[US Elections] First Debate Thread
September 29, 2020 5:33 PM   Subscribe

Live stream for the 1st Presidential debate Trump and Biden meet tonight (in 30 minutes) for the first presidential debate.

Feel free to discuss it here and share interesting takes on it as it happens. Just remember to follow our community guidelines and content policy.

6 things to look for in the first Biden-Trump presidential debate
posted by loup (782 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
 
Biden finally admits to juicing. With ice cream, no less.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 5:36 PM on September 29 [8 favorites]


I have a weird anxiety about whether to watch this or not - I think I've decided not, because my watching will only make me angry and change nothing, but I feel a pull towards it from what I suspect is the same manufactured trick-me-into-doing-nothing-and-thinking-I'm-doing-something mechanism that makes me think I can fight fascism by pressing Like buttons.

So I guess I'm just gonna obsessively refresh this thread, because that's healthy
posted by FeatherWatt at 5:41 PM on September 29 [68 favorites]


Yeah, actually watching debates raises my anxiety levels too much. So I count on these threads to let me know if anything really ugly happens, lol.
posted by sundrop at 5:42 PM on September 29 [16 favorites]


I cannot abide that man's face or voice. Just having him on a screen in front of me is torture. I'll delight in any schadenfreude I can, though, so I'm here for the livetweeting in case he actually breaks down crying or anything.
posted by Scattercat at 5:44 PM on September 29 [26 favorites]


Yes, I think watching this will help me make up my mind.
posted by 2N2222 at 5:47 PM on September 29 [31 favorites]


I still can't believe we made Hillary debate this clown.
posted by guiseroom at 5:47 PM on September 29 [15 favorites]


This might be the "warmest" medium that I can use to apprehend the debate. I feel ill.
posted by the Real Dan at 5:48 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


Is anyone else making debate food? I'm making risotto. It's the perfect debate food. It takes forever.
posted by guiseroom at 5:50 PM on September 29 [13 favorites]


cspan link for those of you who eschew the talking heads
posted by OHenryPacey at 5:51 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


Debate food? Yes, I'm making Gnocchi... from scratch...
posted by loup at 5:52 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


I'm currently trying to hold myself back from making a pan of brownies with my mother's recipe.
posted by orange swan at 5:52 PM on September 29 [7 favorites]


i am already angry.
i will watch.

also i'm angry with myself for not having bought a bottle of scotch.
posted by 20 year lurk at 5:52 PM on September 29 [16 favorites]


Ugh. I can't. Is watching the cliff diving scene in 'Midsommar' on repeat an acceptable alternative to watching the debate?
posted by NoMich at 5:53 PM on September 29 [15 favorites]


Come to chat and we can watch together.
posted by theora55 at 5:53 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


The Trump campaign has already sent out their post-debate fundraising e-mail (SLTwitter) to their supporters. The debate is scheduled to start in six minutes.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 5:54 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


Take a shot of Dran-O every time Trump:

- Vomits corrosive acid on the podium
- Brings a live immigrant child in a cage onstage
- Points to the looters and ANTIFA lurking in the audience
- Declares the moderator an Enemy of America
- Attempts to lurk behind Biden
- Brags about being impeached
- Talks about Hunter Biden's genitalia
- Rips off his skin mask to reveal a mass of sentient Coronavirus screeching REOPEN THE SCHOOLS
- Claims Obama is still president
posted by benzenedream at 5:54 PM on September 29 [41 favorites]


I don't have enough Drano for that...
posted by Windopaene at 5:55 PM on September 29 [7 favorites]


Play the Donation Debate Game because your liver's not strong enough for a drinking game.
posted by theora55 at 5:58 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


Watching from the UK (that 8pm espresso did the trick), and although I don't have a dog in the fight (in terms of not being a US voter - although clearly Biden is my dog), I feel slightly sick with nerves.
posted by essexjan at 5:59 PM on September 29 [7 favorites]


@soundguy99 needs to be hired by youtube.
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 5:59 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


So did anyone notice that Chris Wallace's introductory remarks were completely inaudible, or have we decided it doesn't matter anyway?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:01 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


essexjan - Snap! Downstairs with duvet, cuppa, and laptop.
posted by Morfil Ffyrnig at 6:02 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Mods, feel free to delete it off topic...but

benzenedream, my boss has been a COVID-denier, until he apparently said that the coronavirus is sentient. He had this argument with one of our part-time staff, who has a background in biology and is currently in PA school. Full disclosure: I wasn’t at the staff meeting (because I could not even) but I had three separate subordinates approach me when I was back at work. He’s not even a Republican, he’s just an idiot.

The past few months have been stressful.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 6:02 PM on September 29 [14 favorites]


Wallace's opening was silent on both C-SPAN and WaPo streams, so I assume the problem was at the source.
posted by bcd at 6:03 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


I'm hoping this thread will inform me if anything noteworthy actually happens. Because, like others, my mental health requires me to avoid watching it myself.
posted by meese at 6:03 PM on September 29 [13 favorites]


Trump will certainly bring up Hunter Biden but, being a piece of shit, what are the odds he takes a shot at Beau Biden to anger Biden?
posted by star gentle uterus at 6:04 PM on September 29 [9 favorites]


I think that was just a personal welcome to the audience. He will give an intro now.
posted by Chickenring at 6:04 PM on September 29


what are the odds he takes a shot at Beau Biden to anger Biden?

100% because he is the most crass and vile asshole alive.
posted by deadaluspark at 6:05 PM on September 29 [16 favorites]


There's going to be a gigantic hole in this debate where a discussion of climate policy should be.
posted by theory at 6:06 PM on September 29 [15 favorites]


Audience? What about social distancing? Or maybe in this case, social ostracism.
posted by njohnson23 at 6:06 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Did Chris Wallace say "No boos" or was it " no booze"?
posted by MtDewd at 6:11 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


I hope it weren't no booze, because I'm already on 4th glass.
posted by basalganglia at 6:12 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


No, booze!
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:12 PM on September 29 [9 favorites]


This is just depressing.
posted by eagles123 at 6:13 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


"Is anyone else making debate food? "

I made red wine.

And by "made" I mean "opened."
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:13 PM on September 29 [58 favorites]


Eight minutes in and Trump is rude and ignorant, and clearly thinks being so is somehow "winning."
posted by goblinbox at 6:14 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I'm on to scotch.
posted by MtDewd at 6:14 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


The moderator really should have the ability to cut the mics if Trump (or, less likely, Biden) won't stop talking.
posted by star gentle uterus at 6:15 PM on September 29 [28 favorites]


In the olden times we would gather for debate threads with guacamole and cake and we would cheer on Tehund to finally catch up and then we turned and cursed and spit in some combination. Now we just bury deeper into our Covid nests, studiously avoiding the orange man, source of our misfortune.
posted by Biblio at 6:15 PM on September 29 [83 favorites]


Trump is clearly going for just shouting Biden down, Wallace does bupkis. I am listening from another room because my skin kept trying to crawl off of me while watching this.
posted by emjaybee at 6:15 PM on September 29 [8 favorites]


My spouse and I put the odds of one participant taking an actual swing at the other are around 6%, but we can't agree on who would throw the punch.
posted by anastasiav at 6:16 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


Trump is bullying the moderator (from Fox News). It's been like 10 minutes. He's trying to make Chris Wallace cry? He looks like a total dick tbh.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 6:17 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]



"Is anyone else making debate food? "


Fresh bottle of Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin over here.
posted by thivaia at 6:18 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


I'm already done. All of these people are idiots. I'm in the next room now and all I hear is a bunch of old men talking over each other.
posted by phooky at 6:18 PM on September 29 [7 favorites]


Trump isn't playing to you or I, he's playing to his base. They love the image of Trump as the tough guy pushing everyone around.
posted by star gentle uterus at 6:18 PM on September 29 [11 favorites]


He came out fighting. Good debate prep.
posted by njohnson23 at 6:18 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Is anyone else making debate food?

does malt liquor count?
posted by davedave at 6:18 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


Yowie zowie, this is completely unwatchable
posted by theodolite at 6:19 PM on September 29 [13 favorites]


Mr Sixswitch just had to ask me not to shout at the TV as it’s distressing. I suspect my silent pillow-wringing and couch-punching will not be put up with for very long either.
posted by sixswitch at 6:20 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


It must have been the job of some people in the Biden campaign to decide what Biden should do if Trump takes an actual swing at him. I for one would enjoy seeing him hit back.
posted by mai at 6:20 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


I wish I still drank
posted by Fenriss at 6:20 PM on September 29 [13 favorites]


I can't watch this. This isn't a debate. This is batshit.
posted by dazed_one at 6:21 PM on September 29 [9 favorites]


Was he like this when debating Hillary?
posted by Rash at 6:21 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


I can't watch this. This isn't a debate. This is batshit.

[donald glover voice]: this is america
posted by davedave at 6:22 PM on September 29 [62 favorites]


Man, I turned it on. This is ridiculous.
posted by njohnson23 at 6:22 PM on September 29


22 minutes in and I am out.
posted by rtimmel at 6:22 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


Witches Brew* with Apple Cider and select spices, heated.

Not watching either, just following in spirit

*A good wine from Leelenau Cellars in upper Michigan
posted by JoeXIII007 at 6:22 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


This is just so depressing. Because of Trump this is just a childish screaming match peppered with moronic personal insults. This is what the country has come to, and it's not getting any better.
posted by star gentle uterus at 6:22 PM on September 29 [8 favorites]


The Hillary debates weren't like this from what I recall. There was the side snide remarks from T and the like, and definitely undercutting, but it's very clear he's cornered and is just spewing.
posted by hijinx at 6:22 PM on September 29 [13 favorites]


Yes, many reactions to the 2016 debates focused on Trump's constant interruptions and talking over Clinton.
posted by mbrubeck at 6:23 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


I watched about five minutes and then left to go cuddle the dog.
posted by nubs at 6:23 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


Biden is being suprisingly brutal. I am pleased.
posted by y2karl at 6:24 PM on September 29 [10 favorites]


I hear Carl Sagan had a good recipe for apple pie
posted by um at 6:24 PM on September 29 [18 favorites]


This is just so depressing. Because of Trump

Someone should just cut his mic, when it is anyone else's turn to talk. It's embarrassing.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 6:24 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Joe is making his blood boil. Me likey!
posted by pee tape at 6:25 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


I tried. I watched Trae Crowder's live pre-show for a while before the debate started, and read this list from The Root, and thought maybe I could stand to watch it, but within the first 90 seconds of the debate I had to close the tab. I'm making french onion soup and following along here instead.
posted by danielleh at 6:26 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


"Will you shut up, man."
posted by porpoise at 6:26 PM on September 29 [49 favorites]


"Is anyone else making debate food? "
I'm prepping for a colonoscopy in the morning, so I just finished my first dose of the foul liquid concoction and now I need to chase it down with 32 ounces of water. I'm drowning!

I can't bring myself watch the debate - I'm too stressed out over my procedure and that Joe will blow it. I'm praying for a repeat of his debate against Paul Ryan. Someone provide details please!
posted by kbar1 at 6:26 PM on September 29 [20 favorites]


porpoise: ""Will you shut up, man.""

So say we all.
posted by octothorpe at 6:27 PM on September 29 [35 favorites]


If the moderator can't or won't stop crosstalk, just cut the mike for both participants when it isn't their turn.
posted by Kwine at 6:28 PM on September 29 [9 favorites]


Well, Joe said it first. I couldn't catch what he said immediately after.
posted by porpoise at 6:28 PM on September 29


At least Trump can't pull that creepy standing close and looming thing he did with Hillary.
posted by star gentle uterus at 6:29 PM on September 29 [8 favorites]


Metafilter: Will you shut up, man
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 6:29 PM on September 29 [12 favorites]


you can't fight in here! this is the War Room!
posted by kokaku at 6:29 PM on September 29 [20 favorites]


Taibbi's Official Biden-Trump Debate Drinking Game
posted by torii hugger at 6:29 PM on September 29


Oh, Kbar, that stuff is so horrible. I’m so sorry. The procedure is easy peasy, don’t worry. Good luck! And the debate is full on pants on head crazy. I had to step away.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 6:29 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


Pretty sure Trump just promised to deliver 200,000 soldiers per day, when asked about how many vaccine doses how soon. I have a Third Amendment right not to quarter soldiers in my bloodstream!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:30 PM on September 29 [8 favorites]


Official Biden-Trump Debate Drinking Game

Pick up a bottle, keep drinking until the debate is over or you pass out.
posted by star gentle uterus at 6:31 PM on September 29 [8 favorites]


Taibbi's Official Biden-Trump Debate Drinking Game

my own rules are:
- take a drink when something is depressing
- take a drink when something is depressingly funny
- take a drink when you think our country is in severe decline
- take a drink when you lose hope in the future

and, let me tell you, i'm fairly drunk already
posted by davedave at 6:31 PM on September 29 [8 favorites]


Confident 45 said he’d just walk out if his mic was cut.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:31 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


The Democratic primary debates were like this. I remember Buttigeig trying to talk over people. I think Biden doing a good job making Trump look ridiculous. Don't try to shout over him. It makes Biden look Presidential.

Trump was trying to bait him into attacking the left. Biden did a good job avoiding that for the most part. Still, I can't resist pointing out the two-tiered health care system they both advocate is a huge contributor to the disproportionate death COVID death rate in this country amongst black and brown people, as well as the high death rate generally. Sorry, I'll shut about that now. I promise.
posted by eagles123 at 6:31 PM on September 29 [11 favorites]


"Sarcastically..." Trump, you wouldn't know sarcasm if it jumped up out of a golf hole and bit you on the damned ankle.
posted by Morfil Ffyrnig at 6:32 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Chicken burger on a potato bun for me, but I’m just reading this thread rather than watching. It has taken a painful amount of transcript reading and sometimes literally running out of rooms/buildings, but my current tally for cumulative time spent watching video of Trump since the second debate with Hillary (watched in full) is a hair under 4 minutes. If I can get through the next four months with less than an additional minute I’ll be keeping a very important promise to myself about information hygiene and not accepting the monstrous as normal.
posted by Ryvar at 6:32 PM on September 29 [24 favorites]


Confident 45 said he’d just walk out if his mic was cut.

Sounds good, let's do it
posted by emjaybee at 6:33 PM on September 29 [36 favorites]


Confident 45 said he’d just walk out if his mic was cut.

Let him.
posted by axiom at 6:33 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


Pennsylvania is shut down? News to me.
posted by eagles123 at 6:33 PM on September 29




I thought it was pretty well accepted by now that doctors in non-Asian countries did change their minds/messaging about mask use.
posted by polymodus at 6:36 PM on September 29


Please mention that Cheeto killed Herman Cain at his rally
posted by benzenedream at 6:36 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


Say he killed Herman Cain. Do it joe
posted by theodolite at 6:36 PM on September 29 [12 favorites]


I see Daniel Dale has tweeted a fact check about the number of days Trump has spent playing golf, so I'm guessing the debate has not somehow become a deeply intellectual discussion about America's foreign policy?
posted by nubs at 6:39 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


I thought it was pretty well accepted by now that doctors in non-Asian countries did change their minds/messaging about mask use.

I wouldn't try to map this debate to anything resembling reality regarding the Corona pandemic or health policy in general. You'll just give yourself a headache.

And Pennsylvania isn't "shut down".
posted by eagles123 at 6:40 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


I hate this and I have to watch it for work and I can't do this THREE MORE TIMES you guys, there is not enough bourbon in the world. Gahhh. Also why don't moderators have kill switches for the mics?
posted by bowtiesarecool at 6:40 PM on September 29 [7 favorites]


so I'm guessing the debate has not somehow become a deeply intellectual discussion about America's foreign policy?

why debate a topic they largely agree on?
posted by davedave at 6:41 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


nubs, in answer to Biden saying Trump needs to get out of his bunker on his golf course and into the Oval Office and do his job, Trump replied that Biden plays more golf than him.
posted by essexjan at 6:41 PM on September 29


"I'm the one that brought back football! I'm very happy to do it."
posted by hijinx at 6:42 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


200,000 dead but football.
posted by octothorpe at 6:44 PM on September 29 [23 favorites]


Wallace might as well be a flounder.
posted by benzenedream at 6:44 PM on September 29 [12 favorites]


I never watch 'debates' because I am not comfortable with conflict, but I am loving this.
I am very impressed with Joe. Calling him a liar? Why doesn't NYT do that?
posted by MtDewd at 6:44 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


C’mon. If he walks out because his mic is cut, he wins because the fake media is silencing him. If he talks over everyone he wins because his base loves to watch him bully.

The only way to make him lose is to give him an apoplectic fit where he actually foams at the mouth. Hopefully that’s the tactic Biden is using.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:44 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


Trump just flat-out said it - "I don't wanna pay tax."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:44 PM on September 29 [7 favorites]


Biden just told Trump he's the worst president America has ever had, so there's that at least.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 6:45 PM on September 29 [38 favorites]


I’ve since caved. All of Trump’s blood is in his head
posted by JoeXIII007 at 6:46 PM on September 29


Yowie zowie, this is completely unwatchable

Could we please have Bray Wyatt moderate the next debate?
posted by Ghidorah at 6:46 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


Trump just flat-out said it - "I don't wanna pay tax."

neither do many, many other americans.

i know: it's dumb and shortsighted and should be disqualifying in and of itself. but that's not going to be one of his responses that loses him support
posted by davedave at 6:47 PM on September 29 [10 favorites]


If he walks out because his mic is cut, he wins because the fake media is silencing him. If he talks over everyone he wins because his base loves to watch him bully. The only way to make him lose is to give him an apoplectic fit where he actually foams at the mouth.

Trump could shit his baggy ass pants and his base would claim Dear Leader owned Biden by making him smell his excrement.
posted by orange swan at 6:47 PM on September 29 [39 favorites]


I started watching this and then took a bath and now I'm just idly watching this thread because I can't stomach it.

I'm glad Biden's got some zingers in, but I'm quite worried that the "undecideds" will also enjoy Trump bullying and talking all over people. For some reason, a lot of people think that kind of bluster is "what get things done."

Edit: Ditto on the whole not wanting to pay taxes thing. His base doesn't want to pay them, either. They literally don't understand what would happen if they all got their way.
posted by deadaluspark at 6:48 PM on September 29 [8 favorites]


I thought it was pretty well accepted by now that doctors in non-Asian countries did change their minds/messaging about mask use.

Yes, that much is actually true. Early on, at least in the US, there was an unfortunate plan to lie to the public that masks weren't effective to conserve them for healthcare worker use. It was shameful, and it killed people.
posted by star gentle uterus at 6:49 PM on September 29 [15 favorites]


I wish there was a younger person up there as our best shot to fend off full on fascism
posted by Kwine at 6:50 PM on September 29 [17 favorites]


There's the Biden son comment. Sigh.
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 6:50 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


I wish there was a younger person up there as our best shot to fend off full on fascismMe to, but you go to war with the candidate you got.
posted by MtDewd at 6:51 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


Biden really shouldn't answer any attacks on Hunter at all. It just makes it seem like the attacks have some basis.
posted by star gentle uterus at 6:51 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


I made it to 9:50pm before I realized I was watching the absolute WORST of both of these sad retreads and every last scrap of patriotic duty left my system. We are so fucked.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 6:51 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


I'm glad Biden's got some zingers in, but I'm quite worried that the "undecideds" will also enjoy Trump bullying and talking all over people.

It's reality TV. Trump knows his audience.
posted by betweenthebars at 6:51 PM on September 29 [9 favorites]




The moderator needs to fucking CUT THE MIKE when Trump interrupts.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:52 PM on September 29 [9 favorites]


I'd love to see the ratings.
I can't be the only person tapping out and switching off this farce.
posted by fullerine at 6:52 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Chez Morfil has now deployed gin (small), and rosary (being twiddled fiercely).
posted by Morfil Ffyrnig at 6:52 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


i can't imagine a better expression and representation of our national decline than this sad, sordid spectacle
posted by davedave at 6:53 PM on September 29 [26 favorites]


Mute his damn mic, for fuck's sake. This 90 minute debate is going to have only about eight minutes of intelligible speech.
posted by Rhaomi at 6:53 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


Wallace might be the one taking a swing.
posted by theora55 at 6:54 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


God. I just turned it on, and I need to turn it off. Trump needs to be told to shut the fuck up. This is ridiculous. Turn his fucking mic off, and allow Biden to answer a question. Ending the segment where Trump kept going on about Hunter Biden, then stopping it when Biden starts to bring up the Trump family? The both-sides-ing, where Matthews says he's raising his voice because the two of them are doing it too is utter bullshit.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:54 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


Only one mic should be active at a time.
posted by dazed_one at 6:54 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


Shocked and pleased by Chris Wallace calling out Trump specifically for interrupting and speaking over everyone.
posted by knotty knots at 6:55 PM on September 29 [14 favorites]


Each campaign negotiates the rules. There's almost certainly a prohibition on cutting the mic.
posted by theora55 at 6:55 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


Just gonna put this out there: The mic thing is on purpose and CNN knew exactly what the fuck they were doing because just like in 2016 ratings matter more to them than the future of this country.
posted by deadaluspark at 6:56 PM on September 29 [42 favorites]


I'm not even watching and just reading this thread is stressing me out.
posted by wondermouse at 6:56 PM on September 29 [16 favorites]


This is so frustrating. "My (Biden's) plan will create more jobs than his". How is this not where you hammer home that there are more than 13 million Americans unemployed thanks to Trump's handling of Covid?

"You created the loopholes." "So do you think they should be fixed? You've had 4 years to fix them."

"You'll see my tax returns when the IRS is done with them." How is that not where you say "You said that 4 years ago, and 3 years ago, and 2 years ago, and we'd have to be fools to believe you."

I really hope Biden's team does better than this at some point, my backseat driver tendencies make this impossible to watch.
posted by trig at 6:56 PM on September 29 [21 favorites]


newt gringrich was right: bring back lincoln-douglas style debates
posted by davedave at 6:56 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


I'm not even watching and I'm not even American and I want to start drinking, and in Australia it's 11.57am
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 6:57 PM on September 29 [17 favorites]


I’m watching this thread now instead of the actual debate.

I love you all.
posted by mochapickle at 6:57 PM on September 29 [44 favorites]


There's almost certainly a prohibition on cutting the mic.

And what's Trump going to do if they cut it? Tweet about killing CNN reporters, again?
posted by trig at 6:57 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


I already poured a double martini - I am scared I might make another before this debate is over.
posted by PhineasGage at 6:57 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Apparently Trump is confusing Biden with Clinton re:"super predators".
posted by Rhaomi at 6:58 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


Getting people to stop watching helps Biden as the front runner so great job! If anything this makes a great case to not do more debates.
posted by The Ted at 6:58 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


My hope is that “will you shut up, man” is this generation’s “at long last, sir ...” But that assumes that any good can come from this debate.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:58 PM on September 29 [15 favorites]


And what's Trump going to do if they cut it? Tweet about killing CNN reporters, again?

That's a good point. What's he gonna do? Have Bill Barr waiting outside with shock troops just in case they cut his mic? Trump has been nothing but a rule breaker. Why abide by any rules he demands?
posted by deadaluspark at 6:58 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


I picked a hell of a year to quit drinking.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 6:59 PM on September 29 [38 favorites]


I don't think I have enough marijuana to get through this and I literally just blew way too much money at the weed store a few hours ago. and I'm not even actually watching.
posted by deadaluspark at 6:59 PM on September 29 [16 favorites]


Ugh just reading this thread is giving me anxiety, I'm glad I skipped the debate itself.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:59 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


CSPAN closed captions just had Trump claiming he had the support of "genitals". Seemed oddly appropriate.

(he was actually claiming "generals")
posted by Nerd of the North at 6:59 PM on September 29 [20 favorites]


This is heartbreaking. It's like Biden brought a chessboard to a knife fight.

When Trump went after Hunter, why did he not punch back with something about Ivanka's crooked "consulting" fees? Or anything about Trump's whole corrupt family.

Jesus. Hit back, man! Hit back!

The American public doesn't give a shit about intellectualism, or "going high" when they go low, they want to see a fighter. They want to see brutality. You wanna be President? Get low and stab for the fucking guts.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:00 PM on September 29 [38 favorites]


I could only take it for about 2 minutes. Nope nope nope. The moderator raising his voice and saying "Mr. President, stop!" as if he were pleading with a child to be quiet for a moment was something to see. So was Biden calling him a clown shortly thereafter.
posted by treepour at 7:02 PM on September 29 [7 favorites]


Kadin, he tried! Trump shouted over him
posted by Countess Elena at 7:04 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


I was RAISED in the suburbs, sir!
posted by Beardman at 7:05 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


The answer to Trump asking "are you in favor of law and order?" should be "We need to have the rule of law before we can have law and order. President Trump just wants to enforce his idea of order.” I can’t believe Biden wasn’t waiting with a prepared answer for that.
posted by Nerd of the North at 7:05 PM on September 29 [9 favorites]


Weird subliminal message in the blue writing over each of their shoulders: "the Right," with the next word cut off by their heads. Did someone do that on purpose?
posted by daisyace at 7:05 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


About that Will you shut up, man
posted by miles per flower at 7:07 PM on September 29 [34 favorites]


Yeah, I can’t. I have to stop. Trump is every angry irrational man who bullies his way through life and I just cannot.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 7:07 PM on September 29 [16 favorites]


(turned on) Biden: "I'm against defunding the police! I think the police needs more money!" (turned off)
posted by JHarris at 7:08 PM on September 29 [9 favorites]


Weird subliminal message in the blue writing over each of their shoulders: "the Right," with the next word cut out by their heads. Did someone do that on purpose?

CNN literally makes a living off making spectacle of politics.

The idea that anything in this hasn't been considered and planned for months ahead of time is absurd.

Once again: CNN knows what they're doing. They're creating spectacle and hoping for ratings because they made this biggest disaster of a debate a happen.
posted by deadaluspark at 7:09 PM on September 29 [9 favorites]


Paraphrasing the question from Chris Wallace, "Mr. Vice President, did you ever call up the mayors of Seattle or Portland and tell them, 'Do whatever you have to, get the National Guard or whatever, to stop the protests'?" WTF?? What kind of loaded question is that?
posted by J.K. Seazer at 7:09 PM on September 29 [8 favorites]


Lol Wallace keeps trying to get shitstain to shut up, it is almost like Biden and Wallace are rolling their eyes in unison.
posted by vrakatar at 7:10 PM on September 29


Did Trump really just tell the Proud Boys to "stand by"?
posted by Rhaomi at 7:10 PM on September 29 [59 favorites]


Yes.
posted by feckless at 7:11 PM on September 29 [11 favorites]


He did. Stand by for what indeed....
posted by inflatablekiwi at 7:11 PM on September 29 [7 favorites]


Wallace made his choice. He can roll his eyes all he wants, he is allowing this to happen and he's getting steamrolled.

Trump voters have to be shitting themselves with delight over "owning libs" tonight.
posted by deadaluspark at 7:11 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


*"stand by and stand back," followed by a lot more time regarding the badness of "Antifa."
posted by knotty knots at 7:12 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


If a debate is on TV and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?
posted by romanb at 7:12 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


I stupidly turned it on for a minute. Did 45 say anything besides stand by when asked to condemn white supremacists?
posted by mochapickle at 7:13 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Oh fuck me, the next question was a million times worse. "Mr. President, will you condemn white supremacists and right-wing extremists?" Of course, giving Trump a golden opportunity to make clear on national television that he doesn't want white supremacists to stand down. Chris Wallace had better be prepared for the blood on his hands after Election Day.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 7:13 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


You’re in the hospital, they’ve done a lot of tests, and two doctors come in to tell you the results. As one doctor begins to explain the results, the other doctor butts in and starts complaining about that doctor’s taste in cars. And then both continue arguing about that while you lie there wondering what is happening to you. Welcome to America! Yes, I had to turn that off. Our political system has failed. And in that failed system, we are putting our hopes that we can at least get rid of that orange piece of shit. I need another drink.
posted by njohnson23 at 7:13 PM on September 29 [15 favorites]


Did Trump really just tell the Proud Boys to "stand by"?

yes, the supreme leader is actually signalling, on public television, for his para-military goons to prepare themselves. trump is, at the very least, a proto-fascist, if not worse
posted by davedave at 7:13 PM on September 29 [53 favorites]


Trump making an issue out of the openings is so jaw dropping in its audacity and mendacity that you just have to marvel.
posted by eagles123 at 7:13 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Wallace lands a sharp jab to shitstain!
posted by vrakatar at 7:15 PM on September 29


"Putin's Puppy" - I am going to use that one.
posted by bcd at 7:16 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


Looks like I’ll have to move over to the fucking fuck thread now
posted by sixswitch at 7:17 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


Biden sucks balls man.

All he needs to do say Trump has a fake tan, fake hair, is a fake billionaire, and is a con man and walk off the stage. This is a farce, Trump needs to be put in his place and the fact that the Dems didn't nominate someone who is capable of doing that on the national stage is a disgrace.
posted by chaz at 7:17 PM on September 29 [18 favorites]


If a debate is on TV and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

1964, 1968, 1972. No debate on TV, most people listening, lots of sound.
posted by clavdivs at 7:17 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Biden really, really needs to stop taking the Hunter bait. Stop engaging. It doesn't matter what's true, it makes him look bad.
posted by star gentle uterus at 7:17 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


Watching this, I can feel myself get dumber. It’s like fucking Flowers for Algernon in here.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:18 PM on September 29 [32 favorites]




Ooh, a Sir Story (TM). :drinks:
posted by Morfil Ffyrnig at 7:19 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


More than 45% of Americans are going to vote for this toddler. I think I might hate humanity more than I hate him.
posted by PhineasGage at 7:19 PM on September 29 [67 favorites]


Biden keeps waiting patiently while Wallace tries to keep donnie in line, and then saying very seriously "so would I" when Wallace tells donnie it is time to talk about the next thing. The contrast is remarkable.
posted by vrakatar at 7:20 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


Forest cities? I want to know more about Endor.
posted by geoff. at 7:20 PM on September 29 [12 favorites]


By being the out of control toddler, he brings the entire venture and everyone involved, even those watching on tv, into that mindspace.
posted by pee tape at 7:20 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


Biden really, really needs to stop taking the Hunter bait. Stop engaging. It doesn't matter what's true, it makes him look bad.

I think Biden handled it well, just repeating that the $3.5 million was discredited, and sticking to that. I thought his explanation of his son's drug problem was sincere and will resonate with many people whose children have gone/are going through it.
posted by essexjan at 7:21 PM on September 29 [24 favorites]


this sucks.
posted by 20 year lurk at 7:21 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


More than 45% of Americans are going to vote for this toddler. I think I might hate humanity more than I hate him.

Let's face it, it's because the GOP has slowly dismantled the public education system and thrown at any pretense that school is to prepare you for anything other than a job being a cog in the machine. Philosophy and critical thinking aren't even words those 45% of people probably even know the definitions to. "Of course you're broke, you didn't get a STEM degree! Why would you try to learn anything about the humanities? Who gives a shit about the sanctity of human life we need to make MONEY here."

Arguably, with a better education system, that percent would be trimmed down a good deal.
posted by deadaluspark at 7:22 PM on September 29 [40 favorites]


Biden's getting really tired. You can hear it in his voice.
posted by Cocodrillo at 7:23 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Is it over yet? I'm glad they are not shaking hands because from what I've read here, it would be really awkward and cringey for me to watch.
posted by sundrop at 7:24 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


On the upside I think Trumps style will spin very differently now that he is punching down, going against a man, and has no live audience to play off of.

I wouldn’t even spin this as a win for Biden as much as “this is what you get with Trump”.

Everyone says that Trump is a master of TV but I think this shows he is a one-note player that connected by luck last cycle.
posted by The Ted at 7:24 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


The answer to the Hunter Biden crap, the first time it came up, should have been: “President Trump, you control the Department of Justice, the FBI, the SEC, and all of federal law enforcement. If there is any basis to any of your accusations against my son, then bring it on. But there’s no truth to your ravings. You're attacking my son to get to me, based on fabrications from internet conspiracy sites when you have access to the best intelligence and law enforcement resources in the world."
posted by Nerd of the North at 7:24 PM on September 29 [50 favorites]


The obfuscation debate of spilt screen proportions.
posted by clavdivs at 7:24 PM on September 29


In addition to "the Right" behind them, "among Men" above their heads.
posted by EarnestDeer at 7:25 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Wait ... is $100trillion more than the global GDP?
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 7:26 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


It's interesting how a guy can get away with "just shut up man" and "this clown" -- as lovely as those moments were -- and a woman cannot.
posted by Cocodrillo at 7:26 PM on September 29 [70 favorites]


Biden's getting really tired. You can hear it in his voice.

Aren’t you?
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:27 PM on September 29 [18 favorites]


I liked the part where Trump said California is on fire because it wants to be, and "they have computers all over the place!" and then followed up by complaining, "They want to take out the cows!"
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:27 PM on September 29 [21 favorites]


I wanna see Harris vs. Putin's Puppy.
posted by Keith Talent at 7:27 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


More than 45% of Americans are going to vote for this toddler. I think I might hate humanity more than I hate him.

In 2016, out of more than 323 million Americans, less than 63 million voted for Trump. That's less than 19.5% of the total U.S. population, and there's no way that base has grown significantly in the last four years. Let's keep things in perspective here, shall we?
posted by orange swan at 7:27 PM on September 29 [70 favorites]


Aaannnddd Trump just swore (Bastard) in a debate? Is that a first?
posted by The Ted at 7:28 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


just chiming in to say that metafilter chat was a godsend during this debacle.

i enduredwatched 33 minutes of this embarrassment before screaming as loud as i could and leaving the room.
posted by hollisimo at 7:28 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


Never forget: The Republicans only won the popular vote once in a Presidential election since 1988. If the House were expanded and de-gerrymandered to be more representative of our population, the Republicans likely would have lost their majorities in 98 and 2012. If the Senate didn't exist, we'd have far more progressive policies across all fronts. Supposedly our constitution creates a Republic where the best educated and prepared rule. Look at this debate: behold your philosopher kings.
posted by eagles123 at 7:28 PM on September 29 [54 favorites]


Let's face it, it's because the GOP has slowly dismantled the public education system and thrown at any pretense that school is to prepare you for anything other than a job being a cog in the machine. Philosophy and critical thinking aren't even words those 45% of people probably even know the definitions to. "Of course you're broke, you didn't get a STEM degree! Why would you try to learn anything about the humanities? Who gives a shit about the sanctity of human life we need to make MONEY here."

Arguably, with a better education system, that percent would be trimmed down a good deal.


you're not wrong, in the sense that more and more schooling correlates with left-leaning views. or, at least, that holds for the last few decades worth of political data.

but the problem i have with this argument is that it sorts liberals into the "smart" group and conservatives into the "dumb " group.

the problem with that is that there are many, many conservatives who aren't duped by trump--they know exactly who and what he is--yet are willing to vote for him. why? it's because it's a transactional relationship. these people disagree with you on basic ethical values, and they foundationally disagree with you on what kinds of visions we should have for the future of the country.

there is something comforting in thinking that this is purely a matter of who is smart and dumb, and whether we (on the left) can educate the dumb ones into agreeing with us. but, i think that misrepresents the challenge we're up against.

if you're a leftist, i highly encourage you to think of (at least a subset of) your enemies are highly intelligent and rational beings. otherwise, they're going to surprise you over and over again
posted by davedave at 7:29 PM on September 29 [74 favorites]


Great finale by Biden!
posted by PhineasGage at 7:29 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


Cocodrillo: It's interesting how a guy can get away with "just shut up man" and "this clown" -- as lovely as those moments were -- and a woman cannot.

I so feel for Hillary right now because I'm positive she wanted to say that and couldn't.

@HillaryClinton: You have no idea.

posted by clawsoon at 7:29 PM on September 29 [48 favorites]


Biden has a late rally talking about election integrity
posted by theory at 7:30 PM on September 29 [8 favorites]


I liked the part where Trump said California is on fire because it wants to be, and "they have computers all over the place!" and then followed up by complaining, "They want to take out the cows!"

What does that even mean??
posted by JenMarie at 7:32 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


HE FUCKING SAID IT
HE FUCKING SAID "It's a rigged election"
HE FUCKING SAID IT
THAT MOTHERFUCKING FUCKER FUCKING SAID IT
posted by J.K. Seazer at 7:32 PM on September 29 [13 favorites]


While it would be fun to just call Trump names and then walk out it wouldn't look presidential. Keep in mind the core message that Biden is running on is to restore normalcy to the presidency instead of this reality TV farce. So as long as Biden looks calm and stable and gets in his periodic quips about Trump's multitude of sins he's golden.

Keep in mind Trump is polling way behind Biden right now. He's the one needing a game changer and the Senate report didn't deliver, and the SCOTUS fight didn't delivery and this debate won't deliver. So yes he's doing his normal word salad gish gallop nonsense that he always does but he can't even stay coherent enough to actually make any points it's just interjections and being a petulant liar.

So while Biden probably isn't going to be picking up any Republicans that weren't already ready to dump Trump he's definitely not hurting himself among Independent voters. He's doing just fine in terms of amplifying the current news cycle which is already insanely bad for Trump and any attempts to smear Biden with the Hunter Burisma storyline isn't doing shit.
posted by vuron at 7:33 PM on September 29 [58 favorites]




Alexandra Petri
@petridishes

debate drinking game!: continue to drink continuously as you have been doing for the past six months


I feel this
posted by JenMarie at 7:35 PM on September 29 [77 favorites]


...Right 🤡 the People
posted by clavdivs at 7:35 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


i'll say this as an inveterate biden-hater: he didn't do bad. the worst characterization you can make of this debate is that they were both bad (which is true). but, in many ways, trump did worse.

and, hell, even if people come out agreeing they both did equally bad, this is good for biden. at this point he just needs to run out the clock. and, in terms of that, i don't see trump's performance tonight moving the needle in his direction.

but then again i'm a humble shitposter and not some TV talkinghead, so who knows how this will be spun
posted by davedave at 7:35 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


"Bad things happen in Philadelphia." Did Trump just win or lose Pennsylvania?
posted by PhineasGage at 7:36 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


Fucking thank you so much Chris Wallace for letting Trump tell his followers to intimidate voters!!
posted by J.K. Seazer at 7:37 PM on September 29 [16 favorites]


Yeah, here it is. Trump urging his people to go intimidate people at the polls. There are going to be armed Trump supporters showing up at polling stations.
posted by star gentle uterus at 7:37 PM on September 29 [27 favorites]


Why is Biden not pointing out that Trump votes via mail-in ballot?!
posted by PhineasGage at 7:37 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


donnie is off the rails on his closing here. He's telling the nation vote for me but it won't matter cuz the the dems are gonna cheat, prepare for strife.
posted by vrakatar at 7:38 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


Trump can't help himself, insulting the largest city in one of the most important states for his reelection.
posted by theory at 7:38 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


Why is Biden not pointing out that Trump votes via mail-in ballot?!

He did.
posted by essexjan at 7:38 PM on September 29 [15 favorites]


"Bad things happen in Philadelphia." Did Trump just win or lose Pennsylvania?

I mean, he sure as hell didn't have Philly before.
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 7:39 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


(deleting my previous comment, which was a duplicate, and replacing with this, since the debate has ended.)

Well, that was a real shit-show, but nobody really expected it to be otherwise.

Trump was more coherent in his messaging than I expected, and Biden much less prepared for the stream of nonsense than I think he ought to have been. I wouldn't say that Trump performed better, necessarily, but anyone predisposed to support Trump already almost certainly will, as he regurgitated pretty much all of his current talking points.

The best I can say of it is that Biden supporters are certainly not going to be lulled into over-confidence and Trump will probably think he did well enough that he may not find reasons to skip the remaining two debates. I still think the risk of the remaining debates is higher for Trump.
posted by Nerd of the North at 7:39 PM on September 29 [9 favorites]


Why is Biden not pointing out that Trump votes via mail-in ballot?!

He made that point earlier, "behind the Resolute desk"
posted by Miko at 7:39 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


Trump instructing his supporters to “monitor the polls” essentially guarantees violence.
posted by theodolite at 7:39 PM on September 29 [13 favorites]


Whew! Missed hearing Biden point that out amid all the crosstalk.
posted by PhineasGage at 7:40 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


The analysis will basically be "Biden looked and sounded 'Presidential', Trump was constantly on the attack but was unable to really successfully attack Biden and 'poor' Chris Wallace tried his hardest to get both sides to stick to the issues but in the end he couldn't". The partisan talking heads will try to insist their guy came out ahead but again Trump needs a game changer and whatever the fuck this was it wasn't a game changer for him.
posted by vuron at 7:40 PM on September 29 [9 favorites]


THIS LIVE STREAM HAS CONCLUDED are the sweetest words I've read in half a lifetime.
posted by theory at 7:41 PM on September 29 [18 favorites]


I watched the debate on BBC and they just described it as "moderated, kind of" and "unedifying".

Hard to disagree with that.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:41 PM on September 29 [34 favorites]


CNN just called this a "shit show" on air.
posted by geoff. at 7:42 PM on September 29 [73 favorites]


moderating was a tough job, but chris wallace didn't do it
posted by 20 year lurk at 7:42 PM on September 29 [62 favorites]


In the future, moderator needs an air horn.
posted by pee tape at 7:42 PM on September 29 [18 favorites]


CNN described it as a "shit show".
posted by essexjan at 7:43 PM on September 29 [7 favorites]


Lisa Desjardins on PBS said “to the viewers, uh, I hope all of you are ok”
posted by theodolite at 7:43 PM on September 29 [50 favorites]


Har-de-fucking-har, Chris Wallace! "Wow, it's been an interesting hour and a half! Ha ha ha!" What was the funniest part for you, the part where the fucking President of the fucking United States specifically avoided your request to tell white supremacists to avoid violence, or the part where he said that this election was going to be rigged, or the part where he told his supporters to go to polling places and intimidate voters? Man, those were all hilarious.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 7:43 PM on September 29 [123 favorites]


hey they did get asked about climate change!
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 7:44 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


their next debate's in Miami, the final one's in Nashville
b/c everyone loves a free-range septuagenarian
it's downright heartening in this pandemic
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:44 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


pretty sure i heard the president say he sent federal marshals to kill reinoehl
posted by 20 year lurk at 7:45 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Well, that was a complete train wreck. Nothing like wrapping up with Donald encouraging his (always gun brandishing) supporters to go 'poll watch', and refusing to say he'd accept the results of the election. Pairs naturally with the Proud Boys should "stand back and stand by" bit. It is not going to end well.

G'night all.
posted by bcd at 7:45 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


Actually, CNN called it a shitshow *after* calling it "a hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck"
posted by the turtle's teeth at 7:45 PM on September 29 [14 favorites]


"Bad things happen in Philadelphia." Did Trump just win or lose Pennsylvania

He could just be talking about the sports teams. He'd be correct. I'm joking.

It goes without saying that he's dog-whistling to older white rural and suburban voters he imagines exists. Basically the Nixon strategy. The only reason this is an issue is because the electoral college and the Senate give these people disproportionate representation in our government. They don't make up a majority any more.

Constitutional systems such as ours tend to break down.
posted by eagles123 at 7:45 PM on September 29 [7 favorites]


It's over. Biden was a punching bag. He made a few rational comments. He didn't frame the narrative. (also, hard to frame the narrative with the structure where Joe always goes first, and DT always has the last word.)
posted by ovvl at 7:46 PM on September 29 [8 favorites]


I hate both of these people so much. It's like choosing between herpes and stage 4 syphilis. I don't want either of them, but only one of them puts holes in your brain and makes your face melt off.
posted by phunniemee at 7:47 PM on September 29 [17 favorites]


In fairness, the BBC calling something "unedifying" is about the same as CNN calling it a "shitshow".
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:47 PM on September 29 [37 favorites]


CNN- "That was a shit show"
posted by MtDewd at 7:47 PM on September 29


There are already t-shirts.
posted by Foosnark at 7:47 PM on September 29 [13 favorites]


Trump probably wouldn't get pelted with batteries packed inside of snowballs in Philly, probably. I mean I certainly wouldn't go to an Eagles game though...
posted by vuron at 7:48 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


Pure chaos.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:48 PM on September 29


> Is anyone else making debate food?
I'm prepping for a colonoscopy in the morning, so I just finished my first dose of the foul liquid concoction


Honestly, colonoscopy prep is the absolute perfect debate food for this.
posted by metabaroque at 7:48 PM on September 29 [60 favorites]


922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a: hey they did get asked about climate change!

The Guardian is saying that it was the first question about climate change in a presidential debate in 20 years. Is that true?? Holy shit, what have y'all been talking about down there this whole time??
posted by clawsoon at 7:49 PM on September 29 [12 favorites]


From what I understand, "Bad things happen in Philadelphia" has been the longstanding rallying cry for Eagles fans?
posted by theory at 7:50 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


So, my brother has schizophrenia. I kept thinking of him while watching the debates tonight.

When I try to imagine what my brother goes through, try to be empathetic, I imagine something a lot like this Debate. My mental model of my brother's psychosis, based on interacting with him for years and years, is that he has a constant, unsliencable voice -- steeped in negative emotions but never forming full thoughts, constantly interrupting everything he tries to say.

That's Trump, in this debate, and, man, I've had a couple of drinks, but... I think there are practical purposes for which we have a psychotic national dialog. I'm using "psychotic" in a demotic sense and not a one based on a thorough medical understanding, but... damn, this debate made me sad. I love my brother. What he goes through makes me so sad; it's so hard. It's so overwhelming that we seem to be going through something similar -- on an ongoing basis and on a national scale.
posted by Rinku at 7:50 PM on September 29 [42 favorites]


It's over. Biden was a punching bag. He made a few rational comments. He didn't frame the narrative. (also, hard to frame the narrative with the structure where Joe always goes first, and DT has the last word.)

I wonder what difference this will actually make. Biden is coming in ahead in every poll. Will this move the meter beyond a possible temporary immediate post-debate bump or dip? I can't imagine this changing anyone's impressions.
posted by star gentle uterus at 7:50 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


Watching on delay, Trump can't keep his mouth shut for even two minutes. He can't hold a thought and make a rebuttal. If he's not spewing, he has nothing to say.
posted by zengargoyle at 7:53 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


K.G. Schneider: Chris Wallace is so far over his head. We need a no-nonsense lesbian to moderate the next debate.
posted by Wordshore at 7:54 PM on September 29 [56 favorites]


Trump, at his core, has always been an "entertainer" of sorts, and the last thing an "entertainer" wants is dead air.

He's constantly spewing because its required for what he does and he literally doesn't know anything else. Doesn't matter as long as you're filling the "dead air."

Going further, Trump thinks anytime anyone but him is speaking is "dead air."
posted by deadaluspark at 7:55 PM on September 29 [10 favorites]


Kate McKinnon!
posted by Marticus at 7:55 PM on September 29 [7 favorites]


Look at this debate: behold your philosopher kings.

Negras tormentas agitan los aires
nubes oscuras nos impiden ver.
Aunque nos espere el dolor y la muerte
contra el enemigo nos llama el deber.
El bien mas preciado es la libertad
hay que defenderla con fe y con valor.
posted by corb at 7:56 PM on September 29 [12 favorites]


Someone should get Chris Wallace the stiffest of drinks... I do feel sorry for him. And for all of us.

I'm off to watch my preferred version of "grown men acting like petty bitches at each other:" RuPaul's Drag Race. The outfits are so much better.
posted by sleepingwithcats at 7:56 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


Look the only stiff thing I'm giving Chris Wallace is a slap upside his fucking dipshit head.
posted by deadaluspark at 7:57 PM on September 29 [30 favorites]


It's hard to get any word in with this clown.
posted by zengargoyle at 8:00 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


This Grumpy Old Men remake sucked.
posted by clawsoon at 8:01 PM on September 29 [14 favorites]


If only there was a button that could turn a microphone off when its user was speaking out of turn...
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:02 PM on September 29 [11 favorites]


Big big ups to the peeps in Chat who made this survivable.

Hope is neverending, is suprarational, is motivating, is Love.

Is crucial.

Dinosaurs roar loudest, most incomprehensibly, flail most viciously, when falling into the tarpit.
posted by riverlife at 8:02 PM on September 29 [7 favorites]


But frankly you've been doing more interrupting. Poor moderator.
posted by zengargoyle at 8:02 PM on September 29


Shit Show 2020: All this and two more
posted by nubs at 8:03 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


There has to be some rule that Wallace couldn't mute the mics, right? Can someone confirm that? Maybe it's part of the ground rules both sides agreed to?
posted by star gentle uterus at 8:04 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


Once again: Why follow ground rules one side can't be fucked to follow anyway? An "agreement" is the biggest load of shit cop out I can think of.
posted by deadaluspark at 8:05 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


Ah yeah, cone of silence would be awesome. Next debate let's put them in sound-proof rooms and switch the mikes off and on.
posted by zengargoyle at 8:05 PM on September 29 [7 favorites]


It'll make zero impact or might stiffen the resolve from Democrats to actually get out and vote as if all the other dumpster fires this Administration has been weren't already stiffening the resolve. Yes your loudmouth type A republican boss as work probably ate up whatever shit Trump was selling tonight but they were already in the bag and of course they are going to vote for the guy that acts just like them.

I can't see this performance helping Trump stem the exodus of 65+ voters that have already started to abandon his campaign and he's really giving the suburban voters that sort of held their noses to vote for him in 2016 something to hope that "okay he's finally going to change and act presidential"

To borrow a football analogy, since they are slightly less hackneyed than the horserace narratives and Trump is so happy he saved Football, we are in the 4th quarter and Trump is down like 10 points without a ton of time left on the clock. Trump at a minimum has to try to score a ton of points in order to give some possibility that SCOTUS shenanigans could possibly happen and instead of trying fundamentally trying something new it's like he's stuck running the same play over and over "Hunter Biden and Burisma" and it's just not working. So it looks like their new play will try to be some microwaved variation on "But her emails" as if Clinton is even running for office.

Engagement right now is high, everything seems to point to good voter turnout despite COVID and as long as GOTV is working and keeping the Democratic base engaged it becomes a base vs base election and even with the wonkiness of the EC Trump's base is smaller than Biden's
posted by vuron at 8:05 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


Tonight was... something else. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go watch videos about baby otters, and pretend this was all a horrible dream.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:09 PM on September 29 [13 favorites]


I don't want to sound like a 2020 version of a 2016 Bernie Bro, but Elizabeth Warren would have left Trump lying on the stage in a pool of his own bile. [Gives a sad sigh for what might have been.]
posted by orange swan at 8:11 PM on September 29 [124 favorites]


Biden's getting really tired. You can hear it in his voice.

1. What you probably hear is him trying to work around his stutter, and

2. Ye gods and little fishes, wouldn't YOU be tired trying to have a conversation with....THAT?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:12 PM on September 29 [49 favorites]




Oh dear, I missed it. What a shame.

yes, the supreme leader is actually signalling, on public television, for his para-military goons to prepare themselves. trump is, at the very least, a proto-fascist, if not worse
posted by davedave


Tyrant is the word you are looking for.
posted by Pouteria at 8:13 PM on September 29 [7 favorites]


I think Biden did fine. I'm considering whether or not to buy a 'Will You Shut Up?' t-shirt.
posted by MtDewd at 8:13 PM on September 29 [11 favorites]


On a lighter note, I bring you this pithy observation from Colman Domingo, on watching the debate:

"It's like I'm watching Hell take a shit."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:14 PM on September 29 [16 favorites]


Someone should get Chris Wallace the stiffest of drinks

Prior to the debate, maybe. So, he would actually act on telling either candidate to stop interrupting and maybe just say "Fuck it" when they wouldn't and cut their damn mic off.

I do feel sorry for him.

Fuck.

That.

Moderating is not trying to talk over two people in a debate who are trying to talk over each other. Moderating is giving a reasonable amount of time to different voices. Wallace flat out fucking failed at that, and even made a somewhat snide remark at the end acknowledging that. ("Well, this has been an.... interesting.... hour and a half!")

Interestingly, I doubt this debate will change anyone's mind. so he could have gone hard with cutting mics as needed, moderated hard, and looked almost Walter Cronkite-ish.

But, nah. Let's settle for an interesting 90 minutes. *shakes head*
posted by a non mouse, a cow herd at 8:14 PM on September 29 [22 favorites]


Proposal for the next debate: neither candidate will be silenced at any time but during periods when it is not their allotted speaking time the audio from their mic will first be run through processing to make it sound as though they have inhaled helium.

Actually, is there anybody who can re-mix this one's audio after-the fact?
posted by Nerd of the North at 8:15 PM on September 29 [24 favorites]


Not an American, but I liked Biden's take home message from this debate; he kept looking into the camera and trying to speak to the audience. Paraphrasing - this election is about you - to play off of Trump's well-known narcissism and selfishness.

Whether it'll do any good, couldn't say.
posted by porpoise at 8:15 PM on September 29 [20 favorites]


Trump mentioned a Billion Tree Project, which surprisingly is a real thing. That had achieved its initial target of planting a billion trees in 2007. It's now the Trillion Tree Campaign and planted 13.6 billion trees worldwide by February 2020.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:16 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


but the problem i have with this argument is that it sorts liberals into the "smart" group and conservatives into the "dumb " group.

See, I don't divide them this way. I divide them the "educated by exposure to the things that make a society worth having" and "the uneducated who were never given the chance to understand how society (and all of it's members) is a beneficial thing, PLUS the sociopaths who see the uneducated as a means to take power."

I mean, when hasn't there been a conservative leader who pointedly failed to live up to the platform they gained power on? Obviously Trump ticks all of the boxes, but you've got Gingrich campaigning on the sanctity of the family, yet divorcing his wife when she had cancer because he'd been cheating on her. Hell, you've got Nixon campaigning on law and order, but breaking the law to maintain power. I'm literally too exhausted by all of this to come up with more examples, but seriously, scratch a conservative leader and you'll find all of the ways they don't practice what they preach.

They don't need to. They figure out how to manipulate the uneducated, give them the platitudes they believe they hunger for, gain power, and their job is done. Their campaign is done, the grift begins.
posted by Ghidorah at 8:17 PM on September 29 [13 favorites]


I know I shouldn't be suprised. But, WTF, "stand by."

I was super confused by the billion tree project, it seemed like there was a "we" in that statement. Has Trump supported it in some way?
posted by lab.beetle at 8:18 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


CBS/YouGov instant poll of debate watchers:

Who won the debate?
48% Biden
41% Trump
10% tie

Tone of the debate:
83% negative
17% positive

How did the debate make you feel?
69% annoyed
31% entertained
19% pessimistic
17% informed
posted by Rhaomi at 8:19 PM on September 29 [21 favorites]


I’m drinking if anyone wants to join me.
posted by jquinby at 8:19 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


Biden needs to either a) not bother with any future debates, or b) insist publicly that he will not debate unless each candidate's mic is muted until it's their turn to speak. This is fucking ridiculous.
posted by sotonohito at 8:20 PM on September 29 [17 favorites]


Who won the debate?
48% Biden
41% Trump
10% tie


We're boned. 41% of debate watchers think the orange dipshit won and 10% think it was a fucking TIE??
Fuck me I don't even like drinking and I need a FUCKING drink.
posted by deadaluspark at 8:21 PM on September 29 [17 favorites]


I was super confused by the billion tree project, it seemed like there was a "we" in that statement. Has Trump supported it in some way?


Fuck no. When a Republican mentions something like that it's just a way of saying "STFU and go plant some trees, nerd."
posted by ocschwar at 8:21 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


Holy shit, what have y'all been talking about down there this whole time??

her emails, the Dean Scream, and whether a President can wear a tan suit. basically.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 8:21 PM on September 29 [25 favorites]


Holy shit, what have y'all been talking about down there this whole time??

her emails, the Dean Scream, and whether a President can wear a tan suit. basically.


You forgot about Mission Accomplished and "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice... Sha- Can't get fooled again."

Oh and HANGING CHADS.
posted by deadaluspark at 8:22 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Basically that "who won" poll is about the same as the "who will you vote for" polls, which doesn't surprise me (Biden ahead by 7-8 points). In this era, people don't change their minds much and everyone thinks their candidate did better.

Between that and the total lack of moderation, just further shows these debates are pointless.
posted by thefoxgod at 8:23 PM on September 29 [21 favorites]


I don’t have a fun jokey way to say this so I’ll just say it: I’m genuinely concerned that there will be violent suppression at polling places thanks to all this talk about proud boys standing by and the rigged elections. Can someone comfort me in some way? This shit is scary and makes me sad.
posted by Kemma80 at 8:23 PM on September 29 [43 favorites]


We're boned. 41% of debate watchers think the orange dipshit won and 10% think it was a fucking TIE??


Bear in mind 100 percent knew their answer would be reported on in national media, because who watches a debate and doesn't know that?
posted by pwnguin at 8:24 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


Biden needs to either a) not bother with any future debates

Anyone still undecided after tonight was going to vote for Trump. Fuck 'em.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 8:24 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


Bear in mind 100 percent knew their answer would be reported on in national media, because who watches a debate and doesn't know that?

The 10% that think it was a tie seems to speak to it not being 100%.

Although, I'm with They sucked his brains out!, if they thought it was a tie, they're actually in the bag for Trump. You can't still be undecided on that guy.
posted by deadaluspark at 8:26 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


"Bad things happen in Philadelphia."

Speaking in my capacity as a native Philadelphian...
♫ No one likes us! No one likes us!
No one likes us, we don't care!
We're from Philly! Fucking Philly!
No one likes us, we don't care! ♫
posted by SansPoint at 8:27 PM on September 29 [15 favorites]


I would read "tie" as synonymous with "everyone lost," which seems to be a pretty widespread reaction.
posted by Not A Thing at 8:29 PM on September 29 [9 favorites]


We're boned. 41% of debate watchers think the orange dipshit won and 10% think it was a fucking TIE??
It depends on what "won" means, I guess, but I'd probably call it a tie if I had to assign a simple description of the outcome.

Don't get me wrong, I'll crawl through broken glass if I have to in order to vote against Trump, but as the numbers suggest it seems a lot like the proportion of viewers favoring either candidate did not change much.

It doesn't mean that their answers were equally valid or the candidates are equally preferable, it just means that as an event with the potential to influence voters the results of this debate were inconclusive.
posted by Nerd of the North at 8:30 PM on September 29


Didn't watch the debate, but my overheard my in-laws saying Biden held his own and something he about his son was touching. Coming from moderate Democratic voters. They'd never vote for Trump, but maybe a Republican in local races.

I personally will rationalize away any poor debate performance on Biden's part right up until after he's elected. You know Trump voters do it for him.

Broken glass, etc.
posted by Mister Cheese at 8:32 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


Speaking in my capacity as a native Philadelphian...

idk man I am in buzzword Chicago and am literally dead from democratitis, not sure whether to fight you or welcome you into the fold
posted by phunniemee at 8:32 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


We should have chosen Ron Perlman as the democratic candidate.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 8:33 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Cana anyone who can stomach Fox News tell us what they're saying about this? I imagine something like "glorious superman Trump crushes doddering wimp Biden".
posted by star gentle uterus at 8:33 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Trump suggested nuking hurricanes to stop them from hitting U.S.
During one hurricane briefing at the White House, Trump said, "I got it. I got it. Why don't we nuke them?" according to one source who was there. "They start forming off the coast of Africa, as they're moving across the Atlantic, we drop a bomb inside the eye of the hurricane and it disrupts it. Why can't we do that?" the source added, paraphrasing the president's remarks.
...
The briefer "was knocked back on his heels," the source in the room added. "You could hear a gnat fart in that meeting. People were astonished. After the meeting ended, we thought, 'What the f---? What do we do with this?'"
Snopes punked out and said "unproven" even though there are multiple sources for two conversations, and there's a freaking memo.

Also, "gnat fart."

Ceterum censeo, Trumpo delenda est
posted by kirkaracha at 8:33 PM on September 29 [15 favorites]


Don’t cut the mic, you’ll just cater to that “silenced teller of truth” trope when he continues shouting in the background and it’s picked up on Biden’s feed. Pitch his voice up two octaves: if you actually want to shut him up you need to weaponize his misogyny against him.

Anyways, the secret to a good chicken burger is to use potato bread hamburger buns. The secret to a great chicken burger is to lightly toast the bun.
posted by Ryvar at 8:35 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


We're boned. 41% of debate watchers think the orange dipshit won and 10% think it was a fucking TIE??
Fuck me I don't even like drinking and I need a FUCKING drink.

By constantly interrupting and speaking over, Trump forced viewers to either tune in to either him or Biden. And viewers will be more attentive to whomever it is they're already more attentive to, for the most part -- these numbers seem similar in broad terms to current national polls. (Especially if you take an admittedly generous read and interpret 'tie' as a low information version of 'this debate was emblematic of larger issues that make me hesitant about the two party system as it currently stands and did little to change my opinion.')

Trump is so infuriatingly good at engineering situations in which his brand of bullshit will manage to squeak by.
posted by Rinku at 8:37 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


Trump is behind. He has to gain undecideds or take votes away from Biden. If voters come out of this debate exactly where they started Trump has lost.
posted by rdr at 8:39 PM on September 29 [14 favorites]




I'm still surprised at the lack of sniffing, they must have found better drugs for donnie.
posted by Marticus at 8:41 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


Words that so-called undecided voters in Frank Luntz's focus group had for…

Trump: "arrogant," "crackhead" and "un-American"

Biden: "better than expected," "more professional," "restraint and compassion," “predictable" "coherent" "leader"
posted by theory at 8:42 PM on September 29 [31 favorites]


Biden's "be literally anyone but Trump" strategy is paying off in spades
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:44 PM on September 29 [12 favorites]


Trump did his red-faced, whining, howling, chest-thumping, alpha-monkey/thug routine and Biden looked like he was going to pass out (because how do you respond to that if you’re a civilized person? Actually, Clinton did better than Biden did against him, I thought, she got her digs in without losing her cool). It is alllll about acting, on so many levels, in North America at least.
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:44 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


Meth. Like a counterfeit Oscar the grouch high on meth.
(probably not, and sorry Oscar and fans, I know that's unfair to you)
posted by sillyman at 8:44 PM on September 29


And just being LOUD
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:44 PM on September 29


Fact checking Biden and Trump at the first presidential debate, CNN Staff, Updated 11:25 PM EDT, Tue September 29, 2020.
posted by cenoxo at 8:44 PM on September 29


Words that so-called undecided voters in Frank Luntz's focus group had for…

coherent is a bit of a stretch but I am right here with them on predictable
posted by phunniemee at 8:45 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


This continues to just give me really bad opinions on "undecideds." If you can find it in yourself to choose such massively different words to describe the two candidates why the hell can't you "decide?"

Also, as for the guy who is like "the Democrats haven't given me a reason to vote for Biden."

Look, Biden wasn't my god damned pick. I'm not voting for Biden either, chucklefuck. I'm voting AGAINST fascism. Which means I'm going to put my vote down Biden.
posted by deadaluspark at 8:47 PM on September 29 [43 favorites]


On a post-debate call with supporters, the Biden campaign said it raised $3.8 million on the fundraising site ActBlue through 10 and 11 pm ET tonight. That number represents a new campaign record for a single-hour fundraising total...
posted by clawsoon at 8:47 PM on September 29 [16 favorites]


yeah the jackass lost ground with undecideds tonight, and if he does the same thing next time out...And don't get me wrong, Biden is old. We are all exhausted now, aren't we?
posted by vrakatar at 8:49 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


First keep in mind that post debate snap polling is not particularly rigorous and most people's minds concerning the outcome of the debate are still pliable. What you are seeing is the consistent level of hyper polarization present in the US where Trump is going to get between 38-41% of the electorate just because he has an R behind his name and that's because there are multiple modalities in place that keep many of those voters from even remotely considering the idea that the guy with a D behind his name is an option. Playing off the base instincts of Republican voters by keeping them in a permanent state of anxiety through Fox News, Facebook and talk radio programming is 100% how they keep their less informed voters willing to get out and vote even though time after time when presented with policy positions without naming the party who is pushing those policies many of those base voters will chose the "liberal" policy. This is really a function of the strange marriage between the traditional Republican party elite (who bring the money and then organization) and their later allies (who bring the votes). The Traditional Republicans aka the Teddy Roosevelt or Eisenhower types were already facing permanent minority status in the 60s. It was the Civil Rights era that allowed them to realign their party by capturing the portion of the electorate that agreed with Democrats in terms of policy but who were deeply invested in maintaining long established systems of oppression. Later on you had the weird merger of Republicans and Evangelical Christianity that continues to prop up the Republican party and powers their addiction to outrage. Fortunately the old school traditional Republicans were able to some what keep the crazy racists and theocrats in check by giving them a little bit of what they wanted in return for undying loyalty to party but the truth is that they've lost control of the asylum a long time ago and you have carnival hucksters like Trump or god forbid the actual true believers like Pence and Pompeo and those types running the show.

I think a not insignificant number of the old school types are sharpening their knives though for the inevitable comeuppance of Trump. They understand the demographic pressures the Republican party is facing and know that it's unlikely they can continue to harness the Trump three ring circus forever and probably want to go back to the old days of hiding the racism and misogyny behind dog whistles.

Considering people like Romney are clearly eyeing a 2024 run at the Presidency I think they actually have an interest in Trump failing since they've already gotten the judges they wanted because presumably 4 years of Biden and Harris making people mad at whatever might give them time to rehabilitate the party in the minds of Americans.
posted by vuron at 8:49 PM on September 29 [15 favorites]


"the Democrats haven't given me a reasons to vote for Biden."

Is code for: I haven’t bothered to look over Biden’s website to check out his policy positions. And I haven’t absorbed them through osmosis. So they probably don’t exist, right?
posted by Omon Ra at 8:51 PM on September 29 [32 favorites]


Who won the debate?
48% Biden
41% Trump
10% tie
Crackhead vote is sewn up, it seems
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:51 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


CNN instant poll of debate watchers (39% Dem, 36% Indy, 25% Rep):

Who won the debate?
60% Biden
28% Trump

Who did you expect to win going in?
56% Biden
43% Trump

Who was more truthful?
65% Biden
29% Trump

Were Biden's attacks fair?
69% yes
28% no

Were Trump's attacks fair?
32% yes
67% no
posted by Rhaomi at 8:53 PM on September 29 [34 favorites]


Yeah, the 41% who think Trump won is totally in line with his approval ratings for pretty much his entire term so far.

There are plenty of white folks who tend to knee-jerk vote Republican because vague handwavey "Republicans are the Good For Business Party" or "Republicans are more Christian" reasons. 41% approval means he hasn't convinced them to bother to vote for him. Trump needed a boost, clearly acting like a toddler on crack didn't get him that.

Paraphrasing a Tweet I of course can't find: one thing suburban women love is a bully who constantly interrupts.

(If Trump has lost white suburban women, he's toast.)
posted by soundguy99 at 8:54 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


Is code for: I haven’t bothered to look over Biden’s website to check out his policy positions. And I haven’t absorbed them through osmosis. So they probably don’t exist, right?

I don't think those folks are looking for policy positions, but it's kind of adorable you imagine they do.
posted by axiom at 8:55 PM on September 29 [8 favorites]


I'm still surprised at the lack of sniffing, they must have found better drugs for donnie.

Adderall or nothing at all.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:55 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


On the question of condemning white supremacists, Rick Santorum (CNN) said Chris Wallace put Trump in a box, knowing Trump doesn't like to "say something bad about people who support him."
posted by theory at 8:57 PM on September 29 [15 favorites]


From PoliticalPolls:

Tonight Debate made you think...

Biden:
Better of him 38% (+6)
Worse of him 32%
.
Trump:
Better of him 24% (-18)
Worse of him 42%

@YouGovAmerica
/@CBSNewsPoll
, Among Debate Watchers
#Debates2020
posted by PhineasGage at 8:57 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


Also, it's looking like "Trump refuses to condemn white supremacists" is going to have legs in the mainstream media. (Rick Santorum's butt-sniffing aside.)
posted by soundguy99 at 9:00 PM on September 29 [15 favorites]


I'm sure I'm going to regret asking this, but what new wing-nut conspiracy theory was Donnie referencing today when he said something had been proven about Hillary Clinton today?

Joe Biden may have spent hours on debate prep, but he needed to spend less time on the facts and more time on crafting arguments and rebuttals. His answer about the Supreme Court justice situation that didn't mention Garland, when even Trump brought him up, was so, so sad. It wasn't the way to start the debate on a winning note. My past debate judge self marked him down so heavily for that response.

I do love the fact that a representative of circus workers wrote to CNN to complain that Jake Tapper (who looked like he was in physical pain tonight from just having to listen to this fiasco) compared the debate to a circus. I'm paraphrasing here but the circus worker's message (which was read on air) said that circus performers were professional who took care in their work and cared for each other and that theirs shows were nowhere near as unprofessional as what went on during the debate.
posted by sardonyx at 9:02 PM on September 29 [37 favorites]


I live tweeted this and feel utterly drained, like I've been at a wrestling show and people have been throwing entire wrestlers at my head for two hours.

A few thoughts before crashing:

Starkest put-down - Biden: "Shut up, man."
Runner up - Trump: "Don't ever use the word 'smart' with me. There's nothing smart about you."

Academia's one appearance - Trump: "I'm the one who brought back football."

Most specific fantasy - Trump: "insulin so cheap... it's like water."

Scariest statement - Trump to Proud Boys: "Stand back and stand by."
Scariest non-statement - Trump refusing to condemn racism or racists or to calm his supporters or accept election results

Most surreal line - Trump, "Bad things happen in Philadelphia."
posted by doctornemo at 9:03 PM on September 29 [11 favorites]


Biden's "be literally anyone but Trump" strategy is paying off in spades

Let's be honest here. His be literally any white, Christian male but Trump strategy.
posted by Candleman at 9:03 PM on September 29 [28 favorites]


That CBS/YouGov instant poll of debate watchers linked upthread, the one with "41%" voting that Trump won, surveyed 1,039 people.

Methodology: This CBS News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,039 likely voters who watched the debate interviewed on September 29, 2020. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race and education based on the American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, as well as 2016 presidential vote, and registration status. The margin of error is ± 3.4 points.

(Separate from their representative sample, you can click to vote yourselves if you're willing to register an email address)
posted by Iris Gambol at 9:04 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Joe Biden may have spent hours on debate prep, but he needed to spend less time on the facts and more time on crafting arguments and rebuttals.

When Trump said something about his rallies being okay, my roommate was all but shouting "HERMAN CAIN!" at the screen for a solid 30 seconds.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:06 PM on September 29 [28 favorites]


There are tons of voters that only vote for the Republicans out of team or tribal loyalty. It's why Trump continues to somehow magically get higher approval rating on the economy despite the fact that just about everything he does functions an unwelcome disruption. Facts and policy literally don't matter because the "truth" that they've been indoctrinated with is the Democrats want to raise your taxes and who likes to pay taxes (certainly not Donald), that they want to make it harder to run a business because now they can't hire and fire people based upon their prejudices or whatever and that they want to give your hard earned money to less deserving people (who just happen to be immigrants, or PoC or whatever out group is enemy number one today).

Anything like a helpful infographic that shows how the economy typically does better under a Democrat in the White House can be safely dismissed as fake news because since it doesn't agree with the pre-established narrative of "Truth" it's obviously "Fake News" or a "Democrat trick" or "liberal bias in the media".

It's basically like trying to telling people during the Scientific Revolution that were deeply invested in an Aristotelian Geocentric concept of the universe that no we actually need a Heliocentric model to explain how the solar system and the greater universe works. If you are lucky they probably won't throw you in prison for crimes against the Truth but they can definitely make your life miserable for challenging their world view. Hence at some point we generally give up and stop talking to them altogether.
posted by vuron at 9:12 PM on September 29 [8 favorites]


Trump: "Don't ever use the word 'smart' with me. There's nothing smart about you."
I can understand why Biden didn't want to go down into that pigsty to wrestle, but when Trump started trying to use Biden's 50-years-ago academic record as a point against him Twitter should have lit up like a Non-Religious Winter Holiday Tree with live tweets about
  • Trump's own sister is reported to have said that he paid for someone to take his SATs
  • Trump has literally threatened to prosecute anyone who reveals his academic records
posted by Nerd of the North at 9:13 PM on September 29 [20 favorites]


Hence at some point we generally give up and stop talking to them altogether.

Honestly I'm at the point where if you're any kind of anti-democratic jerk who thinks some types of people shouldn't be able to vote...

I think that's the ONE thing that should make you lose your right to vote. Having an opinion that literally assumes others are lesser, because you literally cannot rationally partake in a "democracy" without actually thinking other people deserve the same rights you do.

So, there's my wild opinion for tonight: If you don't like democracy, honestly, you shouldn't be allowed to have it. It's just a wee bit of a step beyond not talking to them. More to the point, they shouldn't be allowed to talk because they've already revealed themselves as being willing to undermine democracy for their own shitty prejudices.
posted by deadaluspark at 9:19 PM on September 29 [9 favorites]


Who won the debate?
48% Biden
41% Trump
10% tie


I see the dittoheads comment on news stories all the time. 107% of them had decreed two days ago that the president* scoring a resounding victory was the only possible conclusion.

For me, it seems obvious that the networks are thinking back to the sweet sweet Nielsen numbers of 2016. Any debate that does not involve the orange guy soiling himself and falling to the ground will be pressed into the horse race narrative.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:19 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


> stop talking to them altogether.

Unfortunately I think it has to be this way. Obama’s fatal flaw was that he approached republicans in good faith. They’re not interested in anything but winning, by any means necessary - they operate under a wholly different framework.

The only way through is if Democrats gain enough power to redraw maps, redefine the Electoral College, and add a seat or two to the Supreme Court to ensure the actual vote comes close to reflecting the popular vote, so that republicans will be forced to shut up. They have to be aggressive.

I feel like that’s dreaming though. I think it’s clear that there’s going to be violence at the polls, it’ll be disastrous. One or more of those gun nuts is going to lose it.
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:24 PM on September 29 [14 favorites]


To add, it’s about shutting up the republican machine, not necessarily its individual supporters. The infrastructure of the Kochs and the evangelicals and the think tanks and the Murdoch properties and the morning talk show hosts, that whole apparatus.
posted by cotton dress sock at 9:28 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


Many journalists, believing they’re just doing their job, will reach out to Proud Boys over the next few days, trying to arrange interviews. They need to resist this urge. Do not give them a platform. Do not amplify their message. Do not help them to commit more violence.
posted by theory at 9:32 PM on September 29 [76 favorites]


Kemma80: "I don’t have a fun jokey way to say this so I’ll just say it: I’m genuinely concerned that there will be violent suppression at polling places thanks to all this talk about proud boys standing by and the rigged elections. Can someone comfort me in some way? This shit is scary and makes me sad."
  • There are lots of other candidates on the ballots. All those Senators and Congressfolk need their votes counted. Think about all the contested races - those candidates all need their votes. They will not want anyone interfering with voters at the polls.
  • If Republicans in tight races win by small margins, they also will not want to spend time in the courts or the press having to defend their wins against allegations of violent voter suppression.
  • Current polls say that, of people planning to vote early and by mail, more are Democrats; of people planning to vote on election day in person, more are Republicans. All those Republican candidates want to make sure their voters get to vote.
  • There just aren't nearly enough Proud Boys - even if you include all their ilk - to make a difference. I mean, obviously, if they manage to interfere with even one polling place for even a few minutes, that's too much - but there are a LOT of polling places, and there are just really not very many of these guys at all.
  • There will be A LOT of mail-in voting. The Proud Boys are especially active in Washington and Oregon, both states that hold elections almost entirely by mail.
Other Republicans should be very publicly denouncing any intimidation at the polls, but even though they're largely not, they do not want voters kept away from the polls, just like they do not want utter lies about problems with mail-in voting to actually keep their millions of absentee voters from casting their usual mail-in votes.

Gerrymandering, kicking registered voters off the voter lists, attempting to destroy the USPS - these are all voter suppression tactics Republicans can get behind. But violent intimidation at the polls? That's too risky - the optics are too hard to manage, and there's way too much risk of scaring your own voters away.
posted by kristi at 9:34 PM on September 29 [24 favorites]


Trump: "Don't ever use the word 'smart' with me. There's nothing smart about you."

My jaw figuratively fell to the floor on that one.

If I was in Biden's shoes, I wouldn't have been able to resist side-eyeing the buffoon, look directly into the camera, then flash a Diamond Joe Grin with a big exaggerated shrug. Yeah, you and me both, right?
posted by porpoise at 9:37 PM on September 29 [10 favorites]


In the future, moderator needs an air horn.

More like a stun gun, if not a rifle loaded with tranquilizer darts.
posted by y2karl at 9:42 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


What's fascinating, and a little bit worrisome to think about, is that the next couple days of the campaign will be waged almost entirely in social media, using tweets and memes constructed from the raw material we witnessed tonight. Right now armies of partisans are heating up their hottest takes. I think maybe I'll step away from the computer before the flood arrives.
posted by Nerd of the North at 9:42 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


While I definitely don't want to read too much into the 60% Biden - 28% Trump number since I assume a very large percentage of the electorate didn't watch the shit show tonight these numbers are going to drive a media narrative over the next couple of days that Biden "won" while Trump "lost". Considering a Tie even works in Biden's favor at this point this has to be seen as a very poor result for Donald even if it made his "Donald is the ultimate Alpha Male" fanboys happy. Negative news cycles or even lost news cycles don't help him and he's got 2 weeks until he can hope for some sort of game changer in the SCOTUS hearings. If he's got some last minute come from behind strategy in place it's looking like the sort of strategy you came up with on Sunday night when you spent all weekend getting drunk and wasting time and completely forgot you had something due Monday at 8am.

This isn't 2016 where there was a lot of undecided voters even on the eve of the election and last minute drama like Comey were enough to get x% of the undecideds to break for Trump at the last second. Everything at this point is indicating a low level of undecided and very little disruption from third party candidates and extremely stable polling. I know almost everyone is still in a level of can't trust polling after 2016 but once you average out all the outlier what we've seen for the bulk of this year is extreme stability in this race and a candidate that seems to either be incapable or unwilling to change up his strategy despite his supposedly killer instincts that he continually relies on instead of following expert advice.

What's weird is that if he really wanted to win re-election he would've listened to those experts and he would've made a deal for a second round of stimulus but nope gotta follow those legendary gut instincts that have been the reason why Trump has such a long history of successful business ventures...
posted by vuron at 9:42 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


what did I miss?
posted by philip-random at 9:46 PM on September 29 [11 favorites]


We're boned. 41% of debate watchers think the orange dipshit won and 10% think it was a fucking TIE??

“Who won?” isn’t the same question as “who are you going to vote for?” From a horse race perspective, I have no clue who won this mess - that’s why I’m looking at these stupid polls!
posted by atoxyl at 9:50 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]




as I read earlier, nobody ever won an election via a big deal debate, but some have fumbled so badly they've lost them. Biden didn't fumble. It's going to be a long October ...
posted by philip-random at 9:55 PM on September 29 [8 favorites]


I am very, very, very worried there will be lynchings tonight now that 45 has officially promoted the PBs to be his watchdogs.
posted by Kitchen Witch at 9:58 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


Incidentally, I did end up making brownies, and they were something of a comfort. If anyone thinks it would make debate no. 2 more bearable for them, I will post my mother's brownie recipe in the next debate thread.:P
posted by orange swan at 9:59 PM on September 29 [48 favorites]


The idea that anybody in this thread could watch that debate and their takeaway is "both of them suck" or even worse "Biden sucks balls" is just crazypants. I submit if you hated Biden in the primary and didn't understand why people were voting for him or what his appeal was you Just Might Not Be the person to judge who won a debate?
posted by Justinian at 9:59 PM on September 29 [27 favorites]


Yes, Biden missed several easy shots—Herman Cain, SATs and his brother interceding to get him admitted to UPenn. And he could’ve pressed harder re not paying taxes being analogous to defunding the police. He could’ve pointed out how Trump’s businesses benefit from his presidency. But it’s like trying to stop an avalanche of shit when Trump is in full gish gallop mode. He has no intentions of following the quaint gentlemanly rules of debate. Kudos to Biden for the times he faced the camera and spoke directly into it. Trump couldn’t do that once during the entire debate. If you took random screenshots while they were listening to the other speak during that 90 minutes , 90% of them would be Trump with his head tilted back, jaw thrust out and a frown on his face while all of Biden’s would be of him shaking his head and laughing.

Both Nora O’Donnell and Gayle King who came on afterwards (CBS) were visibly shocked and disgusted.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:03 PM on September 29 [13 favorites]


Yep we need to shift from arguing policy positions to screaming VOTE VOTE VOTE. Only 60 percent of eligible voters typically vote. This narrative that everything is set in stone isn’t true when you think about the fact that 40 percent of people just go “meh” and stay home.

Find someone who didn’t vote four years ago. GET THEM TO ACTUALLY VOTE.

The ending note on electoral legitimacy really drove this home for me.
posted by The Ted at 10:04 PM on September 29 [18 favorites]


Imma need this brownie recipe orange swan, just for the time until the next debate.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:07 PM on September 29 [9 favorites]


I need to lie down in a darkened room for a few weeks, at least. Back in January, I put in for a vacation day on November 4th. Hopefully I'm exhausted from dancing in the streets because we dislodged this horrific stain. What a mess. Just ~gestures around the room, the neighborhood, and the world~ everything.
posted by but no cigar at 10:08 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


Trump needed a massive knockout win and he didn’t get anywhere close to it. People and pundits are going to pick on little bits and pieces over the next couple of days on the news and social media. But when people step back and think about what they saw, Trump was arrogant and ran roughshod over the entire night and didn’t really land anything. Biden could have been more forceful on a few things, but when you’re trying to deal with the Trump Firehose ‘o Bullshit, you just can’t get to everything. Biden was maybe a little heavy handed with the “shut up” and “clown” bits, but then again he was just vocalizing what many people think. The big takeaways are going to be that Trump refused to condemn white supremacists and in fact told them to “stand by”, that he was lying like crazy, that he completely disrespected the memory of Beau Biden. We would have all liked to see Joe dominate this, but how many of the few undecideds are watching this, and looking at Trump, and going, “yeah, this looks like the right choice?”

Also, remember early on when Biden said tens of thousands have already voted? Actually, that number is about 1.4 million. That is more than this point in 2016 by probably around 20x. People are ready to vote.
posted by azpenguin at 10:10 PM on September 29 [21 favorites]


My favorite moment of the debate was at about the 15 minute mark, while discussing Biden's health care plan, Wallace asked Trump to let Biden finish, and Biden quipped "he doesn't know how to do that", to which Trump replied "You'd be surprised, you'd be surprised, go on, Joe, Listen..." *AND KEPT ON BLABBING.
posted by Reverend John at 10:12 PM on September 29 [43 favorites]


The only rational reason I would act like Trump did would be if I wanted to prevent Biden from trouncing me completely. He effectively train wrecked the debate. Trump's plan at this point may be to stanch his loss as much as possible and then hope to muddle and mess with the election enough that he has the opportunity to declare himself the victor and seize power.
posted by xammerboy at 10:15 PM on September 29 [12 favorites]


was arrogant and ran roughshod over the entire night and didn’t really land anything

counterpoint: also describes performance at confirmation hearing of justice kavanaugh
posted by 20 year lurk at 10:16 PM on September 29 [9 favorites]


Honestly the call out to the Proud Boys and other Call of Duty Cosplayers is going to hurt Trump more than help him. Does he really think that being cozy with White Supremacists is going to help him with the Suburban white college-educated female voter that he's losing by wide margins? 2018 already telegraphed how dramatically that demographic has shifted and most of that has been about his failures in character and yes many people still vote based upon perceived character instead of policy. Now you've got a President who is presumably running on a law and order platform as if he's not the incumbent but he's also giving attention and support to right-wing paramilitary units. I don't know about you but even if you have issues with BLM and Antifa or more precisely the right wing caricatures of those protestors you likely have an even lower opinion of random guys running around in fatigues carrying assault rifles in urban areas causing increased tension.

Only crazy people would think that having a bunch of these idiots dressed up and standing outside of polling places in urban areas would be a good thing.
posted by vuron at 10:24 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


It's not a counterpoint because the confirmation of Kavanaugh, as with Amy Coney Barrett, was a fait accompli. Essentially nothing could prevent the GOP from voting for them. The hearings were/are a sham.

But that's not who is voting in 5 weeks. The fact that 50 GOP senators voted for an arrogant asshole has no bearing on whether the public at large thinks being an arrogant, idiotic asshole is "winning" a debate.
posted by Justinian at 10:24 PM on September 29 [9 favorites]


Did i imagine it, or did it really happen, did trump say, "you're a number two" to biden? i swear he did and i laughed. but so childish. but no one seems to be mentioning this on highlight quotes.
posted by ixipkcams at 10:24 PM on September 29 [10 favorites]


You didn’t imagine it. He said that.
posted by azpenguin at 10:27 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


The comparison with Kavanaugh, as Justinian mentioned, isn’t really applicable here. Had he been voted on by the populace instead of the Senate, he would have gone down in flames. As it was, the Kavanaugh confirmation hurt the GOP very badly in the midterms.
posted by azpenguin at 10:31 PM on September 29 [10 favorites]


I watch the FiveThirtyEight live commentary to maintain a degree of distance, like you might wear a radiation suit when handling something radioactive.
posted by quillbreaker at 11:12 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


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, the 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.
Trump’s Theory of the Debate Was All Wrong
posted by y2karl at 11:29 PM on September 29 [26 favorites]


When you go berzerker aggro mode and manipulate the situation so childishly/ruthlessly that no one really has the chance to ask you and follow-up about your $420+ million debt, who you owe it to, your $750 paid in taxes, etc.

But having folks forget about your terrible business acumen and that you are a fundamental existential national security threat by roiding out and behaving like the Kleptocrat of a former Soviet republic on the world stage is not the way you go about that. And ... the only place you have left to go is: obviously only Lower. He's now backing himself up into an infinite pit.

I feel like 2020 still has some surprises up its alchemical sleeve, and that he'll finish unpresidented in an unprecedented manner.

We are, as a species, 8 billion of us plugged into the internet communicating every day more and more in realtime, going through something unprecedented in conscious experience. Learning something. Deciding something. Making something happen.

Thanks for listening. Love Be in you.
posted by riverlife at 11:31 PM on September 29 [30 favorites]


The Proud Boys are especially active in Washington and Oregon, both states that hold elections almost entirely by mail.

They are definitely going to be kept busy by our two “anarchist jurisdictions”. The war here might heat up a bit. But don’t worry about the PB being out in force at precincts. They don’t have a lot of numbers and certainly not enough to spread out without more to work each other up.
posted by corb at 11:34 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


Most surreal line - Trump, "Bad things happen in Philadelphia."

Really? Because for me it was when Trump claimed they had stopped a coup. A COUP.
posted by Special Agent Dale Cooper at 11:37 PM on September 29 [7 favorites]


There is zero chance the Proud Boys can cover every drop box in the PNW. I defy them to stop me from voting.
posted by bink at 11:46 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


Observations of no particular import, in no particular order:

1) Everybody likes to play the "Biden should have said X" game, but I note that it takes the pundits fully two hours to rehash all those things. Debates move fucking fast and there's no time to say 10% of that shit, especially with ol' brain-worms up there yelling at you all the time. Most of us would have gotten demolished. I would have lost my cool completely and perhaps wound up in some serious legal trouble. Joe Biden wouldn't be my ideal candidate, but I think he weathered that shitstorm as well as can be expected.

2) I lost a very dear friend recently to fentanyl. When Joe said, "I'm proud of my son" I really, really felt it. I'm sure a lot of people who've been through the drug addiction or death of someone close felt it too. For most of us, there are places you simply don't go, rhetorically, no matter how desperate the fight, out of a sense of simple decency. (There's enough to say about failsons on corporate boards -- Trump has three, going on four! -- without going there.) Trump proves every day that he doesn't respect those borders but in this instance it really cut deep. I think a lot of people will feel it.

A lot of other, heartless, people will see it as Joe's moment of defeat. Fuck 'em.

3) Trump comes across to most of us like a petulant child with self-regulation issues, but his people don't see it that way. He's the Übermensch and our silly rules and conventions are an inconvenience and obstacle to him and his important work. He's enraged because he must condescend to the little people one more time to finally wrest control away from them. It's not an act either; he's exactly the same way when he's being deposed in camera (as the tapes show).

He actually is a child with self-regulation issues but he and his bootlickers see it differently. They can't wait for those fetters to come off. I think they'll see his outbursts as the natural expressions of a man whose Divine Right is being unnecessarily delayed.
posted by klanawa at 12:30 AM on September 30 [53 favorites]


Not only are there not that many Proud Boys, the places where Trump most needs to suppress votes - the bigger cities in swing/battleground states, like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, and Detroit - seem like places where they might fear to tread in anything less than overwhelming numbers.

Maybe they could pick one city and assemble enough followers there to cause a serious problem, but even that seems doubtful. It's more like the shout-out to the Proud Boys is just a call for stochastic terrorism.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 12:31 AM on September 30 [8 favorites]


Not only are there not that many Proud Boys

Yeah, this. It was appalling that he made mention of them, but also kind of funny (not ha-ha). It's tantamount to using a national stage to try to wink at people who, I don't know, have heterochromia.
posted by axiom at 12:48 AM on September 30 [5 favorites]


"Stand by"? Wow, I didn't watch the debate last night, I'm just now catching up on everything. But I realize I've been bracing myself for an extinction burst for some time now.
posted by marimeko at 12:49 AM on September 30 [5 favorites]


It was Wallace who brought up the Proud Boys, not Donnie. The audio was on a podcast just now.
posted by Grangousier at 1:07 AM on September 30 [2 favorites]


corb: They [the Proud Boys] are definitely going to be kept busy by our two “anarchist jurisdictions”. The war here might heat up a bit.

Fucking great. As someone who lives between Capitol Hill and downtown, that's all my neighborhood needs is even more reason for SPD to come in and drop some teargas on people trying to fuck up shit. Thanks, Trump, for encouraging this shit.
posted by fireoyster at 1:17 AM on September 30 [5 favorites]


"Why don't you shut up, man" was Biden quoting a disgraced rich white man who inherited his fortune and led a life of debauchery, and who used the line to stifle a dyed-in-the-wool radical lefty.

So Biden kind of inverted that historical moment.

It was a nice, apt & effective line when that guy used it, too.
posted by chavenet at 1:26 AM on September 30 [11 favorites]


I look forward to seeing how Joe Rogan spins this one.
posted by jadepearl at 1:49 AM on September 30


He has to gain undecideds or take votes away from Biden.

The third option: make undecideds and casual voters so disgusted that they don't vote. Effectively, this is what happened in 2016. Reduce the overall pool of voters down to where Trump's zombies, who aren't going to budge regardless of how unpleasant Trump himself is, have barely enough of an edge to win.

I'm fairly sure that won't work this year for several reasons: Biden's leads are more substantial this year, the fake smears against Biden aren't sticking the way the ones in 2016 did (and those fake smears aren't getting unfair support from a mendacious journalist corps, which happened in 2016), and the anti-Trump motivation is driving voters who are in actual misery. Fairly sure, maybe not 100% sure.

But I wouldn't be surprised if there are Republican campaign operatives who see Trump's childish misbehavior as a feature rather than a bug. They've probably even got cooked-up spreadsheets to "prove" it.
posted by gimonca at 2:27 AM on September 30 [10 favorites]


You want a real hot take? Biggest loser of the night: Susan Collins. This is the horse you hooked your wagon to, Sue.
posted by gimonca at 2:28 AM on September 30 [27 favorites]


Mark Hamill: That debate was the worst thing I've ever seen & I was in The Star Wars Holiday Special.
posted by Wordshore at 2:32 AM on September 30 [134 favorites]


Just how many voting centers do the proud boys need to disrupt to cause widespread doubt regarding the election results? Probably not that many, especially if you're throwing in a bunch of other monkey wrenches.
posted by xammerboy at 2:38 AM on September 30 [2 favorites]


Not only are there not that many Proud Boys

Are they still the obscurantist hipster wing of Nazism they were when McInnes founded them, or are they more like the Urban Outfitters of Nazism now?
posted by acb at 2:53 AM on September 30 [8 favorites]


The United States is fracturing under the weight of racial hatred and the coronavirus pandemic - none of which can be grappled with by two men bickering onstage for 90 minutes. American journalist Marc Daalder reviews the US presidential debate from his new home in New Zealand.
posted by infini at 3:08 AM on September 30 [1 favorite]


How about the fact that it was Trump who brought up Mike Flynn, as the most surreal line? The guy who registered himself as a foreign agent, a U.S. general who offered to carry out a kidnapping on U.S. soil for a Middle Eastern dictator, who plead guilty to a felony for lying to the FBI to conceal the nature of his dealings with the Ambassador of the Russian Federation, who lasted 22 days in office. This guy, who Trump made the National Security Advisor of the United States.

But it wasn't Biden who brought him up, it was Trump. And it will cost him nothing with his voters, who will probably even see it as a plus. The best people!
posted by XMLicious at 4:06 AM on September 30 [13 favorites]


Not only are there not that many Proud Boys


If Facebook would go dark for the next month, depriving these tin-pot secessionists of their standard forum for organizing, we would all be the better for it. In fact, someone should spoof a ProudBoyz Facebook group and send them all out into some field in the middle of the night to hunt snipe. I mean, antifa.
posted by From Bklyn at 4:20 AM on September 30 [8 favorites]


Joe called him a clown.
Joe called him a racist.
Joe called him a liar.
Joe called him the worst president in history.
Joe told him to shut up.

And yet Joe was the more civil and courteous of the two.
posted by adept256 at 4:20 AM on September 30 [104 favorites]


Oh yeah, this came up in a group text chat with some old friends during the debate - the moderator for the last debate (on Oct. 22) is Kristen Welker from MSNBC/NBC.

She is 1) a woman 2) works for MSNBC who Trump hates and 3) is multiracial (Native American and Black) so . . . well. We've seen how Trump treats women reporters, especially non-white women reporters. We've just seen how Trump treated Wallace, who is not Trump's favorite by a long shot but at least works for his second-favorite network.

I suspect some Dem debate commission staffers might deserve some credit here - if you wanted to create a scenario designed to get the Dem base & Dem leaners fired up just before election day, setting up Trump to be forced to interact with someone like Ms. Welker, thus making it likely he will be an even bigger massive raging asshole, would just about do it.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:34 AM on September 30 [14 favorites]


In the future, moderator needs an air horn.

More like a stun gun, if not a rifle loaded with tranquilizer darts.


Now THAT I'd watch.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 4:37 AM on September 30 [3 favorites]


Margaret Sullivan: Chris Wallace tried — and failed — to control Trump. Something needs to change.
Chris Wallace wanted to be “invisible” as the moderator of the first presidential debate. “If I’ve done my job right,” he said on his Fox News show Sunday, “at the end of the night, people will say, ‘That was a great debate. Who was the moderator?’ ”

It’s an absurd understatement to say that things didn’t play out that way Tuesday night.

Wallace was far from invisible. Instead, he was ineffective. Profoundly so.

And although some media observers were quick to trash the veteran broadcaster, that may have been unfair. It’s hard to know what he — or anyone — could have done, given President Trump’s refusal to abide by the rules or observe even a modicum of decorum.

The 90-minute debate fell, almost immediately, into chaos and cross-talking, not because Wallace isn’t a capable broadcast interviewer but because Trump was out of control.
posted by octothorpe at 5:14 AM on September 30 [9 favorites]


Trump-supporting Twitter seems to be leaning heavily into the "Wallace was in the tank for Biden!!!11!!" take this morning.
posted by soundguy99 at 5:15 AM on September 30 [2 favorites]


If you didn’t watch the debate ... Biden made a long and forceful statement that everyone needs to get out and VOTE in the way that’s most convenient for them, that no one’s going to stop them, and that it’s important to have your voice heard. In contrast, Trump rambled on about how much fraud and rigging was happening. High marks to Biden for how he steered that.
posted by freecellwizard at 5:17 AM on September 30 [35 favorites]


But it wasn't Biden who brought him up, it was Trump. And it will cost him nothing with his voters, who will probably even see it as a plus. The best people!

The right fringe is absolutely giddy about Flynn's adventures in Judge Sullivan's court. It checks all the boxes: owning the libs (the fact that Flynn will walk away free in the end, one way or another), proof that the judicial system is extremely liberal-biased (Judge Sullivan daring to oppose Barr's stand-down order), Q*bert conspiracy fodder (this all PROVES that Hillary / Obama / Biden / Comey / Strzok / Mueller / the reverse vampires all colluded to stage a coup against Trump and cheat to bring him down, along with Flynn outing himself as a Q*bert), and similar themes.

Is it at all coherent? Of course not. But if you buy into Sean Hannity's Grand Unified Left-Wing Conspiracy Theory, Flynn is a rallying cry and a beloved patriotic figure, not a punchline.

Trump-supporting Twitter seems to be leaning heavily into the "Wallace was in the tank for Biden!!!11!!" take this morning.

Which they were howling long before the debate started. Wallace is one of the very few at Fox News who refuses to take the President's babble on faith, and pushes back against obvious lies and fallacies; therefore, every time Wallace is even mentioned, the faithful scream about how he's a leftist and a Democrat and a biased charlatan and how Fox News is terrible for even keeping him on the payroll and OANN is now the source of Real News.

The common refrain was that instead of Wallace, the moderator should have been Tucker Carlson. Anyone who views Wallace as overwhelmingly partisan and Carlson as neutral should have their driver's license revoked.
posted by delfin at 5:20 AM on September 30 [14 favorites]


It’s hard to know what he — or anyone — could have done, given Breaking Wind’s refusal to abide by the rules or observe even a modicum of decorum.

He could have cut the damn mic. Moderators at academic conferences are more than happy to cut a mic, or play increasingly loud music as the auditory equivalent of a large stage hook.* The debate site at Case definitely has that functionality. The president wants to act like a toddler, he gets treated like a toddler. (With apologies to toddlers, most of whom have more self-control than that flaming orange mess on stage last night.)

* Hilariously, I once saw this happen to the most senior figure at a conference. The interlude music started pretty subtly, but he kept going, and the music kept getting louder and louder, until finally he just said, "Just stop that. It's my damn music anyway and I don't want to hear it right now." Doubly hilariously, I also saw him get reprimanded by catering staff for taking two bran muffins at breakfast the next morning, right in front of the sign to take just one. He got cranky at them, too.
posted by basalganglia at 5:32 AM on September 30 [11 favorites]


On a somewhat lighter note here are the words that saw a bump in lookups at the Merriam-Webster site during & after the debate - Logorrhea, Shush, Xenophobia, and Moderator.
posted by soundguy99 at 5:36 AM on September 30 [5 favorites]


Weird subliminal message in the blue writing over each of their shoulders: "the Right," with the next word cut off by their heads. Did someone do that on purpose?
posted by daisyace


Yes. I shit you not, in 2016, they had Hillary framed with blue words behind her so that it said, "evil." I have a screenshot.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:50 AM on September 30 [5 favorites]


I had a weird sense of deja vu last night while I was watching and then realized it was a tide ad from several years back, but writ large.
posted by jquinby at 5:55 AM on September 30 [7 favorites]


I'm just here for all the fun ways the Q idiots will dig through the entrails of this embarrassing nadir of an increasingly pointless tradition. Milhouse with a blackboard, over and over and over again.
posted by aspersioncast at 6:09 AM on September 30 [2 favorites]


"For the entertainment"? Damn, people are hardcore.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:14 AM on September 30 [1 favorite]


gimonca: The third option: make undecideds and casual voters so disgusted that they don't vote. Effectively, this is what happened in 2016. Reduce the overall pool of voters down to where Trump's zombies, who aren't going to budge regardless of how unpleasant Trump himself is, have barely enough of an edge to win.

That is a very good point. Isn't one common prelude to authoritarianism making democracy look like as much of a shitshow as possible? Hopefully it doesn't succeed, but the attempt is surely happening.
posted by clawsoon at 6:14 AM on September 30 [7 favorites]


basalganglia: Moderators at academic conferences are more than happy to cut a mic, or play increasingly loud music as the auditory equivalent of a large stage hook.* The debate site at Case definitely has that functionality. The president wants to act like a toddler, he gets treated like a toddler. (With apologies to toddlers, most of whom have more self-control than that flaming orange mess on stage last night.)

You could go the Ig Nobel route and have eight-year-old Miss Sweetie Poo say Please stop. I'm bored. over and over when they go over time.
posted by clawsoon at 6:18 AM on September 30 [15 favorites]


gimonca: The third option: make undecideds and casual voters so disgusted that they don't vote. Effectively, this is what happened in 2016. Reduce the overall pool of voters down to where Trump's zombies, who aren't going to budge regardless of how unpleasant Trump himself is, have barely enough of an edge to win.

Thinking more about this: This is an important answer to, "Why don't we fight dirty, just like them?" Because when both sides go further and further into the gutter, people start turning away from the whole thing in disgust and longing for an authoritarian to sweep it all away.
posted by clawsoon at 6:23 AM on September 30 [57 favorites]


Merriam-Webster's "word of the day" tweets are usually *chef's kiss*, so I'm suprised they went with sinuous today instead of donnybrook.
posted by emelenjr at 6:34 AM on September 30 [1 favorite]


It is impossible to have a real debate with him, and it showed. Personally, I would have preferred if Biden didn’t engage with Trump at all and just gave his own message about his plans and Trump’s failures (including zingers). I would have preferred if he never interrupted Trump and didn’t try to go on when Trump was talking over him, even just turning to look at him while he does it or stepping back until he stops. He can’t beat Trump at his own game, someone like Warren might be able to fight him down, but I think Joe is probably only capable of “Presidential” so he should do that 100% and use what little time he has to appeal directly to the people and get in a few digs to try to send Trump off the rails. But I am not in politics, so maybe that’s not the best move for the people they are trying to convince.
posted by snofoam at 6:35 AM on September 30 [7 favorites]


snofoam: I would have preferred if he never interrupted Trump and didn’t try to go on when Trump was talking over him

Then he probably would have gotten very little speaking time at all.
posted by Too-Ticky at 6:37 AM on September 30 [21 favorites]


The only winning move here was not to play, but I guess Biden had to wrestle with the pig or the fact that he skipped the wrestling match would have become the story.
posted by The Card Cheat at 6:38 AM on September 30 [14 favorites]


Rather than boning up on policy, I hope he's getting training from stand-up comedians on how to put down hecklers while keeping the room. That would be useful.
posted by Grangousier at 6:46 AM on September 30 [38 favorites]


Moderators at academic conferences are more than happy to cut a mic

Yeah, as far as I can tell, from admittedly about 10 seconds of research, giving moderators this ability is one of those negotiated rules that both candidates would have to agree to. So that ain't gonna happen.

Biden didn’t engage with Trump at all and just gave his own message about his plans and Trump’s failures (including zingers)

So far I'm seeing a pretty common mainstream analysis that that's what he did, to the extent that he could given that Trump's mic was always on.

And apparently the next debate is "town hall" style? So I guess we'll get the chance to see Trump berate actual members of the voting public live on TV. His handlers are probably shitting themselves right now.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:49 AM on September 30 [12 favorites]


Then he probably would have gotten very little speaking time at all.

I only watched for 25 minutes, but to me it didn't seem like he really was able to effectively get any messaging out when trying to talk through Trump's interruptions. I would also add to my previous suggestions that Joe shouldn't try to fact-check Trump. Like, tell the truth in your own message, but don't waste time responding to Trump. Any back and forth validates Trump more than he deserves. Like, don't bother to say "that's not true" but maybe start your own response by saying "the truth is."

Biden might get a lot less time with this approach, but in terms of value in convincing "undecided" voters, I would rank it: 1) Trump spewing and acting like a child 2) Biden making an earnest appeal to voters and 3) Biden struggling to talk over an interrupting Trump. The just being presidential tactic might decrease 2 a little, but most of the 3 would just become 1 and that would be a net win to me.
posted by snofoam at 7:00 AM on September 30 [1 favorite]


I know it's a bad idea and it would lead to absurd escalation, but I can't help hoping that Biden shows up to the next debate with an air horn.
posted by MrVisible at 7:10 AM on September 30 [4 favorites]


What if instead of cutting the mic if you don't stop talking you instead just loop the mic back to speakers in your own podium slightly delayed to get a speech jammer like effect?

Like this (i think):
https://www.stutterbox.co.uk/

Though I do wonder if it would be more effective on trump (because he would then hear what kind of nonsense he's saying) or less effective (because he's literally a narcissist that loves the sound of his own voice)
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 7:18 AM on September 30 [4 favorites]


Both Nora O’Donnell and Gayle King who came on afterwards (CBS) were visibly shocked and disgusted.

The issue is less about who "won" the debate as in the media narrative that emerges. Too often the media have allowed Republican spin to influence their narrative -- Gore "sighed" too much, etc. (Were I in charge of a newsroom, reading the Drudge Report* would be a fireable offense.)

But if disgust at Trump becomes the order of the day -- and how could it not -- then his public perception will suffer another setback at a time when he can't afford that outcome at all. And his inevitable lashing out will only reinforce the notion.

America is in the process of extracting itself from an abusive relationship. After Election Day we'll see the tantrums of someone who has finally been rejected once and for all -- and, of course, that's the most dangerous phase. But the determination to fire Trump gets stronger every day.

And after that, we'll just have to move forward as if whatever they want doesn't matter ,and only what we want does.

*Yes, I know Drudge covered the Trump tax story negatively.
posted by Gelatin at 7:18 AM on September 30 [8 favorites]


hoping that Biden shows up to the next debate with an air horn.
Recently saw a re-posting of the Joe Biden trash-talking Trump with Obama memes and was struck how good they were - in the sense that they reenforce the idea that Trump is weak and Biden a bit blue-collar-tough. It's a good look, I would think.

The other thing was someone mentioning that they only watched the first fifteen minutes (couldn't bear anymore) but that in those fifteen minutes Biden made it kind of clear what he was promising people and Trump just ranted: point - Biden.
posted by From Bklyn at 7:18 AM on September 30 [1 favorite]


Biden's campaign is reporting that it had its best fundraising hour ever in the 60 minutes after the debate concluded. So there's that.
posted by Paul Slade at 7:23 AM on September 30 [19 favorites]


Got inspired (somehow) and cut this together, enjoy: Chris Wallace trying to get Trump to commit to basic decency like
posted by Rhaomi at 7:30 AM on September 30 [6 favorites]


The right fringe is absolutely giddy about Flynn's adventures in Judge Sullivan's court.

If you spaced out during the daylong oral arguments y'day, there's a good summary on Lawfare, and I would suggest very little for them to be actually giddy about, but asshole Trump fans gotta hate-signal other asshole Trump fans, or they're not really asshole Trump fans.
posted by mikelieman at 7:32 AM on September 30 [5 favorites]


From a friend in Philly:

“Bad things happen in Philadelphia”

Yeah, like that time we overthrew a dictator, won the revolutionary war, invented American democracy, invented the American flag, and founded a whole nation.

I can see how Trump would definitely hate those things.
posted by box at 7:34 AM on September 30 [66 favorites]


I can't help hoping that Biden shows up to the next debate with an air horn.

presidential props arms race
posted by BungaDunga at 7:38 AM on September 30 [1 favorite]


I watched Hamilton and I’m pretty sure all those things happened in New York.
posted by lostburner at 7:38 AM on September 30 [9 favorites]


Trump-supporting Twitter seems to be leaning heavily into the "Wallace was in the tank for Biden!!!11!!" take this morning.

Good to see they know Trump blew it, then.
posted by Gelatin at 7:47 AM on September 30 [5 favorites]


I watched Hamilton and I’m pretty sure all those things happened in New York.

Next to the airport.
posted by LooseFilter at 7:53 AM on September 30 [2 favorites]


If you spaced out during the daylong oral arguments y'day, there's a good summary on Lawfare, and I would suggest very little for them to be actually giddy about, but asshole Trump fans gotta hate-signal other asshole Trump fans, or they're not really asshole Trump fans.

It's much like the debate we're discussing; if you happen to view the world through MAGA-tinted glasses, Trump won the debate with ease because he was the most forceful, he conceded nothing, he was the loudest and he trampled all over Biden's opportunities to speak. (Also, you should take those glasses and throw them into a wood chipper.)

Flynn's prosecution (and its ongoing defanging) is a core element of the Trumpoid worldview. Exonerating Flynn "proves" in their eyes that Trump is innocent, that the real colluders and fraud-purveyors and criminals were the Democrats and their allies in the FBI, that Obama and Biden and Hillary are all tainted, that Russiagate is a complete liberal hoax, that the media is 120% biased against conservatives because they refuse to publish "facts" as conservatives see them, and that Catch-22's most elemental form remains true: that they can do anything that we can't stop them from doing.

And here is Bill Barr declaring that, no, you cannot make my DOJ prosecute Flynn for his alleged misdeeds. Here is Sidney Powell (one of Hannity's regular guests) declaring in court that the Grand Unified Left-Wing Conspiracy Theory is all accurate. Here is Team Trump grinning that the left can't prove that Flynn is dirty and they are not, and even if they can prove it they can't prosecute him for it, and even if they can prosecute him for it Trump's pardon power is a whim away.

The facts don't matter if the result (Flynn avoiding imprisonment) is certain and the presentation (Powell yapping away about bias and recusal and corruption) is loud enough.
posted by delfin at 7:54 AM on September 30 [6 favorites]


As for political violence, it doesn't take the Proud Boys occupying every polling place.

Even one or two white supremacist mass shooters at heavily Democratic polling places will be a catastrophic disruption and scare away many voters in other places.

Remember this electron is being decided by razor thin margins in a handful of low population states and Florida. Even a little violence could easily sway the results.

Plus of course Trump will use any violence as an excuse to declare the election invalid and get his SCOTUS majority to make him President for life. There are hundreds of thousands of armed right wing people on the edge of violence, all it takes is something to push just one over the edge.
posted by sotonohito at 7:56 AM on September 30 [16 favorites]


I'm just watching the carcass of the GOP in danse macabre right now.

Former FBI Director James Comey testified on the Russia investigation before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

To me, this is the ongoing problem that supports the petulant child in the White House.
posted by zerobyproxy at 7:58 AM on September 30 [6 favorites]


gotta say, I'm finding the Drudge Report's lead links (top left corner) provide as useful a summary as any in terms of What Just Happened!

BALZ: A dispiriting first faceoff -- and an insult to America...
Chaos reigns in hell debate...
GOODWIN: Bad plan by Trump...
Wolf Blitzer: I Wouldn't Be Surprised If This Was The Last One...
Insult to circus workers, say circus workers...
Undecided voters describe President as a 'crackhead', 'arrogant' in focus group...
READY TO RUMBLE: Trump tells Proud Boys to 'stand back and stand by'...
'Ruined Biggest Layup in History'...
BUMP: Baffling debate strategy was to tweet out loud for 90 minutes!
WOODWARD: Assassinating the Presidency...
Joe faces down raging Don...
Review: Chris Wallace Lost ALL Control!
Worried World Reacts: Dangerous Weeks Ahead...
BIDEN UP IN BETTING MARKET...
Campaign raises biggest hourly sum...
Posts Clip With Trump as Crying Emoji...
Early surge of Dem mail voting sparks worry inside GOP...

posted by philip-random at 8:29 AM on September 30 [2 favorites]


While there is some possibility that right-wing brownshirts will try to show up at a small number of polling locations in areas with a high density of PoC it seems unlikely that they'll actually succeed in much intimidation since most states have pretty strict no protesting or politicking rules within x number of feet from a polling location. So if they show up and start trying to intimidate voters pull out your camera and make sure that you record their actions and try not to directly engage with them. Furthermore if they go too far down this road they look like thugs and hooligans. It's not the post-Civil War pre-Civil Rights era south where blatant voter intimidation is going to be condoned by most voters.

Most of the actual voter suppression takes place way in advance of the election and is currently based around limiting the number of polling locations and limiting the window for counting mail-in votes. That combined with the microtargeting of "undesirable" voters so they don't show up or if they do show up they vote for a third-party is where most Republican efforts will go.

Yes there is some valid concerns that day of in-person voting will skew Republican since many Democrats will vote by mail and many states don't start tabulating results until election day and thus there might be a chance that Trump can claim victory on November 3rd before the mail-in votes start crushing him but as long as Biden doesn't concede and there is no obvious partisan court rulings that halt counting of ballots then just let this play out. Honestly I'm actually pretty confident that Biden will be the clear winner on the third anyway even if Trump will likely try to avoid conceding.

If you feel like you are up to voting in person it might be worthwhile especially if your state has a long period of early voting. At least in most of the times I've done early voting the number of people in a polling location is actually fairly small and thus Covid exposure should be reduced especially with proper mask usage. Otherwise if you are planning on voting via the mail make sure you get those ballots postmarked and sent in asap. If you want to be a real hero then volunteer to be an election worker or do a Souls to the Polls or send Pizzas to polling locations with the stupid long lines or whatever you can to make it easier on people voting in those areas day of the election.

Hopefully Democrats can get the trifecta this year and are willing to abandon the legislative filibuster and one of the earliest bills that Biden signs is making election day a national holiday. Won't solve every problem but would go a long way to helping voters in future years.
posted by vuron at 8:33 AM on September 30 [15 favorites]


1.6 million ballots have already been cast. Next week, we’re going to be four weeks from Election Day, and that means early voting and mail in voting is going to start in a lot more states. It’s possible that well over ten million ballots could be cast by the time the next debate rolls around.
posted by azpenguin at 8:38 AM on September 30 [6 favorites]


Last weekend here in Portland there were rumours of over 10,000 Proud Boys infiltrating our city and causing mayhem. In actual truth, only a few hundred showed up, and in photographs, they looked more like they were aspiring to drink some local craft brew and visit the food carts, clothed in what seemed like faux hipster-y, rural-chic.
posted by nanook at 8:41 AM on September 30 [9 favorites]


The most common meme I've seen floating around social media today is a fervent desire to make Samuel L. Jackson the next debate moderator.
posted by TwoStride at 8:41 AM on September 30 [43 favorites]


the Drudge Report's lead links (top left corner)

and then a little further down the page ...

GOOGLE searches for 'move to Canada' spike after presidential debate...
posted by philip-random at 8:43 AM on September 30


From Douglas Rushkoff:
We are to imagine polling places surrounded by scary white guys waving MAGA flags and shotguns, intimidating black people from voting at all. We are to believe - like Trump says - that getting a fair shake will be impossible. He wants to show that he can break the system we would use to remove him.

And from the looks of last night, American democracy has been irrevocably destroyed by this guy.

But that’s his purpose. That’s not reality; it’s just the reality he’s trying to create with his language and performance. He broke the TV show that’s been passing for political debate for the past few decades, but the TV is not the real world. It never was.

Last night, Donald Trump may have made it look like democracy was done for. But that was just an illusion. Democracy is, at its core, still working fine, thank you very much. Why trust him on the futility of voting when he’s lied about everything else? Trump hasn’t hacked democracy with these antics. He’s simply hacked television. He is conducting a form of mass media attack on the American public because he can no longer win an election. All he can do is demoralize us to the point where we believe an election is no longer possible - that he will suppress the vote, or simply refuse to leave.

Biden’s biggest job last night was not to win on the issues. That’s the easy part. His real job is convince people that voting itself can still work. To counter Trump’s psychological warfare. That’s why the most important thing by far that he said last night wasn’t a jab at Trump’s policies, it was affirmation of the political process.:
“He says he is not sure what he will accept, but it doesn’t matter. If we get the votes, it is all over. He will go. He cannot stay in power. It won’t happen. It won’t happen. Make sure you understand you have in your control to determine what the country will look like in the next four years.”

So no, last night was not a debate. It was more of a competition over our perception of reality. Trump showed that the only way he can win a debate or an election is to convince us that there’s nothing we can do to stop him. That resistance is futile.

But according to Trump’s own logic, all we need to do to defeat him is to believe otherwise, and vote. It’s that easy.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 8:45 AM on September 30 [91 favorites]


In the future, moderator needs an air horn.
posted by pee tape at 8:42 PM on September 29 [15 favorites +] [!]
And a spray bottle.
posted by mazola at 8:48 AM on September 30 [3 favorites]


I saw someone suggesting a shock collar on Trump.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 8:49 AM on September 30 [7 favorites]


Maybe we can get John Goodman to be the next moderator instead?

Just checked the ballot status again and it shows that absentee ballot was received, accepted, and will be counted, for both me and my spouse. Like a lot of people, not only is this debate not changing my mind, I knew for the past FOUR FUCKING YEARS who I was voting against in November. I just want it over, I want a "YOU'RE FIRED" meme on every Twitter, I want a U-Haul moving truck outside the White House, I want a bunch of state A.G.s waiting with warrants and jumpsuits (in a nice, complementary shade of "Failed Dictator Orange").
posted by caution live frogs at 8:51 AM on September 30 [19 favorites]


So, anyone think Trump will adjust for the next debate? Or will he interrupt and talk over Biden in the town hall format, maybe with a bonus recap of his background lurk from 2016?
posted by Reverend John at 9:02 AM on September 30


I can imagine nothing more fitting than the next debate being moderated by John Goodman at the end of Barton Fink, thundering down a burning hallway blasting a shotgun and screaming "I'll show you the life of the mind," an apocalyptic elegy for informed democratic discourse and the marketplace of ideas
posted by Beardman at 9:11 AM on September 30 [13 favorites]


Yep, Trump is all about creating the illusion of winning bigly. Americans tend to support winners or at least people they think are winners. So the gilded trappings that Trump is so fond of displaying are his way of success signaling even though his record as a businessman has been abysmal. Among some proponents of prosperity gospel this illusion of success even has the impact of making him seem like a good person but there is no way that God would bring success to a sociopath grifter. Of course this ignores the fact that he's anything but a self-made success. Hell had he just taken the money he got from dad and invested in the S&P 500 he would be vastly wealthier than he actually is but he's got feed his vanity and that means living large and taking risks based upon his instincts even though those instincts have been shown over and over to be absolutely terrible.

I've seen so many type-A managers and executives over the years that are basically focused on creating the illusion of competence and mastery despite being terrible at managing and strategic thinking. It's always about tactical wins and creating the "alpha male" or as the kids on 4chan would say Chad personality. Trump is fake it till you make it on a national scale and like so many people that try to bullshit their way through life he's failing.

The people that he surrounds himself are a core part of that. One saying I like to use is that "As surround themselves with other As and Bs surround themselves with Cs and Ds". While Trump being a B is debatable it's clear that he standard operating procedure is to surround himself by sycophants that he can use and abuse in an attempt to prop up his ego and when they fail to keep telling him that why yes those robes are exquisite then he gets rid of them.

I know there is a tendency to look at Biden with some doubt and I can totally understand why he doesn't look as impressive as Obama, or Warren or either Clinton but it's clear that he is a much closer to a A who is willing to surround himself with other highly competent As than a preening peacock who is all style and zero substance. The more that Biden presents the image of grace and poise and integrity the weaker Trump's illusion of seeming like the invincible mastermind playing 8 dimensional chess is.
posted by vuron at 9:14 AM on September 30 [9 favorites]


I'm leaning toward Wolf Blitzer's quick take that there won't be any more Trump-Biden debates. Which is pretty much a first for me -- paying attention to anything Wolf Blitzer has to say.

Interesting days ahead ...
posted by philip-random at 9:16 AM on September 30


Biden wins instant polls. Winners in these surveys typically gain in post-debate polls.
[A] closer look in this case raises the possibility of good news for Mr. Biden. His favorability rating improved by a net four percentage points, compared with how the same respondents answered before the debate. The president’s rating declined by a net four points.
GOOGLE searches for 'move to Canada' spike after presidential debate...

As an immigrant from the US to Canada myself, watching the election from up here is like getting constant texts from your ex about how they're doing really badly, lost their job, getting deeper into drugs, basically doing all the things you were always worried about them doing and that's why you broke up with them, and you feel terrible for them because they had so much potential but also the messages are getting weird and you're pretty uncomfortable but also all your friends still hang out with them for some reason so you need to stay on good terms even though you're starting to worry they're going to show up at your place at 3am with a hatchet.
posted by saturday_morning at 9:19 AM on September 30 [51 favorites]


One thing that I wish the media put together is the Trump camp was pretty explicit that their strategy was to “let Trump be Trump”. So what everyone saw is the real leadership style of the Commander in Chief! Authenticity is a double-edged sword.

I don’t think Trump can stop playing the only song he knows...
posted by The Ted at 9:20 AM on September 30 [3 favorites]


The president’s rating declined by a net four points.

For almost his entire term, Trump's approval rating has lived in about a 4 point range. Recently it's been at the top of that range. If it falls to the bottom of that range and stays there during the election season, then I think he's toast, barring substantial electoral interference and manipulation by Republicans (which can by no means be discounted, unfortunately).
posted by jedicus at 9:23 AM on September 30 [4 favorites]


Interrupting and jamming up the conversation is the best strategy he's got at the moment. This debate was trump at his most effective. If he'd never done any debates he'd probably be better off, but doing one and then cancelling the rest makes him look like a coward. I would expect he'll double-down on the strategy at the town hall, complete with an attempt at looming. Biden, being in better physical condition than trump, should should take him for a walk if he tries to be physically intimidating.

You know, stand up straight (which trump can't do), walk around the arena to the extent practicable, just really create the optics of trump being a feeble old man following and shouting. Joe Biden may be older, but trump looks older. Biden should be able to physically dominate the space, and I think it would work for him.
posted by mrgoat at 9:33 AM on September 30 [10 favorites]


A candidate playing coy with Proud Boy violence and inviting poll intimidation tactics is a candidate who solidly knows they are nowhere near winning on votes. So there's that.
posted by mazola at 9:38 AM on September 30 [20 favorites]


just really create the optics of trump being a feeble old man following and shouting

That worked for Obama against McCain.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:46 AM on September 30 [3 favorites]


The answer to the Hunter Biden crap, the first time it came up, should have been:

What the national discussion should be about is expanding on Cenk Uygar "of course it's corruption" by actually looking into the court history that makes the money giving to family and friends legal. Something to put on in the background would be Episode 77 and the one before that Episode 66

Otherwise - Give both of 'em the Assange court treatment. Put 'em both in glass boxes and cut mics when they are not supposed to be talking. Watching the clip show of one of 'em sputtering and almost no noise of what they are shaking their fist at the cloud while wearing an onion on their belt which was the style should be soothing.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:00 AM on September 30


I'm leaning toward Wolf Blitzer's quick take that there won't be any more Trump-Biden debates. Which is pretty much a first for me -- paying attention to anything Wolf Blitzer has to say.

Well, this one generated millions of dollars in donations for the Biden campaign, and was a stark reminder of just how bad things are. Keeping up the reminders as we near the election seems like a necessary evil to me.

---

Unrelated, I'm still hopeful that the country doesn't devolve into authoritarianism after the election, and that a lot of the carefully hidden info about Trump+Russia comes spilling out. Who knows, maybe we get treason charges against some key members of congress...
posted by kaibutsu at 10:02 AM on September 30 [5 favorites]


We made it about fifteen, twenty minutes in before deciding to turn the debate off and read about it later, so we could spend our evening on more pleasant things. The snippet I caught live left me with a sense of disquiet. Like everything else these days, it felt like a background scene from a 70s dystopian film. What I've read has not eased that. This was a debate in which Trump opened by threatening a Republican seizure of power for the sake of one-party authoritarian rule and went on to openly threaten physical violence against voters.

A lot of people have their heads buried in the sand about what is happening here. Should Biden win, there is going to have to be a lot of work toward patching the exploits and loopholes and gaps in law where decorum has always upheld stability. I have zero confidence in a Biden administration being willing to do that work, especially since the Obama administration continued the Bush project of tearing the holes open wider. Especially since the pretense of Republicans as a legitimate political party is gone. There are four years to essentially patch US democracy up to code, after which I anticipate a backlash. Should Biden lose, that is it, the US as it has been is over. Votes matter, obviously, but Trump and Republicans are going to declare a seizure of power regardless of what happens. Everyone has to be prepared for that - the outcome of the election likely depends on how people respond to that. Be ready for that and be talking to people you know about it now.

Yes, I am a pessimist and I spend a lot of my time examining worst-cases many of which are unlikely to pass, but this is not one of those. This is one of my dialed back readings. The situation in the US is deeply unstable. I sincerely do not understand how any functioning adult can look at what is happening and believe that things will be fine.

Do not be complacent now, do not be complacent should Biden win. Stop relying on norms that are long dead and believe the evidence of your own eyes.
posted by Lonnrot at 10:03 AM on September 30 [16 favorites]


For a variety of reasons Kamala Harris was not my first choice as the Democratic VP nominee, but if she's elected I think we can be confident of rather... energetic... efforts against the many Republican malefactors.
posted by PhineasGage at 10:13 AM on September 30 [10 favorites]


@saturday_morning, also the US is Canada’s biggest trading partner, and there’s that long, long border (and a chronically underfunded military), and the white nationalist rhetoric is leaking up here as well. Canadians have so many reasons to worry about the US beyond empathy
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:13 AM on September 30 [6 favorites]


trump is, at the very least, a proto-fascist

Part of the problem here is the laws of the United States which support actions being called fascist legal.

Taking the Portland 'unmarked people grabbing a protester off the street' incident as a "this is what Fascists do" event the law backing it was from 2003 by Bush the Lesser. Kids in cages - someone else was doing that as 'legal' before Trump.

The complaints about Trump being a Fascist are loud. The people asking "don't we need to change the laws that allow such" are just not amplified.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:19 AM on September 30 [6 favorites]


The president’s rating declined by a net four points.

Ah yes, the classy white supremacists who like the content but not the presentation.
posted by benzenedream at 10:22 AM on September 30 [5 favorites]


I have zero confidence in a Biden administration being willing to do that work, especially since the Obama administration continued the Bush project of tearing the holes open wider.
One point that Biden had no answer for was why there were so many federal judge openings that Trump has been able to fill. The answer is of course Senate obstruction, but the possibility that Biden will not have full control of the 3 branches if elected is legitimate, and what he can do to fight that was left hanging....
posted by The_Vegetables at 10:25 AM on September 30 [3 favorites]


I don't think Biden can answer the question about court-packing. There are so many ifs, and apart from the obvious one of the number of Dem seats in Congress, I think there is also a more difficult one about the way the Supreme Court conducts itself during next year. If they politicize the court (even more than they have already), then court-packing or impeachments might be on the table. If they stick to the law and reason, the backing for those things won't be there in the population and thus not in Congress. Says I, a foreigner who already thinks it's a huge mistake and failure of Congress that the judges have so much power in the US.
posted by mumimor at 10:33 AM on September 30 [2 favorites]


1) I donated to Biden during the debate because how could I not.
2) I signed up to be a poll worker to protect the little old ladies who usually do it and can't this year because of Covid, and I will protect them and their votes from "proud boy" Nazi cosplayers just the same as I will from the virus. Like hell some two-bit bullies are going to intimidate me, or any other voter or worker -- we have ALL been through worse shit than their sorry asses can bring. Good people fought slavers and misogynists and genocidal maniacs so we could have this right and some "proud boy" isn't going to take it away.

This debate was a disgrace, but honestly, it was just more of Trump being Trump and it's hard for me to feel shocked or appalled at anything about him or from him anymore. If anything, his "performance" makes me think that he's running scared.

Good on Biden for being a leader and for saying flat out that he's the pro-democracy candidate. For fuck's sake.
posted by rue72 at 10:34 AM on September 30 [38 favorites]


but if she's elected I think we can be confident of rather... energetic... efforts against the many Republican malefactors.

Given the past "move on" effort post Bush and the unwillingness to try Trump on things that he has done when the possibility of a different elected official having done something similar - such confidence is misplaced.

A Church-style commission might even be too optimistic to happen.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:34 AM on September 30 [4 favorites]


the possibility that Biden will not have full control of the 3 branches if elected is legitimate, and what he can do to fight that was left hanging

I think the single most important thing to do, if Democrats control Congress, is to give representation to currently unrepresented Americans. Specifically, we need Puerto Rico and DC statehood. Those are both strategically sound for Democrats (providing 4 new Senators, somewhere around 4 new voting Representatives*, and 5-6 electoral votes* which will almost certainly tilt strongly Democratic) and inarguably a moral imperative: both DC and Puerto Rico are populous regions whose resident citizens are definitively disenfranchised in the national sphere, to their documented detriment.

I'd also favor bringing in Guam/USVI/NMI/AS, as a bloc or separately, but doing so would mostly point up the farcical nature of the Senate and electoral college, since even taken together they're tiny, with barely over half the population of Wyoming. They need enfranchisement of some sort, but bringing them in as states looks more like a power grab than an ethical necessity.

* The numbers on this are difficult to figure exactly, since if we keep the House at 435 members (which I don't think we should do, but that's a different fight), presumably the inclusion of Puerto Rico and DC will result in shifting numbers around. Under current apportionment DC would get 1 and Puerto Rico would get 4, but then we'd have to do an across-the-board reduction to account for those 5 and I haven't run the numbers to see where those would come from.
posted by jackbishop at 10:36 AM on September 30 [22 favorites]


the shame boys showed up recently at at least one early voting site in VA.

the ny board of elections site says they processed my absentee ballot 9-17 and I still haven't received it
posted by brujita at 10:40 AM on September 30 [2 favorites]


I have zero confidence in a Biden administration being willing to do that work, especially since the Obama administration continued the Bush project of tearing the holes open wider.

Bush and Cheney were willing to fuck off and enjoy their ill-gotten gains as long as they were assured that the Hague wouldn't be coming for them. Trump is congenitally unable to shut up and will likely be agitating for stochastic terrorism without the benefit of presidential immunity.
posted by benzenedream at 10:41 AM on September 30 [7 favorites]


Under current apportionment DC would get 1 and Puerto Rico would get 4, but then we'd have to do an across-the-board reduction to account for those 5 and I haven't run the numbers to see where those would come from.

I don’t care where the numbers would come from. Adding DC and PR is objectively the right thing to do, regardless of party.
posted by mochapickle at 10:50 AM on September 30 [21 favorites]


there is going to have to be a lot of work toward patching the exploits and loopholes and gaps in law where decorum has always upheld stability. I have zero confidence in a Biden administration being willing to do that work

Isn't this work that needs to be done legislatively, not with the executive branch? I agree those loopholes need to be closed and enforcement mechanisms put in place.
posted by JenMarie at 10:50 AM on September 30 [4 favorites]


Wolf Blitzer's quick take that there won't be any more Trump-Biden debates

Please. Biden, at the very least, hung back and let Trump scare the shit out of bunch of folks, and generated cash while doing so. He's definitely not backing out now. And Trump can't back out without appearing "weak", which he can't do because raging narcissist ego and he'll lose support.

Blitzer is way too invested in the idea that Trump is just a momentary aberration rather than the culmination of decades of conservative positions and policies and tactics, and thus can't recognize that all the "gentlemen's agreements" that have guided and governed the political process for years are being flung down and trod upon by Trump and his supporters.
posted by soundguy99 at 10:54 AM on September 30 [23 favorites]


The Commission on Presidential Debates just released a statement:
"The Commission on Presidential Debates sponsors televised debates for the benefit of the American electorate. Last night’s debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues. The CPD will be carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly. The Commission is grateful to Chris Wallace for the professionalism and skill he brought to last night’s debate and intends to ensure that additional tools to maintain order are in place for the remaining debates."
Did the Commission on Presidential Debates just call Chris Wallace a tool?

I know it's not the most likely reading, but I'm still going to go with it.
posted by box at 10:57 AM on September 30 [56 favorites]


I'd also favor bringing in Guam/USVI/NMI/AS, as a bloc or separately, but doing so would mostly point up the farcical nature of the Senate and electoral college, since even taken together they're tiny, with barely over half the population of Wyoming. They need enfranchisement of some sort, but bringing them in as states looks more like a power grab than an ethical necessity.

A hypothetical solution:

1. Every territory gets at least one Representative in the House who is empowered to vote a binding vote. You can determine the overall number of Representatives as you like (personally I favour overturning or drastically revamping the Apportionment Act), but every territory or state gets at least one.

2. The qualification for statehood is determined by a percentage of US population. Right now, the least populous state is Wyoming, with .17% of the population of the USA, so set it at .15% to give Wyoming some breathing room. If you don't represent at least that much of the United States, you don't get to be a state. This keeps the US Virgin Islands and the various Pacific territories from becoming states any time soon, but it also means that if Wyoming (and Vermont, and eventually DC and Alaska) continue to become less relevant because of population, they could potentially lose statehood.
posted by mightygodking at 10:58 AM on September 30 [5 favorites]


Wallace could have done better, but the main problem was that the structure assumed that Trump would follow the rules. The CPD should have figured that out about 5 years ago, but sounds like they will give the next moderator a mute button. I bet Wallace would have used it if he'd had one.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 10:59 AM on September 30 [13 favorites]


I bet even if you muted his microphone, Trump still wouldn’t shut up. He’d know Biden can still hear him and that Biden’s mic will still pick him up at least a little bit. He’ll just get louder to compensate. What else is he gonna do? Win on issues?
posted by wabbittwax at 11:06 AM on September 30 [18 favorites]


Did the Commission on Presidential Debates just call Chris Wallace a tool?

I think what they were trying to say was, "Wiil you shut up, man?"
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 11:12 AM on September 30 [14 favorites]


I want Samuel L. Jackson to moderate. If only to hear him say, "Mr President, shut the f* up!" to Trump's face.
posted by kira at 11:23 AM on September 30 [7 favorites]


> It was Wallace who brought up the Proud Boys, not Donnie. The audio was on a podcast just now.

It was actually Biden who brought up the Proud Boys (link to video clip). It's been niggling at me since last night, wondering why they would even be on his radar because they have mainly been causing trouble in the Pacific NW. I was reminded this morning that in July, Facebook removed a bunch of accounts linked to the Proud Boys and Roger Stone for misinformation and there have been other articles suggesting coordination between them. Roger Stone appears to have been emboldened by his recent commutation and is likely
returning to his old dirty tricks
. In 2016, the Trump campaign coordinated with Wikileaks through Roger Stone; is it now coordinating with the Proud Boys through him to incite some sort of election-day vigilantism? Remembering that Biden is now receiving intelligence briefings as the nominated Democratic candidate for president, what are the odds that the intelligence services are tracking this activity and including it in their briefings to Biden?
posted by SpaceBass at 11:24 AM on September 30 [17 favorites]


As far as I can see, the coronavirus is now spreading wildly in Red states. Do you guys think that will make a difference before the election and not least in the framing of the next debate?
Also, the climate change questions were a surprise. Here in Europe the issue is still huge. IMO, Biden is weak on climate change, but obviously better than Trump, how important is that discussion in the US?
posted by mumimor at 11:34 AM on September 30 [5 favorites]


Climate change was indeed a surprise. It is a huge discussion in some places, but somehow* not in the national press. Some good insight on the climate portion of the debate.

*money
posted by meinvt at 11:42 AM on September 30 [6 favorites]


They need enfranchisement of some sort, but bringing them in as states looks more like a power grab than an ethical necessity.

like who cares if it looks like a power grab. the republicans have been grabbing power for 40+ years and aren't really suffering for it. DC/PR/NMI/USVI/AS/Guam as states gives 12 new senators that, if reliably democratic, gives a lower bound of around 55 democratic senators in a bad year. once you have that, go ahead and pack the supreme court with a democratic president, and the senate never has to vote on a justice nominated by a republican president ever again. revise the apportionment act, make the house representation really reflect the majority of the electorate instead of the gerrymandered bullshit it does today. keep tax dollars from moving from blue states to red states - no more supplements for the lifestyle of these retrograde motherfuckers who think they're Galt-ian supermen.

i'm fucking tired of the obama-esque reflex to open negotiations by pre-conceding most of what ought to be on the table. the democrats reflect the majority of the electorate and should start acting like it. the next time they manage to control house, senate and presidency might be the last unless they make the most of it.
posted by logicpunk at 11:44 AM on September 30 [62 favorites]


I think once a state has been formally admitted to the union there really isn't a process of eliminating their status as a state. Realistically in terms of potential additions to the state count we are talking DC, PR and very unlikely Guam.

Personally I'd be in favor of removing the cap on representatives allocated and instead allocate additional representation based upon the Wyoming rule (which would give us 547 under 2010 census) or the Cube Root proposal (which would set the house at 690 per 2010 population numbers).

Obviously under either scenario you'd see a significant dilution of power among predominantly rural and agricultural states (which would be moderated by the number of senators guaranteed each state) so there would be significant opposition from smaller states (even those with Democratic representatives). Also some might see an increase in the total number of representatives as diluting their individual power so you might have some defectors from that. The question mark would be whether you could get enough support from the larger red states (Florida, Georgia, Texas) to push something like this through. Even if you get it through the house it might not have enough support in the Senate to get passed though especially since it would likely weaken the strength of red states in defining national policy.

It would of course also have some interesting implications in terms of the electoral college since the impact of having 100 of the electors allocated simply by being a state would be diminished. Again I doubt the smaller red states and even some states like Vermont would love to see themselves becoming even more irrelevant on the national level.
posted by vuron at 11:47 AM on September 30 [2 favorites]


Some good insight on the climate portion of the debate.

Biden also directly rebuked AOC and the squad at the end of the climate change segment, with the "Biden Climate Plan", not the "Green New Deal", and did a pretty poor job of threading that needle in conversations before that where he was talking about green jobs, climate change, and the Green New Deal interchangeably before the direct rebuke.
posted by The_Vegetables at 11:50 AM on September 30 [1 favorite]


Just learned that the friend of a friend has a live close-captioning transcription service, and she was at the debate last night. She apparently is reporting (to my friend, who told me this) that the reason Chris Wallace didn't mute Trump's mike when he was interrupting may have simply been because he didn't have the capability to do so.

My bet is that likely, no one ever assumed that it would be necessary.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:51 AM on September 30


I bet even if you muted his microphone, Trump still wouldn’t shut up.

True -- that's why they should both be in soundproof booths, like in Quiz Show.
posted by Rash at 11:57 AM on September 30 [2 favorites]


Yeah, there is absolutely no way that Trump would agree to having his mic muted for any reason. If he did, you can bet he wouldn't follow that rule and then would beat you over the head with said rule for denying him free speech.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:02 PM on September 30 [1 favorite]


AOC herself explains why Biden was correct to call it his climate plan, not the GND any more.
posted by polymodus at 12:02 PM on September 30 [24 favorites]


We'll need PPE for whoever has to clean out Trump's booth afterward. I don't think he'd respond well to being muted.
posted by bink at 12:04 PM on September 30


I also think to most leftists viewing the debate it was obvious that Trump was the one trying to drive a wedge between Democrats and leftist groups, every time he brought up "leftist extremists" and even "critical race theory" was mentioned by Wallace at one point, like a scary phrase.
posted by polymodus at 12:04 PM on September 30 [5 favorites]


Biden needs to get the votes of people who will not be alive to face the worst of climate change so it makes sense he has to throw the rest of us under the ecological collapse bus in terms of campaign rhetoric.

I don't really mind in terms of what he says on the campaign as long as he doesn't go slow on climate change as previous Democratic administrations have done.
posted by Ouverture at 12:04 PM on September 30 [3 favorites]


Doesn't PR consistently have a Republican governor? I don't know enough about it, but would it really bring Dems into Congress if it were made a state?
posted by prefpara at 12:06 PM on September 30 [2 favorites]


Isn't this work that needs to be done legislatively, not with the executive branch? I agree those loopholes need to be closed and enforcement mechanisms put in place.

Yes, it is. That's part of what fuels my pessimism. Who will seal those holes and how? Part of it will have to include limitations on executive power, which I can't see anyone agreeing to. Part of it will have to include bringing Trump et al to justice, which could theoretically happen but looks unlikely to me. Part of it will have to include dismantling ICE and DHS, and beginning a wider ratcheting down of authoritarianism. Part of it will have to include inactivating propaganda campaigns and essentially doing cult recovery on a mass scale. Part of it will have to include gradually dismantling the entire Republican party who currently control nearly the entire US government and will have a SC stacked in their favor indefinitely. Hence my pessimism. There is no realistic plan to deal with this crisis, and I can't see a Biden leadership being willing to acknowledge the scope. How does one even begin to defang authoritarians who nakedly demand absolute power for themselves while working within the limitations on power necessary for maintaining a stable democracy - the same limitations which allow the authoritarians free reign to simply knock over any efforts to bring them back down. The situation has to be significantly deescalated. I think that is still possible but extremely unlikely. I can see realistic steps forward, but they're all preceded by "????" or "then a miracle happens" right now.

And, yes, no doubt Biden's briefings include information on the Proud Boys and other fascist groups. US intelligence is tracking that and a lot of people are rather concerned. The attitudes above that "there aren't many of them" or that this is an easily muzzled threat are...uninformed. Republicans are likely to go all in on intimidation of physical violence, and the likelihood of stochastic terrorism is high enough to be a legitimate concern. One mass shooting or simply groups of armed white men standing around near polling stations could be enough to depress turnout.

This is a very shaky situation. Sorry my read on it is so grim. I really hope to be proven wrong.
posted by Lonnrot at 12:06 PM on September 30 [12 favorites]


Edging into fanfic territory but the Epic Rap Battles of History folks need to get their Trump v Biden one done ASAP (see also Obama v Romney and Clinton v Trump)

That or actually have their Abraham Lincoln and his giant bald bird turn up at debate two and administer slaps (with President Lincoln wearing appropriate PPE) to those who won't shut-up. Of the people, by the people, for the people, eagle!
posted by inflatablekiwi at 12:07 PM on September 30 [3 favorites]


Point large hurricane fan at each candidate. If the candidate begins to speak out of turn, the fan kicks on full blast until you shut up and let your opponent finish. If you continue for more than 10 seconds a light mist is added to the fan. Trump would look like Heath Ledger's joker by the 15 minute mark.
posted by cmfletcher at 12:12 PM on September 30 [26 favorites]


PR doesn't have Democratic and Republican parties. The pro-statehood party traditionally leans more conservative and has had several governors lean Republican in their post election lives. Even though conservative, they tend to be far more liberal than typical Republicans.

Here, the populace skews liberal and we had universal health care going back to the nineties.

Puerto Ricans in the United States tend to vote Democratic. Trump is generally loathed here.

Make DC and Puerto Rico states. Place VI in the domain of Florida with their own representative and rights to vote for Florida senators, governors and the president.

Make the Pacific territories in the domain of Hawaii and treat them as described above for VI.

These last two may require amendments to the constitution.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:18 PM on September 30 [17 favorites]


I bet even if you muted his microphone, Trump still wouldn’t shut up. He’d know Biden can still hear him and that Biden’s mic will still pick him up at least a little bit. He’ll just get louder to compensate. What else is he gonna do? Win on issues?

That's what I thought. I figured he'd just shout. I think he has to be put in an isolation chamber or something when he's not supposed to speak.
posted by dlugoczaj at 12:27 PM on September 30


There just aren't nearly enough Proud Boys - even if you include all their ilk - to make a difference. I mean, obviously, if they manage to interfere with even one polling place for even a few minutes, that's too much - but there are a LOT of polling places, and there are just really not very many of these guys at all.

Another thing to consider is that these guys are barely more than larpers; they don't have the command and control necessary to maneuver precisely in response to events. They are just terrorists. They can cause chaos and tragedy and terrifying headlines, but they really depend on our own fear and anxiety to give their actions outsized importance.


This article
, while dishearteningly full of shitty people being shitty, also demonstrates that the Patriot Coalition goons in Portland didn't have the ability to do the actual troublemaking they planned for August 22nd; when they tried to set up their more violent night action after a day of running amok in their paintball trucks, they could not muster the numbers they needed and had to flee Portland. And the Proud Boys are no more coordinated or numerous than these fucks.

Me, I'm more worried about how cops could fuck up the vote. The cops are the scary ones; they are fully aligned with the militia fucks and have numbers and highly effective command and control, and they operate unfettered under color of law.
posted by Sauce Trough at 12:39 PM on September 30 [24 favorites]


I bet even if you muted his microphone, Trump still wouldn’t shut up. He’d know Biden can still hear him and that Biden’s mic will still pick him up at least a little bit. He’ll just get louder to compensate. What else is he gonna do? Win on issues?

That's what I thought. I figured he'd just shout. I think he has to be put in an isolation chamber or something when he's not supposed to speak.


If there's one word Trump doesn't want associated with him in these debates, it's 'weak'. A tinny little impotent voice struggling to be heard in the background, being ignored by his opponent who is speaking calmly into the camera, getting more and more desperate for attention — sounds pretty weak to me. I'm all for it.
posted by saturday_morning at 12:40 PM on September 30 [11 favorites]


Trump spoke with the press over engines again today and sidestepped a question about white supremacists again. Unless he's intentionally linking white supremacist groups to law enforcement and saying that they need to be supported, and that's probably pretty close to the reality of his world.
"White supremacists—they clearly love you and support you. Do you welcome that?"

Trump: "I want law and order to be a very important part—it's a very important part of my campaign...What I'm talking about is police have to take care—and they should stop defunding the police."
posted by gladly at 12:42 PM on September 30 [5 favorites]


If nothing else, he's managed to ensure his position on white supremacists will be a question at the next debate.
posted by saturday_morning at 12:51 PM on September 30 [5 favorites]


Place VI in the domain of Florida with their own representative and rights to vote for Florida senators, governors and the president.

Make the Pacific territories in the domain of Hawaii and treat them as described above for VI.

These last two may require amendments to the constitution.


I don't see why it would -- there's already precedent for the federal government transferring land to states e.g., Nevada's original 1864 boundaries were significantly enlarged when portions of the Utah and Arizona territories were ceded to the state. Alexandria county was ceded back to Virginia in the 1840s and all it took was a vote by the residents of the county and an act of congress to transfer the territory.
posted by nathan_teske at 1:05 PM on September 30 [2 favorites]


I think once a state has been formally admitted to the union there really isn't a process of eliminating their status as a state. Realistically in terms of potential additions to the state count we are talking DC, PR and very unlikely Guam.

It's time to go further than simply adding a few states and otherwise leaving things as they are. It's time to Pack the union (pdf).
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 1:17 PM on September 30 [6 favorites]


It's time to Pack the union (pdf).

"Congress should pass legislation reducing the size of Washington, D.C., to an area encompassing only a few core federal buildings and then admit the rest of the District’s 127 neighborhoods as states"

Yeah, that's crazy talk.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:24 PM on September 30 [2 favorites]


It sounds crazy at first. But there are many fewer actual hurdles there than with plans like dividing up CA. And the end game doesn't leave us with 177 states, it leaves us with more or less existing state-level structure but with very different federal organization, so that the states don't really have federal power, but rather the people have direct power at the federal level. Seriously -- read the whole document, it's worth the time.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 1:30 PM on September 30 [6 favorites]


A couple of thoughts from the morning after the "debate":
  • I'm sure that somebody has done reaction polling on the two candidates' performances broken down by various demographic categories. I'd be fascinated to see if there is a statistically significant difference between men and women Trump supporters and undecided voters concerning their reaction to Trump's style last night. I guess most of the women I know who would be enraged by the constant interruptions and over-talking were not ever likely to support Trump or be undecided in the first place but I would really like to know if that style played really differently depending on the sex of the observer.
  • One of the moments where Biden was caught flat-footed was when Trump repeatedly pressed him to name a law-enforcement group that supported him. I've already written that I didn't think Biden was well-prepared to answer the "law and order" talking point (my preferred response would have been "We will have law and order only once every American can feel that we all enjoy the same rule of law. Imposing order by force without addressing the underlying problems will never work in the long run") but I think Biden particularly missed an opportunity to turn the "who in law-enforcement supports you?" back on Trump when he failed to respond that the investigators and prosecutors who have indicted many members of Trump's inner circle were obviously not universally in favor of Trump. As a bonus it might have triggered an out-of-control paranoid rant from the president about "deep state operatives"
  • I can see that poking this particular wasps' nest (WASPs' nest?) might not have been wise, but just as I think it is important to press the president on his support from white supremacists, I really wonder what would have happened if Biden had challenged Trump to put up or shut up on the QAnon "storm" narrative.
posted by Nerd of the North at 1:31 PM on September 30 [3 favorites]


Re: whether the actual-actual numbers of Proud Boys matters...

If memory serves, Timothy McVeigh was not affiliated with any such group, nor is Kyle Rittenhouse. The reach of these groups - their ability to inspire individuals to action - extends far beyond their card-carrying roster.

Those worry me just as much.
posted by Caxton1476 at 1:36 PM on September 30 [28 favorites]


One thing they pointed out on the FiveThirtyEight podcast was that Biden used to have a stutter, and apparently interrupting someone with a stutter can cause it. So the plan might have been "constantly interrupt Biden until he stutters badly and then you've got a clip you can put all over your ads and social media".
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:39 PM on September 30 [51 favorites]


I mentioned this in chat last night, and it remains the best succinct summary I can offer: if you had shown me an unedited video of this debate ten years ago, I would’ve thought it was the most layered, brilliant satire I’d ever seen.
posted by LooseFilter at 1:39 PM on September 30 [18 favorites]


What I would like to see the moderators do is ask questions not about policy per se, but about the underlying details of policy. Instead of " Why did you pull out of the Paris Accord" ask "Do you know how much atmospheric CO2 has risen in the past 50 years and why is that important?"

Instead of "Do you support the ACA?" ask "How many people will lose Heath care if the ACA is repealed and how will those people pay their bills when they get sick?"
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 2:13 PM on September 30 [17 favorites]


Doing a postmortem on this 'debate' makes no sense or who won. Donald Trump showed us who was four years ago and he's only gotten worse. I am terrified for my country and I just hope that the people who live in the 10 houses on my street with tRump signs rot in hell.
posted by bluesky43 at 2:13 PM on September 30 [9 favorites]


Apparently the Commission for Presidential Debates is now looking into a couple of order-preserving methods - including the ability to mute someone's mike if they speak out of order.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:15 PM on September 30 [4 favorites]


LooseFilter: if you had shown me an unedited video of this debate ten years ago, I would’ve thought it was the most layered, brilliant satire I’d ever seen.

There is the theory that God or the Lizard People or somebody gave control of the universe to Onion writers after Shrieking White-Hot Sphere Of Pure Rage Early GOP Front-Runner For 2016, just to see what else they could come up with.
posted by clawsoon at 2:17 PM on September 30 [11 favorites]


The commission for Presidential Debates and the big tv news providers have a vested interest in more rounds of "poo-flinging primates". for the rest of us, a debate between Harris and Pence would be okay, but there's really no point to another.
posted by OHenryPacey at 2:18 PM on September 30 [5 favorites]


There's an interesting (and IMO accurate) take on the Proud Boys statement from @Hal_Duncan
Why is my timeline full of people just saying Trump refused to condemn white supremacists rather than that he *gave them a fuckin command*?

*He told them to bide their time, be ready.*

*Then he identified anti-fascists as a target needing dealt with.*

Do not fuckin let the liberal chattering class's inveterate denial of the reality of a fascist intent on a coup twist this into just a debate club fucking *dissembling* over principles. When challenged to condemn white supremacists, he ASSUMED LEADERSHIP OF THEM.

In all senses of the term. Literally. Implicit in that command was an assumption of the power to command them. And in the act of giving a command to them, he publicly stepped into the role of leader to them.
Also of note from Jennifer N. Victor |@jennifernvictor
The notch below "weak democracy" is known as "competitive authoritarianism," where elections occur, but norms and institutions of democracy are not followed. That's where we are now. It's not where the US is going. This is now.
[Wikipedia link added by me].

It seems there's a few important questions:
  • How much of the vote can Trump win legitimately. (Seems to be >= 41%).
  • What margin can he gain via suppression, gerrymandering, and other skulduggery.
  • How much of an edge can he get in the EC vs. popular vote (2% in last election?).
  • How much can he afford to lose by, and still use his control of the state apparatus and SC to over-ride the result and remain in power. This may be zero, but he has been getting away with a lot that would have seemed impossible in earlier times.
posted by Buntix at 2:22 PM on September 30 [60 favorites]


One of the moments where Biden was caught flat-footed was when Trump repeatedly pressed him to name a law-enforcement group that supported him.

I failed to see then, and still fail to see now, why Biden should be required to have a law enforcement group officially supporting him. It was a stupid question and didn’t deserve to be dignified with an answer.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:24 PM on September 30 [22 favorites]


Finally catching up on the days' news now that the workday is over.

Over on Twitter, many survivors of domestic violence see echos of their abusers in Trump's behavior last night.

And I'm just struck by Josh Marshall's comment:
Trump is losing, probably not just the presidency but his immunity from the law. ... If he’s going to lose he wants to burn the country down.
posted by cheshyre at 2:24 PM on September 30 [26 favorites]


bluesky43: Doing a postmortem on this 'debate' makes no sense or who won. Donald Trump showed us who was four years ago and he's only gotten worse.

A theory from National Review: Trump's bullying only worked in 2016 because it was aimed at Clinton:
But the personal attacks [on Biden] didn’t really land. They just drew attention to Trump’s comprehensive paucity of class and moral fibre. And they didn’t land because they weren’t directed at Hillary Clinton. Trump’s pugnacious and bullish behavior is not a new debate tactic that he’s picked up this year. His behavior during the debates with Clinton was very similar — he even insinuated that he’d throw her in jail given the chance. But Trump’s pugilism didn’t hurt his debate performances as much last cycle because it was aimed at Hillary, a woman for whom huge swathes of the electorate cannot muster a single shred of sympathy.
The author is no doubt wrong that the reason was "Clinton’s own record of staggering moral illiteracy" - perhaps there's just maybe something else - but the idea that bullying anyone-but-Clinton doesn't go over as well with many voters is an interesting one.
posted by clawsoon at 2:25 PM on September 30 [14 favorites]


Over on Twitter, many survivors of domestic violence see echos of their abusers in Trump's behavior last night since the 2016 debates.

FTFY
posted by bl1nk at 2:27 PM on September 30 [14 favorites]


Weird Al & the Gregory Brothers have songified the debate (slyt)
posted by cheshyre at 2:51 PM on September 30 [11 favorites]


> One of the moments where Biden was caught flat-footed was when Trump repeatedly pressed him to name a law-enforcement group that supported him.
I failed to see then, and still fail to see now, why Biden should be required to have a law enforcement group officially supporting him. It was a stupid question and didn’t deserve to be dignified with an answer.
I agree, but I still see it as a lost opportunity to seize the initiative and redirect the conversation in a direction unfavorable to Trump. Discussing how many around Trump have been indicted and/or convicted so far is more favorable to Biden than Trump howling about "they're coming for your suburbs" and undercuts Trump's attempts to claim the "law and order" mantle. The more you can undercut Trump's claim to the law the more he is left to appear as he is -- an authoritarian thug who wants to use his power to suppress criticism.
posted by Nerd of the North at 2:53 PM on September 30 [6 favorites]


Over on Twitter, many survivors of domestic violence see echos of their abusers in Trump's behavior last night.

To point out that he has all the characteristics of an abuser is like saying that water is wet. To me. Why, oh why, is it not more obvious to people??
posted by Melismata at 2:57 PM on September 30 [7 favorites]


To point out that he has all the characteristics of an abuser is like saying that water is wet. To me. Why, oh why, is it not more obvious to people??

Maybe it is, but some people like having abusers in power?
posted by clawsoon at 3:01 PM on September 30 [5 favorites]


Some people like having abusive types in power, some people don't recognize abusive behavior when it's happening, some people have been conditioned by abuse to accept this sort of thing. There's all sorts of reasons that people fall victim to abuse, none of them the victim's fault. Absent a countervailing force of some kind, his type of abusive behavior has some success at controlling people. If it didn't, abusers wouldn't use these tactics, and he'd move on to some other kind of abuse.

We need to be that countervailing force.
posted by mrgoat at 3:10 PM on September 30 [5 favorites]


Trump is losing, probably not just the presidency but his immunity from the law. ... If he’s going to lose he wants to burn the country down.

Oh, so we're in the Nerobefehl stage of 2020.
posted by Omon Ra at 3:12 PM on September 30


Do not fuckin let the liberal chattering class's inveterate denial of the reality of a fascist intent on a coup twist this into just a debate club fucking *dissembling* over principles. When challenged to condemn white supremacists, he ASSUMED LEADERSHIP OF THEM.

Hal Duncan over here writing novels that make me question my fundamental ability to even process language while also writing internet comments that reassure me, no, I am not imagining it, all these clueless bobbleheads are (inadvertently?) trying to gaslight anyone paying attention to the ongoing fascist coup.

2020 is a very weird place.
posted by Lonnrot at 3:13 PM on September 30 [4 favorites]


It's time to Pack the union (pdf).

Also, to tackle gerrymandering (such as the electoral districts that are all the Democrat/nonwhite areas linked by a spider web of narrow corridors), enshrine a mathematical measure of convexity (such as maximum sum of absolute values of angles, or minimum percentage of the smallest circle encompassing the district that it may fill) as a non-negotiable criterion for electoral boundaries.
posted by acb at 3:23 PM on September 30 [11 favorites]


Why not make the Senate and President less powerful instead of trying to do the adding-more-states thing that'll be just as easy for Republicans to use when they're in power?
posted by clawsoon at 3:29 PM on September 30 [5 favorites]


Because if you can make them less powerful via majority vote legislation the GOP can simply make them more powerful again via majority vote legislation next time they're in power. You have to make it less likely they get full power (the President/Senate/House trifecta) again any time soon.

That isn't to see that a lot of this isn't pure fanfic. But PR statehood certainly isn't and DC statehood verges on it.
posted by Justinian at 3:39 PM on September 30 [9 favorites]


Why not make the Senate and President less powerful instead of trying to do the adding-more-states thing that'll be just as easy for Republicans to use when they're in power?

You can't just reduce the power of the Senate or change its apportionment without a constitutional amendment, which requires a 3/4 majority of states.

The "pack the union" proposal is to first carve up DC into a bunch of tiny states that collectively outnumber the rest of the USA. Then, you use those states' votes to effectively abolish the Senate and replace the electoral college with a national popular vote. Finally, you amend the amendment process itself to be based on proportional representation rather than by number of states, so that the same trick doesn't work twice.

Personally, I think that even though the result of this strategy would be obviously more equitable than what we have now, it's impossible to actually execute it without starting a literal civil war. But it's a fun thought experiment.
posted by teraflop at 3:41 PM on September 30 [9 favorites]


what if we use blockchain... somehow
posted by glonous keming at 3:43 PM on September 30 [20 favorites]


Given that there is a bit of sci-fi political theorizing here, I’m wondering about the issue that locking out a party also implies locking in a party. Sure, packing the Supreme Court, adding states to increase the number of senators may sound good now in order to shut down the republicans, who is to say that later on the Democratic Party goes bad and then we have to deal with them holding all the power. Maybe we really need to a) shut down all parties, b) publicly fund all elections with no private donations, and c) create a real democracy. But that may be as much sci-fi as any other proposal bouncing around in this thread.
posted by njohnson23 at 3:53 PM on September 30 [5 favorites]


Donald Trump Is America’s Abusive Father:
It is a terrible thing to be in thrall to such a person and to watch the world fail to stop him. Normally, however, this condition occurs in childhood (or in the context of an abusive marriage). That this roughly describes the present circumstances of many American adults is partly why so many people watching the debates felt such dread before it started, and such horror as it unfolded exactly as expected (maybe worse than expected). Nothing is more soul-crushing than watching an abusive father at work, because there appear to be no limits. ...

Those who have had an abusive relative know that what one longs for—what one wants to have happen more than anything in the world—is for someone in the outside world to acknowledge what’s happening. To see it, and to stop it. Biden’s performance was uneven, but he delivered on that in spades. He narrated what Trump was doing while looking at the camera and talking to the American people. He turned to him and said what so many Americans have desperately wished they could say: “Will you shut up, man?” It was cathartic, even validating.
posted by clawsoon at 3:55 PM on September 30 [30 favorites]


Adding states isn’t weird. In the 231-year history of the Presidency, there’s only ever been one guy who was President over the same number of states as there were when he was born. (And he cut it close, born the year after Alaska and Hawaii.)
posted by Huffy Puffy at 4:18 PM on September 30 [16 favorites]


How many new states could be added? Hasn't Puerto Rico rejected statehood?
posted by chaz at 4:30 PM on September 30


the adding-more-states thing that'll be just as easy for Republicans to use when they're in power?

Uh, where would these theoretically easy-to-add states come from?
posted by soundguy99 at 4:39 PM on September 30


Uh, where would these theoretically easy-to-add states come from?

People talked earlier about splitting California to get new states, so I figured you could split Louisiana or South Dakota just as easily.
posted by clawsoon at 4:41 PM on September 30


Adding states is...a non-starter unless we start colonizing a lot more places. Sure make DC a state and maybe sure get 1 or 2 territories to join if they want. But ya can't divide an existing state up. Well I mean we did that once, but the Civil War was going on.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 4:43 PM on September 30


Well, most states are not formed from existing states (Kentucky, Maine, and West Virginia are the three). They were formed from land acquired by the US, and that was done either from war and violence or purchasing it from European rulers. Since war and violence are definitely out of the question, I guess what I'm suggesting is maybe we should actually try to buy Greenland?
posted by FJT at 4:44 PM on September 30 [2 favorites]


There are four years to essentially patch US democracy up to code, after which I anticipate a backlash.
posted by Lonnrot


If the Dems get both houses and the presidency, they should assume the window of opportunity it offers for serious electoral reform will only last two years. All the key stuff needs to be done before the 2022 mid-terms.
posted by Pouteria at 4:54 PM on September 30 [18 favorites]


If memory serves, Timothy McVeigh was not affiliated with any such group

McVeigh was associated with a Michigan militia group and his coconspirator was an acknowledged member of said group.
posted by wierdo at 5:09 PM on September 30 [18 favorites]




You can't just reduce the power of the Senate or change its apportionment without a constitutional amendment, which requires a 3/4 majority of states.

Constitution nerdery: You can't actually change the Senate apportionment even with a Constitutional Amendment (ok technically you could change the # of senators, just not change the fact that every state gets the same number but that's pedantry). It's the only thing in the Constitution that cannot be changed, ever, without the states themselves agreeing to lose Senators.

Some folks try to D&D rules lawyer this by saying you could use an Amendment to change the part that says this can't be changed even with an Amendment but there's a reason you kick those people out of your party.
posted by Justinian at 5:26 PM on September 30 [6 favorites]


People talked earlier about splitting California to get new states, so I figured you could split Louisiana or South Dakota just as easily.

It's not actually just as easy, though, since the Admissions Clause of the Constitution says that Congress can admit new states, but altering existing states requires the agreement of the state legislature in addition to the US Congress. I got doubts about even the reddest of red state legislatures agreeing to curtail their own power and influence by splitting.
posted by soundguy99 at 5:46 PM on September 30 [1 favorite]


Given that there is a bit of sci-fi political theorizing here, I’m wondering about the issue that locking out a party also implies locking in a party.

The way I think about it -- and the way "Pack the Union" talks about it -- the point isn't to lock in a party but to change the way power is represented and distributed. Basically, the point is to undo the structural inequalities baked into the electoral college and the Senate. I don't want one-party rule. I want the government to be responsive to the will of the people (with constraints against tyranny of the majority, too -- but right now, we've got minority rule, which is even worse).
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 5:53 PM on September 30 [8 favorites]


The simple story is that Puerto Rico has voted for statehood, more than once. The longer goes like this.

This is from Wikipedia with a minor amount of annotation in brackets]

In November 2012, a referendum, the fourth as of that date, was held. A full 54.00% voted "No" to maintaining the current political status. [By making the vote yes or no to the status quo, that lumped the independents in with the statehood. After voting down the status quo a second choice was needed.] As their preferred alternative to remaining a commonwealth, 61.11% chose statehood, 33.34% chose free association, and 5.55% chose independence. [Commonwealth voters didn't want to change, so they were not fully represented in this part of the vote.] On December 11, 2012, the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico enacted a concurrent resolution requesting the President and the Congress of the United States to respond diligently and effectively on the demand of the people of Puerto Rico to end its current political status and to begin the transition of Puerto Rico to become a state of the union.

In 2014, resolutions were introduced in both houses of the United States Congress (H.R. 2000; S. 2020) to hold a yes-or-no referendum among the residents of Puerto Rico on statehood. If a "yes" majority prevailed, the President would have been required to submit legislation to Congress enacting Puerto Rican statehood. Both resolutions died in committee.

A fifth referendum was held on June 11, 2017. Turnout was 23%, a historical failure in a territory where voting turnout usually hovers around 80%. A boycott of the vote was led by the citizenry at large, citing discontent over never-ending non-binding referendums, and protesting Ricardo Rosselló's pro-statehood administration's choice to spend public funds in subsidizing this vote when the island was in the midst of a devastating fiscal crisis and battered by the imposed austerity measures of a non-elected fiscal control board regarded as the height of colonial imposition[by whom?]. Some would later try to attribute the boycott to the PPD party, citing its support for the status quo. The numbers, however, do not support the notion that the boycott was divided along party lines. Of the minimal number of voters who participated, 97.18% chose statehood, 1.50% favored independence and 1.32% chose to maintain the commonwealth status.

[So the Commonwealth voters were out-maneuvered and felt screwed.]

Reality: there has been a small majority or slight plurality in favor of statehood.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:11 PM on September 30 [10 favorites]


The simplest, fairest, and most straightforward solution is to pass something like the 2014 resolutions if Dems get the political trifecta, but reduce the choices to "statehood" and "independence". Status quo is not working and that must be recognized so "status quo" should not be an option.
posted by Justinian at 6:16 PM on September 30 [2 favorites]


Judge rules against Trump, upholding Montana's vote by mail, Reuters; Wednesday, 30 September 2020 22:13 GMT:
A federal judge in Montana on Wednesday upheld a plan to allow voters to cast ballots by mail, dismissing President Donald Trump's allegations that the process would be marred by fraud. U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen found that Governor Steve Bullock, a Democrat, was within his authority to allow the state's counties to use a mail ballot system to avoid the risk of transmitting COVID-19 at polling places.

The Trump campaign was among a number of plaintiffs that challenged the governor's move. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment....
(H/T Drudge Report).
posted by cenoxo at 6:21 PM on September 30 [16 favorites]


Some folks try to D&D rules lawyer this by saying you could use an Amendment to change the part that says this can't be changed even with an Amendment but there's a reason you kick those people out of your party.

As we've been seeing, it really all comes down to whether you're willing to do something and whether you control the supreme court. As it turns out, playing "fair" with the modern Republican party isn't actually a winning strategy.
posted by Candleman at 6:41 PM on September 30 [4 favorites]


Às it turns out, playing "fair" with the modern Republican party isn't actually a winning strategy.

The DMs' guide is explicit about alignment alterations. As the Mindflayer will definitely not help the Lich in the committee of Psionic Affairs.

There was talk of State of Ontonagon at various times.
posted by clavdivs at 6:54 PM on September 30 [2 favorites]


They should hold the next debate in Hawkins, Indiana.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:58 PM on September 30 [4 favorites]


"I got doubts about even the reddest of red state legislatures agreeing to curtail their own power and influence by splitting."

I don't know, some of these guys are extremely high on their own supply. Illinois has a group of eight dumbass downstate right-wing legislators known as the "Eastern Bloc" ('cause they're in the east part of the state and someone thought it sounded clever, and it lets people say "Eastern BLOCkheads" which they're annoyed) whose SOLE campaigning point the last couple cycles has been "Split Chicago off from the rest of the state so us right-thinking real Illinoisians don't have to pay for all of Chicago's poverty." They poll SIGNIFICANT numbers with that nonsense, and at least half of them appear to be true believers. The state GOP leadership used to just say it was a stupid idea, but they've made it SO popular, and SO toxic to the base to oppose it, that other downstate GOP legislators (who are not dumbasses) have to evade the question!

The thing is, Chicago gets back a little under $1 of every dollar it pays in taxes to the state. But the suburbs (/6 collar counties) only get back around 50 cents per dollar they pay in state taxes. And the 96 downstate counties? On average receive $1.50 for every $1 they pay in taxes, but the ones where the Eastern Bloc dinguses come from counties that receive $3 or even $4 in tax money from the state for every $1 they pay in.

This has been pointed out to the dinguses over and over, and they just keep insisting it's fake math and fake news and Democrats playing games with numbers. (And some of these guys are full-on anti-vaxxers and obviously anti-mask and continuously file frivolous lawsuits that get thrown out with prejudice, and so on.) Jefferson County put the question on the ballot in March as an advisory referendum and 75% of voters voted to secede (/kick Chicago out)! The proposals (a couple of which have been introduced to the state legislature by the dingus brigade) all propose separating Chicago and the collar counties -- i.e., something like 80% of the state's economy and 8 million of its 12 million people -- from downstate. It would be an utter catastrophe for downstate residents -- the more rural the area they live in, the worse the consequences would be. But the more rural the area they live in, the better this insane idea polls, and polls show they absolutely believe things would improve if Chicago stopped sucking them dry for taxes. (The racism is a big part of it.)

Anyway, Illinois is blue, but the polling downstate makes me think that convincing some red states to cut loose their biggest cities might be an easier lift than you'd think, if Fox News remains locked in its death spiral with the GOP base where they continually push each other farther from actual facts.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:10 PM on September 30 [36 favorites]


convincing some red states to cut loose their biggest cities might be an easier lift than you'd think,

Fair enough, although I have doubts about how well that would work as a strategy for redistributing power in Congress, which is kinda what clawsoon and I were discussing.

Like, the new "Chicagoland" would add 2 Dem Senators, downstate Illinois would keep the regular 2 Illinois senators, so that's a wash. And since House representation is dependent on population (obviously new states no matter how they're created will mean increasing the number of House seats), it would certainly be an open question as to whether the more sparsely populated rural areas would keep enough reps to offset however many reps would be created for the new Chicagoland.

I'm sure I've just put more thought into this while writing this than the dinguses ever have. I'm just saying that while some state legislatures might actually be willing to split their states up, there's another layer of difficulty to make that work out if their goal is to rejigger the balance if the next Republican administration and/or one or both houses of Congress want to "compensate" for adding DC and PR as states.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:36 PM on September 30


If the Democratic Party hits the trifecta, does anyone expect that to last longer than two years? Does anyone expect that during those two years the party will address the 6-3 Supreme Court majority? Somebody has to uphold the norms, and the norms demand waiting 35 years for another chance.
posted by moorooka at 7:51 PM on September 30 [6 favorites]


Full statehood should be granted to Puerto Rico and DC because it's the right thing to do, not because of some political calculus. Anyway, while they may start out blue there's no guarantee they'd stay that way so all this triangulation on vote totals might very well end up being meaningless within a generation.
posted by um at 8:16 PM on September 30 [20 favorites]


...triangulation...

Yep, pretty much all of the currently pro-dem fixes (expanding voter registration and turnout, admitting PR, removing the electoral college, fixing gerrymandering) are things that need to be done to a) put the fascists back in their holes, and b) subsequently clear the way for actually meaningful politics. The republican party is only viable in its current form by suppressing the vote. In a working democracy, it needs to do real work to expand its base. As it is, we're seeing the republican leadership weigh the question of whether they value the constitution (which they've proclaimed their love for so ardently) or power. Bill Barr pretty clearly believes that the ends justify the means.

There were various republican think pieces in the early aughts about, 'hey, maybe based on these demographic trends we shouldn't be a bunch of white supremacists?' Which went about as far as those oft-touted arriving-any-day-now obamacare alternatives...
posted by kaibutsu at 8:40 PM on September 30 [7 favorites]


Much earlier, Caxton1476 said:
If memory serves, Timothy McVeigh was not affiliated with any such group, nor is Kyle Rittenhouse. The reach of these groups - their ability to inspire individuals to action - extends far beyond their card-carrying roster.

Those worry me just as much.
While I agree with the core premise, that the ability to inspire bad acts from non-members is a huge worry, McVeigh was associated with multiple groups. Both in Michigan, as wierdo mentions above and Elohim City a white supremacist, "Christian Identity" cult/community that's still a going concern in Oklahoma.

(Distressingly, I know about the latter because the founder was a relative. The FBI wanted to talk with extended family back in the day.)

The degree to which right-wing violence is consistently, dishonestly portrayed as having been committed by "lone wolves" prevents society from naming the problem correctly.

The 2017 Las Vegas shooting is another case where it appears connections like that were written out of the official narrative promptly.
posted by bcd at 9:23 PM on September 30 [27 favorites]


They should hold the next debate in Hawkins, Indiana.

Sunnydale.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:18 PM on September 30 [3 favorites]


Sunnydale during the musical episode.
posted by MrVisible at 11:28 PM on September 30 [8 favorites]


That is a very good point. Isn't one common prelude to authoritarianism making democracy look like as much of a shitshow as possible? Hopefully it doesn't succeed, but the attempt is surely happening.

Some people drink Pepsi
Some people drink Coke
The wacky morning DJ
Says democracy's a joke


He says now do you believe
In the one big song
He's now accepting callers
Who would like to sing along

He says, do you believe
In the one true edge
By fastening your safety belts
And stepping towards the ledge


(content warning: that particular Youtube edition of the song fades into some particularly graphic presidential propagandizing from the aughts at the very end)
posted by XMLicious at 12:43 AM on October 1 [2 favorites]


The "pack the union" proposal is to first carve up DC into a bunch of tiny states that collectively outnumber the rest of the USA. Then, you use those states' votes to effectively abolish the Senate and replace the electoral college with a national popular vote. Finally, you amend the amendment process itself to be based on proportional representation rather than by number of states, so that the same trick doesn't work twice.

Is this more or less feasible than the Koch-sponsored constitutional convention to turn America into a fascist/feudal theocracy?
posted by acb at 1:08 AM on October 1 [2 favorites]


“The Family Is Worried Brad Will Start Talking”: Trumpworld Panics Over Debate Fiasco As Campaign Turmoil Mounts — Over three days, the New York Times dropped a tax bombshell, Florida cops cuffed Brad Parscale, and the president just couldn’t help himself onstage. “Trump didn’t win over any voters,” said a prominent Republican, “and he pissed off a lot of people.”, Vanity Fair – Hive, Gabriel Sherman, 9/30/2020:
...Trump doesn’t accept the consensus that the debate was a disaster because, sources said, he was unabashedly himself. “...people got to see why no one that has any integrity can work for Trump. This is what Trump is like in the Oval Office every day. It’s why [John] Kelly left. It’s why [Jim] Mattis quit,” said the prominent Republican. “Trump doesn’t let anyone else speak. He really doesn’t care what you have to say. He demeans people. He talks over them. And everyone around him thinks it’s getting worse.”

...the past week is an inflection point in the campaign. It started on Sunday night with the bombshell New York Times report that Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017. “For Trump the Times story was worse than losing reelection,” said the second Republican. “If you had told Donald back in 2015 that his tax returns would be exposed and he’d have all these investigations, I guarantee you he wouldn’t have run.”

...Trump’s former campaign manager Brad Parscale had been taken into custody outside his Ft. Lauderdale home and hospitalized after threatening to commit suicide and allegedly beating his wife days prior. Police body camera footage showing an officer brutally tackling a shirtless, 6’8” Parscale to the pavement instantly became a visual metaphor for the chaos engulfing the Trump campaign....
When you cry havoc and let your dogs slip, don’t be surprised if you also get bitten in the ass.
posted by cenoxo at 1:14 AM on October 1 [16 favorites]


Whenever I see clips from Fox & Friends on the nightly talk shows, the presenters just look humiliated. It just used to be when Donnie would call in to ramble at them, but now it's all the clips. I assume there are long sections that don't get picked up as soundbites for Colbert or Meyers or whatever where they're fine. I thought it must be me projecting, but I don't think so. Those are some really embarrassed people. I don't feel the least bit sorry for them, it's just that this is a new phenomenon to me, a situation so bad that it even makes the more enthusiastic propagandists look ashamed.
posted by Grangousier at 2:03 AM on October 1 [4 favorites]


From the NYTimes: Tuesday’s Debate Made Clear the Gravest Threat to the Election: The President Himself
It's kind of a bad headline, but the article unfolds Trump's threats to American democracy, and way down in it, this comes up:
But what worried American intelligence and homeland security officials, who have been assuring the public for months now that an accurate, secure vote could happen, was that Mr. Trump’s rant about a fraudulent vote may have been intended for more than just a domestic audience.
They have been worried for some time that his warnings are a signal to outside powers — chiefly the Russians — for their disinformation campaigns, which have seized on his baseless theme that the mail-in ballots are ridden with fraud. But what concerns them the most is that over the next 34 days, the country may begin to see disruptive cyberoperations, especially ransomware, intended to create just enough chaos to prove the president’s point.

Those who studied the 2016 election have seen this coming for a long while and warned about the risk. The Republicans who led Senate Intelligence Committee’s final report on that election included a clear warning.
Back in 2016, several of my honest and naive, conservative-leaning friends were saying after Brexit and Trump's election that maybe the world needed some disruption. Maybe our political norms and mores needed a shakeup. Well, everyone knows what happens if you let a fox into a henhouse. Why imagine this time would be different?
posted by mumimor at 2:08 AM on October 1 [11 favorites]


Yeah, after that debate, DJTs election interference is looking more and more troubling. He's not even campaigning on any issues or to any voters anymore. He's just trying to rally "poll watchers" and preemptively discredit the election results regardless of who will win. If he honestly mistrusted the overall voting system, he'd be working to make it more secure, and ensure the votes were slowly and meticulously counted and recounted, regardless of the results.
posted by p3t3 at 3:06 AM on October 1 [22 favorites]


I am siiiiiiick of these news headlines about how Trump "refused to condemn" white supremacists. HE IS ONE. We all know this.
posted by tiny frying pan at 6:15 AM on October 1 [15 favorites]


I failed to see then, and still fail to see now, why Biden should be required to have a law enforcement group officially supporting him. It was a stupid question and didn’t deserve to be dignified with an answer.

The way things are now, law enforcement organizations endorsing Trump and not Biden is less a reflection on Biden and more shame on both Trump an the LEOs.
posted by Gelatin at 6:19 AM on October 1 [14 favorites]


McVeigh was associated with a Michigan militia group and his coconspirator was an acknowledged member of said group.
and
The degree to which right-wing violence is consistently, dishonestly portrayed as having been committed by "lone wolves" prevents society from naming the problem correctly.
The Michigan militia connection had slipped from my memory, and it's definitely true that group affiliations are downplayed in narratives around these men.
posted by Caxton1476 at 6:43 AM on October 1


It took less than a minute of googling to find that the National Coalition of Justice Practitioners (a pro-police-reform group) endorsed Biden (search strategy: started with Latinx LEO orgs and went from there).
posted by box at 6:45 AM on October 1 [7 favorites]


The way things are now, law enforcement organizations endorsing Trump and not Biden is less a reflection on Biden and more shame on both Trump an the LEOs.

And because we're still so squeamish about connecting this fact with the white supremacy issue, it goes unsaid that the reason many LEOs support Trump is that they recognize his white supremacy, they support it, and their members are part of the same organizations.
posted by gladly at 6:47 AM on October 1 [12 favorites]


house oversight and reform subcommittee on civil rights and civil liberties held a hearing (cspan) on white supremacist infiltration of law enforcement the morning before the debate. chair raskin's opening statement.
posted by 20 year lurk at 7:00 AM on October 1 [11 favorites]


Although it is three years old, I see this poll of police/non-police views to be fascinating.

57% of black police officers believe that violent encounters between the police and black people is a sign of a systemic problem.

27% of white police see it as a sign of a systemic problem versus 72% seeing it as an isolated incident.

Police are not monolithic. They skew strongly to the right, but about a third of police are moderate to left.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:01 AM on October 1 [8 favorites]


At the national level, not LEO but security & safety professionals: Over 50 Republican former U.S. national security officials join Biden endorsement.
posted by PhineasGage at 7:36 AM on October 1 [8 favorites]


There are some who will say, it can never happen here.

But this is story of how it could happen in seven days of intrigue, of blackmail, of terror an eternity of suspense. This is the astounding story of a military plot to overthrow the government of the United States which, if successful, would change the fate of every American.


SEVEN DAYS IN MAY

(screenplay by Rod Serling)
posted by philip-random at 8:46 AM on October 1 [5 favorites]


Full statehood should be granted to Puerto Rico [...] because it's the right thing to do

Only if they agree in the 2020 referendum. Also, everyone in the referendum needs to have it made clear that this time it's for all the marbles and it's an up and down vote. None of this boycotting or blank ballot bullshit to muddy the water. Campaign hard and let the result stand.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:54 AM on October 1 [1 favorite]


I am siiiiiiick of these news headlines about how Trump "refused to condemn" white supremacists. HE IS ONE. We all know this.

Accepting that most of your life has been blessed due to the genetic fortune of being born white, especially when so many lies are told about The Land of Opportunity, involves questioning your self-worth and whether your hard work landed you where you are.

Trump is not a cross burning outlier. He is mainstream systemic racism made flesh, the fact that he is President is proof that racism is alive and well in America. That's what makes it so hard for many people to admit. If Trump is a white supremacist then most people who support him are too.
posted by benzenedream at 8:56 AM on October 1 [12 favorites]


On the right-wing violence, lone wolves and groups are the two ways it gets implemented. But as we saw in the debate, the bigger concern is the encouragement of the violence, in this case by Trump. So I view QAnon as an existential threat that needs to be killed with fire. Militia or no militia, McVeigh was heavily influenced by a conspiracy theorist named Bill Cooper who wrote a very silly book called Behold a Pale Horse and had a proto-qanon-like radio show that McVeigh listened to. I don't know how to clamp down on this stuff while keeping free speech.
posted by freecellwizard at 9:09 AM on October 1 [3 favorites]


> If Trump is a white supremacist then most people who support him are too.

This is a category error. Anyone who supports Trump is by definition a white supremacist. See also, what do you call a Nazi supporter? A Nazi.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:22 AM on October 1 [32 favorites]


Is this more or less feasible than the Koch-sponsored constitutional convention to turn America into a fascist/feudal theocracy?

Seems much more feasible to me. If for no other reason than that the practical legal / constitutional mechanisms are clear in the pack the union case but not at all clear in the convention case. Of course, Democrats being the institutional conservatives that they are, I'm not holding my breath -- in practical terms, pack the union isn't feasible. I'm not so stupid as to think this is happening on day one of the next Democratic administration. But I think it's worth talking about as part of building support for the idea so that maybe someday there will be enough interest in actually having democracy in America that the political class will do something about it.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 9:34 AM on October 1 [4 favorites]


“There was fault on both sides,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who is facing a tough reelection contest, told reporters on Wednesday. “The interrupting on both sides, the name-calling was very unbecoming for a presidential debate.”
Now she’s just trolling us.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 9:41 AM on October 1 [30 favorites]




Regrettably, I think that's how a lot of people, especially moderate low-information voters like some of my older relatives, are reading it. If you see a one minute clip of 'nothing smart about you' and 'this clown' and 'will you shut up, man,' it's easy to both-sides it.

Mainstream media has been training people to both-sides things for decades (see, for example, this rather infuriating Reuters article about the debate), and Republicans, like they do, have weaponized it.
posted by box at 10:00 AM on October 1 [3 favorites]


Nice summary of things by Vox's Aaron Rupar: "That Trump has a shot at winning reelection even though nobody can honestly say they're better off now than they were 4 years ago -- even if you have more money, society has mostly ceased to exist & you can't travel -- speaks to how powerful white grievance is in American society."
posted by PhineasGage at 10:07 AM on October 1 [31 favorites]


Remembering that Biden is now receiving intelligence briefings…

How do these things work? Can he ask, 'Okay guys, what you got on him?'
posted by popcassady at 10:13 AM on October 1 [4 favorites]


*agents glance at each other, sigh, and gesture for the wheelbarrow*
posted by bink at 10:23 AM on October 1 [19 favorites]


I hadn't thought about the briefings, do they give Biden the full briefings that a president would normally get, or does he just get the same half page crayon drawing they give trump?
posted by mrgoat at 11:13 AM on October 1 [8 favorites]


I wouldn't be surprised if they're describing to Biden the threat of extreme right-wing terrorism in a way that Trump has made plain he just doesn't want to hear.

Which could mean that the FBI and other agencies, many of which are not fans of Trump/Barr authoritarianism, to say nothing of having their warnings of a security threat ignored, have information on groups like the Proud Boys that the latter may find surprising if they try an uprising in support of Trump.
posted by Gelatin at 11:22 AM on October 1 [5 favorites]


Nice summary of things by Vox's Aaron Rupar: "That Trump has a shot at winning reelection even though nobody can honestly say they're better off now than they were 4 years ago -- even if you have more money, society has mostly ceased to exist & you can't travel -- speaks to how powerful white grievance is in American society."

A plurality of white men will happily let the world burn as long as their brethren are hegemons of the ashes.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 11:23 AM on October 1 [6 favorites]


A plurality of white men will happily let the world burn as long as their brethren are hegemons of the ashes.

Let's not leave out all the white women who feel the same way.

It should be incredibly embarrassing to the centrists and liberals in charge of the opposition that they can't convince so many people otherwise.
posted by Ouverture at 11:42 AM on October 1 [2 favorites]


(Previous comment)

After Trump and RNC Fail to Cite 'Single Instance' of Fraud, Federal Judge Rejects Effort to Block Mail-In Voting in Montana — U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen slammed the Trump campaign's claims of widespread voter fraud as a "fiction.", Common Dreams, Jake Johnson, 10/1/2020:
A federal judge on Wednesday rejected an effort by the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee to block an expansion of mail-in voting in Montana after the GOP plaintiffs failed to present to the court a single example of voter fraud in the state within the past two decades.

"This case requires the court to separate fact from fiction," Judge Dana Christensen of the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana wrote in his 46-page ruling (pdf). "Central to some of the plaintiffs' claims is the contention that the upcoming election, both nationally and in Montana, will fall prey to widespread voter fraud. The evidence suggests, however, that this allegation, specifically in Montana, is a fiction."

Christensen went on to note that during hearings on the lawsuit filed last month against Montana's secretary of state and Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, the Trump campaign and RNC "were compelled to concede that they cannot point to a single instance of voter fraud in Montana in any election during the last 20 years."...
More details in the CD article. See also Governor Bullock Statement on Federal Court Affirming Vote by Mail and Early Voting in Montana., 9/30/2020.
posted by cenoxo at 11:57 AM on October 1 [15 favorites]


> It should be incredibly embarrassing to the centrists and liberals in charge of the opposition that they can't convince so many people otherwise.

You can't reason a bunch of racists out of views that they didn't reason themselves into, and you can't shame the shameless. Nationwide polling suggests that the blue team has a solid though possibly not Electoral College-winning majority who are convinced, but to act like convincing low-information undecided voters that they shouldn't fall for the comfortable lies that the GOP is telling them is a trivial task that one should be embarrassed at failing to accomplish is to ignore how ingrained these views are in the minds of the electorate. It's still the Democratic party's job to convince enough of them in order to end Trump's presidency, so it's fine to lament that they haven't, but I don't find it "embarrassing" when someone fails to complete a difficult task, even if I do find it disappointing and, given the stakes, horrifying.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:17 PM on October 1 [21 favorites]


Stupid liberals, being outwitted by all the resources of society's owners and 200 years of racist propaganda
posted by benzenedream at 12:45 PM on October 1 [22 favorites]


> Remembering that Biden is now receiving intelligence briefings…
>> How do these things work? Can he ask, 'Okay guys, what you got on him?'


Not exactly. Pre-election intelligence briefings for final Presidential candidates — an unlegislated courtesy since Truman first offered them to Eisenhower and Stevenson in 1952 — are on a lower level than the highly classified President’s Daily Brief given to the incumbent (and to a President-elect after their election).

David Priess, ex-CIA officer/intelligence briefer, author, and Lawfare Institute COO, explains in his article Are the Presidential Candidate Intelligence Briefings in Danger? Another norm is on the block., The Bulwark, 9/16/2020.
posted by cenoxo at 1:35 PM on October 1 [4 favorites]


As the wrangling continues about whether/under what rules the next debate should be held, I'm going to predict that Trump will not interrupt as much at the next debate and he will therefore be widely praised in the media as acting "more Presidential."
posted by PhineasGage at 1:46 PM on October 1 [13 favorites]


More presidential, eh? Kayleigh McEnany at today's press briefing:
“The President made clear his view on that yesterday that he thinks the only way there's a fair debate is a change in the moderator and a change in the Democratic nominee. He wants to debate, he plans on being at the debate, but he wants the rules to be fair and wants a fair exchange and doesn't want rules that cover for certain candidates’ inability to perform well.”
posted by box at 1:57 PM on October 1 [4 favorites]


Stupid liberals, being outwitted by all the resources of society's owners and 200 years of racist propaganda.

But then what was the point of them siding with society's owners, denying us universal healthcare, and pushing for mass incarceration and white supremacist forever wars?

Triumphalism only works for winners.
posted by Ouverture at 2:03 PM on October 1 [2 favorites]


Triumphalism only works for winners.

Damn few of those visible from where I'm at.
posted by pee tape at 2:04 PM on October 1


Kayleigh McEnany at today's press briefing

Can they cut off her mic? She's another one of them.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 2:10 PM on October 1 [1 favorite]


Stupid liberals, being outwitted by all the resources of society's owners and 200 years of racist propaganda.

More like stupid liberals, being outwitted by the minority filibuster and 6-3 Supreme Court which the constitution lets them fix but which they won’t, because norms.
posted by moorooka at 2:14 PM on October 1 [5 favorites]


but he wants the rules to be fair and wants a fair exchange and doesn't want rules that cover for certain candidates’ inability to perform well.

It's really interesting how some people get by in life using psychological projection as their main mode of social interaction.
posted by polymodus at 2:29 PM on October 1 [11 favorites]


Kayleigh McEnany's First Post-Debate Briefing Goes Off the Rails (WaPo), in which Fox News' John Roberts asks:
“I’d like to ask you for a definitive and declarative statement without ambiguity or deflection. Does the president denounce white supremacism and groups that espouse it in all their forms?”
Seems like a softball, right? But McEnany's answer is... not without ambiguity or deflection. It's like 'white supremacy' is the Trump's mirror version of Biden not saying 'law and order,' or Obama not saying 'radical Islamic terrorism.'
posted by box at 2:47 PM on October 1 [6 favorites]


More like stupid liberals, being outwitted by the minority filibuster and 6-3 Supreme Court which the constitution lets them fix but which they won’t, because norms.

McEnany was asked about Trump's statements about Wisconsin ballots found in a river, but could not name the individuals who found those ballots, or in which river they were found.

How do stupid liberals defeat a Goebbels-like mass media experiment that gets away with making up bullshit as it goes along? It was a FOX News journalist who asked this, and even he couldn't get an answer.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 3:00 PM on October 1 [9 favorites]


> Triumphalism only works for winners.

It's not triumphalist to note the presence of obstacles and an opponent who's trying to beat you. The "universal healthcare was there if we wanted it" falsehood has been debunked so many times that to engage with it would be killed as a derail, but I'm not going to let the fact that you're trying to pass it off as fact here go unremarked upon. And yes, both sides have since the founding of the republic been in favor of capitalism and belligerent foreign policy, but if you sincerely think that there's a significant portion of the 10-15% or whatever of the electorate that's undecided at this point between fascism and not fascism whose mind is going to be changed if Biden and the rest of the Democrats call for seizing the means of production and recalling all overseas US forces, well, I just don't think there's a productive conversation to be had here.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:02 PM on October 1 [14 favorites]


Speaking of briefings, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) just tweeted a series on the ongoing
massive coverup campaign underway to disguise the octopus-like Russian election interference operation being run on Trump's behalf.
Please read this whole thing

link goes to ThreadReader. tl;dr:
What's happening is clear. American intel agencies, that are supposed to be totally apolitical, have been folded into Trump's campaign.

posted by Dashy at 3:05 PM on October 1 [14 favorites]


How do stupid liberals defeat a Goebbels-like mass media experiment that gets away with making up bullshit as it goes along? It was a FOX News journalist who asked this, and even he couldn't get an answer.

On current polling “liberals” are on track to win the presidency with a very good chance of controlling both houses of Congress. They have two options: either use this window of opportunity to abolish the filibuster and impose a liberal majority on the Supreme Court, or leave the country on a road to absolute ruin because to do otherwise would represent a violation of norms. At which point blaming Foxnews becomes nothing short of pathetic.
posted by moorooka at 3:26 PM on October 1 [8 favorites]


Kayleigh McEnany's First Post-Debate Briefing Goes Off the Rails

She also said that Amy Coney Barrett was a “Rhodes scholar.” Barrett went to Rhodes College in Tennessee.

McEnany actually 'fessed up when she was called on it.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:50 PM on October 1 [8 favorites]


Gov. Greg Abbott [Texas] on Thursday declared that counties can designate only one location to collect completed mail ballots from voter
“integrity”... “enhanced security protocols”... “greater transparency”... “ stop attempts at illegal voting”... “ Abbott did not cite any examples of voter fraud, which election law experts say is exceedingly rare.”

“Harris County Clerk Christopher Hollins had set up 12 locations — 11 of them county clerk annex offices — throughout the 1,777-square-mile county to collect mail ballots. They offered residents an alternative to placing their ballots in the mail... “To force hundreds of thousands of seniors and voters with disabilities to use a single dropoff location in a county that stretches nearly 2,000 square miles is prejudicial and dangerous.”
posted by TWinbrook8 at 3:54 PM on October 1 [16 favorites]


Polling data must be bad if Republicans are resorting to disenfranchising voters in Texas.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 4:00 PM on October 1 [27 favorites]


She also said that Amy Coney Barrett was a “Rhodes scholar.” Barrett went to Rhodes College in Tennessee.

That's probably one of their key selling points.
posted by acb at 4:03 PM on October 1 [1 favorite]


Being a Rhodes Scholar isn't exactly a good thing either outside of someone thinking you're smart enough to go to Oxford.

Cecil Rhodes was an avowed white supremacist, a relentless colonialist, a cruel slavemaster, and caused nothing but misery on whatever unfortunate populace he was allowed to subjugate. The only reason he isn't more infamous is because King Leopold was crueler and more ruthless than Rhodes and took the god damned crown of the worst monster white people have inflicted on Africa.

In this day and age, anyone with an ounce of a conscience should tell the Rhodes Scholarship to fuck off back to whatever slimy pit it crawled out of and go die there.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 4:12 PM on October 1 [16 favorites]


It's not triumphalist to note the presence of obstacles and an opponent who's trying to beat you. The "universal healthcare was there if we wanted it" falsehood has been debunked so many times that to engage with it would be killed as a derail, but I'm not going to let the fact that you're trying to pass it off as fact here go unremarked upon. And yes, both sides have since the founding of the republic been in favor of capitalism and belligerent foreign policy, but if you sincerely think that there's a significant portion of the 10-15% or whatever of the electorate that's undecided at this point between fascism and not fascism whose mind is going to be changed if Biden and the rest of the Democrats call for seizing the means of production and recalling all overseas US forces, well, I just don't think there's a productive conversation to be had here.

I brought it up because I think it's remarkable that anyone here is painting only the Republicans as being on the side of "society's owners" and the benefactors/pushers of racist propaganda.
posted by Ouverture at 4:31 PM on October 1 [1 favorite]


The day before Governor Abbott of Texas moved to restrict ballot collection, The Nation published a story about FBI warnings that right wing extremists in the Dallas area were highly likely to be violent in the next few months, specifically around the election and up to inauguration day.

Is Abbott moving to protect Texas voters from this threat? Or is he acting to help the Boogaloo Boys by funneling their victims into fewer target areas?
posted by Sublimity at 5:14 PM on October 1 [5 favorites]


Jennifer Jacobs, h/t Bloomberg Scoop: No indication Trump has contracted coronvirus, but inner circle aide Hope Hicks has it, and is experiencing symptoms of the disease. She was in close proximity to him, maskless, in recent days. She was quarantined on AF1 on trip back from Minnesota.

From the Bloomberg article, Hicks was seen on Tuesday riding maskless in a staff van with White House senior adviser Stephen Miller, campaign adviser Jason Miller and others.

May the Lord open.
posted by Dashy at 5:29 PM on October 1 [20 favorites]


As a Texan, I'm pretty sure Abbott put in that order so the white supremacist gangs ("militias") will only need to show up and intimidate voters at one location in each of Austin, Houston, El Paso, San Antonio, and maybe Dallas and Fort Worth. By limiting it to one ballot box per county Abbott has gifted the white supremacist gangs with the need to round up only enough people to scare away voters at six locations rather than the dozen that were previously in Harris county (Houston) alone.

Remember upthread how people were talking about the limited number of gang members the white supremacists could put into play? This move from Abbott helps them make up for that shortage by giving them far fewer places to "guard".
posted by sotonohito at 5:36 PM on October 1 [18 favorites]


In this day and age, anyone with an ounce of a conscience should tell the Rhodes Scholarship to fuck off back to whatever slimy pit it crawled out of and go die there.

Cecil Rhodes was absolutely a monster, and I don't disagree at all.

But Billy Ray Belcourt knows wherefrom he speaks, and might disagree with you on that particular point, since he's used it to do things that would split Rhodes's wig.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:57 PM on October 1


impose a liberal majority on the Supreme Court

"Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has reached hero status among the left and in the Democratic Party. But this week, she has made it clear that she is not on board with their criticism of the Supreme Court, her colleagues or proposals to change the place."

"The leaves of brown came tumblin' down, remember
In September in the rain
The sun went out just like a dying ember
That September in the rain"
posted by clavdivs at 6:29 PM on October 1 [1 favorite]


And now let’s pause for this brief message:

Who gives a f*** about Christmas stuff
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:40 PM on October 1 [8 favorites]


"Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has reached hero status among the left and in the Democratic Party. But this week, she has made it clear that she is not on board with their criticism of the Supreme Court, her colleagues or proposals to change the place."

So the liberal justice who could have secured a liberal seat on the court by retiring when “only” in her late 70s, but chose not to, doesn’t seem to really care too much about the proportion of liberal seats in the court. Not a surprise.
posted by moorooka at 6:45 PM on October 1 [2 favorites]


But Billy Ray Belcourt knows wherefrom he speaks, and might disagree with you on that particular point, since he's used it to do things that would split Rhodes's wig.

In this politically correct century the descendants of Rhodes and the stewards of his fortune can try and launder their ill gotten plunder by using it to do things that Rhodes wouldn't approve of but blood money is blood money. It comes from the massive amounts of wealth that is drenched in the blood of native Africans and that will never come off his hands.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:55 PM on October 1 [2 favorites]


No way Trump is going to quarantine for two weeks
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:12 PM on October 1 [2 favorites]


Of course not. He’s gonna go yell moistly at large crowds of his loyal followers.
posted by wabbittwax at 8:13 PM on October 1 [1 favorite]


It would be hilarious if both Trump and Pence got it

I mean, before this administration, I wouldn't have wished a deadly disease on anybody

But they should all get it
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:13 PM on October 1 [12 favorites]


It would be hilarious if both Trump and Pence got it

I would feel cheated if they escaped consequences via a mere slow suffocation.
Full disclosure: I may be harboring certain boiling resentments bordering on rage.
posted by pee tape at 9:21 PM on October 1 [11 favorites]


It would be hilarious if both Trump and Pence got it

I offer a Prayer to God for them both.
posted by Pink Frost at 9:32 PM on October 1 [5 favorites]


Any news about Biden? They were on the same stage...
posted by goalyeehah at 9:38 PM on October 1 [7 favorites]


*swirls snifter of bleach; gazes contemplativetuously into maelstrom of morbid desire*
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:56 PM on October 1 [7 favorites]


Donald J Trump: "Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER!"

This is the wish that gets answered, son of a bitch
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:59 PM on October 1 [18 favorites]


He just confirmed that he and his wife have COVID-19.
posted by PhineasGage at 9:59 PM on October 1 [11 favorites]


Biden & Trump appeared to be about 10 feet apart on stage. No word from Biden on possible quarantining. His campaign has asked that a pool reporter who was aboard Air Force One on Wednesday not join Biden on Friday as planned.

VP Cheney's former physician (and CNN medical analyst) is saying that Pelosi—as 2nd in presidential line of succession after Pence—should self-isolate to protect continuity of government, since Pence may have been exposed too.
posted by theory at 10:01 PM on October 1 [8 favorites]


No gloating yet. Can Trump demand to delay the election?
posted by cenoxo at 10:06 PM on October 1 [1 favorite]


He just confirmed that he and his wife have COVID-19.

If you click through, you can watch people on twitter favorite (♡) that tweet in real time.
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:07 PM on October 1 [9 favorites]


Best use of nelson.gif ever.
posted by sexyrobot at 10:20 PM on October 1 [5 favorites]


A friend just texted: "What if he and Hicks cooked this up to get sympathy, control the narrative, avoid debates, and come out totally healthy in two weeks?" I think he's either crazy or pulling my leg, but...
posted by PhineasGage at 10:21 PM on October 1 [19 favorites]


America is in a dark place right now.

But there is Hope.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:21 PM on October 1 [12 favorites]


The Guardian has a good breaking report: Coronavirus live news: Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, test positive for Covid.
posted by cenoxo at 10:24 PM on October 1


clearly, getting covid-19 is the most popular thing this prick has done to date.
posted by pee tape at 10:24 PM on October 1 [13 favorites]


I wouldn't wish covid on anyone. Even that guy.
posted by mochapickle at 10:26 PM on October 1 [5 favorites]


I don't care if he's cooked it up as an excuse to call off further debates. I'm more concerned he's going to try to use it as an excuse to call off the election.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 10:26 PM on October 1 [2 favorites]


I don't believe in prayer, and if I did I'd feel bad about praying for this. But I certainly was trying my best not to have too much hope that there was anything like just desserts left in this world.
posted by aspersioncast at 10:27 PM on October 1


A friend just texted: "What if he and Hicks cooked this up to get sympathy, control the narrative, avoid debates, and come out totally healthy in two weeks?"

i was wondering the same thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:28 PM on October 1 [6 favorites]


The good news is that your and my personal feelings make no difference. He has the virus. He is at risk. He will receive the best care. The election is going to happen. While the country exists, there is no mechanism by which it cannot. Wheels are turning.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:30 PM on October 1 [5 favorites]


The good news is that your and my personal feelings make no difference. He has the virus.

DOES he, though? The fucker lies about so many other things, and his debate was such a shitshow, that I wouldn't put it past him and his strategy team coming up with this as a hail-mary move to sidestep the next debates.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:33 PM on October 1 [17 favorites]


Today he had an indoor fundraiser and refused to wear a mask. Having a positive diagnosis makes him look like a reckless fool. The idea that this is a hoax should be dismissed.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:35 PM on October 1 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I have to admit that because they have lied about SO MUCH I'm not absolutely sure they're not lying about this. They have lied consistently about his health, in fact.

I'm not sure I understand why they would claim he has it, but I don't understand much of what they do.
posted by suelac at 10:35 PM on October 1 [4 favorites]


Trump lies about being healthy, not about being sick. It’s not like he’s being drafted.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:37 PM on October 1 [6 favorites]


Having a positive diagnosis makes him look like a reckless fool.

As opposed to all the other times?
posted by StarkRoads at 10:37 PM on October 1 [6 favorites]


Since this news broke I've been debating with my Alisun: could this be kayfabe? I do not think this is fake. That old jerk has the virus. Buckle up. It could get rough but I think the election just got resolved.
posted by vrakatar at 10:39 PM on October 1


Trump will deny any personal blame for this. China and/or the Democrats are next in line as scapegoats.
posted by cenoxo at 10:40 PM on October 1


It sure would be a shame if the motherfucker who's repeatedly said this is all a hoax died of the fucking hoax.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:40 PM on October 1 [13 favorites]


Hope Hicks sinks ships.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:40 PM on October 1 [26 favorites]


I guess the question is, how bad is it? Last year, he made an unannounced visit to Walter Reed and claimed it was just an early start to his annual checkup. If they're announcing it now, it means it may have developed far enough that they can't cover it up.
posted by mochapickle at 10:41 PM on October 1 [2 favorites]


Sounds very made up at the moment and a way for him to gain control of narrative.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:42 PM on October 1 [6 favorites]


What if he and Hicks cooked this up to get sympathy, control the narrative, avoid debates, and come out totally healthy in two weeks?

I thought the same thing, and the same thing when Boris Johnson had it. I am a pretty rational, non-conspiracy-nut person! I hate that trust has been eroded in governments to the point neither time seems like obvious tinfoil-hat crankery.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 10:45 PM on October 1 [13 favorites]


This puts an end to not only campaign stuff but also to congressional stuff, i.e. Supreme Court nomination stuff

I seriously don't think it's a fraud
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:45 PM on October 1


Anything's possible with this guy, but if he *is* faking it...imagine how bad your campaign has to be doing in order for you to think that pretending you have Covid might *improve* your situation.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:45 PM on October 1 [14 favorites]


I think people who claim that it “sounds very made up” that someone who meets with hundreds of people indoors every day while refusing to wear a mask got a contagious airborne disease during a global pandemic should probably obtain some evidence of the up-making first.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:46 PM on October 1 [28 favorites]


This puts an end to not only campaign stuff but also to congressional stuff, i.e. Supreme Court nomination stuff
I seriously doubt that.
posted by Nerd of the North at 10:49 PM on October 1 [13 favorites]


I picked a hell of a week to live in a world where the legal authority to launch the nuclear weapons of the country that holds the most of them is held by one specific individual
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 10:50 PM on October 1 [6 favorites]


This puts an end to not only campaign stuff but also to congressional stuff, i.e. Supreme Court nomination stuff

The campaign will continue until morale improves.
posted by adept256 at 10:52 PM on October 1 [11 favorites]


I think Russia has more if it makes you feel better
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:52 PM on October 1 [2 favorites]


I seriously doubt that.

Yeah, maybe

Even now, I keep assuming rational behavior
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 10:53 PM on October 1


I think people should read the whole comment they’re trying to dunk on, instead just quoting a phrase from it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:54 PM on October 1


It’s the middle of the night in America, I’ll wait to see more info info from a known liar.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:56 PM on October 1 [4 favorites]


I was off the internet for a few hours tonight, and when I re-opened Twitter it was like when I watched the Lost finale after not having seen it for 3.5 seasons.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:57 PM on October 1 [11 favorites]


If it's true, I'm going to have to concede that prayers are sometimes answered.
posted by faineant at 10:58 PM on October 1 [2 favorites]


I picked a heck of a week, month, year to try to get off of Twitter...
posted by PhineasGage at 10:59 PM on October 1 [2 favorites]


Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:01 PM on October 1 [3 favorites]


cnn says "In a memo issued to reporters around 1 a.m. ET, the President's physician, Navy Commander Dr. Sean Conley, wrote he received confirmation of the positive tests on Thursday evening."
posted by 20 year lurk at 11:02 PM on October 1 [2 favorites]


Also, it's gotta be true because if it were an orchestrated thing he would have made the announcement earlier in the evening for ratings purposes.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:02 PM on October 1 [4 favorites]


Another friend writes: "Trump wasn’t kidding when he said about Covid: 'The end is in sight.'"
posted by PhineasGage at 11:02 PM on October 1




"We will get through this TOGETHER."

Melania's going to love that.
posted by Paul Slade at 11:05 PM on October 1 [5 favorites]


ironically (or perhaps significantly) I happened to be listening to some Van Morrison* when I heard this news -- a song called The Healing Game. Which is about being a kid again (back in Belfast) -- how some evenings, everybody would spontaneously gather and just start singing. Everybody was welcome. Everybody had a part.

The next track was also about Healing, but more resolutely. Till We Get The Healing Done.

Till you deal with the poison inside
Sometimes you've got to sit down and cry
When you deal with the poison inside
Till we get the healing done
Till we get the healing done


It feels like a long road before us, no matter what happens. I'm not complaining exactly.

* Van's also carrying his own (stupid) covid load of late, but that's another avenue
posted by philip-random at 11:07 PM on October 1


I think it's true because there's no way in hell that that short, to-the-point tweet with no typos was written by Trump himself. So diplomacy is at play.

I'll put 50% odds that Trump gets hold of his phone in the next 5 hours and denies that he has it and calls it a hoax.
posted by mmoncur at 11:08 PM on October 1 [4 favorites]


Trump has great medical care. He'll survive the virus. Then he'll downplay it's consequences. "I had it and it didn't kill me". Then, and this is the killer, he'll deflect any questions about his policy response to the pandemic by referencing his personal experience. Or perhaps there is a god and he'll end up dying of Covid.
posted by rdr at 11:08 PM on October 1 [5 favorites]


This debate thread will soon be untenable. Is someone working on a covid diagnosis thread to supplant it?
posted by St. Oops at 11:10 PM on October 1 [6 favorites]


Given the timeline, it's entirely possible Trump gave it to Hicks or someone else in the White House gave it to both of them. There were "a couple" positive test results in the White House reported 15 days ago, though I haven't seen any disclosures since then about who they were.

I think it's very unlikely that this is a fabrication. There's not enough upside and lots of potential downside for Trump. Since the White House leaks like a church roof we'll know very soon regardless.
posted by theory at 11:11 PM on October 1 [1 favorite]


There was a post made a little bit ago that got deleted.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 11:12 PM on October 1


White House doctor confirms Trump will remain home [in the White House] during convalescence (Guardian) - This means no rallies and more importantly, no golf for two weeks, then. Pray for the WH staff.
posted by cenoxo at 11:15 PM on October 1 [7 favorites]


There's an E-6B Mercury off the east coast near DC. I looked because I would expect them to pop up if he tests positive. It's a message to the small group of adversaries with SLBMs and ICBMs.
...
Could you explain this please? Why would an E-6B be launched if he tests positive? Who would be on it?
...
It's the plane that has the ability to order the killing of everyone on earth if someone attacks the US with nukes in a first strike. It can talk to our missile subs under water even if DC is gone.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 11:16 PM on October 1 [4 favorites]


If it's true, I'm going to have to concede that prayers are sometimes answered.

I would note that it could be a monkey's paw thing given that Trump was quite possibly spewing virus at 77 year old Joe Biden for 90 minutes not 2 days ago.
posted by Justinian at 11:19 PM on October 1 [14 favorites]


For anyone who needs a refresher on the rules of succession: if the President is incapacitated, authority transfers to Donald Jr as first-born son, unless he deigns to appoint Melania as Regent
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:20 PM on October 1 [30 favorites]


Trump has great medical care. He'll survive the virus. Then he'll downplay it's consequences. "I had it and it didn't kill me". Then, and this is the killer, he'll deflect any questions about his policy response to the pandemic by referencing his personal experience.

This is my biggest concern right now, along with any possible exposure for Biden.
I'm not one to wish illness upon anybody, but I have long dreaded the possibility of Trump getting a mild or asymptomatic case because it'll make him even more insufferable about all this. I don't just mean in terms of rhetoric, but policy that will cause more harm.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:22 PM on October 1 [15 favorites]


White House doctor confirms Trump will remain home [in the White House] during convalescence (Guardian) - This means no rallies and more importantly, no golf for two weeks, then.

Hell nah. If he has to choose between quarantining for his own safety and the safety of everyone around him, or narcissistic supply, he'll be out yelling on a stage by this weekend.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 11:22 PM on October 1 [6 favorites]


As far as whether this will affect the Supreme Court hearings... actually maybe, at least in the short term.

Trump and Hicks have had direct contact with Mark Meadows who has had 1st or 2nd degree contact with most of the Republican Senators as part of the Barrett roadshow. So most of the Republican Senate has had somewhere between 2nd and 3rd degree exposure. And while they're devoted to holding onto power, many of them are elderly. So I won't be surprised if this causes a delay in the hearings. Depending on just how much close contact they've had, if Meadows also had it, 2-10 Republican Senators might come down with it.

As it turns out, McConnell said Thursday night (when he would have known the diagnosis but the public didn't yet) that he was open to installing Barrett in a lame duck session.

And honestly, that probably works out better for him. The vulnerable Senators don't have to be on the record as voting for her, the base is still motivated to get out and vote because they don't have the SC yet, and those Senators that aren't being responsible and quarantining themselves are free to go campaigning rather than sitting around in DC holding hearings.
posted by Candleman at 11:24 PM on October 1 [3 favorites]


just because something's plausible ...
posted by philip-random at 11:25 PM on October 1


People who recently travelled with Hope Hicks in addition to Donald Trump (MSNBC screenshot).
posted by cenoxo at 11:30 PM on October 1


Oh no Stephen Miller. I hope he is treated with the care and compassion he's famous for.
posted by adept256 at 11:34 PM on October 1 [15 favorites]


The only scam explanation I've seen so far to make any sense is that this presumably redirects a lot of attention away from the campaign & centers it onto Trump, undercutting Biden, etc, followed by a triumphant reemergence having conquered the plague, etc, etc.

But I've gotta say: these people are stupid morons trying to placate a narcissistic mega-moron, their safety measures were always crap, they've been traveling and doing crowded events with bad masking at best, and they think they're invincible. The odds of him getting infected were always pretty high.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:35 PM on October 1 [4 favorites]


There's no scam. There's no conspiracy. Just a stupid narcissistic moron who has killed 200,000 Americans and now is facing the disease himself because of his stupid narcissism. And has possibly infected his family and his opponent's family.
posted by Justinian at 11:37 PM on October 1 [19 favorites]


While we're catastrophizing, the worry that's gonna keep me up tonight is the idea that Trump will accuse Biden, or just any Democrat in general, of giving him the coronavirus. It's plausible that he'd make such an accusation because it's obviously false and wildly inflammatory, and it will rile up his base even more, all the way Trump likes it.
posted by J.K. Seazer at 11:39 PM on October 1


"I had it and it didn't kill me"

Yeah, there's the gloating potential, but any positive attention he might have got from that is nothing compared to spending two weeks -- basically half of the time until the election -- unable to campaign. What's he going to do, talk in the press room to a roomful of reporters, without a noisy helicopter, which he hates, while wearing a mask?

Even if this were pretend it wouldn't be good for him.
posted by mmoncur at 11:39 PM on October 1 [2 favorites]


In case anyone else was confused/concerned about Fiasco da Gama's "There's an E-6B Mercury off the east coast near DC" comment like me, here is a "for dummies" explanation from the Twitter thread:

From @jerzeygem: I believe our military are getting into position/going on alert, as warning to foreign adversaries who might try to take advantage if President is sick or dies from the virus..

I mean, it's not especially comforting or anything but it makes sense.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 11:40 PM on October 1 [6 favorites]


I had a good laugh over it, but then...

After the warm fuzzy glows and snarky excitement fades, harsh reality shows up, and has its two outcomes:

a) he has it, and Boris Johnsons his way through it, and all of his followers and anti mask folks, all the “open the economy, the cure is worse than the disease” is-what-it-is-ers all rally around him, saying it’s not that serious, or that it’s an outright hoax.

b) he has it, he dies, his followers rally around Pence, he ends up some fucking saint like figure, and before the end of the week after the funeral, someone on a Fox show (probably a guest first, but less than a week later, Tucker will be at least insinuating it) will imply that it wasn’t corona (which is a hoax, of course), that he was assassinated by the deep state, and, well, there you go. Claims of how unfair it is to have an election, how the republicans should be allowed to stay in power “in light of the tragedy.”

And then there’s Pence, and the Democratic inability to set the tone. It’s not like Pence is competent, but he can at least put words into a sentence, and would be like “look at me! I can do decorum! Vote for me in memory of the departed! It’s bad to speak ill of the dead!” And then all the people that wanted to vote for Trump, but didn’t want to be *outright* racists can vote for Pence because the democrats are just so *rude.*

Seriously, the GOP will pivot to decorum and respect for the dead so fast it’ll almost be like Trump never mocked a disabled reporter by flailing his arms, or attacked the parents of a soldier killed in war.

I mean, shit, yeah, I’d like to laugh about this a while longer, but it just seems like more 2020ishness to me: we get something we’ve been wanting for a long time, but when we finally get it, it’s terrible and filled with poisonous spiders.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:42 PM on October 1 [23 favorites]


I would note that it could be a monkey's paw thing given that Trump was quite possibly spewing virus at 77 year old Joe Biden for 90 minutes not 2 days ago.
posted by Justinian


I don't believe in the monkey's paw thing any more than I do in the efficacy of prayer.

However, I absolutely agree the greatest worry right now is whether or not Biden was exposed; the first article I read on the announcement indicated that the two were well distanced on stage and that the staff that came with each of them were in separate rooms prior to the debate. I hope it was enough to protect Biden. One person (journalist?) that recently traveled with Trump and his staff was asked not to appear at the Biden camp as he/she was scheduled to do tomorrow.

That concern for Biden changes not one iota my utter lack of sympathy for Trump and his staff, given babies in cages, deported military members, denied asylum for immigrants, 200,000 dead Americans and all.
posted by faineant at 11:42 PM on October 1 [3 favorites]


awful lot of thinking out loud going on right now
posted by philip-random at 11:44 PM on October 1 [13 favorites]


> Yeah, there's the gloating potential, but any positive attention he might have got from that is nothing compared to spending two weeks -- basically half of the time until the election -- unable to campaign. What's he going to do, talk in the press room to a roomful of reporters, without a noisy helicopter, which he hates, while wearing a mask?

He could pull a Herman Cain and just do everything via twitter from now on.
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:44 PM on October 1 [11 favorites]


the first article I read on the announcement indicated that the two were well distanced on stage

Not to be a doomer because it's possible Trump was not contagious Tuesday night, and it's possible Biden didn't catch it even if he was, but they were in no way "well distanced". They were maybe 12 feet apart.

Is that more than 6 feet? Sure. But "6 feet" is a completely arbitrary number with little basis apart from it being the furthest distance that doctors and scientists believe that can reasonably get away with recommending. They'd recommend 20 feet if they could.
posted by Justinian at 11:44 PM on October 1 [9 favorites]


Here's a pic of the stage at the debate giving a clear and unobstructed view of the podiums and candidates (and thus the distance between them).
posted by Justinian at 11:46 PM on October 1


The distance doesn't matter if the area is not well ventilated.
posted by PenDevil at 11:48 PM on October 1 [4 favorites]


I thought the same thing, and the same thing when Boris Johnson had it.
posted by Jon Mitchell


Not only did Johnson have it, but I am pretty sure he has not fully recovered yet, and given how long it has been he is not likely to either. He is clearly not a well man, and just looks like shit of late. Even allowing for his pre-illness, er, idiosyncrasies, his brain is now clearly functioning way below par, and he is clearly struggling to face up to that, because the only way it can end is with him stepping down (or being sacked by his own party) for health reasons.

If Trump really has it then he is almost certainly in deep shit, given his age and health status. Even if he survives the chances are high it is going to leave some serious long-term damage, and right when he can least afford it. I genuinely, though probably foolishly, hope that what is left of the saner Repubs are ready to 25th him. Adding post-COVID cognitive issues on top of his profound pre-existing psycho-malignancies is not a good thing for anybody, not even Repubs.

As an aside, the real cost of COVID-19 is not going to be the deaths, though they are a very serious cost by any measure. It is going to be the damage to the long-term health of the much larger numbers of survivors, especially the younger ones (below say 55-60) who would normally be in their most productive phase of life. Imagine 1/3 of the population suddenly acquiring serious lifelong health limitations. This is why we absolutely must avoid falling for the 'herd immunity' nonsense, and keep practicing rigorous infection control until a good vaccine is available.

––––––––––––

And honestly, that probably works out better for him. The vulnerable Senators don't have to be on the record as voting for her, the base is still motivated to get out and vote because they don't have the SC yet, and those Senators that aren't being responsible and quarantining themselves are free to go campaigning rather than sitting around in DC holding hearings.
posted by Candleman


OTOH, if they do it during a lame duck session, after a crushing Dem sweep that includes the Senate, and on top of a clear majority of voters making it clear that the SC pick should be made by the election winner, then that gives much more moral justification for the Dems to really go hard on electoral reform.
posted by Pouteria at 11:49 PM on October 1 [23 favorites]


Here's another reason that came to mind why this might be a hoax: The people he owes money to see the writing on the wall, and they want to cash out.

After one financial scam after another, after insider trading inside and outside the White House, after running a pump-and-dump of a vaccine company stock, claiming to get the novel coronavirus is the ultimate short of global markets.

Far-fetched? Maybe. But the guy is up to his eyeballs in hundreds of millions of dollars of debt, and he knows how to make casinos go bankrupt for his benefactors.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:54 PM on October 1 [1 favorite]


I imagine we’ll see an announcement in the morning from Biden that he will quarantine himself for the next 10-14 days (assuming he consistently tests negative), which is the recommendation in situations like this.
posted by theory at 11:55 PM on October 1 [5 favorites]


And now let’s pause for this brief message:

Who gives a f*** about Christmas stuff


The War on Christmas... IT'S COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!
posted by 2N2222 at 11:56 PM on October 1 [10 favorites]


Is that more than 6 feet? Sure. But "6 feet" is a completely arbitrary number with little basis apart from it being the furthest distance that doctors and scientists believe that can reasonably get away with recommending. They'd recommend 20 feet if they could.
posted by Justinian


It is not a completely arbitrary number, but it was always going to be a compromise. Complications to figuring a recommended distance include a range of factors like temperature, humidity, wind direction, time of day (day or night), sheer numbers of people in the vicinity, what people will accept, the simple practical limits to distancing while going about your daily business, etc. I have some sympathy for the health pros on this one. Whatever they recommend somebody is going to bitch about it.
posted by Pouteria at 11:58 PM on October 1 [1 favorite]


If I were one of the wealthy donors that Trump met with on Thursday I’d be super pissed at him. Aside from the fact that he knew he’d been exposed, there are reports that he had a noticeably raspy voice today.
posted by theory at 12:00 AM on October 2 [3 favorites]


They were distanced, indoors, without masks. For 1.5 hours. Nobody thought to use America's technological might to do a meeting using glass dividers and independent ventilation.
posted by polymodus at 12:01 AM on October 2 [14 favorites]


Trump has great medical care. He'll survive the virus. Then he'll downplay it's consequences. "I had it and it didn't kill me".

he'll claim he was treated with hydroxychloroquine and the virus cleared right up.
posted by um at 12:04 AM on October 2 [2 favorites]


Nobody thought to use America's technological might to do a meeting using glass dividers and independent ventilation.

Not only that, but one of America’s premiere medical centers was hosting the event for chrissake.
posted by theory at 12:06 AM on October 2 [6 favorites]


so it's currently plausible that both

A. Trump is faking it and
B. Biden has it, too, because he was too close to Trump
posted by philip-random at 12:08 AM on October 2 [8 favorites]


his followers rally around Pence, he ends up some fucking saint like figure

Look, no one likes Pence. He was such a failure at being governor of Indiana that state Republicans, including his hand-picked replacement, turned against him. He has zero charisma.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:12 AM on October 2 [9 favorites]


Both presidential candidates being taken out a couple of weeks before election day, by the same disease that has been a major factor in defining the election, would fit right into the weird arc of 2020.
posted by Pouteria at 12:13 AM on October 2 [7 favorites]


something something "weekend at bernie's"
posted by pee tape at 12:15 AM on October 2 [8 favorites]


This is the least guilty I have ever felt for thinking the kind of things I'm thinking right now.
posted by Ryvar at 12:16 AM on October 2 [37 favorites]


he'll claim he was treated with hydroxychloroquine and the virus cleared right up

Please please please self treat
posted by benzenedream at 12:17 AM on October 2 [3 favorites]


TV's Frank comes in hot with the zinger.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:28 AM on October 2 [3 favorites]


Can we please not with the hoax stuff? This is as bad as the other side and I would not have expected it here.

This is probably one of the biggest slices of shadenfreud, but I worry this may create sympathy for trump somehow.
posted by blue shadows at 12:28 AM on October 2 [2 favorites]


He either legit has it, which, how does one get something that is a hOaX? Or, after his all-time master class in abuse and dysfunction in the debate he is upping the trauma ante ever further, lying to the nation and the entire world about having a deadly illness (the existence of which, again, he's mocked and denied and against which he's stalled the levers of government til this moment). Shit so dark and untenable that Frank Underwood wouldn't seriously consider doing. There is not any way, by any conceivable calculus, that either possibility is good for the nation. "This will not end well" indeed. He's either ill with something the existence of which he's maniacally denied, downplayed, raged against, and directly contributed to thousands of others being infected by and dying from, or he's cynically bald-faced lying about having a deadly illness he still does not believe is actually real for the very smallest, most selfish, humiliatingly vain of self-gratifying political reasons.

He's either, in the first case, more or less done this to himself--and so to us--or in the latter continues to actively willfully pile on the abuse by doing this to us.

Regardless, he continues ever more clearly to show us who and what he is.

No.
posted by riverlife at 12:31 AM on October 2


MF goes hard for certain kinds of conspiracy nonsense so I actually don't find it very surprising. But yeah it's in poor taste, makes no sense, and distracts from the actual very real dangers we face now. (The primary one being Biden's health.)
posted by Justinian at 12:32 AM on October 2 [4 favorites]


Trump is an inveterate liar who has thrown one wrench after another into the election. It is strange that people cannot wonder if he is once again lying, and if so, how.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:40 AM on October 2 [8 favorites]


There's zero upside for him to lying about a covid-19 diagnosis. It's a lie which would not survive the next day much less the next week and which would for all practical purposes completely end his campaign when found out. Come on man, as Biden would say.
posted by Justinian at 12:45 AM on October 2 [7 favorites]




Except that he's never shown any sign of being the kind of person willing to invite a hit to his inflated self-image in hopes of a bigger pay-off further down the line. He wouldn't pretend to be weak (as he sees it) to achieve anything.
posted by Grangousier at 12:46 AM on October 2 [7 favorites]


Trump lies like there is no comparison, but this is just a big stretch. It doesn't pass occam's razor in terms of what we know about trump or the likely effects on his campaign. Hope Hicks is reported to have symptoms.
posted by blue shadows at 12:49 AM on October 2


Because it's Trump, "he's lying" is always a reasonable reaction. I have no doubt he'd be wiling to lie about this if he thought there was some advantage to be gained, but the question is, what's the advantage to him?

Dodging the next debate, "recovering," and then either touting a fake cure or downplaying the whole thing? How would people react, and would it be worth skipping two weeks worth of rallies?

I don't know. I can't begin to imagine what passes for Trump's "thought process" on something like this, and trying to figure out all the potential implications is giving me a headache.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 12:55 AM on October 2 [3 favorites]


There's zero upside for him to lying about a covid-19 diagnosis

Getting Biden to take himself out of the race for a couple weeks is a definite upside. Getting sympathy from the public is a definite upside: see PM Boris Johnson for a real-world example.

I'm not saying your view is unreasonable. Frankly, it would be ironic justice if he is infected. But there is room for skepticism over news that is literally a couple hours old.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:55 AM on October 2 [7 favorites]


I think the idea that this is a fabrication for political gain is highly implausible. But that doesn't mean it can't still be used for political gain:

A reminder to all Americans that the net effect of our prime minister catching COVID-19 was that it prompted a surge of patriotic support. From which he emerged with renewed popularity. Which enabled him to tear up key functions of the state. [SLTwitter]
posted by theory at 12:59 AM on October 2 [9 favorites]


I think the issue with the lying theory is that his doctors would have to be lying about the test results, that doesn't make sense.
posted by polymodus at 1:05 AM on October 2 [2 favorites]


he has it, he dies, his followers rally around Pence, he ends up some fucking saint like figure

If Trump dies Pence is the president until Inauguration Day but he’s not automatically the new republican nominee for president. The party can submit a new nominee (anyone, they could pick Ivanka) but the deadlines to certify the candidate slate for the election have passed already and it’s not necessarily easy — or even possible — to replace a candidate’s name on the ballot at this point. Plus there’s the added complication of electors voting for a dead guy, how Congress counts/certifies the vote, etc. Its a recipe for absolute chaos.
posted by nathan_teske at 1:07 AM on October 2 [8 favorites]


And then there’s Pence, and the Democratic inability to set the tone. It’s not like Pence is competent, but he can at least put words into a sentence, and would be like “look at me! I can do decorum! Vote for me in memory of the departed! It’s bad to speak ill of the dead!” And then all the people that wanted to vote for Trump, but didn’t want to be *outright* racists can vote for Pence because the democrats are just so *rude.*

It should be noted that if Trump dies before the election Pence doesn't automatically become the GOP candidate.
"The Party Chair calls a meeting of the National Committee, and the Committee members at the meeting vote to fill the vacancy on the ticket. A candidate must receive a majority of the votes to win the party's nod."
That could be a really interesting meeting because Pence isn't liked and their is likely to be some vicious infighting enabled by not having to fear Trump rallying his followers against anyone.
posted by Mitheral at 1:08 AM on October 2 [3 favorites]


It's a bold strategy Cotton, let's see if it pays off for him.
posted by FJT at 1:18 AM on October 2 [4 favorites]


Well, this had to happen, otherwise it wouldn't be 2020. Also, with Trump encouraging risky behaviour among his staff and family, it was only a matter of time. I'm bringing out the popcorn while I watch how the White House and Fox News spin this. The twitter announcement in itself was surprisingly direct and blunt.

I don't know how things are for rich people in the US. Here in Denmark almost no-one dies from the virus anymore though we are going through a bad second peak, and I would guess an American president would get at least as good care as an average Dane. But, as mentioned above, the after-effects are terrible and no-one knows how long they last.
posted by mumimor at 1:20 AM on October 2 [6 favorites]


So is this what all y'all mean by an 'October surprise'?
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:23 AM on October 2 [14 favorites]


I think the issue with the lying theory is that his doctors would have to be lying about the test results, that doesn't make sense.


I don't think it's a hoax either, mostly because a narcissist would never admit weakness.

But the man not only lies 100 times a day, he has LITERALLY released fraudulent and lying medical statements FROM DOCTORS before. So let's not call those who question this crazy or say we should be "better than that." The fact is we're dealing with liars and anything between 0 and 100, where 0 is absolutely untrue and 100 is absolutely true, is 100% possible here.
posted by mmoncur at 1:25 AM on October 2 [9 favorites]


This is almost certainly real. Why?

1. Team Trump aren't capable of this kind of hoax. They're morons.
2. The White House leaks like a sieve and despite being morons, they know it.
3. Which leads me to, the tell is actually the corroborating detail: Hicks, Trump's doctor, the E-6B Mercury, etc. When Trump bullshits, he just fucking lies. He doesn't care whether you believe. If this was a Trump lie he'd have blurted it artlessly in primetime.

It disturbs me how people are reflexively reaching for this being a hoax for essentially narrative reasons when it is entirely plausible given Trump's documented behaviour, as pointed out by many up-thread.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:27 AM on October 2 [12 favorites]


I hope it is a hoax, if only because the alternative is that Biden was exposed. And that's genuinely bad news.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 1:30 AM on October 2 [2 favorites]


Well, it's probably not fake because this means he actually can't hold his rallies for at least two weeks. And he really loves his rallies and he believes it's why he won last time.
posted by FJT at 1:31 AM on October 2


There are multiple White House correspondents who've been saying this seemed inevitable and they've spoken to WH staffers who've felt the same way. Covid precautions at the WH have been incredibly lax for months. There have already been several people there who've had the virus. Visitors are not being checked. Staffers are holding meetings without masks. The President and staff have been flying around the country and meeting with countless other people while unmasked. Even testing has not been as consistent as we've been led to believe.

Here's Peter Nicholas from back in August: White House, Petri Dish [Atlantic]
posted by theory at 1:42 AM on October 2 [8 favorites]


What I think is more interesting is that he is clearly not asymptomatic, because if he were, he would say it.
posted by mumimor at 1:43 AM on October 2 [9 favorites]


I don't know how things are for rich people in the US. Here in Denmark almost no-one dies from the virus anymore

Sadly this is not true in the US. Rich people do better than poor people (as always) but our death toll continues to climb at an alarming rate.

If both Trump and Pence become too symptomatic to work, that means Pelosi becomes President till Inauguration Day? Are we going to have a woman president after all?
posted by basalganglia at 1:51 AM on October 2 [1 favorite]


If both Trump and Pence become too symptomatic to work, that means Pelosi becomes President till Inauguration Day? Are we going to have a woman president after all?

I expect nothing less from 2020.
posted by Pouteria at 1:57 AM on October 2 [3 favorites]


More importantly can the US president withdraw a Supreme Court Nomination after it has already been pass to the Senate.
posted by Mitheral at 1:59 AM on October 2 [4 favorites]


A note from across the pond: it is not true that Boris Johnson's popularity soared following his COVID-19 diagnosis. There are lots of complicating factors though, as ever!
posted by adrianhon at 2:04 AM on October 2 [8 favorites]


We were also being told that masks were unnecessary, or even potentially harmful, due to misuse, at the time Johnson got Covid.
posted by skybluepink at 2:12 AM on October 2


What is the procedure if Biden becomes incapacitated now?
posted by pracowity at 2:29 AM on October 2


Trump Tests Positive for Covid-19, and the World Shudders
This part caught my eye, specially the highlighted section:
The United States has a well-established chain of succession if the president is unable to fulfill his duties. But the spread of the virus within the White House complex — and the close proximity of Hope Hicks, the aide who first showed symptoms of Covid-19, to Mr. Trump and others in his circle — raised worries about how many other top officials may be at risk, including Vice President Mike Pence.

Mr. Trump’s erratic style has itself been a recurring source of anxiety, according to several analysts. Some said the major worry was not about continuity of government — given the depth of contingency planning in the United States — but how the president would react to enforced confinement and the specter of illness.
I mean, when the pandemic started, it was repeatedly claimed that the US and UK were the two countries in the world with the best pandemic preparation, and we all know now how that went... Add erratic leadership to the equation and no one knows where the next month will take us all, not only the US. Russians and perhaps also Chinese are already trying to hack the election. For those who want the US and the Atlantic alliance to break down, there has never been a better time.
posted by mumimor at 2:35 AM on October 2 [5 favorites]


I don't know if I would take it that far, but I'll agree that in contracting Covid-19, Trump has further destabilized the US.

And he could have avoided getting infected if he'd allowed the White House to take basic precautions.
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:15 AM on October 2 [2 favorites]


Yeah, this isn’t a hoax.

This will be a positive for his base - everything he does is. His base will be demanding sympathy on patriotic grounds. I would expect some comparisons to Sept. 11. I wouldn’t be surprised if Pence becomes the figurehead for the next week. The right-wing messaging on this will be insane.

But most people are definitely not in his base! Let’s focus on them.

I have pity for such a sad man. The comeuppance is biblical. This is a moral allegory, not a rallying cry.
posted by The Ted at 3:30 AM on October 2 [2 favorites]


What is the procedure if Biden becomes incapacitated now?

Anybody who says they really know is probably wrong.

Technically the party is supposed to meet and pick a new candidate, and have that candidate's name replace Biden on the ballot. But people are voting already. Millions and millions have already cast their votes. It's simply not feasible. So they leave Biden's name on the ballot, I presume.

What then happens with the electors and the inevitable court challenges no-one can say but I presume it would be catastrophic because why wouldn't it be.
posted by Justinian at 3:31 AM on October 2 [2 favorites]


Or if they do replace the ballots for election day, will the courts toss all the mail ballots with Biden's name on them? That would almost certainly swing the election. And so on.

Seriously, nobody knows anything.
posted by Justinian at 3:33 AM on October 2 [2 favorites]


I wonder if a vote for Biden/Harris, if Biden was incapacitated before the election, would simply count as a vote for Biden/Harris, the person whom the voter chose to take charge if Biden was incapacitated after the election.

Stuff like that needs to be defined before there's another damned election. Leave no doubts or loopholes.
posted by pracowity at 4:07 AM on October 2 [2 favorites]


I would think that any uncertainty would be swiftly cleared up in the Supreme C- oh. oh no.
posted by um at 4:12 AM on October 2 [7 favorites]


Once I got past my initial surge of Schadenfreude, I do have to admit some serious worries.

Not so much that Trump might get a surge of sympathy, I doubt that. But that if he does die of COVID his cultists will decide that meant he was assassinated by the Deep State and start going on mass shooting rampages.
posted by sotonohito at 4:26 AM on October 2 [2 favorites]


Yep, I'm more inclined to believe it's real now and honestly it's too perfect karma wise.

I do find it interesting and alarming that there doesn't seem to be any news about how he's feeling. Trump has always been the type to lie about how strong/smart he is and the lack of that in his tweet sounds like a scared person, in retrospect.

Someone please put Pelosi in quarantine, thanks. Joe too also, of course, but interesting that I was more worried for Nancy than Joe. Mostly 'cause Joe should still be "out" campaigning in some way, presuming he's ok.

It's impossible for me to think and feel that karma is, sometimes, amazing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:30 AM on October 2 [2 favorites]


The Guardian reporting on possible exposure. Yes, Biden, but so, so many top Republicans:

"Saskia Popescu, an epidemiologist and assistant professor at the George Mason University, said it was “entirely possible” Biden had been exposed, as Trump would have been infectious for 48 hours before testing positive.

Also on the list for possible exposure is the vice-president, Mike Pence, the White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, Trump’s pick for the supreme court, Amy Coney Barrett, and the Senate Republicans they visited this week to prepare for Barrett’s confirmation hearings.

Trump's positive Covid test was a surprise that many saw coming
The list also include Trump’s children and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, along with other senior White House staffers who accompanied Trump from Washington to the Cleveland debate and back. Few if any of them are reported to have worn masks on Air Force One.

The extent of the spread of Covid in the top tier of US politics will depend on when the president, Melania Trump and Trump’s adviser Hope Hicks became infected."
posted by deeker at 4:35 AM on October 2 [1 favorite]


Also, I have question about the "E-6B Mercury off the east coast near DC" Tweet. Wouldn't those planes be in the air 24/7 anyway? Shouldn't they be?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:37 AM on October 2 [1 favorite]


Maybe he'll just disappear, like a miracle.
posted by valkane at 4:43 AM on October 2 [17 favorites]


Sending thoughts and prayers.
posted by snofoam at 4:48 AM on October 2 [7 favorites]


It is not a completely arbitrary number, but it was always going to be a compromise. Complications to figuring a recommended distance include a range of factors like temperature, humidity, wind direction, time of day (day or night), sheer numbers of people in the vicinity, what people will accept, the simple practical limits to distancing while going about your daily business, etc. I have some sympathy for the health pros on this one. Whatever they recommend somebody is going to bitch about it.

6 feet (2 meters) was chosen before the disease was widely recognized as being able to spread via aerosols by the national and international health officials. Even then it was obviously incorrect as a hard rule because the very early restaurant contact tracing study from China clearly revealed that it was capable of spreading farther given the right (or wrong I guess) air currents.

The problem with a heuristic is that only a tiny fraction of the population even knows the definition of heuristic and not even all of those will actually treat it as a heuristic. Instead it ends up reified into a rule. This also happened with the contact tracing heuristic of 15 minutes of continuous exposure which then resulted in school districts and NFL football teams making people move about every 14 minutes so they could dodge precautionary quarantines in the event someone tested positive. You also see it in the people who adopt the notion of a "risk budget" and then go on to believe that they should spend their accumulated budgeted risk credit like it is a reward. Give people a heuristic that looks like a rule and then you will get a rule and then rules lawyers finding angles to defeat the very point of the heuristic while pointing to it as the letter of the law.

Public health officials have tried so hard to be nuanced or to take into account the probabilities of people failing (and people absolutely do fail) or having limited capacity for sacrifice (I think they were very wrong on this one - people have shown that they can make extended sacrifices) but I think they fundamentally failed to account for people's lack of understanding of continuums or willingness to do the hard math-like work of judging them in real-time all of the time. People wanted rules not heuristics. They didn't want to make calculated judgements or assessments. The health officials should probably have said "Maintain as much distance as you possibly can" but maybe that would not have provided sufficient legal cover for certain industries to continue to operate while exposing their employees to risk.

I think that the public health officials had an overly pessimistic interpretation of human psychology with regard to endurance of discomfort and sacrifice while simultaneously over-intellectualizing how people approach risk in their daily lives.

Now if they fucked up the setting for the debate by not have strong ventilation and an air wall between the onstage participants that is a huge failure by the Secret Service, White House staff, and Joe Biden's people. At that level people should be able to properly assess continuums of risk in near real-time all the time because it would be their jobs.
posted by srboisvert at 5:03 AM on October 2 [14 favorites]


Also, I have question about the "E-6B Mercury off the east coast near DC" Tweet. Wouldn't those planes be in the air 24/7 anyway? Shouldn't they be?

I read on Twitter that they usually have their transponders off and that they switched them on to make sure everyone knows they're still there. I don't know how to fact check that but it seems likely to me.
posted by popcassady at 5:05 AM on October 2 [2 favorites]




The health officials should probably have said "Maintain as much distance as you possibly can" but maybe that would not have provided sufficient legal cover for certain industries to continue to operate while exposing their employees to risk.

No doubt legals played into it too.
posted by Pouteria at 5:22 AM on October 2 [1 favorite]


From Nature (Aug. 28):

For every 1,000 people infected with the coronavirus who are under the age of 50, almost none will die. For people in their fifties and early sixties, about five will die — more men than women. The risk then climbs steeply as the years accrue. For every 1,000 people in their mid-seventies or older who are infected, around 116 will die.

Further down in the article:
The IFR was close to zero for people between the ages of 15 and 44, increasing to 3.1% for 65–74-year-olds and to 11.6% for anyone older.

Trump is 74. He has a couple of predisposing conditions (obesity and I think I remember reading he takes medicines for high blood pressure). He will have intensive medical care. He does tend to surround himself with health care cronies. I don't know if he is going to insist hydroxychloroquine but that would make his chances worse.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:41 AM on October 2 [4 favorites]


the likes of which America hasn't experienced before

One of the things I absolutely hate about 2020 (and to a lesser extent, November 2016-present) is how often this phrase keeps being true. I long for some nice, safe, relaxing boredom.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:47 AM on October 2 [6 favorites]


Mad King has the disease?

Well blessed be.
posted by Dashy at 5:49 AM on October 2




I always thought the six-feet rule was something from the pro-insect lobby.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 5:51 AM on October 2 [7 favorites]


I would guess an American president would get at least as good care as an average Dane.

Can we just take a moment to appreciate some masterful shade from mumimor?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:55 AM on October 2 [27 favorites]


[Housekeeping note: From here on, let's move the continuing "Trump has covid" part of the discussion over to the "Trump has covid" thread just to avoid having two ongoing parallel discussions. Thanks!]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 6:22 AM on October 2 [14 favorites]


From April 2019: "If we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation. And I cannot stand by and watch that happen.”

From the start Mr. Biden has been positioned by others as 'the best choice to get rid of P Trump.' And plenty of photons caused to strike eyeballs claiming the progressives need to suck it up to be rid of Trump.

What's the reason to suck it up if P. Trump is no longer in the race due to complications of COVID-19?
posted by rough ashlar at 9:50 AM on October 3


The election is 30 days away, and many people will vote prior to Nov. 3 via mail-in ballots.

CPD Statement, September 30, 2020: The Commission on Presidential Debates sponsors televised debates for the benefit of the American electorate. Last night’s debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues. The CPD will be carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly. The Commission is grateful to Chris Wallace for the professionalism and skill he brought to last night’s debate and intends to ensure that additional tools to maintain order are in place for the remaining debates.

Future of presidential debates unclear after Trump tests positive; Trump family largely ignored mask rules Tuesday (USA Today, updated Oct. 3, 2020) The Center for Disease Control and Prevention advises anyone who tests positive for the virus to avoid contact with others for 10 days after symptoms first appeared and until fever symptoms have been gone for at least 24 hours. Trump, who aides say has exhibited "mild symptoms," announced his positive test in the early morning Friday, Oct. 2, which seemingly gives the president enough time to follow safety protocols before the next debate is scheduled if he quickly recovers.

Representatives of the Commission on Presidential Debates did not respond to requests to comment about the future of the debates.[...] The debate between Vice President Mike Pence and vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris remains set for Oct. 7 in Salt Lake City. Pence and Harris both tested negative for the virus. The Trump campaign said they are open to safety changes for the vice presidential debate.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:12 AM on October 3 [1 favorite]


Personally, I find it hard to imagine that if Trump does have to withdraw from the race, he will be replaced by anyone substantially better.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:17 AM on October 3 [3 favorites]


rough ashlar, I'd say it's clear to me that President Biden would be preferable to President Pence, or President Someone Else The Republican Establishment Hastily Chooses; and so while you're also voting for the important but down-ticket candidates and ballot issues, please go ahead and cast your ballot in a meaningful way for the presidential election as well.
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 10:19 AM on October 3 [9 favorites]


What's the reason to suck it up if P. Trump is no longer in the race due to complications of COVID-19?

Republicanism == Trumpism. Pence's policies would be just as bad as trumps and his judicial appointments might even be worse. Also Pence, while not the sharpest knife in the drawer, actually knows how to be an elected executive and might be more effective at enacting those horrible policies. It's not like we hate Trump because we don't like his tweets. We hate what he's doing to the country and Pence would just continue that. I'm somewhat amazed that anyone even needs to explain that.
posted by octothorpe at 6:06 PM on October 3 [13 favorites]


Sen. Pat Toomey won’t run for reelection or for Pennsylvania governor, sources say

Pretty huge impact for the 2022 Senate and Gubernatorial map. Very curious timing as well.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:56 AM on October 4 [6 favorites]


^and Toomey's only 58 -- I thought he'd be a GOP fixture for at least another couple of decades.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:15 PM on October 4 [2 favorites]


That is an interesting position that now Republicanism == Trumpism. How does that then work when President Biden then works with Trumpism (or Republicanism)? Keep in mind Mr. Biden has slammed critics of working with 'Trumpists' or impeachment hasn't shaken my faith in working with 'Trumpists' along with his history of working with/voting with people running under GOP?

The endorsement of the Chamber of Commerce with its past GOP ties and the The Lewis Powell Memo: A Corporate Blueprint to Dominate Democracy. Why Judge Powell was unwilling to become part of SOCTUS, wrote the memo, and then took a pay-cut to become part of SOCTUS and then his decisions rarely gets discussed.

I'm very amazed that anyone needs explaition how there will not be all this change people are seeking beyond the binary 'President Trump is no longer President'.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:44 AM on October 5


I'm at the point where the last thing I expect from any elected politician is anything approaching vision, courage, wisdom, genuine insight.

I just vote against whoever I fear the most, which right now, on all of planet earth, is Donald Trump.
posted by philip-random at 10:51 PM on October 5 [1 favorite]


If Trump were forced to withdraw and a different Republican were elected in his stead, the Republicans would see it as a confirmation that Trumpism is their way forward. Joe might not be the most exciting Democratic candidate (as I've gotten older, I've realized that for most people all candidates are unexciting) ever, but it would deliver the necessary rebuke that is necessary (but perhaps not sufficient) to force the Republicans to rethink their strategy.

Indeed, if Trump were to be dropped, it would send an even stronger message than it would if he survives as the face of the party. Votes for Biden from the left despite him being seen as "meh" by that group also help underline the point.

If four years of Trumpism doesn't motivate people to hold their nose, the Republicans will instead get the message that the left is completely irrelevant and they can be as shitty as they can dream of being without prompting a meaningful backlash. All the protests in the world don't matter to them, they only hear the outcome of elections.
posted by wierdo at 12:03 AM on October 6 [4 favorites]


the Republicans will instead get the message that the left is completely irrelevant

If we are opting to define "the left" as "socialism" and "Bernie Sanders" then such a message has been sent by Joe Biden at townhalls and debates. And here on Metafilter in some of the Biden is now the presumutive and then nominated canidate.

they only hear the outcome of elections.

'Tis too bad the next 2 debates won't address things like gerrymandering or some form of change from the electorial college/the 2 party system.

The people who want to call 'the left' a failure or 'trumpism' a success are going to take whatever data point they want as proof. Older thinking on this would be Upton Sinclair with his quote “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” or the work of Tali Sharot as noted here.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:18 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


By "the left", I mean the people who normally sit out because they can't countenance voting for Democrats since the party would barely qualify as centrist in much of the world. Coming out of the woodwork to give Trump the finger sends a strong message that Republicans will hear because it imposes actual consequences for embracing outright fascism.

It won't change their opinion, but it will show them that there is a limit on what is possible for them to get away with before they end up with a large coalition arrayed against them. That playing only to their strongest supporters and going down the rabbit hole loses them nothing. Sitting out just tells them that self described leftists aren't going to vote against them no matter how bad they get, so can be safely ignored.

It wouldn't be the first, or even tenth, time in history a rump ideology was ratified by an election because the vast majority who agreed on the abhorrent nature of that ideology were too busy fighting amongst each other about everything else to win.
posted by wierdo at 12:43 PM on October 7 [4 favorites]


By "the left", I mean the people who normally sit out

And what if they felt they were not getting shat upon by the more to the left party than what has now been labeled the Trumpist party?

What if they had policy planks and a hope for change actually happened.

Would that have been enough to get 'em to turn out VS relying on making the whole thing "vote out Trump"?

Or have events totally overtaken the craptacular debate and it won't matter if big T is not able to be sworn into the office for a 2nd term?
posted by rough ashlar at 2:38 PM on October 7


Take a gander at Joe Biden's platform.
posted by PhineasGage at 2:47 PM on October 7 [4 favorites]


I don't think Biden can answer the question about court-packing.

Biden not answering about court packing has been trending on and off on my twitter and something that struck me is how wildly shameless it points out the GOP is behaving. They all are on explicit record that SC justices shouldn't be appointed while the president is up for election (swearing up and down two years ago that they wouldn't appoint a justice) and yet are going to go ahead and appoint a justice. But they are trying to use an election statement by Biden to bind his future actions because they know Biden doesn't want to look like a hypocrite even though they feel absolutely no qualms about doing so themselves.
posted by Mitheral at 8:53 AM on October 9 [14 favorites]


Honestly, I hate Biden not answering about court packing, because I think it shows one of the huge failures of the democratic process. He doesn’t want to answer because a truthful answer about his intentions will lose him votes - either progressive votes who want to pack the court or moderates who don’t want to. So the fuck what? Tricking people into voting for you by not telling them something they find pretty important isn’t cute. Taking no stance until you think it’s safe to do so is not morally laudable. It’s yet another reason I’m glad I’m not in a swing state.
posted by corb at 7:17 PM on October 9


It seems to me like one of those things he can’t really know if it’s practical do do or not right at this particular moment. Especially if Barrett’s confirmation is really as up in the air as it seems right now.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:44 PM on October 9 [5 favorites]


It's not a trick. It's actually impossible to answer now, and there is zero upside to trying. He knows it's a tool in the toolbox, as do we all, but no one knows what he would do about something that's easily 4 or 5 moves away from needing a decision - him inculded.
posted by Miko at 8:13 PM on October 9 [6 favorites]


It also doesn't help that the media doesn't bother to point out that if Barrett ends up in a Supreme Court seat, we will know for certain that either her occupation of that seat, or Gorsuch's occupation of his seat, or both of them, will have been the product of the Congressional Republicans simply ignoring the part of the constitution that says the president appoints the members of the Supreme Court.

An unconstitutional seizure of one branch of government by another (more specifically, by a political party, a "private organization")—whereas court packing, while an extreme remedy, is a constitutional remedy for an unconstitutional seizure of power. But no one is bothering to explain the context while asking the Schrödinger's-Barrett question about court packing and we can be pretty sure no one would bother to explain the context once a hypothetical answer was given, so I think that Biden's policy to not answer the question at this point is legit and the best one.
posted by XMLicious at 8:15 PM on October 9 [13 favorites]


there probably is a good an acceptable response that addresses the question while sidestepping a direct yes or no. something along the lines of i will immediately convene a working group of expert jurists and constitutional scholars to examine recent occasions of senate recalcitrance within the constitutional framework for judicial and supreme court nominations and consider their recommendations yadda yadda yadda, could be more than just a dodge, leaving the threat/promise open.

there might also be an opportunity for biden/harris to distinguish those approaches and policies which are theirs from the threats and anguished howls of every democratic party member or random editorialist to the left.
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:33 AM on October 10 [1 favorite]


A little while ago during one of the breaks in the Barrett hearings, Terry Moran, an anchor for one of the Enemies of the People, said something with nearly the exact wording, "President Trump got lucky with three Supreme Court openings during his term. Sometimes that just happens!" and my head exploded.

In the following brief audio-problem-free resumption of the hearings, Senator Blumenthal asked Barrett again about her comments on "super-precedents" that she could actually confirm are valid SCOTUS rulings, getting her to repeat agreement with Brown v. Board of Education and Loving v. Virginia. So we might only go back to the 1950s and 1960s, legally? Maybe? And segregation might still be outlawed and interracial couples might still be able to get married? (Note that not all Trump judicial nominees have been willing to say that Brown was valid.)

But Barrett refused to say that Griswold v. Connecticut, also a 1960s ruling, 7 to 2 even then, against the criminalization of birth control, was one of the "super-precedents" she'd talked about. Even when Blumenthal made it clear that it was her legal opinion he was asking for, not her moral or religious opinion. And of course she wouldn't speak on Obergefell v. Hodges—same-sex marriage, or other more recent LGBTQI+ rights cases.
posted by XMLicious at 12:32 PM on October 14 [2 favorites]


The will-they-or-won't-they Oct. 15 debate nonsense didn't end the series, not even the stupid in-person aspect: The next presidential debate will be held on Thursday, October 22 at Belmont University in Nashville, TN.

Subject to possible changes because of news developments, the topics are as follows, not necessarily to be brought up in this order:

Fighting COVID-19
American Families
Race in America
Climate Change
National Security
Leadership


The final debate could be Trump's last chance to turn the race around: He's already attacking the moderator, NBC News White House Correspondent Kristen Welker (USA Today, Oct. 19)
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:42 AM on October 19 [3 favorites]


I don't see any benefit for the Biden campaign to participate in this last debate, unless the moderator has the ability to cut Trump's microphone. It's just pointless: everyone knows what Trump is gonna do.
posted by suelac at 1:13 PM on October 19


OTOH Trump's boorishness in the first debate played very badly for him; the potential benefit to the Biden campaign is that he does more of the same and further torpedoes himself.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 1:26 PM on October 19 [1 favorite]


While the need to pretend that Donald Trump's behavior is normal requires the media to observe norms, nothing would make me happier than after the 2 minutes Trump has to respond, the mic mutes.

Donald Trump would immediately rage-quit, storming off stage. If we're lucky, while throwing down the mic. The sight would be glorious.
posted by mikelieman at 2:57 PM on October 19 [2 favorites]


My roommate shared with me today that Trump's latest accusation about Biden is "he wants to lock everything down! He wants to listen to Dr. Fauci and the scientists!"

Biden's pithy twitter response is, in its entirety: "....yes."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:03 PM on October 19 [9 favorites]


Subject to possible changes because of news developments, the topics are as follows

Not so fast!
“President Trump’s withdrawal from the second presidential debate led to the event’s cancellation. Now, three days ahead of the final debate, Mr. Trump’s campaign is demanding changes to the format and accusing the organizers of bias toward Joe Biden,” the New York Times reports.

Trump’s campaign manager Bill Stepien asked the Commission on Presidential Debates to refocus Thursday’s debate on the subject of foreign policy, rather than the six subjects announced last week by the moderator, Kristen Welker of NBC. They are “fighting Covid-19,” “American families,” “race in America,” climate change, national security and leadership.

Stepien said it had “promised” that the debate would be about foreign policy and accused the commission of “pro-Biden antics” that “have turned the entire debate season into a fiasco.”
posted by Spathe Cadet at 4:21 PM on October 19 [1 favorite]


Good news - another change to the final debate is that they are finally going to introduce cutting the mics.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:03 PM on October 19 [7 favorites]


“fighting Covid-19,” “American families,” “race in America,” climate change, national security and leadership.
Like, the most important issues. Obviously the moderaters are biased towards Biden. /sarcasm

I woke up this morning with words from Macbeth in my head: Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
I couldn't remember the context, just the words that seemed so relevant now.
posted by mumimor at 11:29 PM on October 19 [3 favorites]




in two weeks, in two weeks, in two weeks
peaks in this crappy race until the
last op-ed in the failing new york times
and all our infrastructure weeks have
lighted some rough beast the way to bethlehem to be born...

(forgive me!
it was low-hanging
so bitter and so dank)
posted by 20 year lurk at 5:05 PM on October 20 [3 favorites]


HURRY UP PLEASE ITS TIME
posted by jquinby at 7:31 PM on October 20 [1 favorite]


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