For those who watched the event last night that was called a debate but more resembled a nightmarish assault by a baboon high on cocaine against a kindly gentleman who still listens to his CD box set of “A Prairie Home Companion”.
Spoiler: The coked-out baboon wildly dominated the debate even though he spent the evening mostly flinging poo at himself.
The consensus today is clear. While further destroying his image, Trump destroyed another institution, the presidential debate, and he’s getting hammered for being relentlessly maniacal, spewing non-stop lies, and not only refusing to condemn white nationalist militias like Proud Boys but in fact, expressing support for them to commit violence against Americans.
Biden received modest praise for generally conducting himself as a decent human being and for his attempt, hindered by Trump’s constant outbursts, at trying to connect with Americans and share his views on issues and the country.
While this strategy, in the end, didn’t directly harm Biden and did harm Trump, there are those who came away just rejecting both candidates with the “pox on both your houses” mentality.
There is an old saying that I understand is not an accurate one but its intent can be appreciated, the Chinese sign for crisis also means opportunity. Yes, there are many issues on which Trump can be hammered by Biden in a debate and some are potent especially Trump’s COVID-19 coverup and subsequent death cult. However, by acting irrationally and blasting uncontrollable lies and hostility, Trump is handing Biden a much more powerful argument to disqualify Trump as a candidate. If only Biden can zoom out from his more conventional view of debating and adapt to the moment, he could decisively knock Trump out for good.
The issue that used to be mentioned quite a bit about Trump but has receded amongst the myriad revelations and outrages in more recent times, is the issue of Trump’s unfitness for office.
Trump’s madman strategy to dominate debates at any cost actually opened up a huge vulnerability that Biden could exploit in the next debates. It’s like in boxing, you may come in with a game plan but during the fight, if you see that your opponent keeps opening up himself to an uppercut, take advantage of it and throw an uppercut.
In the next debate, Biden needs to be far more “in the moment” and recognize and exploit such vulnerabilities (and if he delivers an actual uppercut to Trump’s chin, it could be a real boost in the polls). He needs to draw a connection between Trump’s current behavior and his failings as a human being and president.
For example, if Trump keeps breaking the rules and interrupting, Biden can leverage that into, “You see how unfit this man is for the presidency? He has no self-control, he breaks rules and his agreements like he breaks laws, he doesn’t believe in law and as you can see, he certainly doesn’t believe in order. It’s his out-of-control greed and selfishness, any lie or attack that he thinks will help him grab what he wants, he’ll say. Like a sociopath, he doesn’t care who gets hurt, who dies from a pandemic, as long as it helps him get what he wants, it’s perfectly fine. And that disqualifies him as a human being from holding power over this country, let alone being re-elected. He is wholly unfit to be president.”
When Trump interrupts with lies, Biden can have a Reaganesque “there you go again” moment, “You can’t help yourself, can you? Breaking rules tonight, breaking laws throughout your life. Stealing from charities so badly you’re banned from running charities ever again, cheating on your taxes, betraying our allies and even your own personal allies when your paranoia tells you they’re not loyal enough. You have no decency or principles. You are proving right now, at this moment in this debate, why you lack the minimum amount of decency required to run a charity, let alone the most powerful nation in the world.”
The art of Judo is described at one site as:
Judo (Japanese for “the gentle way”) emphasizes winning in combat by using your opponent’s weight and strength as weapons against him, while preserving your own mental and physical energy. It embodies the principle that good technique can win out over sheer strength.
Does this not sound like an ideal strategy for Joe Biden to use against Trump in debates? If Biden was willing to use a little judo, not throughout the entire debate but at key pressure point moments, Biden could flip Trump onto the mat in a way that he could never get back up (ot that Trump does’t need White House staff to lift him out of bed in the morning).
Trump’s perceived strength is also his greatest weakness. Judo teaches to use another’s weight and strength against them. Biden has the skills to do this and in doing so, would appear far stronger than Trump and the hands-down superior candidate. Also, the only candidate fit for the job.
If the goal is for Biden to win by the largest, convincing margin on Election Night so there is no foothold at all for Trump to use the courts, the National Guard, his Secret Police or white nationalist militias to overthrow the results of the election, Biden should not play it safe and sit back in debates. Close the door on Trump and lock it tight.
The ejector seat button for Trump in this campaign is his being unfit. If it is made clear to the remaining undecided voters that there is only one candidate who is fit for the job, no matter how they may differ with Biden on some issues, he becomes the only one they can vote for in good conscience.
Joe Biden has been a fighter throughout his life. He’s fought through terrible suffering, beaten back the opponents of many critical and humane issues, and now…if he would only use a little political judo in the next debate, he could confidently finish the fight to become the Heavyweight Champion in this race.
Well analyzed, well considered, well constructed, well said. You get to the hear of the matter: the man is unfit (temperamentally, intellectually, experientially). Using the debate as the laboratory in which that is demonstrated rather than at-a-distance policy matters which Trump does not care about or understand is a smart move. Reagan and Obama proved to be very good at being-in-the-moment. Biden will need to practice this.
The only fly in the ointment that I can identify is that for Biden to get out the marvelous comebacks you provide as samples he would need the kind of pause in the diarrhetic trump flow that would permit him to deliver those lines such that they would be clearly heard. This is where the Debate Commission comes in. The only measure that I can see as effective in defeating the chaos making candidate is controlled microphones. On and Off controlled by the moderator. Or something similar that creates lacunas, empty spaces, or floor mats (to fit your Judo image) in which the blow can be delivered.
If that does not happen then Biden must make a moment and, in spite of the background noise and verbal harassment, deliver the blows even if it is in bits and pieces.
Thanks Murph. It just came out today that the Debate Commission WILL add a kill switch for the mics in the next debate and other provisions, hopefully a punishment for those who repeatedly abuse the rules like a loss of speaking time.
Could I ask you to share this article with the Yabberz folks and anywhere else to get it around? I think it’s an important argument for how Biden should deal with Trump and help bring about a landslide on Election Night that prevents Trump from getting any support on trying to override our democracy.
Brilliantly said, AdLib, absolutely brilliant and absolutely on the
mark! Now from your lips to Biden’s (or at least his advisors’) ears!
Thanks so much, NoManIsAnIsland! Hope I can get it around enough to get his team to consider it!
Trump makes himself so vulnerable to being branded unfit, I think playing it safe and just sticking to the issues is moot when Biden is just interrupted and talked over by Trump.
You’re very welcome, AdLib, and while nothing could be more appropriate for Biden to do in calling out Trump’s flaming psychotic behavior in subsequent debates — assuming there will even be more — Biden and his surrogates can and should speak about how Trump’s maniacal debate frenzy is proof of how demented and incapable of being president he really is.
You’re quite right when you point out the futility of Biden “…playing it safe and just sticking to the issues… when (he) is just interrupted and talked over by Trump.” For all the traction Biden got from this — essentially none — he would have done just as well by speaking in tongues or even Trumpian gibberish. Biden would have done far better by making it clear in real time how Trump was presently displaying the dangerous and unhinged behavior that made it imperative for him to be voted out of office on Nov. 3.
I hope you can get it around enough for Biden’s team to see it in time and get him to follow your inspired advice. I’m convinced if Biden has the sense and discipline to really adopt it, Trump will be utterly flabbergasted and may, if possible, come even more unglued in his desperation.
While time is getting very short, if Biden does use judo on Trump as you so sagely suggest, it may boost his margin of victory in the popular vote well beyond what we can predict now. If this happens, Biden, the sane citizens of the U.S. and the rest of the world will owe you a great debt of gratitude.
Yes, as you say, there is nothing that should stop Biden and his surrogates right now from using Trump’s debate immolation to illustrate how unfit Trump is for office and connect it to all of his other acts. Use the theme of “disregard for the lives and well-being of others to grab what he wants”. Cheating on his taxes, lying about being a successful businessman, killing 200,000 Americans, rooting on racial conflicts, and a civil war between Americans.
This is the problem with longtime establishment Dems running Biden’s campaign. They’ve been doing this the same way, election after election or under the wing of those doing it like this for decades. This era is different and while I have noted more openness to trying different things, they noo doubt believe in building and sticking to a strategy, not as willing to change course based on what’s happening at that moment.
I’ve felt so helpless on the idea front, on how to deal with the police and secret police assaults on the George Floyd/BLM protests. Any action, even defensive that protesters make can be used by the police as an excuse to ratchet up the violence. But here, against the assaults by Trump on Biden and the country, there is a tactic for using his weight against himself.
You’re very kind, thank you, I am doing my best now to share this around the interwebs as much as possible and will tweet it to Biden’s Twitter account though I won’t put too much hope in that alone.
We’re on the same page. Not only is it a problem
that longtime establishment Dems are running
Biden’s campaign, historically only the Republicans
have caused more problems for this country and
our so-called “democratic” processes than the
the Democratic establishment and the slavish
Democratic politicians who serve it rather
than work for the best interests of rank and file
Democrats and the country as a whole.
And I share your feeling of helplessness on the
“idea front” in regard to the vile institutional
racism of uniformed and secret police attacks
on the George Floyd/BLM protests.
But you, as far as I know, are the first person
to think of judo as a way to get Trump to help
complete his own electoral downfall!
I appreciate your thanks; and no matter the
outcome of your efforts to first get Biden’s ear,
and then convince him to follow your plan,
there’s no way to overstate the ingenuity
you’ve shown and the potential magnitude
of the results it can yield if Biden employs it!
Good luck and godspeed in spreading the word!