“It was a shit show”, CNN’s Dana Bash tells viewers last night after Joe Biden and Donald Trump wrapped up the first presidential debate of 2020. His unusual on-camera candor was topped by co-host Jake Tapper, who summed it up: “It was a hot mess to inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck. It was the worst debate I’ve ever seen.”
Congratulations, 2020 – you have outdone yourself again!
Debate commentary on social media – and among Raison staff – broadly agree. “A chaotic and horrible debate”, Robby Soave called the case, which aired from Cleveland, Ohio. “Mostly Unassailable” writing Eric Boehm. I was only able to listen to the end of the debate, which gave the collective WTF-ing after an initial air of mystery. What had I missed? what you-if you’re lucky, miss?
PBS test group:
No one changed their mind and they’re all disappointed
— John Kroencke (@johnkroencke) September 30, 2020
But despite all the dismay, it doesn’t seem like anything particularly unusual took place between Trump and Biden — just the ordinary snipers and lies we’ve come to loathe and expect. My Raison colleagues can give you more details:
Either way, the Biden/Trump debate was a world away from another presidential campaign event that unfolded in Cleveland last night. This one presented Libertarian Party (LP) presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen, who will be on the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia but was barred from participating in the debate with Biden and Trump. Instead, Jorgensen took video questions from voters and in-person questions from me last night.
The Jorgensen campaign originally planned to host this counter-programming from an outdoor stage in downtown Cleveland. But after local the police objected to the installation, it was moved to a nearby indoor studio. As Biden and Trump hurled outrageous accusations at each other and put Fox News moderator and anchor Chris Wallace in the wringer, Jorgensen and I had an in-depth, civilized conversation about his views, the LP, and the state of American politics. .
A few things Jorgensen said she would do as president:
• Let businesses decide for themselves if they should be open during the COVID-19 pandemic and if customers should wear masks.
• Decriminalize marijuana and other illicit drugs.
• Support legislation to end qualified immunity and smooth raids.
• Pardon those incarcerated in federal prison for “victimless crimes”, including whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning and Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht. “If there is no victim, there is no crime,” says Jorgensen.
• Refuse to sign legislation that creates new mandatory minimum sentencing requirements, to “give discretion back to judges and let them do their job”.
• Reduce the size of the FBI.
• Reduce military spending and aid to foreign governments and repatriate troops from the Middle East and Afghanistan. Jorgensen says she would make America a “giant Switzerland”.
• Keep the Food and Drug Administration away from coronavirus testing, telemedicine appointments, and the sale of certain drugs (like hormonal birth control pills) without a prescription.
• Leave TikTok alone. As she “understands[s] frustration” with some tech companies, “that East the definition of fascism – when the government starts dictating what private companies do – and we have to stop it,” says Jorgensen.
• Get rid of tariffs.
• Develop immigration. “I want to bring immigration back to what it was before our borders were closed in the 1920s,” says Jorgensen.
Until the news media take real political debates seriously on a consistent basis, “the debates – in the narrower sense of that word – will continue, like so much else in America, to be a spectacle shit”. @Jon_Allsop writing.https://t.co/k0dfU7yYBZ
— Nieman Lab (@NiemanLab) September 30, 2020
• “After three years of arguing in court to stop pregnant, undocumented teenage girls in government custody from having abortions, the Trump administration gave up the fight on Tuesday,” reports News Feed.
• “Recently, the United States decided to restrict and control the content that American citizens can put on their phones, by initiating a ban on both WeChat and TikTok from online stores. While it remains to be seen whether these bans will take full effect (as the dispute evolves almost daily), the ultimate success or failure of the US effort is almost irrelevant,” he added. writing R Street Institute Senior Fellow Paul Rosenzweig. “What is shocking, and appalling, is that the effort has been made.”