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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

What The First Presidential Debate Tells Us About 2020

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From Hillary Clinton — whose nightly parsing of the policy on NAFTA, railings on the death penalty, and description of harsh interrogations as “torture” seemed vintage Obama — to Donald Trump — whose indifference to real human interest (much less on a personal level) signaled the base, we would be remiss not to point out the disproportionate effects of questions on frontrunners.

Compared with Mike Pence (the defeated VP candidate of the 2016 Libertarian Party), who was factually and theatrically abject during the first of the three debates, it wasn’t a competition at all.

The debates are, to argue that they are not a given, gestures of the media-television-ad supported notion that the people are about to be confronted with a Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, stripped down to their one defining narrative.

Such a rendering no longer serves their audience, which isn’t just mobilized activists but also millions of voters who would and do pay attention to the president’s opinions. They may get “The Daily Show” jokes, but they don’t, according to the exit polls, just tune in to watch a reality show on Fox.

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