Posted on October 23, 2020

The Last Debate

Chris Roberts, American Renaissance, October 23, 2020

In his first campaign, what Donald Trump stood for could be summarized as less war, less immigration, less free trade, and fewer Washington insiders. These issues were so popular that against all odds, Mr. Trump won the GOP nomination and the presidency. With media almost entirely against him, debates were one of Mr. Trump’s main ways to reach voters. It was a pleasure to watch him dominate opponents.

This year it’s different. Last night, President Trump hardly talked about foreign policy. Instead, he sounded like a generic incumbent, rattling  off claims about how well the pre-Coronavirus economy was doing — with special mention of low unemployment for blacks and Hispanics.

The candidates “debated” immigration and crime, but in each case, the President attacked Joe Biden on liberal grounds. Mr. Trump tried to paint Mr. Biden as an enemy of blacks because of his role in the 1994 crime bill that sent a lot of blacks to prison. The President bragged about his own First Step Act, which reduces mandatory minimum sentences and lets out prisoners early. Many blacks and liberals love the First Step Act, but they still won’t vote for him.

In 2016, candidate Trump said, “I am the law and order candidate. I’m also the candidate of compassion — believe it. But you can’t have true compassion without providing safety.” Last night, in his last debate, in a year of soaring murder rates and chronic looting and rioting, he said nothing about law and order.

On immigration, President Trump tried to deflect liberal complaints about “separating families” and “putting children in cages” by blaming the Obama administration and Joe Biden for starting all that. Last election, Mr. Trump attacked mass immigration for bringing crime, poverty, and Balkanization. Now, when Joe Biden attacks his tactics for keeping immigrants out, he excuses himself by saying Democrats first started using them.

Mr. Trump completely flubbed a question about “racism,” saying he understood why black and Hispanic parents have to give their children “the talk” about vicious white policemen. He sounded like a Democrat of just a few years ago.

None of what made Donald Trump popular last time was on stage last night. He sounded like a boorish but typical Republican. He attacked socialism, radical environmentalism, and promised economic growth. He spent time on issues few people care about, such as whether he or his opponent has more murky ties to Russia and whose sanctions against Russia would be harsher.

After months of rising crime, rioting, and black radicalism, running against an opponent who panders to Black Lives Matter and non-white pressure groups, President Trump got sidetracked on the details of the “Green New Deal” and bragged about letting criminals back on the streets. He could have cruised to victory as a “law and order” candidate as Richard Nixon did in 1972. Now, he’ll be lucky to make it across the finish line.