How Joe Biden Won Last Night's Debate
The Republicans put their extremism on display for the nation and that's a good thing for the Democrats
The winner of last night’s clown show of a debate was not on stage.
And no, I am not talking about Donald Trump, who skipped the debate for a fascist cuddle puddle on defenestrated Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s Twitter show.
Trump paid no price for skipping the debate. None of his competition rose to the occasion, and they looked smaller in stature by the end of the messy, poorly moderated debate. The former President, facing 91 felony counts, entered the night with a massive lead, and the debate ended with that lead still very secure.
But the winner is Joe Biden.
Biden’s strategy is to turn this campaign from a referendum on the incumbent into a choice between two parties.
All of tonight’s events — from the debate to Trump’s unhinged interview with Tucker Carlson — helped make that choice clear for many voters.
1. A Primetime Display of Unpopular Extremism
Everyone loves to say that primaries are healthy. They force a political party to test its ideas and make key decisions about its present and future identity. A candidate’s mettle is tested and their skills refined. This was certainly true for Barack Obama in 2008. As grueling and painful as the interminable contest with Hillary Clinton felt at the time, Obama emerged as a better candidate with a national organization. However, divisive primaries can be deeply damaging when running against an unopposed incumbent (and no, I don’t count RFK Jr.). Sometimes, it's because the party cannot unify, but more often, the debates are essentially in-kind contributions to the incumbent’s campaign. The primary process — and the debate in particular — become primetime specials highlighting highly unpopular and extreme positions.
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