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Author: Subject: 2020 Presidential Ballot

Extreme Peach



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  posted on 8/3/2020 at 08:04 AM
From today's New York Times - Debates Are Quip Contests; Scrap Them

Let’s Scrap the Presidential Debates

By Elizabeth Drew
Ms. Drew is a journalist based in Washington.

Nervous managers of the scheduled 2020 presidential debates are shuffling the logistics and locations to deal with the threat of the coronavirus. But here’s a better idea: Scrap them altogether. And not for health reasons.

The debates have never made sense as a test for presidential leadership. In fact, one could argue that they reward precisely the opposite of what we want in a president. When we were serious about the presidency, we wanted intelligence, thoughtfulness, knowledge, empathy and, to be sure, likability. It should also without saying, dignity.

Yet the debates play an outsize role in campaigns and weigh more heavily on the verdict than their true value deserves. Some of them have been less than hilarious, but they did the job of dominating reaction to a debate. Whatever substance existed was largely ignored. In 1980, when Ronald Reagan debated the incumbent Jimmy Carter, Carter made a serious point about Reagan’s position on Medicare, and Reagan’s riposte, “There you go again,” a non-answer if ever there was one, brought down the house and that was that.
In the first 1984 debate, Reagan, seeking re-election and at 73, the oldest person to be nominated for the presidency, seemed tired and tended to wander off mentally at times. His lackluster performance caused panic among his staff. Democratic supporters of former Vice President Walter Mondale saw an opening.

But another debate soon followed. Thoroughly prepared, Reagan got off the crack, “I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”

The audience roared and Mr. Mondale feigned a laugh, knowing he was cooked. Not even Reagan’s ending of that debate, reminiscing about driving along the Pacific Coast and musing about time capsules, was enough to undermine his political prospects. Reagan’s “joke” aimed at nullifying the age issue dominated the post-debate chatter.

But what is the point or relevance of the carefully prepared one-liner? It’s as spontaneous as a can of sardines. It’s usually delivered from a memory chip in the mind, having been fashioned and rehearsed with aides. When is a president called upon to put down an interlocutor, be it a member of Congress or a foreign leader, before a large audience — or at all?

This, by the way, isn’t written out of any concern that Donald Trump will prevail over Joe Biden in the debates; Mr. Biden has done just fine in a long string of such contests. The point is that “winning” a debate, however assessed, should be irrelevant, as are the debates themselves.

The better way to pay attention to and choose among the presidential candidates is to follow the long campaign that so many complain about. The reason for such moaning has always been a mystery, because unless the campaign is taking place in your living room, you can simply switch it off.

The key words are “pay attention to,” because over the stretch of 2015-2016 it wasn’t impossible to see the implications of a Trump presidency. Not just the vulgarity but the ignorance and insensitivity and extreme narcissism were apparent more than a year before Election Day.

Moreover, we didn’t need the debates to tell us that Trump had chosen to be the P.T. Barnum of American politics. For him, it was (and still is) all about the show, about distracting the public from reality. It was obvious that Mr. Trump had no real affinity for the working-class people whose votes he was chasing. Nothing in his life suggested that his heart was with struggling workers and farmers. It wasn’t impossible to know that he wasn’t the skilled businessman he professed to be. His bankruptcies and shady business practices and discrimination against Black tenants were no secret.

The debates took us nowhere nearer the realities about arguably the most disastrous president in our history. They became simply another tool in his arsenal.

The party conventions, also vestigial organs of a political system that no longer exists, are close to being done away with, if not for the reasons they should be. There’s no reason not to throw the presidential debates on the trash heap of useless (at best) rituals that are no help in our making such a fateful decision.

 

Extreme Peach



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  posted on 8/3/2020 at 08:13 AM
quote:
The entertainment value is huge!

Sadly, that's the point of the NYT article from this morning I just posted. It's not a tool to enlighten voters or get serious answers on questions. It's scripted entertainment. The candidates know it (Trump having been through his share as a primary candidate & then nominee & Biden as a primary candidate & then VP nominee). Anyone else who expects more is kidding themselves.

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 8/3/2020 at 08:54 AM
Funny how so many issues are divided by party affiliation and nothing more.

If I were a Democrat, I would not under any circumstances want Joe Biden on a debate stage either.

Argue or present any reason against it you care to.

 

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Funny, the very same people yelling, "Wear a mask"! for the safety of others are the very same people from whom we hear nary a whimper about the riots.

 

Extreme Peach



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  posted on 8/3/2020 at 11:37 AM
quote:
If I were a Democrat, I would not under any circumstances want Joe Biden on a debate stage either.

Big V, I think people are sick of the two of us re debates, but I will point out that I don't want to see Trump on a debate stage, either. I don't know the political leanings of the author of the NYT article, but her piece was an objective look at how useless the debates are in political terms but a wealth of entertainment value.

 

Peach Extraordinaire



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  posted on 8/3/2020 at 12:30 PM
quote:
quote:
I think there should always be debates.

Curious as to why you think there should always be debates - especially after some ballots have already been cast? They didn't exist until JFK challenged Nixon in 1960.

Wendall Wilkie asked FDR to debate & FDR declined in 1940. The U of MD invited the 2 candidates to debate in 1956 & both declined. The 1st actual presidential debate was 1960 when a vigorous JFK took on pale, nervous Nixon on TV. No debates after that until 1976 - 16 years later.

By the time, the debates happen, there have been party hopeful debates, party primaries & caucuses, the national party conventions in which both candidates present their platform & make their pitch, & voting has started. Is there anything the public doesn't know by then? Especially when one candidate is the incumbent & has a 4 year record?




You make a good point. However, at least a debate gives voters the chance to see the candidates in a situation other than a 30 second commercial. While voters in some states are bombarded with commercials, I haven't seen a single one. The results of the state I live in is assumed, and frankly the candidates don't feel the need to woo individual voters in my state. We don't matter here like a voter in Pennsylvania matters. So a debate is one of the few times a nationwide audience will get to see both candidates.

However, after further thought given Trump throwing all presidential norms and decorum in the trash, and his history of lying (still waiting on those tax returns he promised), screw that guy.

 

World Class Peach



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  posted on 8/3/2020 at 12:53 PM
I used to enjoy the debates - until Trump

They became a flashback to 3rd grade recess - you're fat, am not. you're ugly. am not

Besides, Trump is such a liar there is really no way to respond to half of what he says.

He will say they are doing a great job with corona and Biden and his left wing bosses will fire all the polilce, ruin the suburbs, totally open the borders, and take away jobs (he has said all of this stuff already). Biden will say no, that's not the truth, and Trump will say yes it is. It will be totally pointless.

 

Peach Extraordinaire



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  posted on 8/3/2020 at 01:32 PM
I'm curious what % of voters would have their vote changed by a "debate" spectacle.

Maybe Trump will stalk Biden & invade his space like he did to HC in the last prez debate cycle. What a big tough macho guy Trump proved himself to be that night.

 

Zen Peach



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  posted on 8/3/2020 at 02:26 PM
From CNN:
Well over 80 million people tuned in to see Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump face off, setting a new record in the sixty year history of televised presidential debates. According to Nielsen, the debate averaged a total of 84 million viewers across 13 of the TV channels that carried it live. Many millions also watched the debate via live streams on the web.

Bring them on!...Put Joe on stage!

 

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Funny, the very same people yelling, "Wear a mask"! for the safety of others are the very same people from whom we hear nary a whimper about the riots.

 

True Peach



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  posted on 8/3/2020 at 06:21 PM
Wow - w/those number$ out there, there’s no debating it - they’ll happen - had forgotten it was such a rating$ bonanza in 2016

Now as then, people will tune in just to watch - for the spectacle of it as was said - more-so than to be informed

all our senior citizens, proud of seeing two of their own up there, will tune in

[Edited on 8/4/2020 by Stephen]

 

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"We improvise a lot better playin music than we do talkin” - Dickey 1989
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True Peach



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  posted on 8/5/2020 at 12:10 PM
DNC has been called off, or at least downsized - radio said Biden & running mate will not be in Wisconsin - also said incumbent will give acceptance speech from Oval Office

 

____________________
"We improvise a lot better playin music than we do talkin” - Dickey 1989
“Man in the scheme of life we ain’t got no contract” - Butch 2000
“Boston has always been one of our most righteous gigs” - BO 1971

 

Peach Extraordinaire



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  posted on 8/5/2020 at 12:53 PM
quote:
DNC has been called off, or at least downsized - radio said Biden & running mate will not be in Wisconsin - also said incumbent will give acceptance speech from Oval Office


Does anyone see a problem with an incumbent prez doing an acceptance speech at the WH? Isn't the WH supposed to be a place of policy and not politics. But leave it to Trump. Maybe he can announce he's closing down the postal system during his speech.

 

World Class Peach



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  posted on 8/5/2020 at 01:12 PM
^^
yes, I think it's against federal election law

but the law doesn't apply to Trump and his enablers

 
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