The U.S. presidential election debates show a lot of the country’s politics the ruling classes’ political representatives produce for public’s consumption – an act of manipulation of public psyche. Following are a few points from the latest debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, two contending candidates from two factions of the same dominating classes:
Wearing mask all the time
Joe Biden, the Democratic Party presidential candidate, recommends people wearing masks “all the time”. Biden was criticizing Donald Trump’s handling of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“I would make sure everyone was encouraged to wear a mask all the time,” Joe Biden said during the October 22-presidential debate.
Biden was discussing his plans for defeating the pandemic.
On an earlier debate, Trump mocked Biden for Biden’s wearing of facemask almost-always.
North Korea is equal to Nazi Germany
Biden was critical of Trump’s “good relationship” with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The Democratic presidential candidate confused the comparison as that meant the U.S. had a “good relationship” with the hated Nazi chief Hitler.
However, Trump claimed his talks to the North Korean have helped avoid a nuclear war.
Trump compared his relationship with North Korea to that of President Barack Obama’s, saying that the former president had grave concerns about a nuclear war with the country before passing on the presidency.
Biden called Kim a “thug”. He said: “That’s like saying we had a good relationship with Hitler before he, in fact, invaded Europe.”
It should be mentioned: Germany, the country Hitler was leading to war, is in Europe, and Hitler was invading countries in Europe. So, the question that surfaces is related to geography and history at secondary level.
Biden later corrected his statement: “the rest of Europe.”
Biden also said that he, if elected president, would refuse to meet Kim unless the Korean Peninsula becomes a “nuclear free zone”.
Mistakes that were
Biden acknowledged that former president Barack Obama’s detention of children at the border was a “mistake.”
Biden was criticizing Trump’s policy related to migrants – separating children from parents at the border.
Biden has admitted that the policy has made the US a “laughing stock”.
Trump’s counter-point: Migrant children are often brought into the country illegally by “bad people” and “cartels” pivoting to border policies enacted by the Obama administration, under which Biden served as vice president, including the detention of children in “cages”.
Trump went after Biden and Obama for creating detention facilities for undocumented immigrants in the first place.
Trump said: “Who made the cages, Joe.”
Trump said: “He had eight years to do what he said he was going to do. […] He did nothing except build cages to keep children in.”
Trump referred to the finding: The cages were built in 2014 – that was him [Obama].”
On a question from moderator Kristen Welker, Biden admitted: “We made a mistake, it took too long to get it right. I’ll be president of the United States, not vice president of the united States.”
The blame, thus, was put on the shoulder of Barack Obama.
Trump mocked the Obama administration’s “catch and release” policy.
The policy allowed undocumented immigrants to self-report for immigration court hearings.
Trump said only immigrants with the “lowest IQ” would voluntarily report for a court hearing.
According to the US Justice Department, approximately 44 percent of non-detained removal cases end up as no-shows,
A Russian pawn
Biden has alleged that Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer, is working as a “Russian pawn” to help his client win the 2020 race.
Candidates of the two parties also accused each other of taking foreign cash.
Biden said: “He’s [Rudy Giuliani] being used as a Russian pawn. He’s being fed information that is Russian.”
Trump accused Biden and his family of “raking in […] a lot of money” from foreign entities including Russia, Ukraine and China.
Trump said: “I don’t make money from China, you do. I don’t make money from Ukraine, you do. I don’t make money from Russia.”
Biden claimed that he had “not taken a penny from any foreign source in [his] life.”
He said: “My son has not made money […] [from] China. The only guy who made money from China is this guy.”
Biden claimed: Trump is Moscow’s Manchurian candidate.
Trump responded, “There has been nobody tougher on Russia” than himself.
He referred to sanctions imposed on Russia.
Trump referred to information from his national security adviser, Robert O’Brien: Russia and Iran were hoping Trump loses the election.
This claim was opposite to the claims of Biden.
Millions and millions
Trump said he had prepaid millions in taxes to explain why documents showed he had only paid $750 in federal income tax in 2016.
“Deep down in the IRS, they treat me horribly,” Trump said. “We made a deal. It was all settled until I decided to run for president. I get treated very badly by the IRS. Very unfairly.”
“But we had a deal all done. As soon as we’re completed with the deal — I want to release it. But I have paid millions and millions of dollars. And it’s worse than paying. I paid in advance. It’s called prepaying your taxes.”
However, it wasn’t immediately clear what Trump meant when he said he paid in advance.
Trump said he is committed to releasing his tax returns once he is no longer under audit, according to the advice of his accountant, but he did not provide a timeline for when that would happen.
Trump also called the $750 a “filing fee.”
But, the IRS does not charge a fee for filing taxes.
The New York Times said it had access to Trump’s tax return data, reported that the taxes due line was $750 for 2016 and 2017.
Biden charged: “You have not released a single solitary year of your tax returns.”
He asked trump: “What are you hiding? Why are you unwilling?”
He continued: “The foreign countries are paying you a lot. Russia’s paying you a lot. China’s paying you a lot. … Release your tax returns or stop talking about corruption.”
Chinese bank account
Trump defended himself: “I have many bank accounts and they’re all listed and they’re all over the place. I was a businessman doing business.”
The New York Times reported that Trump had a bank account in China and had paid taxes in that country.
Trump said that his bank account in China was from 2013 and that he closed it in 2015 just before running for president.
Moderator Kristen Welker pointed out that Trump has not divested from his businesses since taking office and has often continued to promote his businesses.
Trump counter-charged: Biden’s family improperly financially benefited from his vice presidency including profitable business deals in China.
Because of you
Trump said: “I ran because of you. If I thought you did a good job, I never would have run.”
Trump accused Biden of incompetence, saying he decided to run because of his opponent’s poor performance as vice president.
Following Biden’s promises for reform the justice system, Trump asked: “But why didn’t he do it four years ago?”
Biden said: “I would transition from the oil industry, yes.”
Trump responded: “Oh. There’s a big statement.”
Biden counter-responded: “It is a big statement.”
However, after the debate, Biden clarified to reporters that he didn’t want to end the fossil fuel industry, but rather get rid of subsidies for fossil fuels.
And, filthy air
Trump said: “Look at China, how filthy it is. Look at Russia. Look at India. It’s filthy. The air is filthy.”
Trump was talking about the decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord, and he brought the issue of air quality in other countries.
The argument he presented in defense of his decision to pull out of the Paris Accord: “I walked out of the Paris Accord as we had to take out trillions of dollars and we were treated very unfairly.”
Core of these arguments and counter-arguments, points-counterpoints, which most of the times appear funny and shallow is nothing but a part of manipulating the voter-mind.
Moreover, at the core of these arguments, etc., the factions’ real politics is present, present is their class-interests. Electoral hullabaloos, scandalous stories, factional propaganda shroud the concerned factions’ real politics/class interests. It’s a power of the ruling classes to hoodwink the taxpayers with shallow and non-fundamental arguments-counter-arguments.
This power is so mighty that the public are rocked regularly along with the ruling class-politics, irrespective of factions, although there’re the ruling classes’ exposures almost on a daily basis – political bankruptcies, economic failures, breakdowns at societal level, disasters in the areas of environment and ecology, money-play, wrongdoings, and for all these, greater society’s payment with blood at home and abroad. Caricature-like characters are many in ruling class politics. Yet, these characters mesmerize many persons on many occasions. In many other countries, this ruling class-power of swaying the public is present. This power, the shallow and non-fundamental arguments need regular exposures.
Farooque Chowdhury writes from Dhaka, Bangladesh