Trump for his ripping immigrant children from their mothers’ arms at the border and separating them in detention centers and putting them in filthy cages, Trump argued that these detention centers were “beautiful and clean,” utter lies. Babies were in filthy diapers there and several of the detained children died of diseases. Trump wrongly accused the children of coming alone without parents, being pawns of gangs, cartels, and cayotes, immigrant smugglers. When Biden said that more than 500 of those immigrant children had still not been reunited with their parents, Trump, according to what I and many other people heard said, “Good.” What a cruel/atrocious comment mocking all the U.S. stands for! Although some people said Trump actually told the moderator to “Go ahead” (with the next question), and did not say, “Good,” even saying “Go ahead” after such a comment indicates his horrible lack of concern about this human rights issue (10/22/2020 Debate, See Daily Kos, Qamar, 10/22/20).
Biden attacked Trump for calling him a socialist. He called Trump a “very confused guy, who thinks he’s running against somebody else,” obviously, Bernie Sanders (See nytimes.com, Goldmacher). Trump talked of how good he was on the environment, by planting trees and knowing more about windmills than anyone else, (like he knows more about the military than his generals, etc.) Biden attacked Trump for saying that windmills caused cancer and pummeled him for getting out of the Paris environmental accords and repealing regulations that stopped introducing hazardous chemicals into our air and water. Biden spoke of growing up in an area of Delaware where unhealthy sludge from chemical plants hit his family’s car windshield on cold days (Debate 10/22/20).
When moderator Kristen Welker asked in her final question what the two candidates would say at their inauguration to the rest of the country, Biden, unlike whiny Trump, nailed it. Biden stated he would be the President of all America, even those who didn’t vote for him. He would not think of himself as President of just his base. He called for “choosing science over fiction.” As he said throughout the debate, “Blue states or red states, they’re all the United States (Herndon, nytimes.com, 10/23/20).” This idea was the one that Obama first enunciated during his 2004 keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. During Trump’s four years, too many of us have forgotten this concept that we are all one nation striving for a “more perfect union,” not a set of warring tribal factions. Biden correctly in his summation, said it all. “You know who I am. You know who he is. You know his character. You know my character. Our characters are on the ballot (latimes.com, Barabak & Mason, 10/23/20).” Translation: the character of the country, a decent, inclusive, strong middle-class democratic America under Biden, versus a lack of character, racist, tribal, xenophobic America under Trump are on the ballot (See 10/22/2020 Debate).
Three instant post-debate polls indicated that Biden handily won the final debate. US Politics Polls found Biden won 52%-39%. CNN found Biden won with a similar 53%-39% score. A Data for Progress snap poll gave Biden a 52%-41% victory. Moderates in the Data survey think Biden won by a 2:1 margin. In a CNN focus group in key swing state North Carolina of 11 previous undecided voters, 9 said Biden won, 2 called it a draw, but 0 said Trump won (@Josh Schwerin, 8:47PM, 10/22/20).
Yes, all these snap polls look great, but to quote JFK’s maternal grandfather Honey Fitz, “the only poll that counts is the one taken on Election Day.” At the time of the debate, almost 50 million Americans have cast early ballots, more than in the entire early-voting 2016 period (See nytimes.com, Victor & Cooper, 10/23/2020). The early vote leans heavily Democratic so far, according to the U.S. Election Project, but most GOPers turn out in person on Election Day, and some of Biden’s mail-in-votes might not be counted until the following days and weeks (nytimes.com, Victor &Cooper). Barack Obama recently stated, “A whole bunch of polls favored the Democratic nominee in the 2016 campaign. Didn’t work out. Because a whole bunch of folks stayed at home and got lazy and complacent. Not this time. Not this election (latimes.com, Pearce, 10/21/20).”
Democrats must keep coming out in droves plus and not let up between now and right through Election Day. Besides the presidential race, control of the Senate is up for grabs and every House member is on the ballot. If Biden wins, Democrats need to flip just 3 seats into the “Blue” camp to take back the Senate. It’s best that we get 4 or more seats so that we can sustain a loss in “Super Red” AL where Sen. Dem. Doug Jones is vulnerable or in MI where Dem. Gary Peters is in a close race. In order to abolish the filibuster and nominate decent Supreme Court and lower federal court judges, “Team Blue” must retake the Senate. Democrats stand to add to and keep the House which we won in 2018, but only if we turn out in droves plus. State legislatures, which deal with key issues and elect members that later run for federal office are also in play. Democrats need only to flip 48 state house seats to turn 10 statehouses “Blue.” They have already flipped more than 450 GOP-held seats Blue (dlcc.org, 10/20/20). Again, we must have a superb turnout everywhere. Turnout is everything. The respected Des Moines Register stated in a recent editorial that everyone should vote for all the Democrats from Biden on down because the GOP believes the needs of the party supersede those of the nation and the GOP appears willing to abet a president in nullifying an election. To steer the GOP back to its past principles the current Republicans need a repudiation at the polls. This editorial rightly declared, “Throw the bums out. Every one of them.”