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Daily Journal
     October 9, 2020      #90-283 KDJ

Ron Jackson: Voting, not volatile debates, will

By Ron Jackson

Voting early is a much appreciated convenience. My vote will be counted. It will matter. And, best of all, it made the first presidential debate irrelevant.

Because my vote had already been cast, I watched the Tuesday night debate for pure entertainment. I was not disappointed. Definitely, there were some eyebrow raising moments. But nothing shocking. Both candidates showed us exactly who we thought they were.

President Donald Trump was his typical self. Brash, rude, domineering, rule-bending, non-substantive, base-appealing at best. He was just being Trump. Only those who have not been paying attention the past three plus years may have been shocked. He was true to form. Nothing he did should have been unsuspecting. If you found his performance or behavior embarrassing, you may want to consider that you may have created an unrealistic and unfair expectation of him.

What has transpired in the years since the 2016 debates with Hillary Clinton that would give anyone reason to expect anything differently? In 2016 he was a challenger. In 2020 he is the defending champion. The proverbial political chip on his shoulder is more like a boulder. If it is even possible, his confidence, arrogance and ego are greater this time around.

His incessant interrupting of his opponent and ignoring the moderator’s plea to conform to the agreed upon rules made for good viewing. His personal attacks on Joe Biden’s family could be considered low blows, but this is the norm for Trump.

Viewers should not have been caught off guard by his speaking ill of others. Even the dead.

Democrat nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden was also true to form. He was quick to get riled and lost his composure several times. He even forgot the advice of former First Lady Michelle Obama who said, “When they go low, we go high.” Trump went low several times. Instead of going high, Biden went even lower, resorting to name calling. Once calling the president a clown and telling him to “shut up.”

Fighting fire with fire may work in combating brush fires. But fighting ignorance with ignorance produces no winner.

The second Trump-Biden debate is scheduled for Oct. 15. The third and final debate will be Oct. 22. Debate format changes are to be expected. The Commission on Presidential Debates which sets guidelines is currently considering adopting format changes.

The Trump camp is in favor of no debate format changes. The Biden camp is in support of changes that will control the ability of the debaters to respond uninterrupted.

Whatever debate changes under consideration have not been leaked. Muzzling the president is not an option.

With nothing to lose or gain from these debates, I am leaning toward no change in the format. There are two sequels to follow. Why attempt to change the character of the characters? A fan or professional wrestling, I want my bad guys to stay bad. A kinder, gentler Trump at this stage would not feel right. It would seem fake. Having the president act with any good taste, propriety or respect for protocol with be a great hoax.

In the meantime, next Wednesday night will be the only scheduled debate between the vice presidential candidates. While we can probably expect more civility between ticket mates, Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris, we shouldn’t anticipate anything on the level of any Trump involved contest. So, we should be careful what we wish for.

No one won the first debate. Neither candidate nor the country. Even if a debate winner could be determined, winning debates is comparable to winning preseason football games. If you need a debate to determine your vote during this election, you haven’t been paying attention.

Nov. 3,or hopefully shortly thereafter, the real winner will be determined. Debates won’t decide who. You will. Please vote.

Ron Jackson can be contacted

through the Daily Journal at


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