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  • Well, if U S presidential debates are about informing voters about policy and showing a watching world how democracy works, then what we saw last night was a failure.

  • For 90 minutes.

  • The pressure America is under was laid bare.

  • MSNBC called it a dark event.

  • CNN called it Ah, hot mess Inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck on the interruptions and insults cast a shadow over proceedings.

  • So much so that the commission which organizes them now says it's gonna bring a new measures to ensure amore orderly discussion of the issues in the next two debates.

  • Well, in the coming minutes, we're gonna work through the key moments and the fallout from an infamous night starting with President Trump passing up the chance to condemn white supremacists.

  • Do you want to call them?

  • What do you want to call them?

  • Give me your name.

  • Give me what's the promise that right, like me to conduct crowd voice, right?

  • Problem.

  • Stand back and stand by.

  • But I'll tell you what, I'll tell you what somebody's got to do.

  • Something about Antifa and the left.

  • So the president passed up the chance to address white supremacy.

  • He did though, tell a far right group, the proud boys, to stand by Well, now he sought to clarify this.

  • He says he's always denounced white supremacist.

  • That's not true, and here's what he said about the proud boys.

  • I don't know who the proud boys are.

  • You have to give me a definition because I really don't know who they are.

  • I can only say they have to stand down, let law enforcement do their work.

  • But to be clear, he didn't address white supremacy when asked to during the debate on Did refer to the proud boys now.

  • Earlier, the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, was asked about the president's handling of this issue.

  • In the debate, he said, the president condemns white supremacists in the strongest possible way.

  • Well, have listened to Washington Post columnist Brian Class.

  • He sees it differently.

  • It's not that he just didn't condemn it.

  • It's that he gave an instruction to this group as though he was their leader, he said.

  • Stand by as though he's waiting for further instructions if there is election related violence.

  • So I think the tensions and the polarization around the election are so great, and President Trump's language so explosive that I'm very worried about violence around the November elections.

  • Joe Biden was asked about these concerns today.

  • Here's what he said.

  • If in fact, we win this election, this president step down.

  • It's a lot of provider.

  • He has no alternative.

  • The American people will not stand for it.

  • No agency would stand for that happening.

  • My message to the proud boys and every other white supremacist group is cease and desist.

  • That's not who we are.

  • This is not who we are as Americans.

  • Well, if you don't know off the proud boys.

  • This is a group that was founded in 2016.

  • It's far right, anti immigrant and all mail.

  • It has a strict membership protocol.

  • In order to join, members have to declare that they are Ah, Western show Veniste, who refuses to apologize for creating the modern world.

  • They become notorious for violent confrontations.

  • They frequently faced off against opposition groups Facebook, instagram, Twitter and YouTube of all banned the proud boys.

  • Facebook says it considers it ah hate organization, but we know it does still continue to use private social media channels like telegram and parlay.

  • There are a number of reports in US media that members of the proud boys were celebrating the president's refusal to condemn them.

  • The other group reference in that section of the debate was Antifa.

  • That's short for anti fascist.

  • It's not a coherent group.

  • Maura Loose affiliation of mostly far left activists and some antifa activists have a track record of using violence to make their point.

  • They've bean prominent during black lives matter protests on, have frequently clashed with opposition groups on with police to be clear, proud boys and anti for a relatively small perhaps a few 1000 active supporters of most something even less than that.

  • But their willingness to use violence on occasions means they get a disproportionate amount of attention.

  • So remarkably, one issue was the president refusing to condemn white supremacy.

  • The next issue is how moderator Chris Wallace struggled to contain Donald Trump's continual interruptions.

  • He is one of many examples we're moving on, didn't take them, Vice president can't be honest.

  • It's a very important thio up Know the answer to that question is, no Ukraine.

  • No, sir.

  • With a billion dollars of that, You know what?

  • You're not You're doing it.

  • You're gonna have true gentlemen, is e hate to raise my voice, but he seems to be.

  • Why should I be different than the two of you?

  • The country would be better served if we allowed both people to speak with fewer interruptions.

  • I'm appealing to you, sir, to do that and him too.

  • Well, frankly, you've been doing Mawr interrupted.

  • But he does plenty well, less than sir.

  • Less than plenty, no less than you have.

  • Let's please continue one.

  • There's plenty more of that.

  • It was always gonna be difficult.

  • One columnist for the New York magazine tweeted.

  • People are hating on Chris Wallace, but I think there was no way to moderate this debate effectively on Apple.

  • Bam of the Atlantic argues this was intentional.

  • She says the point of Trump's performance in that debate was to undermine confidence in the election on democracy itself.

  • Mr Trump himself has responded, saying Chris had a tough night.

  • Two on one was not surprising but fun.

  • He says two things to note about Chris Wallace.

  • He's a registered Democrat, but he also works for Fox News and Network that's consistently supportive of the president on As I mentioned earlier, the commission, which runs these debates, says the rules now need to be changed.

  • In a statement, it says last night debate made clear the additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues.

  • Well, let's get further analysis from the BBC's Barbara Plett Usher in Washington, D.

  • C.

  • After the debate last night, commentators who frankly looked visibly shocked said, Let's stop here.

  • Why would we want to have another one of these?

  • What's the point of that?

  • Now you have this commission statement saying yes, More structured is needed for orderly discussion.

  • We are considering new tools, and we'll let you know what they are.

  • Shortly now there have been calls for things like theme moderator being able to cut the mic or to end the debate early.

  • If it gets out of hand and barren mine draws that the next debate is going to be a different format.

  • It's going to be a town hall format in which ordinary people ask questions.

  • So that might be a format that's less likely to be dominated by Mr Trump in this way, because Hey did seem to be very calculated about his barrage of insults and interruptions.

  • And so when it did seem to be a tactic of disruption, which even his own people said was too hot.

  • Now Mr Biden himself has said that he's going to continue with these debates no matter what, and in fact he made quite a lot of money for his campaign during last night's debate.

  • So that's at least an incentive to keep going.

  • But you do wonder how many more people are going to keep keep on tuning in.

  • If the commission doesn't come up with something that can actually bring order to this and make it a debate rather than a sort of fiasco on Barbara, I'm losing count of the number of commentators who are either writing articles or going on TV or tweeting that this is now a crisis in American democracy.

  • What we saw last night, what we've seen more generally, you've been covering American politics for a long while.

  • Do you think that's overstating it?

  • Well, I mean, President Trump has been chipping away at the norms and institutions of democracy for the past four years, but I would say that has escalated in recent months in the sense that he has begun to actively cast doubt on the democratic process itself.

  • So he has said that mail in voting will lead to massive fraud when there's no evidence that that that that's the case, he has not committed himself to accepting the results of the election.

  • If he thinks that there is broad, he's not even committed to a peaceful transition of power, which is really bedrock stuff for democracy.

  • So I think the trajectory is alarming.

  • Um is democracy right now in crisis here?

  • I would say at the very least the foundations of democracy in the US are being tested.

  • And just quickly, Barbara, how we looking in the polls at the moment?

  • Mr.

  • Biden still up?

  • I assume.

  • Yeah, there haven't been a lot of numbers since the debate itself, but he has had a very stable lead over President Trump for quite a while in the single digits between six and 10% on.

  • Also, he has leads in in a number of swing states as well.

  • The feeling going into the debate was that Mr Trump was on the defensive.

  • He would need Thio shift attention away from himself towards Mr Biden and his presumed weaknesses.

  • Now that didn't happen.

  • As we've seen, it was very much center stage on his disruptive tactics.

  • So some analysts are saying there was no winner there For Joe Biden is the winner because he's out in front now.

  • This is one of these moments when the world watches American democracy, and it's fair to say a lot of people were unimpressed.

  • In Germany, Desh Beagle said the debate was a TV Jewell like a car accident.

  • State run Chinese newspaper Global Times called it the most chaotic presidential debate ever.

  • Italian newspaper La Repubblica declared that American politics had never sunk so low and that it was chaotic, rowdy and based on mutual contempt.

  • Or you could read the times here in the UK, describing it as not a debate in any meaningful sense, but rather an ill tempered, at times incomprehensible squabble between two angry step veterinarians who palpably loathe each other on the BBC's Nick Bryant, one of our correspondents in America.

  • He put it this way.

  • When historians assessed the self inflicted harm America did its international reputation in the early 21st century, the Florida debacle will be on the list that's the 2000 election.

  • Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib On this first presidential debate, watch the world over incalculable soft power damage, says Nick Well, President Trump's former national security adviser, General H.

  • R.

  • McMaster, has spoken to BBC World News today and picks up on some of those themes, saying, These deep divisions on show are harming America.

  • We're acting like are our own worst enemies.

  • And so is Aziz.

  • You allude to the Russia in particular, is trying to drag us down, trying to polarize all of our societies, pit us against each other.

  • You really amplify thes, narrow identities, uh, in a way that it reduces our confidence in who we are as a people and in our democratic principles and institutions and processes.

Well, if U S presidential debates are about informing voters about policy and showing a watching world how democracy works, then what we saw last night was a failure.

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/10/23
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