I have a vision. It’s a vision of a Democratic debate stage, and the Dem candidates are asked the question “if you win the nomination, raise your hand if you will refuse to debate Donald Trump.”
And as one, all candidates raise their hands.
1) You should never debate a liar (or a child). We are all familiar with political prevarication, and misstatements, and exaggerating.
Then there is lying like we have seen for the last few years.
Even within the different classes of lying, we could say there is lying about the future (what you plan to do), and lying about the past. Then there is a whole different level of lying about the present.
Donald Trump constantly lies within all these dimensions. In fact, I would suggest that he lies in ways that never occurred to most of us before. That China called him to negotiate. That his wife knows Kim Jong-un. And those lies are just the last week. Asking why he lies is a pointless exercise in navel-gazing.
His lies cause a breakdown in our civic discourse, and that is #NotDebatable.
2) Debates provide legitamacy to Trump, which he sorely needs. For low information voters, the debates are simple zero-sum contests, and he will be declared a “winner” by his oblivious supporters no matter what happens in a debate. Take this opportunity away from him and the trolls and bots supporting him. Don’t give him another chance to lie and attack more.
Also, get over the fantasy of “beating” Trump in a debate. He will strut and posture and fume and never admit he is lying and incompetent. Liars like him never do.
Let his lies and the confused “leadership” of his term speak for themselves. If you as a voter really need a debate to determine whether Donald deserves another four years, you really aren’t doing your job of paying attention to reality.
3). Hold rallies, town halls, policy speeches, and debate other Republicans to find a way forward post-Trump. These are all valid uses of candidate time. But providing additional ad revenue to networks via a political wrestling match, networks that have already made billions on their reality star shitshow, isn’t something the Democratic party needs to do.
Reality TV got us here. Enough.
4) Trump will scream and cry that Dems are being weak. Let him, he does it already. And remind him time and again that he is a liar, and that liars have no place in the public square.
Practice it with me:
“It’s not debatable that Trump is a liar, and people who care about reality don’t debate liars.”
5) We can have conversations about how to move forward with our society once this liar is removed from office. Before then, not so much.
I have tried not to make this into a political tactics blog, but because the Dems are once again outthinking themselves on impeachment, maybe they will consider something revolutionary like this.
The job of the President is not to win debates, it’s to coordinate and lead a nation and a party. I have not seen a fruitful debate in 40+ years, and at worst they lead to the narrow victory of folks like W. Bush because he presented a more “likable image.” Enough. The planet is on the line, and the games must stop.
Trump should not be President. It’s #NotDebatable.
And maybe we need to pick a President who, instead of winning debates, can win back our future.
Media: ask this question of the Democratic candidates. You might be surprised at the answer.
Image from The Hill.