Op/Ed

Editorial: The biggest losers? Trump, Wallace and the nation’s world status

Former Vice President Joe Biden held his own during Tuesday night’s predictable slugfest with an unruly, disrespectful, ill-informed, fact-challenged performance by Donald Trump. The president’s incessant interruptions led to several instances in which Fox News moderator Chris Wallace had to shout over the 76-year-old’s self-absorbed bombast to get him to abide by the rules of the debate his campaign had agreed to. It was a pathetic display by a sitting president that brought a new low to our country’s stature in the world and makes a mockery of his MAGA slogan.
The one bit of good news out of this debate was that Trump’s blatant disregard of the agreed-upon rules has prompted changes in the next two debates (hopefully a mute button on Trump’s microphone; and Biden’s too, of course, though the moderator won’t need it) to prevent a similar digression into what pundits variously `called: “a train wreck,” “an obesity of aggression,” “a bonfire of hate and grievance,” and so on, and on. The winner, if anyone could win in such an awful display of political discourse, was clearly Biden as he wasn’t drawn into Trump’s taunts, maintained his cool and directed his answers to what he would do for the American people.
Trump and moderator Mike Wallace were the obvious losers. Wednesday’s polls showed that even among Trump’s diehard supporters, only 49% thought the president’s performance helped his cause, while Biden supporters were pleased and overall viewers thought Biden outperformed Trump by an 8-10 point spread.
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As has been widely reported the most shocking statement of the night was Trump’s refusal to disavow his support of white supremacy groups, and his encouragement of the vigilante group, Proud Boys, to “stand down and stand by,” a reference to perhaps summoning them to commit violence against fellow Americans if the vote doesn’t go Trump’s way. In one of his most undemocratic acts since becoming president, Trump has been undermining the validity of America’s election process and of the nation’s very democracy — prepping the country for an election that would be decided not by ballots counted or by the Electoral College, but by a Supreme Court decision or by a vote of state legislators (one vote per state), which might be decided in Trump’s favor.
That very real threat is made more likely (if the vote is at all close on election night) by the prospect that Trump has committed so many acts of tax fraud and crimes against the country, (as per recent revelations of the Trump’s taxes and business dealings over the past 20 years, that he will likely be prosecuted, and face mounds of coming debt if he loses.
Desperate men in power commit desperate acts, and Trump has been telegraphing in very clear messages that he intends to take that path if at all possible. That Mitch McConnell’s Republican-controlled Senate would go along with it, and a stacked Supreme Court might be the adjudicator is all the more reason to be concerned.
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What can Americans do? As Biden said, just vote. 
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman was more emphatic in a must-read column he wrote on Wednesday when he implored the public to take Trump’s threat to upend our democracy seriously: “To get back a semblance of unity and sanity, Biden has to win. 
“And that is why I have only one answer to every question now: Vote for Biden — do it by mail early if you must, but if you can, please, put on a mask and do it in person. If enough of us do that, Biden can win outright with the votes cast on Election Day, instead of waiting for all the mail-in ballots to be counted, thereby giving time for Trump and Fox News to muddy the outcome.
“So help register someone to vote for Joe Biden. Phone bank for Joe Biden. Talk to your neighbor about Joe Biden. Volunteer for Joe Biden. Drive someone to the polls to vote for Joe Biden. 
“Do it as if your country’s democracy depends on it, because it does.”
Angelo Lynn

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