BACKGROUND: Cocaine & Controversy
This may be the week that ends the era of the big-tech monopolies. On Monday, after years of industry complaints, the President’s DOJ ordered an anti-trust suit to be brought against Google. Twitter, an online giant in its own right, may also see their demise set into motion by events from this week.
The New York Post, America’s oldest newspaper, published a two-part expose covering Hunter Biden’s drug use and his father’s potential involvement in undisclosed business dealings with China and Ukraine. These accusations have caused some to raise questions over the ethical and legal implications of the former Vice President’s business interests. The expose was salacious, outrageous and completely undisputed.
During the first Clinton Campaign, against Bush in 1992, Jim Carville (Clinton’s campaign manager) had a strict policy of responding to any negative allegation (however slight) in the same news cycle. Carville and Clinton would not let even let 1 day pass without responding if their campaign was attacked. In contrast and in a curious move, the Biden Campaign has not responded to the New York Post’s allegations at all. This has allowed the allegations to swell and gain traction- especially on Twitter.
In an unprecedented and poorly explained move, Twitter has censored the New York Post. Twitter killed links the New York Post shared to their expose.
Twitter locked the Presidential Press Secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, out of her White House Twitter account for speaking about the expose, as well as polemecists like Brandon Straka and Jack Posobiec.
Even more shocking was Twitter’s move to censor and deny access to the House of Representatives. House Republicans, hearing about the New York Post’s situation, came to the Post’s aid by posting a transcript of the exposes on their official House website- Twitter (initially) killed access to the House of Representatives page in response.
Against this political and legal backdrop, Trump and Biden showed down.
TRUMP’S BEST MOMENT
- “Biden can afford to put himself away in a basement and not work- he musta made a lot of money somewhere”
- “There was 43 million spent to get dirt on me- and they found nothing. I bet I could spend 1 million and find some diary on you Joe. Your son and your brother… (made a lot of money)… in Iraq (and in other places”. This comment and the aforementioned comment were clear references to the corruption accusations resulting from the New York Post. The statements were bold, intriguing and most importantly- short enough to be played in sound-bytes
- “You’re the one that takes money from Wallstreet- not me”. This comment was a clear populist appeal that re-emphasised the President’s long-held refusal to take big donations.
BIDEN’S BEST MOMENT
- “If you cut the payroll Social Security will be Bankrupt by 2023.”. This largely depends on what model you use to predict Social Security funding- however, the gravamen of this is true. If the President abolished the payroll tax alone (without any other Social Security reforms), Social Security would quickly go bankrupt- although the exact year is hard to predict.
- Biden made a passing but substantial point about reducing classroom sizes. If expanded upon earlier, this could mark an interesting and novel way for Democrats to reach out to Teacher’s Unions.
TRUMP’S WORST MOMENT
- The President referred to some criminal asylum seekers who come back into the United States as low IQ. Prima Facie it is not that controversial of a comment. The phrasing, however- was sloppy- and will certainly expose the President to attack from those who use a selective isolation of his words.
- Trump failed to bring up Michigan in a response where he was criticising Democrat governors who he claims over responded to the shutdown. Later on, he made his way to mentioning Michigan but the moment for a critical soundbite- that would have reached a key swing state was lost.
BIDEN’S WORST MOMENT
- The Former Vice President seemed unprepared for a question about fracking in Pennsylvania. His response seemed muddled and hostile to a key group he has been trying to court. In a key swing state that many believe will be decided by a few hundred votes- a fumble like this could cost him the state (and perhaps) the election.
- A Gaff on Biden’s end made it seem like he accused President Trump of being Abraham Lincoln.
- The former Vice President used New York as an example of a state that has handled coronavirus well. How well coronavirus was handled in New York is a matter of opinion but considering the fatalities resulting from the New York Governor ordering coronavirus patients back into nursing homes- the comment appears incredibly tone-deaf.
- “We need to get together with our allies and tell China these are the rules”. This made the former Vice President appear naive. The foreign policy establishment largely agrees that China doesn’t listen to the international community
WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT NATIONAL MASK ORDER?
- Biden mentioned openness to a national mask order. A national mask order has been floated on several occasions. Supporters say it could be an aggressive move to combating coronavirus. Opponents to the mask order point to possible violations of state’s rights to handle these issues and the ineffectiveness of a mask order in mostly rural and isolated areas communities in places like Montana where Corona Virus transmission is not much of a problem as it stands.
WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT NANCY PELOSI DANCING ON THE STREETS OF CHINA TOWN?
- The President’s assertion was hyperbolic but mostly true on this front. In the early days of corona virus- when the President installed the travel ban on China- Speaker Pelosi went to China Town in San Francisco in protest. She went there to defy the President and to assert that she believed the President’s actions were over-the-top. She was not dancing, but many agree the Speaker’s actions have aged poorly- considering the Speaker has reversed herself on the travel ban.
WHAT WAS “GIVE 10% TO THE BIG MAN”
- This was a reference President Trump made to the New York Post expose. The reference refers to a leaked email by one of Hunter Biden’s business partners in the Ukraine who wrote a memo discussing saving “10%” of Burisma profits for “the big guy”- who is widely believed to be Vice President Joe Biden.
TRUMP’S CHINA BANK ACCOUNT
- Prior to his presidency, in 2013, the President did have a bank account in China. The account was closed before the President ran for office and most speculation agrees the account was for business purposes like managing the Trump Ties that the President used to have manufactured in China.
The moderator of the debate never mentioned the New York Post or the allegations made by their exposes. Despite an overall good performance, this was an odd move on the moderator’s part- to ignore the story that is driving the press right now.