In a new Op-Ed for the NY Times, Elizabeth Drew, author of “Washington Journal: Reporting Watergate and Richard Nixon’s Downfall.” argues the Presidential debates, a longstanding tradition should be scrapped.
The better way to pay attention to and choose among the presidential candidates is to follow the long campaign that so many complain about. The reason for such moaning has always been a mystery, because unless the campaign is taking place in your living room, you can simply switch it off.
The key words are “pay attention to,” because over the stretch of 2015-2016 it wasn’t impossible to see the implications of a Trump presidency. Not just the vulgarity but the ignorance and insensitivity and extreme narcissism were apparent more than a year before Election Day.
Moreover, we didn’t need the debates to tell us that Trump had chosen to be the P.T. Barnum of American politics. For him, it was (and still is) all about the show, about distracting the public from reality. It was obvious that Mr. Trump had no real affinity for the working-class people whose votes he was chasing. Nothing in his life suggested that his heart was with struggling workers and farmers. It wasn’t impossible to know that he wasn’t the skilled businessman he professed to be. His bankruptcies and shady business practices and discrimination against Black tenants were no secret.
The debates took us nowhere nearer the realities about arguably the most disastrous president in our history. They became simply another tool in his arsenal.
Elizabeth Drew is far from the first Democrat to talk scrapping the debates.
Former Bill Clinton advisor and CNN analyst Joe Lockhart warned:
Trump “will take the truth and destroy it, and Biden will be in the position of correcting him over and over and over again. I don’t think he should give him that platform.”
Trump “will take the truth and destroy it, and Biden will be in the position of correcting him over and over and over again. I don't think he should give him that platform.” pic.twitter.com/4EOR4Q9Um7
— CNN (@CNN) August 1, 2020