Cancel the Debates

Cancel the Debates

Tonight brought the first debate of this presidential election, and if there is any sense left in this nation, it will be the last too.

Pity the poor closed-caption writers. Pity the poor ASL interpreters. But most of all, pity poor us, the American electorate.

Tonight was the first presidential debate of the 2020 election, and if there is any sense or mercy left in this nation, it will be the last too. The event was a shambolic shout fest, with scarcely a single morsel of substance to be found. President Donald Trump, the Republican candidate, lied repeatedly, refused to condemn racist groups even after explicitly offering to do so, and sought to undermine trust in the election. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democrat, meandered through his positions, only occasionally finishing a sentence. Moderator Chris Wallace lost control within minutes and never regained it.

Voters who tuned in hoping to learn something new about either man’s plans for the country, or about his character, must have realized early on that they were in the wrong place. The three septuagenarians onstage were speaking over one another within minutes. Trump interrupted Biden; Biden interrupted Trump; Wallace tried to interrupt both, with limited efficacy, especially against Trump, with whom he at one point offered to switch seats.