Even the idiots over at Fox can’t understand why the racist President didn’t just condemn white supremacists. https://t.co/71HacpuHzx— Soledad O'Brien (@soledadobrien) September 30, 2020
It could be that they are idiots and unlike Donald J. Trump, were not elected President of the United States of America. Even a Never Trump Republican and great journalist doesn't understand:
After tonight, I think we're a little further from civil strife, a little closer to Florida being called for Biden by 10 pm ET.— David Frum (@davidfrum) September 30, 2020
Donald Trump's goal is not to win a debate or two, it is to win the election- or rather, to be the President a year from now. We already knew that voter suppression is the key, a route more plausible than outpolling his opponent, to victory. It is why the President in May tweeted “MAIL-IN VOTING WILL LEAD TO MASSIVE FRAUD AND ABUSE. IT WILL ALSO LEAD TO THE END OF OUR GREAT REPUBLICAN PARTY. WE CAN NEVER LET THIS TRAGEDY BEFALL OUR NATION.” It's why Trump in Cleveland boasted he was "urging my supporters to go in to the polls and watch very carefully" to intimidate voters at polling sites in major cities, It is why he ranted about "Philadelphia," "wastepaper baskets," "military ballots," and Carolyn Maloney for one false charge after another.
The Trumpian strategy in 2016 was to toss one lie after another against the wall. If they stuck, great; if not, they'd suppress the vote. Consequently, voting declined in 2016 and the challenger is credited with winning among voters who disliked both candidates. (Admittedly, that number is exaggerated. The vast majority of individuals who voted for Trump liked him- even many who have claimed otherwise.)
As the incumbent, Trump probably won't win the greater number of votes of this turned-off group in 2020. However, he understands that he needs to discourage from voting those individuals with doubts about Biden but who have tuned out Trump because of his record and histrionics.
If that doesn't work and Trump fails to win in enough states to get to 270 electoral votes, he has an ace to play. And he did so Thursday night when he warned "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by."
So Donald Trump may have seemed in Cleveland to be an uncontrolled, unhinged crackpot. But to him, a debate is not to win or lose. It is to to get him one step closer to occupying the Oval Office after January and resume his 12-year reign.