First Presidential Debate Topics Set for Tuesday

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonderandhome.com

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42 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    Chris Wallace is one of the better Fox News journalists. Still very conservative but he is not a propaganda mongerer like Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson and the White Power Hour.

    Still, I expect this is going to be an epic shitshow and that Trump will more likely than not lie through his teeth, go on unhinged rants, and do other actions that his base loves despite the fact that they are signs of some combination of advancing dementia/neurologic decline compared with a bullying authoritarian personality. Trump is currently doing his worst to at least cast serious doubt on election results because the polling remains firmly in Biden’s side and who knows what internal polling is like on the Trump side. My bet is that is not fun.

    The other issue is whether Trump tries to wiggle out of the debate in one way or another.Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    My comment is in moderation again. For the past few days, my comments either post but I get a screen stating that OT timed out or had a gateway error or the comment goes straight to moderation.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain
      Ignored
      says:

      You’re not the only one that gets the timeout and gateway messages even though the comment has been successfully added to the database. As for moderation, I’m beginning to think that WordPress just has something against you :^)Report

  3. Avatar Kazzy
    Ignored
    says:

    “Race and Violence in Our Cities” is an… interesting phrasing.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      Yet another way to tell if you’re living in an authoritarian regime, when the president announces he may or may not abide by the law, and the media and institutions shrug with indifference.Report

      • Avatar George Turner
        Ignored
        says:

        Heck, Obama gleefully tossed the law out the window whenever it suited him, such as he did with immigration, arguing that since Congress hadn’t passed a law, he could just go ahead and do whatever.

        Then he used our national security and intelligence apparatus to try and rig the 2016 election.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw
        Ignored
        says:

        What would not be shrugging with indifference in your opinion? They are reporting on it and I do not think it helps Trump. All of this getting out into the open does not make it easier for them.

        Do you want them to call for an immediate storming of the White Hiuse?Report

        • Avatar Philip H
          Ignored
          says:

          It does serve a propaganda purpose though, in as much as Trump is trying to make a rigged election the story line both to depress voter turnout and distract from a host of news that makes him look like the idiot he is.Report

    • Avatar George Turner
      Ignored
      says:

      Bloomberg already invalidated the election buying getting together with a bunch of other Democrat elites and buying tens of thousands of votes, which is a 3rd degree felony punishable by five years in prison, and a fourth degree felony for everyone who accepted Bloomberg’s money.

      Don’t the Democrats even read election laws anymore?Report

      • Avatar Philip H
        Ignored
        says:

        um yeah, your troll skills are slipping a bit my good man.

        Bloomberg paid off fines and fees for felons who were out of jail but not yet allowed to vote, because Republican politicians in Florida went against the clear express will of the voters and forced a poll tax back on felons after the citizens removed it. Bloomberg’s money didn’t go to any of said felons, but to the state of Florida. So best I can tell if he was trying to buy votes, it would have been of state legislators and state-wide elected officials. If anything, this results in the citizens of Florida actually achieving the outcome they voted to support.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          You’re missing his point.
          The Republican Party is a revolutionary one, where any power not held by them is illegitimate.

          Democrats voting is itself fraud in their eyes.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw
            Ignored
            says:

            I agree that this is how George sees it.

            But this is all front and center and everyone is on guard. Also the Times had a bolder stance which you called a yawn yesterday:

            “This was no typical Trump provocation: Acceding to the will of the voters is the linchpin of American democracy. Here’s the latest.”Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels
              Ignored
              says:

              That’s fair to say.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                ETA-
                I guess I am asking myself the same question I ask everyone else.

                When fascism comes to America wrapped in a flag and carrying a Bible, what would it look like?

                I mean, what would our daily life look like, what would our newspapers be printing on page one above the fold, what would the cable news lead off with?

                Would it look normal, like any other day, with the same toothpaste commercials and sitcoms, would people just get up and go to work and chat about football?

                I guess I expected what everyone seems to expect, that it would be like some Hollywood movies, where there are tanks and barbed wire, and Katniss Evergreen slinks around with bow and arrow.

                But then I remind myself of my tour of East Berlin before the Wall fell, and how cheerful and normal everything looked; Couples strolled in the park, people at at outdoor cafes, everyone seemingly at ease and so utterly ordinary.

                Or how even now the artists I follow on Instragram in Russia and China have a stream of pictures that make their lives look pleasant and banal, plein air trips in the park, gallery shows where everyone is cheerfully chattering away over wine and cheese, sometimes family photos.

                Its astounding to me, how easily people just get used to things which we swore would cause us to fight to the death.Report

          • Avatar Philip H
            Ignored
            says:

            I get that. But George didn’t even troll that well.Report

        • Avatar George Turner
          Ignored
          says:

          Bloomberg can argue that in court, but Florida law is clear. I cannot pay off any of your debts to influence your vote. I cannot cancel your speeding tickets to influence your vote. I cannot give your wife some spending money to influence your vote. I cannot give your kid a toy to influence your vote. I cannot do anything to financially affect you in any way, in order to influence your vote.

          The only two things I can give you are a meal at a fundraiser and some free advertising things like a T-shirt or a bumper sticker, with my name emblazoned on them. Those are the only two exceptions carved out in Florida law.

          The reason we have such laws is that rich politicians tried all kinds of scams to buy votes. In Kentucky, it was common for them to provide free whisky or moonshine at the polling places. That got so bad that we completely banned alcohol sales on election day until the polls closed.

          If you want to change the law so rich politicians can play the vote buying game, don’t be surprised when you find out that our democracy equates to “rule by ultra-rich billionaires”.Report

          • Avatar Philip H
            Ignored
            says:

            Citizens of the state of Florida voted to allow felons to regain their voting rights once no longer incarcerated and without completing restitution. The state Legislature – with the governors support – overrode that citizen initiative and added a poll tax in the form the requirement of payment of full restitution – which most convicted felons never do because it is extremely hard to get jobs that would allow them to do so. Bloomberg is simply paying that restitution. He is not asking anyone to vote – he is simply making sure they can.

            That aside – our democracy currently equates to rule by rich billionaires, who are spending gobs of money on politicians, PACs and laws to limit voting to the smallest cadre of gullible Americans possible so they can cling to their illusory power.Report

            • Avatar George Turner
              Ignored
              says:

              Bloomberg paid off the debts of 70,000+ felons, which is a felony. Accepting his money is a class 4 felony, so the 70,000+ felons should probably be rounded up and sent back to prison.

              A citizen initiative in Florida is limited to 75 words. There wasn’t room to list “restitution, fines, and fees” on it.

              Everyone involved should go to prison for the maximum. Vote buying is wildly illegal, and should remain so.

              But if you want to get into a vote buying contest, the GOP can easily win that too, in every district, pretty much wiping the Democrat party out of existence for all time. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                Paying other peoples debts is a felony? Really? Got a citation for that?Report

              • Avatar George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes, Florida Statute § 104.061 (2)

                (2) No person shall directly or indirectly give or promise anything of value to another intending thereby to buy that person’s or another’s vote or to corruptly influence that person or another in casting his or her vote. Any person who violates this subsection is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. However, this subsection shall not apply to the serving of food to be consumed at a political rally or meeting or to any item of nominal value which is used as a political advertisement, including a campaign message designed to be worn by a person.

                775.083 lists the maximum punishment for a 3rd degree felony as 5 years in prison.

                The operative word in court will be “indirectly give”. Having your debts cancelled is definitely “something of value”. If I paid off your mortgage, that would be giving you something of value, even though my payment went to your bank.Report

              • Avatar North
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                says:

                Heheh, yeah good luck with the more operative and salient point of proving intent to buy that person’s vote or another’s vote or to corruptly influence that person or another in casting his or her vote. Even Trump appointees would throw it out of court. Hell not even Trump appointees would try and bring charges on it.Report

              • Avatar George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                Except that Bloomberg said his intent was to influence their votes. The case has already been referred to the DoJ, run by Barr. It’s cut and dried.Report

              • Avatar North
                Ignored
                says:

                Heh, yep, no doubt Billy Barr will come out with an indictment any day now. Probably the same time Hillary steps out from behind the curtain and seizes the nomination and the Durham’s report gets Obama, Biden and Hillary charged with assorted crimes and ushers in a Trump landslide.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                [Sad Trombones]

                Trump promises seniors $200 prescription drug gift certificates, but questions abound

                https://www.statnews.com/2020/09/24/seniors-200-gift-certificates-prescription-drug/Report

              • Avatar George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                Wow! Trump is soooo generous to be writing personal checks to all those seniors!

                Wait, that’s the entire pitch of the Democratic party. “Elect us and we’ll give you government money!”

                What Bloomberg did was write personal checks to pay off their debts.Report

              • Avatar Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                and how’s that different from me writing personal checks to my kids to pay their debts?

                But Sure, Bloomberg is Buying Votes but the President is just being a Democrat in disguise (who would then be buying votes since Bloomberg campaigned as a democrat . . . .)Report

  4. Avatar Koz
    Ignored
    says:

    I get the sense that Trump is drawing slim, but not quite dead. Even where Trump’s issues are or ought to be gaining traction, eg, law and order, there’s nothing that I can see with enough escape velocity to get away from Trump’s black hole.

    The American people are holding their breath and waiting for Trump to go away. And after he goes away, if he goes away, they are going to stick their heads up and look around and make some substantial reevaluations. And we can guess at those evaluations, but I think for the most part they are unpredictable.

    Even this latest Supreme Court thing might not have much effect. Basically, after the nomination the President is no longer one of the main actors in the drama. Even if the Republicans were going to win that particular episode, Trump’s narcissism is going to screw it up somehow.

    The one chance Trump does have is the earlier line of attack, “Sleepy Joe is old, senile and stupid.” Even if that got no traction before, there’s some chance it could work in Trump’s favor now. Things look different now. Just like Trump’s ignorance and sleaze didn’t matter when the libs were agitated about Russia and Ukraine, it turned out they mattered a lot when it came to the virus. People might tolerate less out of Joe when it comes to dealing with the police and the riots than they would for the sake of getting rid of Trump. Even there though, I like Joe’s side of things. Even if that is a possibly losing issue for Joe, the bar to clear is pretty low, and I think he’ll clear it.

    (Btw apologies for dupe comments if more than one of these is published)Report

    • Avatar Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      It’s Koz!

      I’ve played enough poker to know when the river is going to be one of the two cards I need it to not be.

      I’m one of those who thinks that we need comprehensive police reform from QI to Unions to You Name It but I’m also quite aware that the mostly peaceful protests are not going to be helping undecideds swing to Biden/Harris (maybe if they did a better job of playing up Harris’s prosecution background?).

      In poker, there’s sometimes a distinction made between “the nuts” and “the stone cold nuts”. Sometimes people think that they have the best possible hand on the flop… and, sure, they have what they think are the nuts. But that turn and river can be fickle and the stone cold nuts can be a different couple of cards.

      I can easily see Biden walking away with this with 307 electoral votes. “How did we ever doubt it?”, we can snicker.

      I can easily see Trump pulling it out a second time. “But it’s not fair that Biden/Harris was accused of siding with the mostly peaceful protests! They *DENOUNCED* them multiple times between Halloween and election day!”Report

      • Avatar Koz
        Ignored
        says:

        I can easily see Biden walking away with this with 307 electoral votes. “How did we ever doubt it?”, we can snicker.

        I can see Biden winning 330-380 EVs. In fact I suspect a lot of the prognosticators are underweighting that outcome. The optimism for Trump depends a lot on a “shy Tory” vote. And tbh, I think that has some credibility as well. How much, I don’t know. I suspect not enough.

        Shy Tories or otherwise, Trump needs some actual poll movement in his favor. I see basically one possible avenue for that, which I mentioned in the prior comment.

        The main point is, whether Biden wins by a little or by a lot, there’s going to be a lot of reevaluation that’s basically unpredictable from here. For example, criminal justice reform, or qualified immunity in particular. There’s a lot of slack there in terms of how important it is, who supports it, maybe most interesting, how the various factions making up the lib-left feel about it. That sort of issue is especially unpredictable because most of the movement is necessarily below the federal level, if in fact such movement occurs.

        In any event, the world will look very different as soon as Trump is no longer President, so I don’t think we can extrapolate much from here, where Trump still is President.Report

        • Avatar North
          Ignored
          says:

          Agreed on your points generally. It’s going to be one hell of a shakeup, especially on the right, if Trump loses. It’s going to be one hell of a mess on the left if Biden fails. The whole party is gonna be holding their breath for the first debate because that seems to me like the final inflection point for Trump to try and change the trajectory of the race. If Biden somehow manages to not meet or exceed the rock bottom expectations Trump’s team has set for him then maybe that will shift the race. Otherwise I don’t see any opportunities to change the paradigm.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy
            Ignored
            says:

            I see two things happening on the right if Trump loses:
            1.) Trumpers remain ever faithful to there dear leader.
            2.) More run-of-the-mill Republicans — including the vast majority of elected officials — wipe their hands of Trump and pretend he never existed.

            I don’t know what the breakdown will be and what will come of this split. Will Trumpers remain a part of the GOP and try to wrestle control? Will they become their own party? Just agents of chaos?

            But I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that if Trump loses, Mitch McConnell never speaks to or of Trump after January 20. For many Republicans, I think Trump was their useful idiot. And once he ceases to be useful, they’ll just dismiss him as an idiot.Report

            • Avatar North
              Ignored
              says:

              Oh certainly I’d guess that #2 is slightly more likely. The question, though, is the voters. There’ll be a horde of Trump knockoffs and Trump himself will likely not go quietly into silence as most former Presidents have done in the past. If the Trump voters continue to favor Trump style politicians then what happens with the GOP?
              Either the party remains captured by Trump and Trumpism or it splits between the old Republitarian wing and the new Trump Nativist/populist wing with the social cons holding their noses and trying to choose who to pick.
              And I have absolutely no clue how that will turn out. Voters are hard to predict.Report

          • Avatar Koz
            Ignored
            says:

            I’m expecting Biden to win, and how that will play out in terms of governance is largely up in the air. I do think the fighting on the Left is going to be worse than that on the Right.

            One strong possibility is that people like you are going to be pretty happy. There will be tremendous relief that Trump is gone, and you won’t have a whole lot of particulars against President Biden.

            The nastier radicals are going to be more upset. President Biden isn’t going to make them especially happy, and there’s not going to be nearly as many allies for hating on Republicans and conservatives as there are now.

            For the Right, it’s going to be pretty easy. Just blame Trump for everything. Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton and the like might not be affected very much.Report

            • Avatar North
              Ignored
              says:

              That seems entirely possible. Biden’s a hell of a lot older than anyone would prefer but he’s a perfectly passable politician and he’s a solid Democrat.

              The right is a big question mark for me. Now that Trump has torn that gaping gap between the GOP elite and their voting masses wide open how are they going to repair it? I mean, hatred of the Dems will certainly go a long way but can the Trump nativists and populists be reconciled with the cut taxes and prop up Regan’s corpse brand GOP? And where will the socialcons go?Report

              • Avatar Koz
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m pretty optimistic on that front. I just don’t think Chamber of Commerce types or would-be GOP voters will have the problems with Tom Cotton or Josh Hawley that they do with Trump.

                When Trump is gone, everybody’s going to exhale and there won’t be as much motivation for hostility.Report

  5. Avatar Kazzy
    Ignored
    says:

    “…splits between the old Republitarian wing and the new Trump Nativist/populist wing with the social cons holding their noses and trying to choose who to pick.”

    This is what I was trying to describe. I think a lot of folks will want to pretend Trump never happened and will act accordingly. And I think a lot of folks with think Trumpism is the new conservatism and will rapidly pursue it. What I don’t know is what the breakdown will be. Or the fallout. If Trumpists are 10% of the GOP, they’ll probably eventually fade away or just become a minority party. If they’re 50%, there may be a split or constant in-fighting or they may capture the party more broadly. I’m not tuned in to enough folks on that side of the aisle to really say.

    But I do foresee many scenes playing out where a number of Republicans/conservatives wake up on January 21st* and look around as if they’re snapping out of a fever dream and have zero recollection of the last four years. “A wall? Charlottesville? What are you talking about? Let’s talk taxes.”

    * Assuming a Trump loss, which I assume for the sake of this visual but not in actuality.Report

    • Avatar InMD
      Ignored
      says:

      More importantly for predicting the future will be geographic allocation of each. My bet is that the jurisdictions that matter for electoral success will stay Trumpist while the old-guard Reaganites will fall into agnostic amnesia right up until their candidates flail and fail in the primaries.Report

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