“We won the election and elections have consequences.”
~ Donald Trump 09/30/2020.
For the past two hours and forty-seven minutes, I’ve been trying to think of how to come at this (insert a Law and Order dunh-dunh here).
That quote above? It was part of Trump’s answer to the first question. It was stellar, and at that point I was still hoping for more self-owns.
I was excited – debates are exciting!
I haven’t watched a lot of them over my lifetime. The first I recall was the 2015 leadership debate in Alberta where Rachel Notley (who?) wiped the floor with Premier Jim Prentice, leader of the Progressive Conservatives, a party that had been in power for my entire life.
Rachel Notley was amazing. She quipped and she lobbed and she sparked.
She didn’t sparkle – she sparked. It was an incredible performance.
Since then, I’ve watched a Clinton-Trump debate (or two), another Alberta leadership debate, two Canadian federal debates – one in French – and the Biden-Trump debate.
The latter was 90 minutes long.
I find snippets of Trump amusing. Ridiculous, (yes), ignorant, (assuredly), but mostly a disturbing mixture of disgust and amusement.
The latter is what gets me through the day – any day – that requires me to devote a minute amount of time to find out what Trump has done now.
But 90 minutes?
I went from amused to bemused. From excited to exhausted. From laughter to silence.
It was disgraceful. It was astounding. It was insane.
Just to remind myself that this was not normal American fare, I went back to the transcripts from the 2008 debate between John McCain and Barack Obama.
They were calming… respectful… presidential.
What the fuck has the United States come to?
I absolutely cannot imagine a presidential hopeful calling a sitting president a “clown” during a Presidential Debate.
Even though I just watched it happen – live – and it seemed somewhat passable at the time – I simply cannot imagine this happening at any other point in our history.
It was mind-numbing.
And it was only the first of three debates for the goddamned presidency of the United States of America.
And it was the worst thing I’ve ever watched.
How was it worse than 2016, you might ask?
I DIDN’T THINK HE HAD ANY HOPE OF BEING ELECTED IN 2016.
To be honest.
This was different.
This was a debate between a sitting president and a presidential hopeful. This was the sitting president.
This was a reminder that nothing had changed, for him, since 2016 – and I was stunned.
He wasn’t just the butt of the joke at the debate, he is a sitting president.
It stopped being funny really fast.
In the end, my only takeaway – because I’m not paid anywhere near enough to watch that again – was best summed up in the first five minutes of the debate: “elections have consequences.”
That is all.
This post is an opinion.
Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean is a political commentator physically distancing in Southern Alberta. Connect: @Mitchell_AB for more, @thisweekinAB for posts