Donald Trump’s one moment of positivity during Tuesday night’s first presidential debate was his pride at having brought back Big Ten football, something that isn’t actually a good idea, as we continue to see outbreaks of coronavirus on college campuses and football games canceled — and something that wouldn’t even have been an issue had the president handled COVID-19 properly in the first place. And as further details emerge, like Trump pressuring the CDC to make school reopenings appear safer, that big show of college football looks even worse.
Because Trump is Trump, neither his culpability for an American death toll that has surged past 200,000, nor his grotesque tax evasion, nor his total lack of a healthcare plan, nor his fumbling for answers on any topic after three-and-a-half years as president was the major takeaway from Tuesday night. That would be Trump’s refusal to disavow white supremacy, his call for the racist Proud Boys gang to “stand back and stand by,” and his urging of supporters to “watch” the polls on Election Day — a combination that all but adds up to the president of the United States endorsing racist violence to keep him in power.
It’s all very terrible, and we still get headlines like “Trump, Biden trade barbs in unruly first presidential debate.”
The American media in 2020 is not up to this task. It’s set up for “both sides” coverage, even when one side is a kleptocratic fascist who’s just this side — maybe — of genocidal. Seriously, combine the toll of COVID-19 on the Black population with Trump’s endorsement of police violence, his wink and nod at the Proud Boys, and his concentration camps at the border, and then try to find evidence countering the notion that he’s genocidal.
Who can react to this properly? Glad you asked. It’s NASCAR drivers from 2009-12, back in the day when Trump would’ve turned up his nose at auto racing, rather than taking a lap at Daytona as a pandering campaign stunt. Thanks to the collapsing space-time continuum, Deadspin was able to get these drivers to “live-blog” Tuesday’s debate. Really, it’s incredible how their radio chatter from a decade or so ago mirrors the experience of watching Trump on the debate stage in Cleveland.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.:
Juan Pablo Montoya:
And finally, Dale Earnhardt Jr.: