“ … when it came to the … debates this year, many attendees found that they had gone to a political brawl and a debate broke out.”
Tomorrow night at 9:00 … the first presidential debate between candidates Hillary Clinton and Donnie Trump. The debate promises the viewer 90 minutes of uninterrupted PAIN! That’s right … there will be no breaks for a full hour-and-a-half. That is an hour and a half of your life that you cannot get back! An hour and a half sitting in front of a mechanical box, every word spoken making you more and more angry until you just want to punch something. Some will undoubtedly smash their electronic boxes and be better off for having done so. THEN … at the end of that hour and a half, you can spend another hour and a half of your life watching the pundits pick apart and analyze every word, every twitch of an eye, even the clothes the candidates wore. AND THEN … you can brush your teeth and go to bed, because Tuesday is, after all, a work day. AND THEN … you can spend all night tossing and turning, getting up for aspirin and Tums, until your alarm clock rings a few short hours later. It just doesn’t get much better than “politics as usual”, does it?
But wait … it gets even better. You see, my friends, whereas most debates in the past have at least pretended to be about “issues” such as foreign policy, the economy, taxes, social welfare, etc., this debate is going to be about … who is sitting in the front row! That’s right …
First, the Clinton campaign invited Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, to sit in the front row. Mark Cuban is a regular antagonist of da trumpeter, saying “Trump scares me. Donald, initially, I really hoped he would be something different, that as a businessperson, I thought there was an opportunity there. But then he went off the reservation and went bats— crazy. I can’t think of anybody more dangerous as president than Donald Trump.”
Next, the Trump campaign, never to be outdone, invited none other than former President Bill Clinton’s former paramour, Gennifer Flowers! After hearing that Mark Cuban would be attending and sitting right there in the front row, Trump tweeted “If dopey Mark Cuban of failed Benefactor fame wants to sit in the front row, perhaps I will put Gennifer Flowers right alongside of him!” Then Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, attempting to do what trumpeters do, troll behind him and clean up his mess, commented that “Basically, Mr. Trump was saying, look, if Mark Cuban is going to send out these texts that say the ‘Humbling at Hofstra’ and this is his big downfall, then Mr. Trump is putting them on notice that we can certainly invite guests that may get into the head of Hillary Clinton.” Ms. Flowers, by the way, tweeted her acceptance of the invitation that Ms. Conway says was not issued.
So … as you can see … the debate, which will start in just over 30 hours as of the time I am writing this, is already set to become just another act in the circus that has been the 2016 election year. “It’s a reality-TV show equivalent of ‘Who Shot JR’ from ‘Dallas,’” said political consultant Susan Del Percio. “Everyone wants to see what Donald Trump is going to do and how Hillary Clinton will respond. He is setting the tone of the debate.” It is anticipated that as many as 100,000 people will be watching the debate on their electronic boxes. Filosofa will not be one of them … if I want to be entertained, I will watch my cats play or read a book … or do laundry, wash dishes … any of which would be more entertaining.
Now for the really scary part: A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows that one-third of voters say the debate will be “extremely” or “quite” important in their decision on who to support for president. You have got to be kidding me!
Here are a few quotes about from the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) which I found interesting:
“The nonpartisan, voter education goal of the CPD’s debates is to afford the members of the public an opportunity to sharpen their views, in a focused debate format, of the leading candidates for President and Vice President of the United States.”
“From 1988-2012, the CPD’s debates have attracted audiences between approximately 30 million and approximately 70 million viewers.”
“While the focus will properly be on the candidates, the moderator will regulate the conversation so that thoughtful and substantive exchanges occur.”
Did they really say “thoughtful and substantive exchanges”? Don’t hold your breath, folks. OZY, an international on-line magazine, published a thought-provoking article today by writer Sean Braswell, proposing that there be no live audience for political debates. I invite you to read the article for yourself. I am inclined, especially given the fiasco that is likely to ensue tomorrow night, to agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Braswell. For those of you who will be watching tomorrow night, I wish you the best of luck with your blood pressure, ulcers, headache and being able to sleep. One last piece of advice … remember that your fist is softer than the wall and will bruise more easily. As for me, I will be reading The Hobbit and will get the WaPo annotated debate transcript on Tuesday morning. By the way, the audience will be allowed to clap just twice during the entire 90 minutes; once when the candidates are introduced, and once at the end. I think the applause will be louder the second time, that is if there is anybody remaining in the audience.