The first Biden-Trump debate – Gerontocracy and Wrestling in Cage

When you have one old man that can’t control his temper opposing one who cannot control his verbal tics, well, here’s the deal: you end up with a ridiculous and sad fight that resembles the constant bickering of the retired people in our Eastern Europe periphery block of flats.

It is very curious to watch the American elections in the context of Romanian local elections that took place on 27 September 2020. In a number of Romanian cities young,  smart candidates won the race for mayor. It is a sign that Romania’s political system is capable of renewal, at least in terms of bringing new people into the political life.

Let us now look at the American presidential race. We have two people at the age of grandfathers, who accuse one another of being liars, losers, clowns, inadequate. They don’t have strategies, plan and vision. They hit each other on the ankles. All the media attention falls on their cage fight. Because that is what it is – while the free people, the consumers, the large society works, pays taxes and hopes for a better future, the system provides it with a wrestling match of the type of Vince McMean’s fights in cage. Another analogue – this time from the British culture, could be the Punch and Judy show

The American youth’s candidate – another man of age – Bernie Sanders, was effectively driven out of the competition. Now, Trump’s main accusation against his contestant Biden is that he is a socialist. Biden’s game is to both avoid being labeled as socialist (an anathema for the older generations in the USA), and to avoid losing Bernie Sanders’ electorate. In turn, a number of Bernie Sanders supporters mobilise the left-wing vote in support of Biden using the argument that Biden is the smaller evil, and another four years of Trump in the White House are not acceptable under any circumstances. 

Biden is the challenger and Trump has given him a number of failures, upon which he can concentrate pretty much in the sense used by WWF’s commentators when they were saying that “Stone Cold works upon the Hearbreaker’s leg”. Biden can attack Trump’s poor record in fighting the corona crisis, could mock Trump’s untrustful image, etc. And Biden does that. It is his team’s strategy. But once again – there is no vision for the future, coming from those people around the age 80. The vision, the data, the calculations were missing both on internal and international politics in the first Trump-Biden debate.

What is the political choice before the USA in foreign relations? Is it all a beauty contest in reverse – who is more ugly, Russia or China? International politics doesn’t deal with beauty and likes. Neither Trump vs. Biden should be an overly personalised beauty contest. There are political and economic machineries (read oligarchs, financial and geopolitical interests) behind any of them. The USA as a leading country in the world owes the world a more mature debate and election. And if we focus on the first debate, one can get the feeling of too high expectations and a poor result.

The Biden Trump debate was a very sad episode in the history of the electoral debates. Both candidates managed to extract the quintessential of their parties. The Republicans managed to put forward a white supremacist, racist, mysoginist, pro-army, pro-business with narcissistic psychopatic tentencies. The Democrats brought to the forefront an old, weak candidate who is desperately trying to sell the same old glamorous lies, the same fake progressive politics, the same fake interest for the working people, the same harsh neoliberal policies masked by some interest in being on the right side of history in terms of cultural progress. Let’s take just one example that screams hypocrisy: Biden is all for having race sensitivity education for the law enforcement forces but he will not agree with the idea of defunding the police. He is trying to sell the good old centrist policies that may seem a little more progressive but are in fact the same poison. Only Biden serves it with a little honey to go. 

The electoral debate was everything you may have expected it to be: Donal Trump interrupted the debate more than 100 times, he never took the time to listen, he constantly insulted his opponent. But, the bigger problem is that Americans have to choose between two evils:

  • Trump a pathological liar has no remorse for what he is saying or doing, paradoxically, he is very honest in his lies! He says exactly what’s going on in his head with the sincerity of a five year old! He is extremely simplistic and very attached to the fantasies that constitute his reality. One may speculate that he doesn’t even think he is lying when he is spitting obscenely inaccurate numbers and statistics to his opponents.
  • Biden is the perfect man of the system. He perfectly resembles a retired Agent Smith, the famous character from The Matrix. He lacks the vigor and the strength of Agent Smith, but he has the same tendencies of maintaining the system at all costs.

The two candidates complement each other because Donald Trump is the perfect product of the policies put forward by the political establishment who ironically managed to find its incarnation: Joe Biden. The rising inequality, anti-intellectualism, unemployment, poverty and racism made Trump possible. Trump is an effect of a failed state, he is the perfect kind of psychopathic personality that is in fact the dream of the 80s: selfish, self-centered, obsessed with possession of money, women, houses, power. He is the less polished version of the characters of the Bold and the Beautiful!  

Everybody knows that Biden is not an option in itself but a life saving jacket! The only problem is that maybe Americans may use the chance Biden is offering to escape the nightmarish Trump, but, since Biden is the man of the system we risk seeing an even worse version of Trump four years from now. 

As for the debates, the pathetic wrestling will probably continue. The very sad and disheartening part of the debate results from its very format – it is designed to be a battle, a race, a fierce competition. And when you have one old man that can’t control his temper opposing one who cannot control his verbal tics, well, here’s the deal: you end up with a ridiculous and sad fight that resembles the constant bickering of the retired people in our Eastern Europe periphery block of flats. The fact that this electoral debate seemed more provincial and pathetic than the fight of two old men quarreling for a parking spot than an electoral debate for becoming president to the world’s biggest economy should make us all think about the political, economic and military system that lead the USA here.

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