Donald Trump lived down to the Left’s caricature of him during Tuesday’s presidential debate. His constant interruptions and refusal to obey the two-minute time clock came off as entitled and impulsive, not traits that will convert undecided voters.
Bullying is unlikely a winning rhetorical strategy. Trump damaged not only his reelection hopes, but also the causes that he has championed during his presidency.
On the substance of issues, he seemed at times unprepared. Asked what the elevation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court would mean for the court and the country, Trump robotically repeated that she had support across the political spectrum. He failed to portray her as a necessary bulwark against judicial activism.
Nor did he point out that the United States’ coronavirus fatality rate is comparable to Europe’s, despite our much higher rate of key comorbidities like obesity and our more aggressive methods of counting coronavirus deaths.
The most powerful reasons to reelect Trump are his defense of law and order and his resistance to identity politics. Yet he opportunistically played the race card against former Vice President Joe Biden for Biden’s support of the 1994 federal crime control bill.
Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith fellow at the Manhattan Institute, contributing editor at City Journal, and the author of the bestselling War on Cops and The Diversity Delusion. Follow her on Twitter here.
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