Cardema faces new Comelec probe

Disqualified Duterte Youth party-list nominee Ronald Cardema may be the subject of a Commission on Elections (Comelec) investigation for alleged partisan political activities while serving as National Youth Commission (NYC) chairman.
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CNN’s Dana Bash calls first presidential debate a ‘s—show’
CLEVELAND, Ohio — CNN’s chief political correspondent Dana Bash unapologetically called Tuesday evening’s chaotic presidential debate a “s— show” live on the air. The veteran cable network anchor was lost for words as she and her colleagues tried to dissect the shambolic 90-minute debate which frequently devolved into chaos as the two candidates spoke over...
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Trump and Biden show own vulnerabilities in a messy argument: ANALYSIS
Analysis of the first presidential debate.
5 key takeaways from Biden and Trump's 1st presidential debate
Five key takeaways from Tuesday's first presidential debate.
‘Dumpster fire.’ ‘Trainwreck.’ ‘A disgrace.’: Pundits share their shocked, horrified reactions to the presidential debate
The chaotic first presidential debate between President Trump and former vice president Biden inspired unprecedented reactions on TV.
Chris Wallace Lambasted After Fiery Donald Trump-Joe Biden Debate
The first presidential debate on Tuesday night saw the two candidates, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, talk over each other while Chris Wallace tried to keep the peace.
How Americans responded to the first presidential debate of 2020
CBS News director of elections and surveys Anthony Salvanto discusses how Americans responded to the first presidential debate between President Trump and Joe Biden. Watch his remarks here.
Aaron Judge shows why he’s so important to Yankees: Sherman
You could have a fine debate this year about who is the Yankees’ Most Valuable Player, DJ LeMahieu or Luke Voit? The guy who led the majors in batting average or the guy who led the majors in homers? You go back and forth, and forth and back and the answer is … Aaron Judge....
3 debate moments that showed how unsuited Trump is for the presidency
President Trump speaks during the first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 29, 2020. | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images Don’t let Trump’s debate bullying distract you from his ignorance and malevolence. President Donald Trump wasted no time turning his first debate against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden into a gutter fight. His constant interruptions made it difficult for the former vice president to complete a thought, and for moderator Chris Wallace to articulate a sentence, and likely prompted many casual viewers to quickly turn the channel. “Will you shut up, man?” an exasperated Biden said early during the debate, as he struggled with Trump’s verbal bulldozing. "Will you shut up, man?" -- Biden to Trump— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 30, 2020 It was not an uplifting or clarifying event. Trump forced Biden to lower himself to respond to his interruptions, and perhaps in that respect the debate was a success for him. But as the more than 90-minute affair dragged on, there were a number of moments that illustrated how singularly unfit the incumbent is for public service. Here’s a rundown of just a few of them. Trump was teed up a softball about racism — and wouldn’t even swing at it Trump has a long history of racism extending from his current attacks on Black Lives Matter all the way back to the mid-1970s, when the Trump Management Company was investigated by the FBI for racial discrimination. On Tuesday, Wallace and Biden gave him a chance to at least pay lip service to anti-racism by pressing him to denounce white supremacist groups. Instead, Trump bizarrely addressed the far-right, neo-fascist Proud Boys group and asked them to “stand by.” He then pivoted to bashing antifa, saying to Biden, “they’ll overthrow you.” Holy shit. Trump refuses to condemn white supremacist groups.— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 30, 2020 It’s worth remembering that Trump’s infamous comments calling white supremacists marching in Charlottesville in 2017 “very fine people” was a central theme of Biden’s campaign launch. The fact that Trump again refused to denounce them underscored Biden’s case for the presidency without him even having to do it himself. Not only did Trump refuse to condemn them, the Proud Boys seemed to react to Trump’s “stand by” comments as more or less an endorsement. Trump won’t even pledge to not try to steal the election Wallace closed the debate by asking Biden and Trump if they would wait to pledge victory following November’s election until the results are independently certified. The question would’ve been a layup for any previous president and any previous major party presidential candidate (with the notable exception of Trump in 2016). But Trump wouldn’t even commit to not trying to steal November’s election, and he’s been laying the groundwork for questioning the election results for months. “I am urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully, because that’s what has to happen,” Trump said. "I am urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully" -- Trump refuses to pledge to not declare victory until the election has been independently certified— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 30, 2020 Biden, by contrast, quickly answered yes. The debate concluded with him saying Trump “has no idea what he’s talking about” when he pushes conspiracy theories about mail voting being used to rig the election against him, which have been debunked by his own FBI director and Department of Homeland Security secretary. Trump’s comments on climate change were an infantile mess The West Coast was ravaged by wildfires for most of the last month, and the Gulf Coast is experiencing a historic hurricane season. So you’d think that when Wallace asked Trump to acknowledge climate change as a real problem caused by humans, that would be the absolute least the president could do. But on Tuesday Trump wouldn’t. Instead, Trump responded to Wallace’s question about if he believes that greenhouse gas emissions contribute to the warming of the planet by saying “I think a lot of things do.” He then went on an absolutely bonkers tangent about “forest management” and how Europeans purportedly do it better than Californians. The point of the rant was to push back on climate science. Here’s a transcript, followed by the video. In Europe, they live, they have forest cities. They’re called forest cities. They maintain their forest, they manage their forest. I was with the head of a major country, it’s a forest city. He said, ‘Sir, we have trees that are far more — they ignite much easier than California.’ There shouldn’t be that problem. I spoke with the governor about it — I’m getting along very well with the governor — but I said at some point, you can’t every year have hundreds of thousands of land just burned to the ground. That’s burning down because of a lack of management. "In Europe, they live, they have forest cities, they're called forest cities. They maintain their forest, they manage their forest. I was w/ the head of a major country, it's a forest city. He said, 'Sir, we have trees that are far more - they ignite much easier than California'"— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 30, 2020 It’s almost impossible to take Trump’s nonsense seriously. But the stakes of this election are deadly serious. Trump’s strategy of constant interruptions may have resulted in many people walking away from the first debate unenthused about both candidates, but the fact of the matter is the choice voters face has never been so stark. Will you help keep Vox free for all? The United States is in the middle of one of the most consequential presidential elections of our lifetimes. It’s essential that all Americans are able to access clear, concise information on what the outcome of the election could mean for their lives, and the lives of their families and communities. That is our mission at Vox. But our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources. Even when the economy and the news advertising market recovers, your support will be a critical part of sustaining our resource-intensive work. If you have already contributed, thank you. If you haven’t, please consider helping everyone understand this presidential election: Contribute today from as little as $3.
Kamala Harris reacts to Trump and Biden's chaotic debate
Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris reacts to the first presidential debate between President Trump and Joe Biden.
Cancel the Rest of the Debates
This degrading spectacle didn’t show voters anything they don't already know.
Florida man seen firing gun through own windshield while driving: report
Alleged sex offender caught hiding in Florida teen’s bedroom
A Louisiana man was arrested for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old whose bedroom he secretly lived for about a month, a report said. Johnathan Rossmoine, 36, was caught by the teen’s parents on Sunday hiding inside the minor’s closet at their Spring Hill, Florida, home, Fox 13 reported, citing police. Rossmoine told authorities he...
Fact-checking the first presidential debate between President Trump and Joe Biden
CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett fact-checked some of the comments made during the first presidential debate between President Trump and Joe Biden. Watch his report here.
Trump’s Theory of the Debate Was All Wrong
President Trump arrived at the first debate with a theory and a plan. The theory was that American voters crave dominance, no matter how belligerent or offensive. The plan was to hector, interrupt, and insult in hope of establishing that dominance.His theory was wrong and his plan was counter-productive.Trump walked onto that stage in Cleveland 7 or 8 points behind, because the traditional Republican advantage among upper-income and educated voters has dwindled, because non-college white women have turned against him, because he is losing older voters to his mishandling of COVID-19, because the groups he needs to be demobilized—African Americans, the young—are up-mobilized. On the present trajectory, nearly 150 million votes are likely to be cast in 2020. If Trump wins 43 percent of them and Biden 50 percent, not even the Electoral College can convert that negative margin into a second Trump term.He needed to do something to change that reality.Instead, he talked to Facebook conspiracists, to the angriest of ultra-Republican partisans, and to violent white supremacists. He urged the Proud Boys to “stand by” because “somebody’s got to do something” about “antifa and the left.” He refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power in the (likely) event that he loses. He threatened months and months of chaos if the election does not go his way.Trump yelled, threatened, interrupted—and changed nothing. All he did was confirm the horror and revulsion of the large American majority that has already begun to cast its ballots against him.Correction, Trump did one thing. On the Cleveland stage, Trump communicated that he will seize any opportunity to disrupt the vote, and resist the outcome. He communicated more forcefully than ever that the only security the country has for a constitutional future is that Biden win by the largest possible margin.Many people will criticize how the moderator, Chris Wallace, managed the debate, and surely he could have done better. But really, nothing short of a shock collar around Trump’s neck would have disciplined the man who is after all president of the United States. A president who does not respect the tax laws, does not respect the FBI, is surely not going to be constrained by a debate moderator. It was pandemonium. But it was revealing pandemonium. Who and what Trump is, could not have been more vividly displayed in all the psychological reality. Debate one was not Donald Trump versus Joe Biden, or red versus blue. It was zookeepers versus poop-throwing primates.Biden may be faded from what he was: perhaps less crisp, less sharp, less fast. But when Biden spoke, he spoke to and about America. Trump only spoke about his wounded ego. Biden communicated: I care about you. Trump communicated: I hate everybody. Biden succeeded in putting his most important messages on record: your healthcare, your job, your right to equal respect regardless of race or creed—all against Trump’s disregard and disrespect. Trump may have imagined he projected himself as strong. The whole world witnessed instead the destructive rage of a bully confronting impending defeat. Trump disgraced the presidency on that stage. He may just have delivered the self-incapacitating wound that pushes the country toward self-salvation.
Van Jones: Trump refused to condemn white supremacy on a global stage
CNN's Van Jones reacts to President Donald Trump's refusal to condemn white supremacy during the first presidential debate of the 2020 election.
This is what Yankees dreamed of when they landed Gerrit Cole
The remarkable thing is that Gerrit Cole was merely part of the chorus Tuesday night. The Yankees greeted the American League playoffs with a haymaker that not only flattened the Cleveland Indians, 12-3, but certainly must have been heard in other notable precincts such as St. Petersburg, Fla., and Houston. Maybe even Los Angeles. Everyone...
Trump and Biden trade attacks over COVID response
President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden attacked each others' credibility and competence as they debated the response to COVID-19 during Tuesday night's presidential debate in Cleveland. (Sept. 29)
Gregory Crewdson's photos reveal melancholy and mystery in small-town America
Photographer Gregory Crewdson's new series offers an unsettling portrait of life in a dreary post-industrial town.
Joe Biden says he does not back Green New Deal during presidential debate
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Democratic nominee Joe Biden denied he supported the Green New Deal being pushed by his own campaign’s climate change panel during Tuesday night’s first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio. “The Green New Deal is not my plan,” the Democratic nominee told Fox News moderator Chris Wallace of the sweeping agenda which calls...
"Shut up, man": Biden and Trump make personal jabs during debate
From Biden calling Trump a "clown," to Trump mocking Biden's mask – the nominees did not mince words.
Cancel the Debates
Pity the poor closed-caption writers. Pity the poor ASL interpreters. But most of all, pity poor us, the American electorate.Tuesday was the first presidential debate of the 2020 election, and if there is any sense or mercy left in this nation, it will be the last, too. The event was a shambolic shout fest, with scarcely a single morsel of substance to be found. President Trump, the Republican candidate, lied repeatedly, refused to condemn racist groups even after explicitly offering to do so, and sought to undermine trust in the election. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democrat, meandered through his positions, only occasionally finishing a sentence. Moderator Chris Wallace lost control within minutes and never regained it.Voters who tuned in hoping to learn something new about either man’s plans for the country, or about his character, must have realized early on they were in the wrong place. The three septuagenarians on stage were speaking over each other within minutes. Trump interrupted Biden; Biden interrupted Trump; Wallace tried to interrupt both, with limited efficacy, especially against Trump, with whom he at one point offered to switch seats.The president entered the debate most in need of a big night, since he consistently trails in polls. There is no doubt he dominated the stage, as was clearly his plan coming in. Whether that actually benefits him is another question. His most effective moment of the night came in a broadside against Biden on the issue of law and order. But several months of hard experience show that Americans are appalled by Trump’s handling of racial justice and protests. The president keeps coming back to the issue, hoping it will break through. Perhaps this is the night it will—but don’t place money on it.A more shocking moment came later in the debate.“Are you willing tonight to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say they need to stand down and not add to the violence in a number of the cities, as we saw in Kenosha and as we’ve seen in Portland?” Wallace asked Trump. Yes, the president said: Trump: Give me a name, give me a name. Wallace: White supremacists and white nationalists. White supremacists. Biden: White supremacists, the Proud Boys. Trump: Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I’ll tell you what, I’ll tell you what. Somebody has to do something about antifa and the left. Because this is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing, this is a left-wing problem. On the one hand, it was astonishing: All Trump had to do was condemn the Proud Boys, and he had said he’d condemn a group if given a name. On the other hand, it’s no surprise that Trump was unwilling to reject the appeal to racism that has powered his career for decades. There was nothing new here—just a vivid illustration of who Trump has always been.As I have written, Trump is often incoherent, but he speaks vigorously, giving him an aura of strength. Biden was for the most part neither vigorous nor coherent. While the Biden of the Democratic National Convention was cool and collected, Tuesday saw the return of the Biden who stumbled his way through debates in the Democratic primaries. Answers took left turns, then right turns, then U-turns, feinting in several directions and ending nowhere.The Democrat produced his two best answers on COVID-19 and on racial equality, offering a contrast with Trump and presenting his own plan. These are two issues that work most to his advantage. But elsewhere, he allowed Trump (and Wallace) to interrupt his train of thought, or did so himself. He refused to answer a direct question on whether he supported ending the filibuster, and he offered a surprisingly timid responses to a question about law enforcement and to attacks by Trump on his son Hunter Biden, both of which he had to know were coming. Perhaps the most telling fact of the evening is that Biden’s most memorable moments were one-line insults—“Would you shut up, man?” “Keep yappin’, man.” “It's hard to get a word in with this clown.”—and not tied to his policies or positions.The worst loser of the night, however, may have been Wallace. He entered the night lauded as perhaps the most fearsome interviewer on national television and left as roadkill, having shown himself completely unable to control the candidates. But if even the stentorian Wallace was unable to maintain a little order, the other scheduled moderators, Steve Scully and Kristen Welker, are unlikely to fare better.Presidential debates rarely make much difference to the race. Even the most infamous debate gaffe of them all, Gerald Ford’s 1976 insistence that there was “no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe,” had no real effect on the election. This is likely to be especially true this year, when the polls have remained surprisingly stable. Beyond that, tens of thousand of voters have already cast their ballots, and more are returned each day.There may be some voters who were surprised to see that Trump is a blathering bully, or who were leaning toward Biden but were shaken by his lackadaisical performance. But any undecided voter who turned this debate on hoping to learn something productive must surely have been reaching for the remote control (and maybe a stiff drink) soon thereafter.While the primary debates are run by news outlets in coordination with the major political parties, the general election debates are hosted by the Commission on Presidential Debates, a non-partisan, independent body. The group aims to support a lofty ideal: “The CPD’s primary mission is to ensure, for the benefit of the American electorate, that general election debates are held every four years between and among the leading candidates for the offices of President and Vice President of the United States…. The CPD was formed to ensure that the voting public has the opportunity to see the leading candidates debate during the general election campaign.”If CPD really wishes to benefit the American electorate, it should cancel the rest of the debate season.
President Donald Trump, during debate, declares, 'I brought back Big Ten football'
While addressing debate topic of economy, President Donald Trump brought up the return of Big Ten football: "It was me, and I'm very happy to do it."
CNN's Jake Tapper calls first presidential debate a 'hot mess inside a dumpster fire' after Trump, Biden clash
"That was a hot mess inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck," CNN host Jake Tapper said after the debate ended.
It’s true: 1 in 1,000 Black Americans have died in the Covid-19 pandemic
Joe Biden speaks during the first of three planned presidential debates. | Scott Olson/Getty Images Biden cited a horrific statistic to make his case against Trump. The worst part is it’s true. During a discussion on race in America in the first presidential debate, former Vice President Joe Biden cited a horrific statistic to punctuate his case that President Donald Trump has not been good for Black Americans: 1 in 1,000 Black Americans have died in the Covid-19 pandemic. “You talk about helping African Americans — 1 in 1,000 African Americans has been killed because of the coronavirus,” the Democratic nominee said Tuesday. “And if he doesn’t do something quickly, by the end of the year, 1 in 500 will have been killed. 1 in 500 African Americans.” “This man is the savior of African Americans? This man cares at all? This man’s done virtually nothing,” Biden continued. “Look, the fact is, you have to look at what he talks about. You have to look at what he did, and what he did has been disastrous for the African American community.” The most remarkable thing about Biden’s statement? It was true. According to the APM Research Lab, as of mid-September, “1 in 1,020 Black Americans has died (or 97.9 deaths per 100,000).” More than 200,000 Americans are confirmed dead from Covid-19, and a disproportionate number of them are Black Americans. It’s that simple. (Biden’s statement that 1 in 500 could die by the end of the year without swift action would appear to reflect the estimates that the US death toll could grow to 400,000 by January 1.) The reasons are multifold. Black Americans have disproportionately higher rates of preexisting conditions, including heart disease and cancer, which are associated with more deaths and hospitalizations from Covid-19. Black Americans are also more likely to work in jobs that are considered “essential,” which requires them to go into work and risk exposure to the coronavirus. Housing segregation has also led to Black Americans having less access to clean water and created many longstanding health disparities. Race, place, income, and health, as should be obvious by now, are inextricably linked. And the health consequences of these inequities have been especially evident during the pandemic, as David Williams, a professor of public health and sociology at Harvard, wrote in a May 2020 editorial for JAMA: Economic status matters profoundly for reducing the risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2. Lower-income and minority workers are overrepresented among essential service workers who must work outside the home when shelter-in-place directives are given. Many must travel to work on buses and subways. But the bottom line is, due to both systemic racism and factors particular to Covid-19 and the accompanying economic crisis, Black Americans have died at disproportionately high rates during the pandemic. The Trump campaign has feinted during the 2020 campaign toward appealing to Black Americans, or at least assuaging their white supporters that the Republican Party is not racist. Trump’s support has grown slightly among predominantly Black men, but Biden is still expected to overwhelmingly carry Black voters. But Biden, as he did throughout the debate, brought the issue back to Covid-19. America’s failures, in the past six months but also throughout its history, have led to that tragic outcome. Help keep Vox free for all Millions turn to Vox each month to understand what’s happening in the news, from the coronavirus crisis to a racial reckoning to what is, quite possibly, the most consequential presidential election of our lifetimes. Our mission has never been more vital than it is in this moment: to empower you through understanding. But our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources. Even when the economy and the news advertising market recovers, your support will be a critical part of sustaining our resource-intensive work. If you have already contributed, thank you. If you haven’t, please consider helping everyone make sense of an increasingly chaotic world: Contribute today from as little as $3.
Trump doesn't denounce white supremacists and militias during debate
President Trump was given several chances during the debate. to denounce white supremacists and militias that have caused violence. Trump deflected.
Trump says he moved to end racial sensitivity training in federal agencies 'because it's racist'
"He's the racist," Biden said of the president during a back-and-forth over Trump's decision to expand the ban on racial sensitivity training.
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WATCH: Trump and Biden address ballots and voting integrity
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WATCH: Trump and Biden address race issues in America
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WATCH: President Trump backs his Supreme Court nominee
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Hits and misses from the first Trump-Biden debate
The first general election debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is (thankfully) over.
WATCH: Who won the 1st presidential debate?
ABC News' political team discusses on how Joe Biden and President Donald Trump did during their first debate, and who came out on top.
The Bully in Chief Reemerges
President Donald Trump’s grand plan to demolish Joe Biden at tonight’s first presidential debate was a shockingly simple one: He simply wouldn’t let the former vice president complete a sentence.Trump talked over his Democratic challenger—and the frustrated moderator, Chris Wallace—from the opening moments of the debate, bullying Biden with a barrage of personal attacks (“There’s nothing smart about you, Joe”) and outright lies. The night quickly devolved into a cacophony of cross-talk, a barely-watchable sniping match between two old men. “Gentlemen, you realize you’re both speaking at the same time,” Wallace pleaded at one point, to little effect.But if Trump’s strategy—such at it was—seemed familiar, that’s because it was the same one he deployed against Hillary Clinton four years ago, and utilizes in his near-daily sparring with reporters as president. His default mode is to bully, and he famously hates to share the spotlight—even when the format of a one-on-one debate demands that he does. Arguably, it’s been effective enough so far. Though Clinton was judged the winner of the 2016 debates, and rose in the polls afterward, Trump won the election. His bulldoze-the-establishment style clearly had some appeal to some voters.The question is whether the president’s act wears as well now that he’s the incumbent, and at a moment when a deadly virus has ravaged the country and tanked the economy. The polls suggest it does not; Biden is leading Trump nationally and in the decisive battleground states, and there are fewer undecided voters than at this time four years ago. The former vice president has bet his entire campaign that the nation is tired of Trump’s shtick. Bowing to the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden has forgone traditional campaign rallies and door-to-door canvassing. He’s been content to let Trump hang himself, to keep the focus on an unpopular incumbent and his failures in office.That task was trickier tonight. Biden at first seemed shaky in parrying Trump’s attempt at dominance, unsure of how to handle him. He soon decided to respond to Trump’s unrelenting attacks and interruptions with a simple smile and a laugh—a reaction that implied a shared bond with viewers at home. “I’m not here to call out his lies. Everybody knows he’s a liar,” Biden said at one point.Still, Trump talked—and talked, and talked, and talked. He wore down Biden and Wallace, and he might have even wore down the voters. When the debate had already exhausted its scheduled 90 minutes, Wallace struggled to cut Trump off just so he could end it. Perhaps that was the point of the president’s barrage, to tear down the already rickety tradition of the presidential debates just as he’s trying to sow doubt in the integrity of the election itself. Trump’s refusal to play by the debate rules created something of a fog, preventing a coherent back-and-forth that might allow people to decide which man has the better vision for the country. And if voters tune out, Trump reasons, maybe they won’t turn out.Yet Trump has spent months now telling anyone who will listen that the election is rigged, that mail ballots are a recipe for fraud. For now, many Americans appear to be ignoring him. More than a million have already cast their ballots, and voters have flooded state election offices with requests for ballots at an unprecedented clip.About 20 minutes into tonight’s debate, Biden finally got in a clear, uninterrupted rejoinder to the filibustering president. “Will you shut up, man?” In an evening devoid of much substance to that point, it was the line of the night—the exasperated plea of a man tired of being yelled at and, Biden hopes, the sentiment of a nation that’s ready to move on.
Hillary Clinton wishes she could have told Trump to ‘shut up’ during 2016 debates
Hillary Clinton admitted Tuesday night that she wanted to tell President Trump to “shut up” during their debates, too. The 2016 Democratic presidential candidate responded, “You have no idea” when a Twitter user suggested Clinton would have liked to snap “shut up, man!,” as Joe Biden did on Tuesday during his first debate with Trump....
Trump Refuses to Condemn White Supremacy in First Debate
"Say it," Biden said. "Do it. Say it."
3 winners and 4 losers from the first 2020 presidential debate
The first Democratic presidential debate with President Trump and Joe Biden was held at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 29. | Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images Not America’s finest hour. The 2020 presidential campaign has featured surprisingly stable polling: Former Vice President Joe Biden has been ahead consistently, and he’s still ahead by a high single-digit margin. This is all happening amid the outbreak of a major pandemic, the collapse of the economy, a nationwide surge of protests demanding racial justice, an unexpectedly rapid jobs bounce-back, a second wave of Covid-19 deaths, a rise in the murder rate, and the release of a half-dozen insider books about the Trump administration full of shocking depictions of official misconduct. Under the circumstances, President Trump needed the first debate against Biden to go his way. It’s hard to believe that any debate could change the tide that much. It’s also hard to believe anyone who tuned in to Tuesday night’s exchange gleaned actual information about public policy in the United States. Biden spent relatively little time describing his plans for the country, focusing mostly on parrying Trump’s attacks and occasionally trying to appeal to the ordinary humans who are suffering in America’s current circumstances.Trump, meanwhile, slung a nonstop barrage of nonsense that completely overwhelmed moderator Chris Wallace’s feeble efforts to enforce the rules. But if Trump’s theory was that Biden would melt under the pressure, it didn’t happen. He stood his ground, he delivered his talking points, and while it’s doubtful he picked up a ton of new supporters, he’s not the candidate who needs them most. Here’s who won and who lost in the mess of the first presidential debate. Winner: Cross-talk and malarkey The debate opened with what was allegedly an exchange about Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court, then pivoted to a discussion of health care, and rapidly degenerated into nonsense as Trump interrupted so compulsively that it was impossible to extract any kind of coherent comment from either candidate. That, in turn, produced an unorthodox zinger from Biden: “Will you shut up, man?” Scott Olson/Getty Images Joe Biden participates in the first presidential debate. The debate regained some equilibrium after a topic shift to Covid-19, but the basic process kept breaking down again and again. Pre-debate briefings from the Trump camp made it clear that the president’s strategy would be to behave aggressively, but Trump’s decision to try to stomp all over the basic debate format was surprising. The result was to basically ruin the show, making the program often impossible to follow or learn anything from. Given that Biden already had a substantial lead and the debates are a rare high-profile opportunity for Trump to turn it around, that’s probably a win for the challenger. The idea, evidently, was to rattle Biden and expose his supposed mental infirmity — but it didn’t work because the mental infirmity is more blatantly false Facebook meme than reality. —Matthew Yglesias Loser: The “Biden has dementia” theory For months now the Trump camp has been lying and saying that Biden won’t leave his basement, and for weeks they’ve been increasingly explicit in arguing that he has dementia. Because this isn’t true, they’ve been making the case for it largely via doctored videos and lying about a particular image of Biden sitting for an interview with Telemundo. The problem with this, as Team Trump seems to have belatedly realized, is that you normally don’t lower expectations for your opponent pre-debate. Biden did not excel in any of the Democratic Party primary debates. But before his one-on-one encounter with Sen. Bernie Sanders just before the primaries wrapped up, some members of Sanders’s camp ran this exact dementia play — to disastrous results when the two men met live onstage, where Biden delivered his completely normal humdrum performance and it played as a triumph. Consequently, much of Tuesday was taken up with charges from Trumpland that Biden was planning to cheat in the debate with the use of some sort of illicit performance-enhancing drug or secret earpiece. As wild lies to hedge against earlier wild lies, this wasn’t a terrible last-ditch effort. Fox News even trotted out Brit Hume before the debate to warn the audience not to believe their lying eyes and claim that just because Biden doesn’t seem like he’s suffering from dementia doesn’t mean he isn’t. Now Brit Hume is on to say that Biden is definitely senile but there's a chance that won't be visible tonight and he'll be well-prepped and perform well anyway.— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) September 30, 2020 But then the debate happened, and Biden was … fine. Let’s be honest: There’s a reason his 1988 and 2008 campaigns didn’t set the world on fire — he just does not have the charisma level of a Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, or Barack Obama. But he’s a totally normal politician who can stand up there and do his talking points and zingers for 90 minutes just like anyone else. Throwing the “my opponent is senile” Hail Mary may have made a certain amount of strategic sense for Trump given that at this point, he is not going to come up with a viable plan to fight Covid-19 or alter the public’s entrenched perception of him. But it just doesn’t work because it’s not true. —MY Loser: Racial justice Wallace chose “race and crime in our cities” as a debate topic, framing both lawlessness and city living as explicitly racialized and positing some kind of trade-off between equity and public safety that there’s no evidence for. Trump, naturally, ate it up, castigating all racial justice advocates as “anarchists,” blaming Democratic-run cities for all crime problems (homicides are also up in the small number of GOP-run cities), and slamming his opponent’s supposed desire to defund the police (Biden in fact advocates for more police). Basic questions about the existence of racial justice outside the narrow scope of law enforcement went unaddressed. So did the fairly extensive evidence that there is significant racial bias in police stops, a much wider issue than the question of how to handle the specific, egregious cases that end with a civilian death and national controversy. Biden held his own in the exchange, parrying Trump’s claims on police funding and, likely for the first time, introducing a national audience to the reality that the Trump administration has repeatedly proposed cuts in police funding. But the actual topic of racial justice was incredibly ill-served by this narrow and poorly framed debate. —MY Loser: Chris Wallace A presidential debate moderator has one main job: to let both sides speak and share their vision for the country, with minimal interruption and proper time limits. By that standard, moderator Chris Wallace failed. The tone was set early, when Trump almost immediately started interrupting Biden when it was his time to speak. Trump’s interruptions made it nearly impossible to hear what Biden was saying, and caused the debate to repeatedly break down into unintelligible yelling and arguments about whether the candidates were following the debate’s rules and time limits. Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images Debate moderator and Fox News anchor Chris Wallace. Wallace at times tried to stop the interruptions. But he repeatedly blamed both Trump and Biden, when Trump was clearly doing far more of the interrupting. At one point, Wallace seemed to give up altogether, saying, “I’m going to ask a question about race, but if you want to answer something else, go ahead.” It wasn’t until an hour and 10 minutes into the debate, out of an hour and a half, that Wallace called Trump out: “Mr. President, your campaign agreed both sides would get two-minute answers uninterrupted. Your side agreed to it. And why don’t you observe that?” Even after that, Trump continued to interrupt Biden. Wallace never really claimed control of the stage. He even had to declare, “This is the end of this debate,” when it was over, signaling he couldn’t even successfully bring the program to an end. This almost certainly wasn’t the debate that Wallace wanted. And it left Americans with a largely incoherent mess. —German Lopez Winner: China One of the best books I’ve read on US foreign policy in the past few years is 2016’s America Abroad, by Dartmouth professors Stephen Brooks and William Wohlforth. One of the book’s central argument is that the United States is not only the world’s most powerful country, but so far ahead of its competitors on conventional metrics — like military power and technological advancement — that no country could feasibly catch up in the near future. China in particular, they argue, is far less capable of overtaking the United States than is generally understood. It’s a contrarian argument, but a compelling one. Or at least it would be if the US weren’t suffering from a crippling level of internal division. No country, no matter how powerful, can effectively wield power abroad when it’s preoccupied by internal divisions. No government can feasibly end American global hegemony — except for the American one. What we saw tonight, the muddled mess and anger, reflects the paralyzing levels of internal division currently wracking the United States. Sure, the proximate cause is Trump’s personal style, and the clear personal animosity between the two men on display. But it also reflected the dangerously polarized nature of American politics at this particular moment, even on fundamental issues of how our political system should work. At the very end of the debate, for example, Trump wouldn’t even pledge to accept defeat — responding to Wallace’s question on this front by encouraging his followers to show up at polling stations in Philadelphia, a Democratic stronghold in a key battleground, “because bad things happen in Philadelphia.” This wasn’t just ugly in an aesthetic sense; it was ugly in a more fundamental one, a sign of a system breaking down as rival camps within it no longer universally accept the rules of the game. And nobody benefits more from this kind of internal discord in the world’s most powerful state than China. —Zack Beauchamp Winner: Speaking directly to the American people As of last week, a staggering 200,000 people in the US are confirmed dead of Covid-19 — yet moments of compassion, let alone acknowledgment from Trump, have been few and far between. In some of his strongest statements during the debate on Tuesday, Biden drew a stark contrast: Speaking directly into the camera, he addressed Americans who may have lost a family member during the pandemic, or suffered devastating job losses as the economy has plummeted in recent months. “How many of you got up this morning and had an empty chair at the kitchen table because someone died of Covid?” he asked, while maintaining eye contact. “How many of you are in a situation where you lost your mom or dad and you couldn’t even speak to them and had a nurse holding a phone up so you could, in fact, say goodbye?” Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images Joe Biden speaks directly to the television audience during the debate. This remark — and others like it — offered a brief glimpse of humanity in a debate filled with cross-talk and insults, and was among the most effective in highlighting how Biden would govern differently than Trump has. Even as the president falsely emphasized how effective his coronavirus response has been yet again, Biden provided a sense of what leadership looks like when a president actually cares about what people are going through. “It’s not about my family or his family, it’s about you,” Biden said. The dueling statements on Tuesday made clear that only one of the men onstage felt this way. —Li Zhou Loser: America’s safety Wallace, the debate moderator, asked Trump to disavow and condemn white supremacists. He didn’t do it, instead merely telling the Proud Boys group to “stand by” while criticizing left-wing movements like antifa. Set aside, if you can, the moral failure of Trump refusing to denounce white supremacists. That’s horrible enough. But he’s the commander in chief, and not condemning white supremacists is a dereliction of duty — since they are the greatest domestic terrorist threat to the United States. “Racially motivated violent extremism,” mostly from white supremacists, has made up most of the recent domestic terrorist threats, FBI Director Christopher Wray told the House Homeland Security Committee this month. The Trump-friendly Department of Homeland Security has drafted memos making the same point. And the State Department has, for the first time ever, designated white supremacist groups as terrorists. There’s a reason Trump’s own administration makes that case. The past few years have seen mass shootings perpetrated by white nationalists in the US, and their danger to the homeland has of late surpassed that of radical Islamic groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS (though those groups still remain dangerous). To think of white supremacy, then, is to think of an ideology that animates a major national security risk. Yet when confronted with the chance to shout it down, Trump didn’t. That’s wrong on its own, but it’s also shocking to see the president not denounce a threat to millions of Americans. Worse now, the one specific white supremacist group he was asked to denounce — the Proud Boys — are already celebrating that moment. “Trump basically said to go fuck them up!” one group leader said after that debate moment. —Alex Ward Will you help keep Vox free for all? The United States is in the middle of one of the most consequential presidential elections of our lifetimes. It’s essential that all Americans are able to access clear, concise information on what the outcome of the election could mean for their lives, and the lives of their families and communities. That is our mission at Vox. But our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources. Even when the economy and the news advertising market recovers, your support will be a critical part of sustaining our resource-intensive work. If you have already contributed, thank you. If you haven’t, please consider helping everyone understand this presidential election: Contribute today from as little as $3.
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