After surviving four years of this administration, a pandemic, and an unmanageable amount of information and scandals, nothing could prepare us for a presidential debate like the one we saw last Tuesday night.
Around 100 million people worldwide watched live as the U.S. president resorted to the rustiest strategy in his book, becoming a bully who had only attempts at humiliation in his “debate” arsenal.
The almost two hours of a supposed exchange of positions and ideas on how to manage one of the most powerful countries in the world became the tacit exemplification that, at this very moment, Donald Trump has run out of arguments to convince the few undecided people that he is the best person to sit in the White House.
If we try to review the outlines of arguments made during the event, and if we manage to overlook the president’s constant manipulative and aggressive boycott, some highlights would be the following:
The issue of the Supreme Court remains in the thin line of the tautological moralistic debate between both parties; the elimination of the Affordable Care Act remains a thorny argument for which neither side has a palpable solution, and the numbers of deaths and infections from COVID-19 are so sharp that the only idea the President could make is that “it’s China’s fault.”
Again, although we should be used to this, one of the most striking features of the U.S. president who tried to debate Tuesday night is the extent of his speculation and misrepresentation of reality. It is as if the only universe in which Donald Trump would have any legitimacy is the one in which his ego and his followers seem to inhabit.
It is no use that the New York Times has described in over three thousand words the fiasco that has plagued the Trump name since the mid-1990s. The president insists that he has paid “millions of dollars in income taxes.”
There is no point in Anthony Fauci, one of the world’s leading epidemiologists, insisting and repeating the severity of the coronavirus pandemic and the importance of wearing masks. The President seems to have understood that “Anthony Fauci said masks are not good.”
There is no point in the country claiming on the streets the right to live no matter your skin color. The president insists that there is “a sort of a reversal” when it comes to racism.
However, Donald Trump did say something we could agree with: “there’s never been a president who’s done more than I’ve done in a period of three and a half years.” And it is true. No president has ever divided, collapsed, and impoverished the country at such breakneck speed as Donald J. Trump. And his desperation to step on any other voice on that stage is the most tangible evidence of that.
The American president was not debating an opponent; he could not even argue against the moderator. The American president made it clear that his battle is against the democratic system, against the country that we were and the country that we can be, and against the historical conception of Western democracy.