Atlanta What a fiasco! This was no debate. This was a barnyard brawl. Once it was over the question was not whether Joe Biden had won, but how much Donald Trump had lost. Maybe Trump’s base liked his bullyboy show, but it hardly matters at one level because his base shrank literally before our eyes with hardly a month before the election. Reportedly Trump likes his performance, only proving he’s delusional.
By independent count, Trump interrupted Biden or Chris Wallace, the moderator, 741 times over 90 minutes. That’s 5 times per minute, and even more if you take out the introductions and the closing by the moderator. That’s a around one interruption every 11 seconds or so. Let me tell you something that I know for a certainty. The vast majority of people do not like conflict. Period. To see it displayed in primetime in this manner invariably upsets viewers, makes them nervous and uncomfortable, and turns them against Trump, leaving even his hardest core supporters cowed into defensiveness.
Not a good look for the president, and poison to the 11% of remaining undecided voters. If suburban women were ever really a “get” for the president, they are a goner for him now. If there were still bridge games and soccer matches in the suburbs during the pandemic, there are few that would be able to admit out loud that they were voting for the president after this escapade. Let me tell you something I know to be the gospel: women, city, suburban, or rural absolutely do not like to be interrupted. Period. Remember that the moderator of the final debate is a woman. What new hell might that be to watch?
What next? October 15th is the second debate. Likely more than ten million voters will have already early voted by then or mailed in their ballots. If night turned to day, those votes are cast in the shadow of this horror.
The commission that organizes the debates says they are going to jiggle the rules to prevent a recurrence of this mayhem. The commission is in denial. The president has established with a certainty that he has no intention of following any rules. His campaign had negotiated rules for the first debate that he ignored, so who among us would believe that he would abide by new rules or any rules in the next debate? In fact, his campaign spokespeople are claiming that talk of changing the rules is “working the ref,” and there should be no change. There is talk of penalizing rule abusers by docking them time and giving it to their opponent. How does that stop a disrupter and interrupter?
The moderator needs the ability to cut off the mics. The pushback on that step has been that the live audience would still hear the debater shouting even with the mic off. Who cares? Let that be the spectacle on television. There is nothing more impotent or pitiful than watching some red-faced, fat old man yelling silently, in sight, but out of hearing. What’s he going to do? Run down into the townhall crowd at the next debate and grab a floor mic or stomp over to Biden and try to yell into his microphone?
If that happened, Las Vegas would stop taking bets on this election. It would be over. Trump would have a new brand for his dismal and bankrupt future. It would be Trump Toast, because that is exactly what he would be.