Jill Filipovic, Art Cullen, Lloyd Green and Malaika Jabali (* ) – The Guardian
Trump offered little vision and barely any policy, while Biden was solid. The president needed a win, and he didn’t get it
Fri 23 Oct 2020
Jill Filipovic: ‘Trump has given up trying to articulate a plan’
If one single thing shone through in Thursday’s debate, it was that Donald Trump has absolutely nothing to say. He has no agenda. He has no plan. He has no ideals or hopes or purpose. All he has is the raw pursuit of power – for his own benefit, no one else’s.
Trump failed to put forward even one specific policy he will push in his second term. He offered some vague hand-waving – he (or the US supreme court) will get rid of Obamacare and he’ll replace it with something better, no you haven’t seen his plan, even though he’s had four years to create it, but he’s working on it, it’s almost done, he swears – but gave Americans no vision for a second-term Trump presidency. Instead, he was purely reactive. Joe Biden would put forward an idea, and Trump’s response was: “Well why didn’t you do that when you were in office?”
Trump is in office, and while a lot has changed in four years, there’s little he can be proud of. More than 220,000 Americans are dead from a disease that has also tanked the economy and pushed thousands of American families to the brink. America is notorious the world over for ripping children from their parents and putting them in cages; more than 500 of those children are still not reunited with their parents, a human rights catastrophe. The US is increasingly a pariah state, having alienated our allies. The president lies with abandon and leads a party that has increasingly moved to the fringes, its followers and even candidates embracing obscene conspiracy theories.
This is Donald Trump’s America. It’s no wonder he doesn’t want to answer for it. What’s stunning, though, is the degree to which he has simply given up on articulating any plan for the future – and that he’s so sure voters won’t care.
*Jill Filipovic is the author of: OK Boomer, Let’s Talk: How My Generation Got Left Behind
Art Cullen: ‘Trump needed a big win. He didn’t get one’
He bulled over the moderator, he sucked up the time, spread scurrilous claims, said he did more for black people than anyone since President Lincoln, and that those children in cages were well cared for. He was Donald Trump back from Covid as bellicose as ever during Thursday’s debate, a failing candidate on a flailing campaign. “He’s flat-out lying,” Joe Biden declared. “You know who he is. Look at him. And you know you I am.”
Biden holds the lead. Trump shouting down the questions was not what he needed to score an upset and make up lost ground in the final debate. Dredging up Rudy Giuliani’s escapades trying to dig dirt on Biden’s family isn’t selling with the public. Trump failed to slow down Biden just days before the election. The president needed a big win, but Biden maintained his ground with that one statement, looking straight into the camera: “You know who he is.”
*Art Cullen is editor of the Storm Lake Times in north-west Iowa, where he won the Pulitzer prize for editorial writing. He is a Guardian US columnist and author of the book, Storm Lake: Change, Resilience, and Hope in America’s Heartland
Lloyd Green: ‘Trump spoke to his base, Biden spoke to the country’
On Thursday, the interruptions that marred their first debate were gone. In the end, the American public, Joe Biden, and Kristen Welker, the moderator, emerged as the ultimate winners.
The president’s answers were cliched and Biden’s responses were detailed. He successfully demonstrated his capacity to parry Trump’s attacks. The notion that Biden was less than sentient was left in tatters.
Four years ago, Trump’s mantra was tailored to US workers. Now he sounds like a pitchman for the donor class
Trump’s tropism toward paying taxes in China and his failure to release his tax returns was put front and center with less than two weeks before election day, not exactly great timing for a candidate down by nearly 10 points. Likewise, the president proclaiming “I have many bank accounts … and they are all over the place” sounded tone deaf.
More than 220,000 Americans are dead and the economy lurches. The stock market is clearly not the measure of all things. Four years ago, Trump’s mantra was tailored to US workers. Now, the president sounds like a pitchman for the donor class. When Trump says “I’m the least racist person in this room”, you have to roll your eyes.
Both men had their share of missteps. Trump again predicted the end of Covid and bragged of an imaginarily low mortality rate. Biden attacked the oil industry. The president did nothing to endear himself to seniors, Biden may have lost Texas.
By the end of the evening, Biden had reinforced his middle-class message: Medicare, check; social security, check; compassion, check. The president engaged his base. Biden spoke to a country.
*Lloyd Green was opposition research counsel to George HW Bush’s 1988 campaign and served in the Department of Justice from 1990 to 1992
Malaika Jabali: ‘A frustrating debate that ignored big issues’
With the final chance to make an impression on the electorate before election day, Thursday’s debate was short on forward-looking policy and more about complaints and past controversies. There was mud-slinging about who was getting paid by which Russians, whose racist rhetoric and policies were worst, and when businesses should have been shut down because of Covid-19, among other fodder you can find in your average Facebook comment section.
Yet, for all the talk about Covid-19 that opened the debate, it took 45 minutes to address healthcare, and it took an hour to talk about an economic stimulus. Less than 10 minutes were dedicated to race. This is an indictment of the framing of the debate itself as much as it is the candidates. The foreign disputes that entice legacy media editors probably make most Americans’ eyes glaze over when eviction, homelessness and economic strife have either arrived for millions of Americans or they’re on the horizon.
Biden and Trump diverge sharply on major issues in final presidential debate
Sorely lacking was the sense that either of these men have bold ideas to respond to the biggest social justice movement in US history and a transformative plan to help people recover from the health and economic impacts of a pandemic. There was the usual delusional grandstanding from Trump about being (maybe) better for Black Americans than Abraham Lincoln and Joe Biden stating that his response to Covid-19 would be to tell people to wear a mask. There was no discussion about potential domestic voter suppression, less than two weeks before the election. Nothing about far-right white supremacists, who pose the deadliest terror threat in the country. Nothing about policies to reduce racial disparities in unemployment, essential work, Covid-19 deaths and cases, or small business closures.
There was little in this debate to give Americans a substantial sense of security and financial solvency. Apart from the possibility of ridding America of a Trump presidency, that can apply to the election in general.
*Malaika Jabali is a Guardian US columnist
Fri 23 Oct 2020
With 10 days to go, time and history are not on Donald Trump’s side
Covid has tanked the gains he made in the economy and any new stimulus could be too late. For months, Trump has been trying to get a fresh stimulus package through Congress but Blanchflower says he has allowed the Democrats to spin out the talks for too long. “Even if a deal is agreed, voters are not going to feel the impact before the election,” he says.