Several things became clearer tonight with dueling town halls. Trump cannot disavow the support he gets from the QAnon cult even as it now consorts with white supremicist terrorists. Biden promised to have a position about expanding SCOTUS prior to election day. And Trump continued to lie, with some ridiculous claims like the 85% probability that mask-wearing causes COVID.
— Khashoggi’s Ghost (@UROCKlive1) October 16, 2020
The contrast between the dueling NBC/ABC town halls featuring President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was nicely captured by the difference between what each of them was saying at 8:13 pm Eastern time.
On NBC, Trump was getting angry as host Savannah Guthrie grilled him on his reluctance to disavow white supremacist groups and dangerous conspiracy theories. He finally did so after repeated questioning. But asked specifically to categorically condemn QAnon — “this theory that Democrats are a satanic pedophile ring and that you are the savior of that,” as Guthrie described it — Trump refused.
“I know nothing about QAnon,” Trump began, adding later: “What I do hear about is they are very strongly against pedophilia, and I agree with that, I do agree with that.”
So not only did Trump refuse to denounce a dangerous conspiracy theory whose proponents are part of his base, but he embraced some of its ideology.
— Vox (@voxdotcom) October 16, 2020
In a way, the competing town halls threw the stakes of the 2020 election into starker relief than another Trump-Biden debate would have. Despite his faults, Biden came across as thoughtful and able to engage with policy substantively. Trump, by contrast, wouldn’t even acknowledge that his propensity for retweeting obviously false conspiracy theories is irresponsible, let alone accept any responsibility for the tough shape the country finds itself in after four years of his leadership and amid a pandemic he’s seemingly given up trying to contain.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 16, 2020
— SafetyPin-Daily (@SafetyPinDaily) October 16, 2020
— Don Winslow (@donwinslow) October 16, 2020
Perhaps that's why folks are so fascinated with the shriveled, mummified Twinkie, which offers such a harsh contrast to the golden sponge cake icon that lives in their memories.
“When those memories are tainted by a visual reality like the Twinkie experiment, we are kind of caught off guard,” Kasson says. “We're like, no, that's a symbol of my childhood! You can't take that from me, too.'”
Lovett agrees. “We're living in a time where we're all really grappling with our mortality,” he says. “Eventually, all of us are food for fungi. Seeing that is sort of facing the reality of our mortality and our destination.”
— NPR (@NPR) October 16, 2020