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.