10-19: Tonight’s Debate

[I write about politics because of the direct link I see between the words and actions of politicians and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. America’s political class manipulates our military as though they were pawns in a global game of chess. To them, PTSD is merely an unfortunate cost of war.]

Katrina vanden Heuvel ponders in the Nation magazine:

What if the Next Presidential Debate Actually Covered Critical Issues?

Boy, wouldn’t that be something. She writes:

We need a debate worthy of the challenges we face as a nation.

As the grotesquerie masquerading as a presidential campaign slouches toward its end, a final spectacle—a “debate”—is slated for [tonight]. It is hard to imagine a worse circumstance. Trump, more at ease with insults than ideas, is in the midst of a mortifying public self-immolation. The Clinton campaign has heated itself into a faux Cold War lather over WikiLeaks’ release of hacked campaign emails. And as a final measure, the “moderator,” Chris Wallace, is supplied by Fox News, a virtual guarantee that the scandalous will supplant the substantial.

I am more optimistic about the moderator. His interviews can be insightful and, as shown in the past, pugnacious.

It is probably a fool’s errand to suggest that Wallace explore real issues rather than raking the muck over again. But opinions have already hardened on everything from Clinton’s “damned emails” to Trump’s predation. Rather than ask Trump about his libido or Clinton about the “deplorables,” why not pose fundamental questions that have received far too little attention in this campaign?

Wallace has already released a list of topics for the debate:

  • debt and entitlements
  • immigration
  • economy
  • Supreme Court
  • “foreign hot spots” and
  • fitness to be president

Of course, previous debate moderators also released seemingly substantive lists of topics, to no avail. That said, though we’ve already heard a lot about immigration (“Build the wall”), the Supreme Court, and fitness for the presidency, some of these could be used to frame real concerns.

For example, “foreign hot spots” might start with the hottest spot of all: the Earth. Bizarrely, we are headed into the last debate without a single question [yet] on climate change … The Pentagon considers climate change a clear and present danger that will destabilize far more countries than al-Qaeda and its offshoots will…. Is Clinton ready to lead that charge, and if so, what will it entail? Trump says climate change is a hoax …

Climate change deniers? Do so at our risk.

On the economy, Wallace could probe the issue where the two candidates stand united against the bipartisan elite consensus of the past decades. Both oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership … So ask, “Would you urge the Congress to vote down the TPP? How would you change trade strategies going forward?”

Finally, it would be a true disservice to the country if the debate doesn’t center on the growing fears that the United States is careening into a reckless face-off with Russia and lurching deeper into war in the Middle East.

The stakes are high.

We’ve heard this one before, but this is truly a momentous election. One can only hope that Moderator Chris Wallace can keep the candidates focused on momentous issues. We have had enough grandstanding, parading, and topic avoidance from the candidates. We, the electorate, deserve and require a presidential performance from both.

 

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