Wow that was Brutal


I joked with friends going in that this would be, “The Debate of Doom.” Now I’m horrified to write that it lived up to that billing. God help us, we’re doomed.

Wow, that was brutal. If the bickering about golf handicaps wasn’t the most soul killing point in American presidential debate history, it has to be close. Overall, this whole exercise proved to be a vindication of what the so called “double haters” believe: this matchup is a disaster for the country. 

To be clear, Trump didn’t win, but Biden did lose. Decisively. About 30 minutes in, a friend texted me: “At this point I’m worried Biden can stay standing for 90 minutes.” The biggest loser, though? The country. I’ll say it again, we’re doomed. 

We witnessed a debate tonight between a pathological liar and lunatic fantasist and an enfeebled, semi-incomprehensible tongue-tied geriatric. Basically, my fundamental takeaway is this: in tonight’s debate, Donald Trump proved he’s exactly who we think he is. And Joe Biden proved he’s not at all who he used to be. 

Trump certainly brought the crazy. The border is the most dangerous place anywhere in the world! Everyone wanted to repeal Roe: “Democrats, Republicans, everybody!” Democrats want to kill babies even after birth! Trump’s endless stream of consciousness barrage of insults and lies and fantastical exaggerations was something to behold. On and on and on it went. 

And yet Biden was incapable of responding effectively. Another friend texted me in media res: “Biden’s answers are just so incomprehensible. His words are all scrambled and jumbled. He’s just tossing numbers and stuff out. This is so different than four years ago.”

Yeah, all true. 

Perhaps the only silver lining here is that this debate happened so early. Over the course of those 90 minutes I went from thinking all the endless chatter over the last year about replacing Biden at the top of the ticket was silly and pointless to now thinking there’s like a 30 percent chance it might happen. Probably it won’t. But probably it should. 

Because otherwise we’re doomed. 

Sandeep Kaushik
Sandeep Kaushik
Sandeep Kaushik is a political and public affairs consultant in Seattle. In a previous life, he was a staff writer and political columnist at the Stranger, and did a stint as a Washington State correspondent for Time Magazine and for the Boston Globe, back in the olden days when such positions still existed.


  1. We are only doomed if we cling to the illusion of a possible Biden comeback from this disaster. I hope Democrats will summon an all-hands-on-deck reset: Newsom, Buttigieg, Witmer, Klobuchar, Kamala (she’s been sidelined at the admin’s detriment), Raimondo, and many others I can’t think of in my despondency.

  2. Hopefully the Dems get through the five stages of grief quickly so changes can be made. I don’t think Biden will remove himself. I could be wrong.

  3. Serious question: Do the Dems have their own version of MAGA fealty? Who will be the first major potential replacement candidate to start this coup — because that’s what it would be?

    If, for example, Gretchen Whitmer says into a microphone what she’s certainly thinking — something along the lines of “move over and let me wipe the floor with Trump” — will she be run out of the party? Does she avoid saying it because of that fear? And is she right about that fear? Or will she break the dike and start the flood?

    And feel free to replace “Gretchen Whitmer” with any other name listed above.

    • You’re asking good questions, ones I don’t know the answer to. As of today, I don’t think any of the leading potential alternatives would openly call on Biden to drop out if he doesn’t voluntarily decide to step aside.

      But let’s see what things look like in a few days. What will the next round of swing state polling show? If the post-debate evidence emerges that Trump is opening significant leads in the key battlegrounds, a challenge of the sort you contemplate could emerge.

  4. Former Pres Obama will go to the pitchers mound and say “Joe, give me the ball” then signal to the bullpen.

  5. Newsom-Witmer with an explicit RE-turn to “traditional Democratic values” which dials-back and even eschews DEI, identity politics and gender ID…. that’s a big winner nationally ….and yes, you can see the difficulties inside the Democratic Party….


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