Live Blog: Presidential Primary Debate #2 in Nashville, TN

Time: 9:00PM-10:30PM Eastern Time (with no commercial breaks. The TV coverage started at 7PM, but I figured we could skip that).

Place: Belmont University, Nashville, Tennessee

Host: Commission on Presidential Debates (a non-profit controlled by the two parties)=

Moderator: Kristen Welker, White House correspondent, NBC News

Candidate line-up:

Donald Trump (President of the United States)
Joe Biden (former Vice President of the United States)

Topics, fifteen minutes each:

Fighting COVID-19
American Families
Race in America
Climate Change
National Security

How to watch:

The debate will air live on CNN, CNN en Español and CNN International.
It will stream live in its entirety, without requiring log-in to a cable provider, on’s homepage, across mobile devices via CNN’s apps for iOS and Android, and via CNNgo apps for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast and Android TV. You can also follow CNN’s live debate coverage on, which will include analysis and fact checking.

Rules change:

This time, the Commission on Presidential Debates has given the green light to an in-person face-off, but with one unprecedented change: The candidates will have their microphones cut off while their opponents respond to the first question of each of the debate’s six segments.

The moderator, Kristen Welker, has become part of the story. This is from 2016, so contemporaneous (unlike the tweets and clips going around). From the Free Beacon, “MSNBC Reporter Has No Idea She’s Live During Interview, Tells Clinton Aide What She’ll Be Asking” (I’n quoting a lot of it so that anyone who knows how TV interviews work (I don’t) can assess the Free Beacon’s conclusions:

MSNBC had an awkward moment while trying to conduct a post-debate interview Sunday night, as reporter Kristen Welker appeared not to know she was live and told a Hillary Clinton aide what she would be asking her during their segment.

She then interrupted the guest, Jen Palmieri, when she heard a delayed prompt from the studio.

Ari Melber threw to Welker to speak with Palmieri, a flack for Hillary Clinton, but Welker was in mid-conversation with Palmieri and was telling her she would ask a question about Flint, Michigan, the site of Sunday night’s debate, because of the water crisis there.

“And I’m going to ask you about Flint,” Welker said.

“Kristen, go ahead, you’re live,” Melber said. “You know, we have Kristen Welker. We’re looking at her. She couldn’t quite hear me before. Can you hear me now? If you can, go ahead.”

Welker appeared to be receiving a delayed signal. Finally, she began the interview.

“So Jen, your initial reaction to tonight’s debate? Very fiery,” Welker said.

“Very fiery. Also very substantive,” Palmieri said. “I think it was probably the most substantive exchange that we’ve had. Also, there were a little bit of fireworks, but I think that it was useful because we think–”

Welker then cut over her when she apparently finally heard Melber’s words about starting the interview.

“Ari, I can hear you,” Welker said. “I’m here with communications director Jen Palmeri. Can you guys hear me back in the studio?”

“Yes, we’re on a delay, but go ahead,” Melber said.

“Can you guys hear what we’re saying here?” Welker asked.

“Yes!” Melber said.

The interview started again, and Palmieri again mispronounced the word “substantive” as she praised the tenor of the debate.

Perhaps this is normal practice; after all, MSNBC has a comfortable relationship with the Democrat Party. However, it reminds me of Donna Brazile leaking Town Hall topics to the Clinton campaign, also in 2016. One big happy!

Drinking Game: This debate’s drinking game is not up yet, so here’s the last debate’s. (Personally, I think Taibbi’s a little trapped by success here, and he should think of a new concept. It’s not good to get hammered, for the body or the soul. Justifiable though getting hammered may be!

* * *

As usual, this post does not update; readers may track the debate in real time in comments.

Please keep your comments as informative and analytical as possible. Write for the reader who hasn’t seen the debate, and comes to this site in lieu of watching it on TV. There are no points at NC for knee-jerk, context-free one-liners (“Boo ____!” or “Yay!”) that only those who are also watching can make sense of; that’s for Facebook or Reddit.

I think it adds more value if you take a moment, use your critical thinking skills, then comment, and readers can discuss what you say. That way, those who cannot watch the debate — or can’t stand to do so — can get a good idea of what really happened by reading what you write after the fact. This is what the NC commentariat is so very good at, after all. Last time, the times before that, and this time. Thank you!

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. Carolinian

      It’ll be like Godfather 2 when Michael brought the brother from Sicily to sit as a silent reminder during the Congressional hearing.

      Or not.

    2. Darthbobber

      So much for Bobulinski’s whole: “I should be irrelevant, and I just want to get back to obscurity” shtick.

  1. Noone from Nowheresville

    Taibbi’s busy fighting on Twitter. Loves the new anti-speech generation. Say it makes Tipper Gore look like Lenny Bruce.

    I do wonder when we’ll get to see (and not be able to unsee) that long wet kiss. Or maybe it was just long for me. Or maybe I’m mis-remembering it. Too lazy to look for it.

  2. DonCoyote

    So which topic is foreign policy, “National Security”?

    Drink the first time anything substantive is said about “American Families”.

    1. albrt

      But don’t drink if something non-substantive is said about American Families because you will be dead within 20 minutes.

  3. Eduardo

    I am prepared for the debate here in my “bunker” in Mexico. I have some Herradura Ultra Tequila in honor of my new home, and Jack Daniels in honor of my grandpa that used to make moonshine in Kentucky.

    As an aside, Jack Daniels is not bourbon.

  4. borderdenizen

    Special Guests from the D list: Golfer John Daly and musician Kid Rock. If the pillow guy was there it would actually be historic.

    1. AnonyMouse

      Neoliberal Dad on Twitter nailed this imo:

      “Biden fucking blew the “how are you going to do COVID better” question, because the answer is that Trump completely undermined state capacity to respond and he’s going to simply put it back. But that would admit that government is important”

    1. AnonyMouse

      Yep, he’s coming across so much better this first 15 minutes than the interrupting rant-y nonsense he went with in the first debate

    2. sleepy

      Trump is making his case much better than Biden.

      An hour to go. I’m not sure the civility will make it that far.

  5. AnonyMouse

    I dislike Trump, but that is a masterful way to shoehorn in what he really wants to talk about

    1. Darthbobber

      They’re both reading from the handlers’scripts instead of doing improv, and the scriptwriter seem evenly matched.

      1. Alex Cox

        Maybe others will remark on this, but I had the impression that Biden was looking down at a teleprompter or tablet on the podium in front of him during his speeches.

        The desktop was always out of shot. Were both candidates relying on teleprompters?

  6. Anon II First of the Name

    Really curious why Biden bothered attending this debate at all–he is already in the lead, he had a graceful way out, and he only has possible downside.

    Not saying that this debate will hurt him, but I guess I don’t see the upside in participating after the last one got cancelled.

    Any thoughts?

    1. Acacia

      He is in the lead on the oversampled polls designed to spin a path to victory, but internal polls show a different picture.

      1. Anon II First of the Name


        I have not been following the election very closely–is your response your personal hypothesis, or is it a likelihood?

        It’s better than any explanation I can come up with, in any case…

        1. Acacia

          My response is based upon a reading of internal DNC emails that were released to the public by Wikileaks. The emails show members of the DNC explicitly “designing” the poll to oversample several key demographic groups in 2016, and in this fashion spin the pre-election outlook in favor of HRC. This is a fairly banal example of the perception management (some would call it gaslighting) that has been the business of the DNC for some years now.

          My hypothesis is only that the current DNC policies in 2020 are most likely a continuation of and not terribly different from those in 2016. I would thus question the accuracy of a number of the polls. The emails are available on the Internet and have been analyzed by those media outlets which haven’t been providing excuses/cover for internal DNC policies which are pretty clearly aimed at manipulating public opinion.

          Upshot: I’m not convinced that Biden really has a strong lead in this race.

  7. Fern

    Biden blew a huge opportunity. When Trump talked about hurting the economy with shutdowns, Biden neglected to point out that the economy suffers even worse when the virus gets out of control.

  8. Lee

    I’m glad I didn’t vote for either one of these guys. Although I do commend Biden’s verbal gesturing toward opening the governmental coffers to support schools.

            1. George Phillies

              So vote for Jo Jorgensen, Libertarian. In all 50 states, you actually have three choices.

              And with respect to ‘she can’t win’, in large parts of the US, neither can one of the two guys in the debate.

      1. Altandmain

        Vote Green if you feel strongly in that case – at least in the states that the Democrats haven’t disenfranchised Green voters. Getting 5% for the Green Party would be a step forward:

        That’s probably why the Democrats tried to get the Green party off the ballot in some states.

      1. anon in so cal

        A planet where it’s not ok to start 5 new regime change wars in 8 years and escalate 2 as opposed to someone who has started NO new wars in the first term….

        1. John k

          Bad as trump is, that’s hard to disagree with.
          Another point… if Biden wins there will be no opening for a progressive in 2024.
          If Biden loses, a progressive can point out that right wing centrists had their shot twice, but made no effort to include progressives… and lost to a moronic circus clown. Twice. It’s time to include progressives, and that means offering something they want.

    1. CarlH

      The moderator deftly pulled off the hardest of u-turns at the first possible moment to get the subject turned to anything else.

    1. pjay

      Yes. And Trump tried to out-tough him on it. I just let loose with a stream of profanities and my wife went to bed.

      As Lambert said in the WC today, we are children. We don’t rate real information or options. Just fairy tales and bulls**t.

      1. anon in so cal

        Neither party will expose the origins of Biden’s Ukraine corruption:

        the 2014 Obama Biden coup that empowered actual Nazis, actual White Supremacists.

  9. Foy

    All Trump has to do is let Biden talk for 2 mins, eventually he gets tongue tied and loses his way. I said in the last debate Trumps interruptions never allowed Biden enough time to wander off the rails

  10. Fern

    There goes Biden attacking Trump from the war-hawk right again. And he’s ABSOLUTELY WRONG when he says Russia paid bounties to kill American troops. The Pentagon said there is no evidence for the bounty story. The pentagon. And Biden repeats this lie.

    This is absolutely sickening. How can I vote for this guy? But how can I let Trump win?

    1. pjay

      I watched the whole debate last time, as chaotic as it was. I even got a few laughs out of it. But this time, even though there was more order and coherence, I had to turn it off. Watching both of them stand up there and yammer about the Russia BS as if it was fact (which it was, according to the moderator), was just too much. After Biden’s response, I really wanted Trump to rip Biden apart on the Russiagate crap. Instead, he just tried to be even more macho. I give up.

      I look forward to reading everyone’s comments.

    2. anon in so cal

      Trump is the lesser of two evils.

      Biden and Harris represent a “muscular” FP……think Michelle Flournoy as Def Secy (CNAS)

      Biden wants to escalate in Syria, make Russia “pay a heavier price”

    3. albrt

      I voted for neither today. And I have no children so I am OK with the fact that the American people will unerringly choose the one who will make the United States collapse sooner.

    4. Wyatt Powell

      If you let Trump win (again) we get a shot at someone from the real Left to run against… Mile Pence? maybe Nikki Haley? In 2024.

      If Biden wins, this country never changes, and your corporate overlords will countine to rape you, you childern, grandchildern, and the whole planet along with em.

      As bonus…Trump is an 80/20 on not getting another War (added to the pile of current ones), Biden is 5/95…

      Vote Trump 2020

    1. Samuel Conner

      Not watching, but he’s already promised “nothing will fundamentally change”

      I’m guessing that means back to the trends we were on prior to DJT, which will set the stage for the next DJT in 2024 (or perhaps for DJT himself again, if not re-elected next month)

  11. petal

    Just took my dogs out, and my Chinese roommate is watching the debate downstairs. On my way out the door, I heard Biden saying how Iran is interfering in our elections. smh. I don’t know how anyone can watch this or take Biden seriously. On my way in, it was Biden saying triumphantly that Trump doesn’t pay taxes. Sorry, rant over. argh!!!

  12. Fern

    Trump is facing down Biden on his North Korea negotiations. He’s taking it head one. I have to admit I think Trump is right and Biden wrong on this one. So again, Biden attacks Trump from the war-hawk right.

  13. The Rev Kev

    Did Biden just say that he was going to bring in Bidencare? Bidencare? What would that look like? (looks into distance) A card saying that ‘I have no empathy for you’?

      1. EarlErland

        And a story about Beau. Not the one about how Hunter was practicing the famous Biden love and empathy with Beau’s wife

    1. CarlH

      Whatever his plan is, it’s sure to include complex eligibility requirements, a broken website, and other Kafkaesque frustrations. The war of attrition and plunder will roll on.

    2. Katiebird

      Yes he said it. He also said that nobody lost their private insurance under Obama Care. He’s delusional.

      1. Yves Smith

        On top of that, the insurers tried scaring people into dropping plans as “not Obamacare compliant” while admitting in the letter they couldn’t cancel them. I get that sort of letter every other month from my insurer. Every accountant I have had disagrees with my insurer’s claim, but you have to think this works for a certain % of individuals (my plan is an old plan not now offered on an exchange, and the “not offered on an exchange” seems to be the basis of their argument). So there are no doubt some more people who were scared into dropping insurance they would have kept.

    3. anon in so cal

      I kept saying Trump should into TrumpCare

      Use exec privilege to expand Medicaid and fund it.

      Raise the eligibility caps….

      At least as an interim step

  14. marym

    Trump claiming concern about a candidate’s use of public office and public assets for personal/family profit, and neither Biden nor the moderator push back on public and donor funds going into Trump businesses.

    1. CarlH

      I don’t think Biden is keen to get too deeply into any discussions of impropriety or corruption. And for good reason.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Um, hello, show me where Trump sold the country off to the highest bidder. My Q for Biden: When you stand to salute the flag, which one do you pick?

      Homeland Security today have demanded Hunter’s lawyer to immediately “provide all records related to any of your client’s business dealings—including, but not limited, to bank records, wire transfers, account balances, gifts, business transactions, travel records—with Joe Biden, James Biden, Ye Jianming, Chi Ping Patrick Ho, Zang Jian Jun, Gongwen Dong, Mervyn Yan, Gabriel Popoviciu, or any other associates regarding CEFC China Energy Co. Ltd or any other transactions related to business in Romania, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Czech Republic, or any other countries.

        1. albrt

          He probably meant “healthcare is an issue where I agree with the right wing finance people who own me.”

    1. Glen

      Having the ER drag you back out to the curb while you die is also a right. Because hospitals do that.

  15. Fern

    Biden: “I support private insurance”. That’s our boy! He’s still running as the anti-progressive.

    Trump’s in the hot seat. I noticed his eyes slightly shifting while the first question was being asked. Historically, Trump has publicly said he’s think’s single payer health might be a solution. He knows he’s just being a demagogic asshat, so he has no answers.

  16. lambert strether

    Biden on the public option. Health care is a right, that people have an opportunity to get. “People deserve yo have affordable health care.”

    Meanwhile, Trump is framing public option as socialized medicine and Harris is to the left of Sanders.

    Biden: “I beat all these other people because I disagreed.”

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      “Health care is a right” + “I beat all these other people because I disagreed” = everybody else was saying health care isn’t a right?

    2. Samuel Conner

      am I right in thinking that the language “deserve” is a bit weaselly?

      It’s not IMO as clearly unequivocal as saying that “health care is an unalienable right”

      1. John Anthony La Pietra

        If nothing else, it leaves room for a big BUT — such as “BUT the cupboard is bare, so you won’t get it until we Build Back Better” ((c) Realpolitiker Unified Network / Duopoly Mainstream Communications — “when you want voters to hear a ‘bum rap’ “).

    3. Samuel Conner

      > Trump is framing public option as socialized medicine and Harris is to the left of Sanders.

      I recall reading about an ancient conversation, circa 2017 when Rs were still talking about “repeal/replace” the ACA, but unable to agree on something that would be credibly better, that DJT asked in a meeting, “why not just enroll everyone in Medicare?”

      It remains a good question. I was hoping DJT would run to the left of JB on this one.

    4. ChrisPacific

      Trump apparently gets to define ‘socialist’ however he wants, and Biden will just accept it every time.

      Hypothetical example:

      Trump: You’re a socialist because you don’t kick enough puppies.
      Biden: I’m not a socialist! Somebody bring me a puppy right now!

      1. LifelongLib

        I always thought socialism meant “government ownership of the means of production”, but nowadays it apparently means social welfare or else any economic policy I like/don’t like…

    5. Aumua

      It’s a good strategy. They’ve got the Dems backed into a corner where all they can do is insist how conservative they actually are. It doesn’t matter how far the Dems veer right, they will just keep calling them radical leftists.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        My question is who is responsible for moving the Overton to the right, is it the right? Or is it the left, who we keep rewarding with votes every time they move further right? This time around they had R’s at the friggin convention, what’s it going to take? Think strategically, son.

      2. STEPHEN

        This is one of the failings with their primary candidate selection. They wanted to nominate the centrist because the actual left would be framed as too radical. Thus the “electibility” charade.

        Turns out, the R’s were going to frame any D candidate as a radical leftist, regardless of who it was.

    6. chuck roast

      Biden on health care…yeah this is where I turned the computer off. I’m now going to get a coat hanger, straighten it out and give myself 40 lashes. Fortunately, Medicare now covers any Biden-related mental or physical disabilities, but I will have to get to the hospital post haste because I want to be ahead of crush of fellow tortured souls seeking access.

  17. flora

    So far no questions about ongoing military engagements in foreign countries or international relations, beyond candidates personal financial interests.

    Those 2 questions used to be asked early and seriously in pres debates; you expected that attention in the contest for pres in a world superpower. It was a long question session. It tripped up Jerry Ford against Carter.

    Tonight? Nothing so far. Nada. Interesting.

    1. EarlErland

      Five sentences strung together and pure crap? Nah. OK maybe. Biden’s Inaugural first draft, going nowhere, falling flat. Term limited before elected.

  18. Eduardo

    Joe Biden, talking about The Talk is full of shit. As a poor white person I knew to keep my hands visible, etc.

  19. Lee

    Is Biden implying that police should treat rich black people like they treat white people? Maybe not but he did put it rather awkwardly.

  20. MT_Bill

    Have we got to the part were Trump offers Joe and Hunter a pardon if he drops out?

    That would be awesome.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Hunter’s contract for Burisma describes his role as “Corporate Governance”. The course Joe is teaching is called “Ethics in Government”.

        1. Heraclitus

          Opportunity zones are a terrible idea, but a bipartisan one. I think Obama was planning to do something similar, and that’s why he raised the long term capital gains tax for upper income people from 15% to 23.8%(with medicare surcharge). This drives people who are exposed to capital gains taxes into opportunity zone investments.

  21. Fern

    Oh my goodness. Joe Biden realized he was wrong — “especially on cocaine”. Appears that he got religion when his son became a cocaine addict. Not the strongest answer.

    1. EarlErland

      Not cocaine. Proletariat to the end, Hunter was crack head. Ever wonder why Biden’s tongue never speaks of the poor? He knows Hunter’s end.

  22. bob

    Forgot it was tonight. Just turned it on for not even 15 seconds and turned it off

    Biden “absolutely I am against banning fracking!”


    Fun stuff

    1. bob

      NYT with the Hot Fire quick takes-

      By Lisa Friedman
      “He went on with fracking, ‘We are not going to have fracking.’ Then he goes to Pennsylvania once he got the nomination, and he just, ‘Oh, we’re going to have fracking.’”

      — Mr. Trump
      This is misleading.

      Mr. Biden has never called for a ban on the process for extracting oil and gas known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. He has pledged to end new permits for hydraulic fracturing on federal lands and waters, but said fracking “has to continue because we need a transition” to renewable energy. He has also assured union leaders in critical swing states like Pennsylvania that he will protect existing fracking jobs while pursuing a clean energy transition.

      Fact check- Orange man bad! Biden would never hurt fracking!

    2. Acacia

      Trump did get Biden to say that he intends to “transition away from the oil industry”. While this sounds good in principle, it probably won’t help Biden at all in states like Texas and Pennsylvania that have lots of natural resource jobs.

      On the basis of this exchange, I’d wager that Biden loses many undecideds in both TX and PA.

      1. bob

        I posted an NYT “fact check” of that exchange that was tortured almost to your point. I think it got modded, not sure why…

        He didn’t get anything out of that “exchange”. He made both sides mad by taking the worst possible position. Didn’t pick up any votes and probably lost some.

        There is no way the dems didn’t know that was coming. The should have. How many miilion dollar haircuts do the dems employ to “strategize” on these things?

        Dems! We keep winning!

  23. Lee

    I can’t believe I watched the whole thing. Remember folk, nothing will fundamentally change if it’s left up to either of these two.

  24. lcn

    Both gentlemen are supposedly over 70 years old. One talks like a 12 year old, the other talks like a 5 year old.

    1. Carla

      Between a 12 year old boy, and a 5 year old boy, it’s often hard to tell which is which, especially if there’s an especially bright 5 year in the mix.

      So in your opinion, Icn, which is whic?

  25. flora

    All domestic policy questions. No foreign policy questions that I could recognize. Maybe those questions were in there and I missed them. (russiarussiarussia isn’t a foreign policy question, it’s a red herring – pun intended.)

    1. The Rev Kev

      No, you didn’t miss them. A coupla days ago it was announced that there would be no questions to do with foreign policy. Such questions would quickly drift into questions over the Ukraine and Hunter Biden so they took ALL foreign policy questions off the table.

    2. EarlErland

      North Korea. Biden wants to bear his pearly white caps in a snarl. Trump said he was not interested in war, or even what they do. He recognizes North Korea is in China’s sphere, so when Biden’s Tongue war mongers. Trump is dismissive

  26. CarlH

    If one thing has been drilled into me over the last few weeks it’s that Biden will DEFINITELY NOT ban fracking. It’s the only thing he seems to have any passion about.

  27. tongorad

    Trump the debater/showman has declined considerably sine 2016. 2016 Trump would have demolished Biden.

    I find Biden, with his intelligence community, neocon and media allies to be absolutely terrifying.
    “I will make the pay.” Saber-rattling for War with other super powers.
    This is what really stood out to me in this debate.
    Democrats are flirting with nuclear holocaust.

      1. Acacia

        There is a “Pocket Geiger Counter for iOS” though a Pocket Bullsh*t Detector is probably in order first.

    1. anon in so cal


      Biden’s remarks to the Council on Foreign Relations and his FP advisor, Tony Blinken’s comments are terrifying. Expand NATO eastward, make Russia pay……

      Will lead the US straight to WW3.

  28. Democrita

    Watching a recording a little behind reality. I think Joe might be right when he says the reason he won was because he supports private insurance. I mean, I’m sure the health industrial complex paid him well.

  29. Tim

    Having watched the debate and now looking at the comments, and feeling strongly that many people at home do have an sense of what we complain about, I do believe the article Lambert had in the watercooler today is the story of the 21st century:


    The elite still act like they control the narrative, and TINA for them anyways. The rest of the world doesn’t believe the narrative anymore.

    The next phase occurs when the Elite and the Public both understand that nobody believes any Elite narrative anymore, and begin to adapt to that reality.

    I bet with enough hard work I could run for public office on a platform of humility and realism with no campaign strategy support whatsoever and wipe the floor with Elitsts trying to control the narrative.

    My kids watch you tube, and from what I have seen, the most successful You tubers are the ones that seem the most real and down to earth. Nice guys finish first! That is what people want now.

    1. Altandmain

      Maybe the upper middle class does believe the narrative because they have not been impacted as much economically, but that’s about it.

      The ruling class have reached the limits of propaganda.

      IN regards to nice people finishing first, I wouldn’t call some Youtubers nice – they just tell it as it is. Jimmy Dore is an example – he’s blunt. I don’t always agree with him, but his heart is in the right place.

  30. foghorn longhorn

    Dear World,
    I apologize
    Don’t know where this shitshow is headed, but am definitely regretting my parents bumping uglies here so many years ago…
    Trump or Biden
    That’s not a choice
    Would you care for cancer or aids is what that is
    Good luck to all

    1. Noone from Nowheresville

      Dear foghorn longhorn,

      I only wish that you were wrong. And remember, no matter how bad things get they can always get worse. Yeah, I don’t feel any better either.

    2. albrt

      “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

      -H.L. Mencken

      In the past I did not interpret this quote to mean that the electorate would unfailingly choose the worse option, and I’m not sure that would have been true in the past. But I think it is true today. The winner will be the one that will cause the United States to collapse the fastest, and deservedly so.

      1. EarlErland

        Cheering for the collapse of government seems to be a Reagan thinly thing. Collapse a government of this momentum may lead to what you fear

      2. Big River Bandido

        That’s actually classic Mencken. His writing was filled with contempt for popular opinion.

    3. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Cheer up you sarcastic bird you.

      I’d say cut the cancer out first, then get a big beautiful vaccine for the virus

    4. John Anthony La Pietra

      In 2016, Assange said the choice was between cholera and gonorrhea. (At least twice. Once on “Democracy Now” and once in his keynote speech to the Green Party nominating convention on Houston.)

  31. albrt

    “Men may seem detestable as joint-stock companies and nations; knaves, fools, and murderers there may be; men may have mean and meagre faces; but man, in the ideal, is so noble and so sparkling, such a grand and glowing creature, that over any ignominious blemish in him all his fellows should run to throw their costliest robes.”

    Herman Melville

    Perhaps that is why there were no knaves, fools, and murderers type questions for either candidate.

    1. ambrit

      At least in “olde style” political debates, there was a crowd present to shout out the “unpopular” questions on occasion. Heckling is an art that strengthens or kills. In politics, either outcome is acceptable.

  32. albrt

    Wow, I guess everybody is exhausted at this point with nothing more to say.

    So then who has a turnout problem week-after-next? I’d say it’s the guy who is relying on a base enthusiasm strategy. Obomber’s comment about “it won’t be so exhausting” if Biden wins might be prophetic.

    If only the Obamamometer would use his powers of discernment for good instead of evil.

    1. albrt

      We’ll vote for Biden and then think about it tomorrow. Preferably at brunch. Tomorrow is another day.

  33. Mark

    I agree with posts above. I don’t know why Biden chose to accept this debate. Sure Trump would have taunted him for it, but Trump was already behind in the debates and Biden had good reasons not to continue.

    I must admit I didn’t have the patience to see it all, but I thought Trump performed much better than Biden. I also thought that Biden hit the environmental and petroleum messages too hard. Fact is these are unlikely to be popular messages for swing voters. Maybe such messages might get some environmentalists off the couch to vote when they were going to stay at home. But at this point I think Biden should have just scored the easy wins rather than touching upon more controversial aspects.

    (I don’t live in the US nor am I a US citizen.)

  34. Glen

    OK, I think I got it figured out!

    I want to vote for the non-existent Socialist that lives in Trump’s imagination. He’s gonna do a lot of good stuff for me!

  35. skippy

    Have not watched the debate more for reasons of sanity and can only comment after a quick peruse of the thread …. Gezzzzzz …. its like watching cats chase the reflection from some reflective surface or light source around a room …

    Trump or Biden are not in control of anything … they are just the representatives of forces in a non de script matrix of competing agencies seeking advantage from a perspective of antiquarian class distinction betting 5 ways as long as the rights [contracts] of the haves are sacrosanct.

  36. Eduardo

    After polling the empty glasses this morning, the winner was …
    Herradura Ultra Tequila, and, …. Trump. Trump was relatively coherent.

    I won’t be voting but would not vote for either Trump or Biden.

  37. ArkansasAngie

    Thank y’all for being so civil. I surely hope y’all … errrrr…. uhhhh… we… somehow don’t pick the yahoo that “only speeds our demise”.

    The fact that we are forced to vote for either of these two is indeed a statement on the corruption that exists in our political institutions.

    Has it always been so? I don’t know. But … I’d like to reinstate local media laws. Diversity of thought … Freedom of speech. Important stuff.

  38. Rod

    it sure was different from last debate
    however, i listened to this a couple of times before and it just changed what I was hearing:

    “America’s Great Divide: Frank Luntz Interview | FRONTLINE” [YouTube (Geof)]. • Grab a cup of coffee. Luntz is on the right, but he’s very sharp (and, amazingly, he actually does listen to people).

    thanks LS–that 9mo old interview was shockingly clarifying to me

  39. Susan the other

    Biden can’t singlehandedly mop up for the entire political class in one pathetic debate. Everything that has gone on politically in this country has been driven by desperation for 40 years. The time span that Biden haplessly entered politics and rose to the “top”. Capitalism has failed – why else would Trump try to straw man “socialism” like he does? If capitalism had succeeded (there was slim chance of it) politics would not be so moronic today. We’d actually be talking about a functioning society – not a dysfunctioning one. Health care? It’s now ground zero. Not because people are demanding good health care as a right – no, no. It’s because our Medical Industrial Complex is causing itself to go bankrupt at an accelerated pace. Its entire structure is falling down around its own flea-bitten ankles. And those two “candidates” stand up and pontificate about buzz words that have no real meaning nor will they achieve any effect. I’m seriously offended at how inept the whole production is – politics at its finest and worst. The real bottom line for this country is inequality. And the only question for solving all our problems is the payment plan. How we gonna pay for all the things we need? Notice neither one of them even came close to discussing these little realities. ” Oh, we’ll raise some taxes here and lower some there.” What unmitigated nonsense. But I watched it, to my own inescapable disappointment. I thought Trump was easily the most honest of the two.

    1. howseth

      I did not watch the debate. Actions do – ‘speak louder than words’. The Trumpian ‘honesty’ – even if not completely a ruse – sucks in the unwary ( “You know honesty is so refreshing in a politician”). Let’s all go take a course at Trump University. Wait: I think we all have already.

  40. Mike

    Isn’t it always the case — truth is the first victim. These two parties lie more now than before because we know enough to hear the lies when spoken, whereas before the info was “secret”, “privileged”, and well hidden. When tough decisions about profitability and care for those victimized by profitability come to loggerheads, the elites split asunder before your very eyes, whereas before the profit question could always be resolved under the table, under the rug, behind your back, with public agreement between rivals. No more…

    The “great divide” in US politics is about who is swallowing the bug juice and who can’t anymore. The working classes are feeling the burn (Not the Bern- too weak-kneed) but have no “savior” to turn to, a habit inculcated by our precious media and educational system, fortified by fear of the unknown. When saviors are jettisoned, program and policy might replace it, but only at the hands of a focused movement among the rank-and-file. At this time, the right wing has the money, organization, and focus.

    That leaves us…where?

  41. McWhat

    I just want to know why the camera on Biden’s side was constantly moving, while the camera on Trump’s side was still. Anyone notice that?

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