The final Presidential debate will take place tonight in Cleveland, Ohio at Case Western Reserve University. The second debate was scuttled because the President caught the virus that he’s been downplaying and refused to have a virtual one. Instead, Trump and Biden held respective townhalls on the same night and one came off a lot better than the other. With less than two weeks to go and more than 26 million votes already cast in one of the least difficult decisions to make in history, one has to wonder why even any of this is necessary.
Given the shenanigans at the last debate, and indeed, given the shenanigans of modern debates in general, the Commission has chosen to mute the mics of the participants when their opponent is speaking. The idea being, ostensibly, that they can then make their case to the American people. This will not deter Trump from interrupting in any way and we will absolutely be able to hear him while Biden is trying to answer a question.
All this comes as the DoJ announced on Wednesday that there are active attempts at foreign interference in the election. Some hostile actors like Iran and Russia have gotten access to voter registration information and have attempted to intimidate voters. Current DNI Head John Ratcliffe suggested that they were attempting to prevent Trump supporters from voting or damage support for Trump in general which…seems unlikely. Indeed, Ted Lieu clarifies Homeland Security’s remarks here for Trump’s flunky.
Rumors seem to suggest that Trump wanted FBI Director Christopher Wray to *pull a Comey* at some point but he hasn’t. And for whatever reason, Attorney General Barr hasn’t been willing to step into any of this either, which is interesting. This is probably why Ratcliffe is out there right now Ratcliffe-ing it up. He’s the best he’s got right now. Wray has, oddly, turned out to be a pretty solid pick for FBI Director and would be an asset to any normal administration. So much so, that Trump is considering firing him after the election.
State of play coming towards the end of October feels a little familiar. Foreign actors are meddling in the election, Trump is encouraging it, Trump is not doing well at the debates, there’s a cooked up e-mail scandal involving the Democratic candidate, and the Democratic candidate is outspending Trump on the airwaves(and no one seems to be talking about digital ads which is where Trump reached his shitty base last time around).
But fortunately for us, this isn’t a re-run. We’ve been here before but we’ve had four years of hell to learn from. Things feel familiar, but it’s different now (hopefully). We know what’s coming and it’s probably that, among other many other factors, why the Hunter Biden e-mail thing isn’t as sticky as Clinton’s. Voter enthusiasm is much higher and turnout could be far greater than 2016. There’s more of an effort to correct disinformation and misinformation ( not nearly as much as is needed but an effort has been made). Russia’s running essentially the same plays and I really, really hope I’m right that it just won’t work as well this time around.
Welcome to Thursday! Please be excellent to each other in the comments. The Mayor McSquirrel Rule remains in effect. As the protests continue, please be safe, dress non-descriptively, avoid wearing contacts if you wear them normally, and keep your phones on you. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, please continue to maintain social distancing measures, wear masks in public areas, and practices sanitation policies as circumstances dictate.
Worried about getting your vote suppressed by the awful, awful people running our government? Check out NPR’s guide to vote by mail!