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Biden-Trump I: Winners and losers

2020 election
(© Leigh Prather –

I’m a Democrat, and a journalist, which means I’m supposed to say, as a preface to my analysis of tonight’s first presidential debate of the 2020 season, that Joe Biden won.

I’d concede that if you told me that no one watched.

Biden showed obvious ring rust, from not having the usual walk-up as a challenger to a sitting incumbent president, in the form of months of campaign rallies, in which he could test out his applause lines, to see what worked, what didn’t.

It was almost as if Team Biden didn’t do anything in the form of debate prep, and if they did, they need to sack whoever it was that hired the stand-in for Trump, because whoever that guy was didn’t get Biden ready for what you had to figure was going to be the onslaught coming from His Orange Eminency.

Trump browbeat the bejeezus out of Biden from the opening bell, getting him to back away, Garden of Gethsemane-like, from Medicare for All, then later the Green New Deal, as the president triumphantly declared, in each instance, “you just lost the far left,” which, in any other year, he would have.

Trump also repeatedly stated as fact that Biden would shut down the economy over COVID, and Biden never refuted him on that point – an interesting place to be, given that recent trends in the COVID numbers are trending positive, which makes it hard to defend a shutdown policy four months hence.

For the first half-hour, Trump was pantsing, balls-on-face dunking on, Biden.

Trump, being Trump, couldn’t stand his own prosperity, ceding the moral ground, as is his wont, in a horrid exchange involving the late Beau Biden, and toward the end of the debate, he went full-on QAnon in a drunk-uncle-on-Facebook rant about ballots being marked Trump supposedly being found in a river.

Assuming whatever undecideds are still among us were still watching that far in, yeah, Trump undid whatever he had done earlier.

It will be interesting to see the quarter-hour Nielsens after 9:30.

Those who left at 9:30 probably think Trump wiped the floor with Biden.

Those who hung around for the whole thing: I feel for you, that you subjected yourself to that much democracy in action.

There was no winner.

Which means, by default, the guy up big in the polls is the winner, which means, ding, ding, ding, Joe Biden, congratulations, you win the pony.

But seriously.

Would you hire either of these guys if it was your company?

Maybe if you were in the new car business, you’d hire Trump. He’d get enough people to buy undercarriage insurance to turn a tidy profit at the end of the year.

I’m not sure I’d hire Biden to run the local public library, the way he presented himself tonight.

He let the car salesman pimp him into adamantly opposing two important policy positions held by a significant portion of the base that he needs to be able to win the election.

This is the guy we want to stand up for us against Vladimir Putin, against Xi Jinping?

I wouldn’t put money on him in a one-on-one with the guy with the cardboard sign spraypainted Dim-a-cRATS suck! at the intersection out by the interstate.

I just want Barack Obama back.

Or at the least, a do-over, and Bernie.

Column by Chris Graham