There is plenty of good analysis of last night's presidential debate, which was clearly the best of the two. It was certainly the better moderated. A few observations as an old political debate guy:
Friday, October 23, 2020
Six Reasons Trump Won the Final Debate
1. The handling of the energy issue was a big mistake by Joe Biden - phasing out the oil industry why claiming he's not against the practice of fracking. That's a big deal in places like the rural southwestern US, and especially here where I live in Pennsylvania. New energy extraction technologies have mostly fabulous safety and environmental records. Many depressed communities in rural and mostly western Pennsylvania (including former steel-making communities) have found new life and tens of thousands of new jobs. They're paying careful attention. Some 6 million people in the US are directly employed by the fossil fuel industry.
And there's more to it than that. Do you have any idea how many products are made from petroleum? While a 42-gallon barrel of oil produces about 20 gallons of gasoline, here's a partial list of everyday products made from, made with, or derived from petroleum. Some will surprise you, like toothpaste, tires, sports equipment, and soft contact lenses.
And there's more. Our food supply relies very heavily on petroleum products and derivatives to grow and manufacture food, starting with fertilizer and pesticides. Transitioning to a fossil-fuel-free world will make the cost of everything much, much, higher.
2. Rule One of any debate is never, ever invoke Hitler or Nazis in a debate. Joe not only violated that rule, but he was dead wrong, claiming that the US had a good relationship with the Fuhrer before WWII. That is completely false, as any cursory reading of history will demonstrate. Talk about stepping on the grave of Franklin Roosevelt. Big mistake.
3. Never look at your watch during a debate while you're "live." President George Herbert Walker Bush was eviscerated for that during the "town hall" debate in 1992. Joe looked at his watch more than once. Bad look. It suggests you're bored, tired, and would rather be someplace else like your basement.
4. "Who built the cages, Joe?" Joe parroted a bad National Public Radio (which should be defunded) report about children being separated from their families at the US border. As I've shared here and elsewhere, and this is sad, parents pay human traffickers to take their children to the US to help them escape terrible conditions, from poverty to gang violence. Human traffickers use and abuse them, often under the control of drug cartels. Many are claimed falsely as children to facilitate crossing the border (families get precedent). As the Customs and Border Patrol has well documented and published, parents do NOT always want to reunite with their children - they're trying to give them a future.
5. COVID. Did 40 countries actually close their border to traffic from China before Donald Trump did it on January 29th, as Joe Biden claimed? Umm, no. Total falsehood. Trump was among the first to ban China travel on January 29th, along with Russia, Australia, and Japan. He was criticized by the World Health Organization and, yes, Joe Biden, for doing so. Biden called it "Xenophobic." Until it wasn't.
6. "Laptop from Hell." That was a good line by Trump, and Biden's answer - the discredited "Russian disinfo" angle - basically should finally force his compliant and "nothing to see here" friends in the media to finally cover the issue. We'll see.
I think that wraps it up. A good night for Trump, who met his objectives. Not a great night for Biden, who created doubts about his ability to do the job, after exceeding low expectations in his first debate. People who were looking for a reason - or permission - to vote for Trump got it.