Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news media and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

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Amanda Marcotte: Trump’s plot to steal the election can be defeated: Here are five things you can do to help

Don’t panic! Trump wants to steal the election, but he can be stopped — as long as everyone does their part

During Tuesday night’s debate, Donald Trump, who has gone pure fascist, once again escalated his efforts to scare people out of voting. He encouraged his followers to engage in voter intimidation under the guise of “poll watching,” and told armed hate groups to “stand by.” Trump also floated a number of baseless conspiracy theories about “voter fraud” that are clearly designed to discourage voting and rationalize legal efforts to stop votes from being counted. [..]

Trump can’t win a free and fair election, and he knows it. So he’s doing everything in his power to keep Americans from having one. As the New York Times reported on Thursday morning, Republicans, in their efforts to save Trump, are using every dirty trick in the book to stop people from voting.

Times are scary. It’s understandable to feel demoralized, but it is more important than ever not to give into that feeling. Trump and Republicans want you to feel despair. Despair leads to inaction, which makes it a lot easier for Trump to pull this off.

Instead, it’s time to get angry, and to use that anger to propel you into action. Trump may want to steal the election, but wanting isn’t having. He can be defeated. He will likely be defeated — as long as everyone does their part to stop him.

With that in mind, here are five things you can do, starting today, to fight back and keep Trump from stealing this election.

Richard Wolffe: Trump heckled, bullied and lied through the debate. It won’t help him beat Biden

The president is behind in key states. Fighting on TV won’t turn things around or win over the sliver of undecided voters left

In a bar-room brawl, who wins the fight? The guy swinging his fists or the guy clutching his drink?

From the very first minute of the first presidential debate, the 45th president behaved as he has for the last four years: as unpresidential as possible.

He heckled. He bullied. He blustered and he lied. He came out swinging and didn’t mind where his fists landed: his opponent, the moderator, the Biden family, the microphones. It didn’t much matter. [..]

Biden sounded unsettled by the first round of the Trump onslaught. He lost his train of thought as Trump never ceased to talk over him.

If Democrats were hoping that Biden would box Trump in, they were surely disappointed. Biden’s most effective response was to laugh at the brawling around him.

But something funny happened on the way to Trump’s next swing of the fists: a pandemic. Covid-19 stopped the presidential yapping, briefly. Then Biden made a statement of the obvious, by questioning whether Trump was smart enough to handle the coronavirus.

“Did you use the word smart,” the un-president barked. “Don’t ever use the word smart with me.”

So easily offended, yet so quick to offend. Donald Trump is a heavyweight slugger with a fondant center.

Eugene Robinson: Imagine what it will be like to never have to think about Trump again

It’s within reach. We can vote him out of office — and out of our minds.

If you are like me and you watched Tuesday’s debate with a voice in your head screaming make it stop, take heart: We have the power to do just that. We can evict President Trump from the territory he has forcibly seized in our minds. We can — we must — vote him out of our thoughts.

We can remove this awful man from our collective headspace, which he has so thoroughly befouled. We can reclaim our serenity, our equilibrium, our sense 0f common humanity. We can return to a time when it was possible to go hours or even entire days without once thinking about what our president might be saying or doing. We can exhale.

At a recent rally in North Carolina, Trump was making one of his rambling attempts to mock Joe Biden when he told the crowd: “If I lose to him, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I will never speak to you again. You’ll never see me again.” Biden’s social media team quickly posted a clip of Trump’s remarks, then added a zinger: “I’m Joe Biden, and I approve this message.” [..]

If Biden wins the election, Trump will not go happily and might not go easily. But he will indeed go — and when he leaves the White House, he will also vacate our national consciousness, giving us all some psychic room to breathe.

A vote for Biden is more than a vote for sane governance. It is a vote for American sanity, period.

Jill Filipovic: Masculinity is a force in the US election – and women are responding accordingly

Women are increasingly rejecting Trump’s ruthless version of manhood. The same can not be said for white men

Tuesday night’s presidential debate was a lot of things: a debacle, a degradation, a disaster. But it was also a story about gender, and what it looks like when men lean on tired versions of white manliness to win.

Donald Trump’s entire political career has rested on aggrieved white masculinity. In the president’s view – and the view of many of his followers – there is one way to be a man: you dominate, you hurt people, you use any means necessary to assert yourself as the top dog in the pack. You don’t need to earn respect or demonstrate competence in order to be elevated. You don’t need to play by the rules. You don’t need to be a good sportsman. You just need to win.

This was all on full display at the first debate. Trump interrupted Joe Biden so often that the debate wound up largely content-free. When Trump spoke, he offered virtually nothing of substance; he used his time, instead, to berate Biden, Democrats, the left, Bernie Sanders and anything else that crossed his mind. He was vulgar, aggressive and rude, refusing to abide by the rules he agreed to beforehand. He was a know-nothing bully.