Looks like I don’t have to do a write up of the next debate.
Americans of all political stripes united together last night to ask “What the hell did I just watch?”
Of course, the Czar is talking about the first—and potentially last—2020 Presidential Debate. Not only was there surprisingly little actual debate between the candidates, there wasn’t even a whole lot among Twitter readers. Incredibly, both Democrats and Republicans seemed to be echoing the same thoughts: “These guys are terrible.” “Chris Wallace is not helping.” “Why on earth are we still watching?”
You’ll still have your die-hard fans of either candidate. Your rabid Biden supporter (pictured, right) is still throwing a tantrum about that horrible, nasty Trump bully and his shameful ways. How unfair! How could they let that happen?
Of course, your fist-clenched Trump supporter was so excited to see his guy that he wound up fully undressed in front of the television last night (not pictured for reasons of decency). Definitely some carpet cleaning is in order for those guys.
You can safely ignore either of those. But for the average person, considering a vote for Biden or a vote for Trump, there seemed to be a lot of disappointment to go around. For the record, the Czar doubts there are any seriously undecided people left: you already know which way you’re voting, and if not, last night did not help anybody. In fact, both candidates made major mistakes.
Joe Biden was clearly going in planning to be the nice, affable, reasonable alternative, but came off acting like a smug elite who didn’t condescend to answering questions. Many of his statements were self-contradictory (So is he for the New Green Deal or not? Is he in favor of lockdowns or no? Does he support Antifa or no?). Another batch of pseudo-answers were so utterly wrong (Trump thinks racists are fine people? Antifa is just an idea? Teachers pay more tax than Trump?) that it’s difficult to believe he reads or watches the news. And he looked a bit desperate to keep using a hammer on the COVID nail, even working the virus into his answer on race relations; it grew tiresome.
Speaking of tiresome, our President! There’s no doubt that Trump chose to hit hard, hit fast, and hit often. Piss off Joe and he’ll lose it on national television! In fact, that’s a perfect strategy for last night’s debate. It’s clear that Trump studied Biden’s debate against Paul Ryan, and decided he wouldn’t let that happen again. It’s also clear he studied Crowley’s attack on Mitt Romney, and decided no two-bit moderator would get the jump on him, either. But rather than try a Sonny Liston early domination or a Muhammed Ali rope-a-dope, Trump went out there and looked like Curly Howard after hearing “Pop Goes the Weasel,” whipping punches in a furious frenzy until he pretty much knocked himself out, as well. While he got under Biden’s skin early, Trump did not actually rattle Biden enough to make it work.
Trump clearly had some great zingers, stingers, and sick burns saved up—but rather than slide them in at the right instant, he chose to rattle them off in random order, trying to get as many in as he could in 90 minutes. And this really didn’t work: hitting Biden with “You called our troops ‘stupid bastards’” would have been great when Biden was talking about the dubious World War I cemetery claim; instead, Trump threw it out talking about climate change. Trump should have kept some of those for the next debate; maybe the President felt there won’t be another opportunity—who can say. But his timing was all off.
Overall, Trump was masterful when discussing law and order: Biden looked totally cowed and worried. But while this resounded well, Trump totally skidded when answering the Critical Race Theory question. Rather than blast Chris Wallace for treating a thoroughly nonsensical concept as “sensitivity training,” he chose to wander all over the place. Trump, or you or the Czar, could have ended that one right there, for good, by spending one minute describing what CRT is, and another minute describing why it’s a poisonous form of subversion that has no place in the government—federal, state, or even local school board. What a blown opportunity.
Finally, a lot of folks are gnashing teeth at Chris Wallace. Yes, he threw a lot of ridiculous questions at Trump. But re-watch the questions: he also put a lot of threatening questions at Biden, too. Biden chose to dance around the topics, but Wallace failed to follow up. At the same time, his early finger-wagging at Trump cost Wallace dearly, as Trump now viewed him as an adversary, and stomped all over his moderation. Overall, Wallace didn’t do a great job of moderating, but really: no one can right a ship that speeds straight into a sandbar and tears its keel off. Once that debate started, any moderator was doomed.
The media will likely declare Biden the winner simply because they always side with the Democrat, and will likely use low-expectations bigotry to do so. “Biden looked to be the calmer person,” “He proved himself more presidential,” or “He was the adult in the room.” None of which was true: as we said above, Biden was openly self-contradicting, pronouncing debunked claims or made-up-on-the-spot theories, and tiresomely repetitive, and this was likely the worst debate of his 47-year career; however, Trump’s Wild Hyacinth act undid any harm Biden did to himself.
Well, we’ll see if the Biden campaign agrees to another debate, and if so, what the terms will be. The Czar still maintains debates are essential for candidates, even if they don’t change voters’ minds much. At least we can see what we’re getting, and the Czar would not be surprised to see fairly decent ratings for this first debate. Not so sure how a second debate would fare, though: people who didn’t see last night’s rodeo would probably be disinclined to watch another, especially if they hear it was nothing but yelling over each other.
To be honest, the Czar had that feeling he gets when he’s in a bar or restaurant, and two guys at the next table start getting into it, to the point that you start looking for the exit, gathering your stuff, and maybe watching for a weapon. Some of our readers will know what we mean: that tingling sensation in the hands, the tension in the neck, and the yawning feeling in the stomach that this could get serious. That explains why the Czar stretched a single glass of wine across 90 minutes, rather than the bottle he planned to down. You might just need your faculties, here.
The Czar can’t remember when the Gormogons last had a multi-post debate, but GorT’s piece, ”We Missed an Opportunity,” echoes a conversation the Czar had at dinner with his elder boy, who not only asked the same questions GorT did, but raised some of the exact same points.
GorT is obviously right that the bicameral nature of the American political infrastructure makes it extremely difficult to establish a third party. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, at least for the Czar, because a parliamentary-type system with three or more parties makes it very simple to pass legislation with only a plurality. Remember how we hated Obamacare? Imagine that passing with only 35% of the vote. That can easily happen in a trio of parties.
Third parties have successfully happened in America, but basically only twice and for very clear reasons that not only could happen again, but would pretty much need to happen for a viable third party to pop up.
First, you need a total collapse of a party. This happened with the once-dominant Federalists and it happened with the less imposing Whigs. When parties just can’t get candidates elected, that’s what happens. The far-more-common failure of third parties and independent candidates is a result of the comparative strength of Democrats and Republicans. Ross Perot, for example, was never going to be elected as long as Democrats and Republicans were still getting people elected to Congress at a good pace. Ditto for Teddy’s Bull Moose Party.
Second, you need a polarizing issue that isn’t really being addressed by either party. For the Democratic-Republicans, it was the imbalance of slavery that caused the party to split into a new party as the “Democrats” (as they later came to be known) solidified power, leaving the more anti-slavery members without a place to go. They became the Whigs, ultimately, but even then, the Whig party wasn’t able to get members elected in big enough numbers. As a result, the anti-slavery Americans in politics needed a place to go, and the new Republican party was the perfect place for them. The Republicans were a more-unified coalition of groups that were outcasts in other third-party attempts, to some degree, so this made sense.
Third, it helps to have a notable figure driving the ship. This might be a controversial claim by us, because this did not actually occur in the two examples we list above, but probably will be essential from now on. You need someone who can draw attention, consolidate power, and raise cash in a big way in a big hurry. Okay, maybe the newly formed Democrat party was able to do so thanks to Andrew Jackson, but it’s going to take someone with even more pull today.
Here’s a scenario that illustrates our point.
Let us say the Democrat party (although this scenario works either way, the Czar wants to use them for an example later) is unable to get people elected to government outside of a few local assemblies, maybe a governor or two, and few representatives here and there. Traditional Democrat voters are going to be disenfranchised by this, and will start shopping around.
Then, we need a major, polarizing event the Republicans can’t address. Slavery is more or less done, depending on whom you ask, so let’s say the Republicans have decided to outright ban abortion in any form. This won’t be popular among the remaining Democrats, and indeed might tick off a bunch of less-conservative Republicans, too.
Then, a popular figure arises (in our dinner table discussion yesterday, we picked Mark Cuban…not because he would do such a thing, but because he would have enough name-recognition, clout, and money to be a typical example). Cuban, for whatever reason, decides to run for office and established a third party. He dumps an incredible amount of cash into his effort, and suddenly Democrats and former Republicans start coalescing around him. This, by the way, is why Libertarians can’t seem to get real traction.
And let’s add one more thing into the mix: some sort of utter party PR disaster. Let’s say the Democrats or Republicans nominate their candidate, and suddenly—maybe in August or September before the election—he winds up involved in a major, humiliating scandal…something Americans really hate. Maybe he’s photographed naked watching Cuties on Netflix…something really bad.
Suddenly, outraged Republicans start drifting toward that third party, and now there’s a real party at work, developing policies well beyond the original issue that coalesced them (and that’s why the Green party will never be viable).
To form a third party in America, something catastrophic needs to occur; and as our examples above show, you need a series of events to happen. Indeed, most engineers will agree that a catastrophe requires a series of events of happen in advance.
Rather, there are easier ways to meet these needs than third parties. The Democrats, for example, have transformed into a new party yet again rather than create a third party.
In the mid-to-late-Sixties, the Democrats went from a pro-business, moderate-tax, pro-military group under Kennedy to a pro-welfare, big government structure. This drove a lot of Democrats to the GOP throughout the 1970s and especially the 1980s. The same dissatisfaction with the new direction of the party caused a whiplash in the 1990s, in which Democrats openly became more pro-Leftist. We’re at a point today in which the current Democrat party is being engulfed by socialists, Marxists, and even communists. In 10 years, the party will likely be unrecognizable from the perspective of John F. Kennedy. In fact, the Democrats will, functionally, be a brand new party as they purge out the moderates. They may be, functionally, indistinguishable from the Socialist parties of Eugene Debs.
Now you have a new political party without any of the catastrophic steps required. No third party required. It may be hard to turn a battleship, but it’s easier than building one out of nothing.
We may very well be in the early stages of seeing a new Republican party forming now. This takes decades or more, so the “Ahoy Matey”* cruise-ship Never Trumpers announcing the death of the Republican party are woefully premature, but they might not—in the long run—be incorrect.
The Czar doesn’t know whether the Republicans are moving more Libertarian or more Liberal to accommodate the moderates being purged from the Democrats.** But he is pretty confident we’re a longer way from a viable third party than it might seem.
*Hat tip to the Mandarin for this term. He says he invented it. The Czar bets Mandy heard it on the radio.
** The Czar, numerous times on this site, has postulated that Democrats are the opposition third party, and that the two American parties should be the Republicans and the Libertarians, which would provide moderation and balance as well as make changing party affiliation very easy on an election-by-election basis.
As stated before, GorT did not vote for Trump in 2016 and it’s unclear what my in-person vote will be in a few weeks. In reading and discussing politics with people, I believe there is a very large contingent in this country that is dissatisfied with our options between the two main parties. For the Republicans, we will have another four years of Trump, his crazy tweets, probably a few more mistakes, some good policies, and likely some more, less conservative, approaches. For the Democrats, they will need to live with starting with probably the most diverse slate of presidential candidates that Democrat votes, and Democrat voters alone, whittled down to a older, white man likely facing some cognitive issues. They have to live with a VP nominee who destroyed their Presidential candidate in the debates but has since written off those points as “just a debate.” (think about what happens during the Pence-Harris debate – it won’t matter because, in her words, “it’s just a debate”). And now Harris is calling their ticket, “the Harris administration along with Joe Biden”.
Regardless of the problems on either side, we missed an opportunity that is resulting in the lines being drawn with the Never Trumpers advocating to vote for Biden because he’s not that bad and the media doing contortions trying to paint Biden in a good light while pointing out any potential or fabricated issue with Trump. I believe that 2020 was a perfect storm to set up a viable third-party candidate. Think about it – it would provide representation for a large group that currently feels neither party represents them. With a conservative-leaning candidate, at least fiscally, it would offer the Never Trumpers an option that isn’t the “not so bad” Joe Biden. And for the more moderate Democrats, it would offer an alternative to a 35+ year politician that really hasn’t done much that has a weird personal space / groping women issue.
Sure, you can say, “GorT, you’re crazy, a third-party candidate will never make it.” Yes, the system isn’t really set up for third parties to be viable. And yes, history indicates that a third party candidate only garners a fraction of the vote and largely is just a distraction or side-show. But I’ll offer two rebuttals:
- If not now, when. Seriously. I don’t know about the rest of you but I get a sense that except for the extremities, people are growing weary of the two political parties and they’re really devolved largely into a political power caste. Yes, there are notable exceptions but one wonders how long they can “fight the good fight” for the people before getting beat down and leaving office or conforming to the practices that we’ve seen by many. As an example, for those on the conservative side: where is the limited government, fiscal responsibility? It’s been long lost.
- 2020 is primed for this. Seriously, we have two candidates that the center (moderate conservatives to moderate liberals) aren’t real pleased with and are pinching their noses to vote on either side. Doesn’t that just scream for a third option? One to really push the issues.
In the end, the real problem is that we are way too invested in the federal government. Look at the news cycles, particularly in the last 3-4 years, and how focused and laden with federal government, primarily Trump oriented, they’ve been. Our world doesn’t orbit around what Trump is or isn’t doing nor should it. There are real issues in our cities and states that local leaders should address and that we should care about not all the crap that the media is foisting upon us. It’s time to make the federal government less important in our lives. And while I would usually say that this means voting Republican, I’m not so sure anymore…but it sure as hell isn’t voting Democrat….so let’s get a third choice.
Operative AB needs to know more about body language, as he wants to be fluent in many bodies. He’s requested the above helpful guide, but got this instead.
Your dog is always trying to tell you things, and you’re smart enough not to listen. But if you did, do you know what your dog is saying? Dogs don’t use words like people or birds do, or even puppets, because dogs communicate with their eyes, ears, tails, left rear paw, and the fifth lumbar vertebra even. Here’s a handy guide, developed by several experts, as to reading your dog’s body language!
|This dog is telling you she’s anxious.|
|This dog is confident.|
|This dog doesn’t like the weather.|
|This dog wants ice cream.|
|Good boy! This dog sees a rabbit.|
|This dog opened a CBD store.|
|This dog’s ears say she’s French.|
Whether your dog is anxious because of an impending storm or because your father-in-law sneaked into your apartment, smoke a couple of cigarettes while laying on the bed and trying on some of your roommate’s things, or simply because you’ve defeated the safety guard on that chainsaw, your dog’s ears, tail, and fifth intracostal space is all telling you what she’s thinking about. Maybe dinosaurs, or maglev transportation, or the crazy shit going on with Dark Matter! Who knows? Certainly not our experts.
Conservatives may not resort to temper tantrums (as often), vandalize private or public property, nor assume words have no consequences quite like Liberals do, but they do share an annoying trait: they can complain like anything!
The irony is that the Czar here is going to complain about complaints. So enjoy.
Complaints may make their authors feel better, or get heads nodding in sympathy, or point out some much-needed self-reflection on the part of the subjects, but the biggest mistake conservatives make is complaining just to create noise. The Czar has seen an explosion of opinion pieces, screeds, jeremiads, essays, and long-form articles from the Right over the last decade, and—unfortunately—the Czar is responding with “so what” at an increasing velocity.
Certainly a lot of complainers are being paid by the word, but if you’re trying to get your piece to do any good, as yourself “so what” before you hit the publish button.
- Tip #1: Have a plan of action.
- “Conservatives need to take back popular culture.” Don’t write us an article listing a dozen movies and television shows that espouse D
emocrat talking points, as if none of us are aware of how left-wing Hollywood is. Instead, provide three or four things we can do to make that happen.
- “It’s time for the Right to change the narrative on race.” Great idea! Now, instead of listing examples of reverse racism pulled of your Google news feed, gives us a sense of how we make that change.
- “Remind our kids why America matters!” Let me guess: you’re tired of all the crap schools are pushing on your kids, so you write some babyfood-piece on Freedom, Liberty, and Truth, garnished with some Corbis-sourced picture of an eagle swooping on a riverbed. Are we supposed to read it to them? Probably, nearly all readers of your piece have kids who already understand this topic well. Maybe, instead, send this to your school board, your kids’ teachers, or your superintendent. Don’t waste time telling us how great this country is; we can probably talk your ears off with more examples.
- “Conservatives need to take back popular culture.” Don’t write us an article listing a dozen movies and television shows that espouse D
- Tip #2: Don’t restate the obvious.
- “Quarantining hurts our economy more than it helps.” And here follow 5,000 words telling the reader how being locked up in our homes for all these months is crushing numerous small businesses and cramping our style. Hint: we know. In fact, many of us have more painful examples about job loss and cash flow problems than some coffee-addled blogger who worked from home before the pandemic. Tell us something new.
- “Dems’ economic plans involve raising taxes.” Tell us when the Dems plan to lower them. That will be worth reading.
- “On dealing with Iran, Dem candidate is wrong.” Well, this could be newsworthy if it contains news. But if it’s just another word-filled piece about the latest Democrat rising star being totally screwed up on foreign policy, you could probably shorten your essay by editing about 50 paragraphs out of it. Guess what, writer: we know. If you can tell us how the candidate’s errors can be corrected, or how these mistakes will lead to bigger issues, we’ll read your piece. But if it’s another litany of things other Democrats have done, said, or screwed up…well, we’ve read it a dozen times before.
- Tip #3: What do you think is going to happen?
- “Congresswoman VanMcBesky lied to her constituents again.” Well, that could be newsworthy, but so what? Do you think she’ll be removed from office? You think her overtly blue district isn’t going to vote her right back in? Will some Republican challenger be emboldened to defeat her in the next election?
- “Social media giant is censoring conservative views.” This has been going for over 20 years, folks, and not one of them has ever admitted to wrongdoing and elected to change their views. Unless your piece is going to swing millions of subscribers to competitors or cause a massive cultural shakeup at the offender, this is probably a pointless story. Maybe turn it from a multipage essay into a 75-character tweet. Assuming it doesn’t get censored, of course.
If you believe Cicero’s old edict that good writing should be any combination of education, motivation, or entertainment, then a huge portion of conservative writing can be eliminated. There’s a lot of good stuff out there, even if you or the Czar disagrees with its premises or conclusions, but there’s just so much pointless word-wasting.
One last suggestion—let’s not call it a tip—but if you want to motivate a reader to change to your point of view, brevity is better.
Operative K takes time off from Tcho-Tcho whipping* to write in as well on the subject of statue toppling, and agrees with the Czar—which is largely why he gets the good jobs around the Castle.
I write today to agree in part with your assessment of today’s iconoclast brigade. For those who are Democrats out of more than a flag of convenience, I think you’re right about the motivation…and they may be the “useful idiots” of the revolutionary vanguard. That revolutionary vanguard, though, is as contemptuous of the Democrats as they are everyone else. The vanguard is pure Pol Pot-flavor Maoism, and their goal is not to hide their past, it’s to obliterate everyone’s. Year Zero.
*Way more fun than it sounds, and frankly, more than a little necessary.
AB has taken time off from microwaving fireworks in the kitchen to send a thought about Why Statues Topple.
It’s even more simple that that. The people toppling the statues have zero connection to the past. They are either immigrants who didn’t build this country or severed emotionally by school indoctrination if they have any link to the past.
The families that built this country no longer are the majority and therefore the majority has no vested interest in retaining the past. And the families that are left have been cowed into submission.
The country has fundamentally changed because of unfettered immigration and academic takeover, both were purposeful acts.
A couple of thoughts.
This first is a reaction we had to a tweet some weeks ago; the tweeter said he would rather leave a Conferederate statue up and in place, so that his son or daughter could ask “Why do we have a statue to this person?” This, then, would begin a useful conversation on the history of our country.
Frankly, I think his conversation might go like this:
Child: Why is there a statue here to this guy?
Dad: Well, this is Jefferson Davis. He was president of a rival country that formed when many of our states quit our country because they wanted to enslave other people, and the other states didn’t.
Child: Why didn’t our country just make slavery illegal?
Dad: The Democrats in those states kept blocking the legislation to do that.
Child: Aren’t you a Democrat, dad?
Dad: Uh… ah. Well…
In other words, the people who destroy statues—even back to the ancient days in Egypt or Babylonia—do so to erase their link to the badness. Today, the liberal rioters are trying to erase their party’s involvement with racism by eliminating all the Democrats who supported it. Once you erase the past, you’re free to rewrite it with yourself as the hero. You see that today, with most Americans thinking Republicans were slaveholders, supported the Klan, wrote in Jim Crow laws, and enforced segregation in the South. By doing this slowly, Democrats have completely made up a new history that turns themselves from villains to the heroes.
Statues can celebrate things. They can also serve as dire warnings. The Czar would love for that dad to have a conversation with his kids about slavery, and be able to point to a statue and say “…and that must never happen again.”
The Czar does disagree with your use of the word immigrants: it implies that the rioters were not born here; indeed, some of the most doggedly loyal Americans are those who were born elsewhere and became citizens.
So New York’s Museum of Natural History is contemplating—which means executing—the removal of Teddy Roosevelt’s famous statue. And why not? He’s been declared a racist and colonialist, even though he was most assuredly not a racist and actually fought against European colonial powers in this hemisphere.
The problem is that for many people Roosevelt is a racist not because he simply must be. This isn’t a question of whether they know their history—the Czar is pretty sure the MNH knows who Roosevelt was and what he actually believed—but a question of his white privilege.
For most Americans, this makes no sense. But for enough Americans, it’s totally the truth. And yes, a lot of the people arguing for it indeed know Teddy was not at all the racist his more famous cousin Franklin demonstrably was. See, Teddy represents racist colonialism; yeah, they’ll be coming for FDR’s statues sooner than anyone thinks.
Here’s what’s driving the issue: there are two popular definitions of “racism.”
Most Americans believe the dictionary’s definition that racism is the belief that races can be inherently superior or inferior to each other. You know, when you put it that way, it all sounds a bit silly. What American can seriously argue, in the 21st Century, that a person is magically better or worse than another simply by being born a particular skin tone, or having epicanthic eyes, or an inherited demographic trait?
In fact, there are extremely few people who believe this; in fact, if someone were to do a proper study, one might well discover that more Americans believe in Bigfoot than actually believe in some inherent, magical properties that make one group of people somehow superior to another. And notice we don’t indicate which race is superior—that doesn’t matter for the definition; anyone who thinks this way is a racist, no matter which race he or she is.
But a large-enough number of Americans believe in a very different definition based not on genetics but on economics. In this definition, racism is the result of one race instituting an economic system over other races. And because the white race happens to have been that race, here in America, the white economic system is racist.
And because economies drive government systems, then all government systems in America are racist. The founding fathers were largely racist white guys; so everything that derives from them inherits that racism.
And if this sounds a bit silly, here’s a different way of putting it: think about your computer’s software. If the operating system that runs your computer was written in the late 1970s or late 1980s, it’s probably buggy because coders weren’t all that ready for the future that hit technology. So no matter how many times you add new features or new components to your computer’s operating system, if the original source code was buggy, then you can bet you’ll be seeing increasing number of bug fixes, security holes, product updates, patches, and service releases—and indeed we are, on a nearly weekly basis. Because unless you rewrite the code from scratch to be bug-free, you will always have buggy software.
Likewise, if the founding fathers were racist, then everything that derives from it inherits that racist intent. All white people are racist if they espouse the American way of life; blacks, Hispanics, and Asians cannot be racist because they did not participate in the core planning in the late 18th Century: they are victims of racism.
This second definition is a real attitude. This explains a lot of the weirdness people who espouse the dictionary definition see: a white person is racist no matter what he or she really believes, and a person of color—who says something overwhelmingly negative about white people—can never be a racist. No, it makes no sense per the dictionary definition, but is perfectly reasonable by the critical race theory definition.
A police department founded in the 19th Century by white men is racist, even if 40% of its officers are black, and only 30% are white: its racism is institutional and systemic, because the institution itself and the systems under which it operates were founded by racists.
Except, there are some fallacies with this. First, that economics drives class struggle is not a fact: it is a principle of Marxist thought, not economic reality. Second, that economics drives government systems is also a Marxist principle. There’s no “there” there, unless you assume Marxist thought is a proven fact. This also explains the tight marriage between AntiFa rioters and Marxist thought. Hint: the link between the two originates in academia in the mid-1960s (see Herbert Marcuse, who was the source architect) between Marxism and minority oppression.
So now you understand why a statue of Teddy Roosevelt is going to be racist even if he, himself, was not.
But bear in mind one other facet of statue desecration: historically, the people who do it are not trying to destroy what the original person represents. They’re trying to cover up their involvement in the history. Leftists aren’t trying to destroy Jefferson Davis’ legacy, they’re trying to sever the link that binds Leftists to their own participation in slavery. With no statue to make tomorrow’s generation ask “who was that,” and later “why was he a Democrat,” you avoid a lot of uncomfortable questions.
Statue destroyers aren’t erasing out past. They’re trying to hide theirs.