It was the fascist, white supremacist, bullyboy vs. the underwhelming centrist Democrat in last night's theater of the absurd.
Trump, trailing badly in the polls with only weeks to go, did just what he was coached to do, what he has been doing consistently for the past three years -- show no regard for protocol, bully, harangue, and intimidate in hopes Biden and his liberal supporters would crumble in fear and steer clear of the polls in November. The strategy surely failed last night. But we won't know the real effects until the ballots are counted (or not).
Biden held up well considering, punching back when he had to, but calmly turning to the cameras and getting his main talking points across. Biden's high point came when talking about his youngest son. Biden rolled with what must have been a gut punch, saying: “My son, like a lot of people, like a lot of people we knew at home, had a drug problem.”
He avoided any major gaffe or stumble that would feed into the Trump narrative that Biden is too old or not fit to serve as president. But in the face of Trump's incessant red-baiting, Biden took the McCarthyist bait and ran from the party's socialist and progressive left and policies like the Green New Deal and Medicare For All.
DONALD TRUMP: So why didn't you get the word… China sends up real dirt into the air. Russia does. India does. They all do. We're supposed to be good. And by the way, he made a couple of statements. The Green New Deal is a hundred trillion dollars.
JOE BIDEN: That is not my plan [crosstalk]. The Green New Deal [crosstalk] is not my plan.
DONALD TRUMP: Your party wants to go socialist medicine and socialist healthcare.
JOE BIDEN: The party is me. Right now, I am the Democratic Party.
DONALD TRUMP: And they're going to dominate you, Joe. You know that.
JOE BIDEN: I am the Democratic Party right now.
It was shades of Louis XIV's L'État, c'est moi, except that Louie had it right. He was the state, holding power in France with an iron fist during a 74-year reign of terror. Biden is no Louie and definitely NOT the party, or at least not the party's future.
MY main takeaway from last night's debacle is that a sitting president of the United States, on the world stage, refused time and time again to renounce white supremacy and openly encouraged gangs of racist, anti-semitic thugs like the Proud Boys to intimidate voters.
When asked by debate moderator Chris Wallace if he'd denounce the violence from white supremacist groups, Trump's chilling reply was:
"Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left."
He also made it clear that he wasn't going to accept the election results if he loses, and admitted for the first time that he was placing Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court to resolve any election disputes.
CHRIS WALLACE: And are you counting on the Supreme Court, including a Justice Barrett, to settle any dispute?
DONALD TRUMP: Yeah. I think I'm counting on them to look at the ballots, definitely.
CHRIS WALLACE: … Will you urge your supporters to stay calm during this extended period, not to engage in any civil unrest? And will you pledge tonight that you will not declare victory until the election has been independently certified? President Trump, you go first-
DONALD TRUMP: I'm urging my supporters to go in to the polls and watch very carefully because that's what has to happen. I am urging them to do it. As you know, today there was a big problem. In Philadelphia, they went in to watch. They're called poll watchers, a very safe, very nice thing. They were thrown out. They weren't allowed to watch. You know why? Because bad things happen in Philadelphia. Bad things.
I don't know if last night's debate debacle will move the needle any in the polls. It may slightly, considering that many Trump supporters, raised exclusively on FOX News and Rush Limbaugh, rarely get to see him challenged directly by Democrats. But either way, the debate did succeed in making the choice abundantly clear to all what exactly they are voting for and against.