Live Blog: Presidential Primary Debate #1 in Cleveland, OH.

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Time: 9:00PM-10:30PM Eastern Time (with no commercial breaks)

Place: Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion, part of a joint health campus between Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic

Host: Fox

Moderator: Chris Wallace, Fox News.

Candidate line-up:

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

Topics, fifteen minutes each:

The topics for the debate are “The Trump and Biden Records,” “The Supreme Court,” “Covid-19,” “The Economy,” “Race and Violence in our Cities” and “The Integrity of the Election,” according to the Commission on Presidential Debates.

How to watch:

The debate [will be] aired on all major US networks, including ABC, CBS, NBC. It will be played on CNN and MSNBC, as well as Amazon Fire, Android, Roku, and Apple TV services.

The debate will also be streamed on C-SPAN (and a million other places).

Drinking Game: Here.

* * *

There’s a ton of breathless commentary out there, but I think this debate, to an unusual degree, comes down to the two candidates themselves, as people (and not to platforms, policies, records, or even tactics). Will Biden slip a cog? An hour-and-a-half standing will be a long time for him. Biden did well in his one-on-one with Sanders, for sure, but Sanders wasn’t trying to land any punches. Trump, in contrast, is a brawler. But did he train hard enough for the match? I would say that if Biden avoids being knocked out, he wins. On the other hand, Trump has form. Over and over again, we have seen him, Houdini-like, escape from impossible situations stronger than before. For me, the most amazing outcome I can imagine would be Trump successfully showing one single sign that he’s a vulnerable human. He would turn himself from a heel into a face!

That said, Cleveland seems a little sketchy just now, from what I see on the Twitter. The National Guard is out:

Business are being boarded up:

There are free speech zones, with the following items prohibited:

What, no grappling hooks?

On the brighter side, Terminal Tower is lit:

Though I’m not sure “Terminal” means what the Biden campaign thinks it means.

* * *

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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This entry was posted in Guest Post, Politics on September 29, 2020 by .

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.

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