Trump can’t afford to talk about the country’s biggest problems because he is primarily responsible for them.
Windsor Mann, Opinion columnist
USA Today: Like most Americans, I didn’t watch President Trump’s town hall on Tuesday night. I was too busy doing anything else.
Two days later, I capitulated and watched it on demand. Five minutes later, Joe Biden’s town hall began. The contrast was startling.
If we want to end Covid, we must end the Trump presidency. https://t.co/WxRgIDMzI7— stuart stevens (@stuartpstevens) September 18, 2020
Unlike Trump — who sat during his town hall — Biden stood during his, as if the national anthem were playing. Trump looked lumpish and sounded confused. Biden looked spirited and sounded human. He was lucid, informed and affable — almost superhuman.
Mike Pence is about to speak with Veterans — will he answer any of these questions? pic.twitter.com/i7V3PRzrYO— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) September 18, 2020
As Rick Wilson pointed out, Trump makes Biden seem like Demosthenes. Indeed, Biden uttered more complete sentences in one night than Trump has in his entire presidency.
When Trump talks about vaccines, he sounds like an infomercial host peddling miraculous crystals that cure depression and hair loss. When Biden talks about vaccines, he sounds like someone who has studied them. This is not to say he was flawless. He got some facts wrong — Trump didn’t hold a Bible upside down at Lafayette Square — but he got the tone right.
Presidents should be good. pic.twitter.com/fheTSNG3dR— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) September 18, 2020
Trump’s biggest problem — himself
Trump, who claims to speak for “real Americans,” was visibly uncomfortable speaking with real Americans. These were undecided voters, not sycophants or Fox News hosts, and persuading undecided voters to support Trump at this point — amid a pandemic and a recession — is harder than selling asbestos to them.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has increased his lead over President Donald Trump in a new poll.
Demagogues become popular because they talk about things that matter to people. In 2016, Trump talked about immigration, the opioid crisis and political correctness — things that no one else was talking about. This year, he’s talking about things that no one cares about: Confederate flags, Goodyear tires and his Twitter account. He’s a demagogue increasingly disconnected from the demos.
Unlike in 2016, Trump can’t afford to talk about the country’s biggest problems because he’s primarily responsible for them. When he talks about problems, he denies they’re problems. He tells sick people they’re healthy and unemployed people that the economy is booming. To appeal to voters, he has to lie to them, and on Tuesday he lied to their masked faces.