Sunday, September 25, 2016

Pre Debate Thoughts As We Enter the Final Stretch

Well, we're here.  Tomorrow marks the first debate of the Presidential election between Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.  While some people will watch to allegedly determine who to vote for (though I wonder if anyone is really undecided at this rate) others will look for other things to do and wait for the news coverage in order to save their sanity.  Since this hasn't been a normal Presidential campaign it's a little more difficult to determine how the race will turn out.  However, I have been meaning to comment on the race and now seems to be as good of a time as any.

First, how the hell did this get to be a virtual dead heat?  By any conventional wisdom Clinton should've crushed Trump like a bug by now (hell, his primary opponents should've done it early in the primary race just by pointing out his bankruptcies alone).  Yet., for some reason Trump has been given such a benefit of the doubt that most candidates would never get. 

It didn't help that Sec. of State Clinton kept the press at arms length, giving no press conferences between early 2016 and September of this year.  While part of this may have been rooted in letting Trump have enough rope to hang himself, it also left more questions to be raised than was necessary.  Add to this Clinton's post convention move to pick up disillusioned Republicans rather than strengthen any connection with her party's actual base(i.e: progressives and leftists that she actually needs the support of to win in November) and in some ways it seems the wounds are self inflicted. 

This doesn't even take into account the health debacle that seems to have Clinton stumble in the face of the right wing media making it a talking point.  This, despite the fact that if she didn't go to the 9-11 Memorial then the Republicans would've had a field day and crucified her for that - making it a no win situation regardless. 

While this may have led to a situation where a comfortable lead for Hillary Clinton dwindled down to a virtual dead heat it isn't completely hopeless for her.  Anything can happen in the debates which makes them both a game changer that didn't have to be as well as a media spectacle that has the pundits patting themselves on the back rather than do their jobs.

This leads us to the other side - and Donald Trump.  As much as many of us don't want to admit there's a chance he could win in November.  The same man who dilly-dallied when asked if he'd disavow the support of David Duke has somehow been made by the media into someone mainstream America views as a reasonable candidate.  Never mind Trump's history of racially charged rhetoric or his tendency to incite violence at his rallies, for some reason the media has decided to treat him with a lower standard, even saying he sounds Presidential if he avoids saying comething blatantly racist rather than hold him to the same standard as his opposition (or, god forbid, if the media treated Trump the way they treated Bernie Sanders during his run in the primary).  By continuing to allow Donald Trump to coast on this curve they have (hopefully inadvertently) created a candidate that has allowed variations of white supremacy to become normalized and not followed up on questions when he has said he'd basically bring back discrimination (oops, I mean restore "religious liberty", which would allow the conservative christians in his base to discriminate so it's basically the same thing). 

Add to this reports that the debate moderators are not going to face check Trump and it appears that it will be a festival of softballs, with the most dangerous of the two being treated as if he's in a preschool activities day and gets a ribbon for participating. 

So what will happen at the debates?  That is difficult to say since we're not in the thick of it yet.  However, what we do know is that Hillary Clinton has to be prepared to face whatever face Trump chooses to show.  Meanwhile, while many reports have claimed that Donald Drumpf, I mean Trump has avoided typical debate prep other people fear that the Donald will be given softball questions and catered to as if he's special, avoiding the numerous bankruptcies and other skeletons in his many closets that need to be aired out.  Hopefully this doesn't happen but in a situation where a media quest for ratings has allowed a candidate off the hook regardless of his campaigns numerous re-tweets of white supremacist memes (even after he supposedly disavowed it.  Most recently within a day of crying victim of Hillary Clinton calling half of Trump's followers a "basket of deplorables") or any of his other hateful statements. 

As I said earlier, we';re less than 24 hours from seeing how the first debate plays out.  While there may be a chance that some actual journalism occurs, it's also safe to assume that the media will prefer kissing ass to doing their jobs out of fear of not getting invited to the cocktail parties of whoever wins.

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