The first debate between Republican and Democrat candidates was held on Wednesday but the wave of reactions to it is still hitting American politics. The event has been described as a ‘humiliation’ and source of ‘national shame’ by many American outlets.
The debate was full of interruptions and insults from both sides to a point where the organizers have decided to introduce new regulations to avoid such chaotic scenes in the two upcoming debates.
“The debate represented an empire in decline with two leading candidates for the presidency displaying rudeness, fury and discourtesy bordering on near violence, the latter being a key trait of the empire,” Gerald Horne, professor of African American Studies at the University of Houston, told Mehr News Agency on Saturday.
There were some key moments during the debate but one that stood out was when President Trump refused to condemn white supremacy. He called on the white supremacist group ‘Proud Boys’ to “stand down and stand by” which was immediately used by the group as a slogan.
We asked Professor Horne how he assesses the situation around racism when it comes to Republicans vs. Democrats.
“The Republicans are worse insofar as they are heavily dependent upon a stridently racist fringe to prevail in elections. However, a portion of the Dem base also insists on racism too, which should not be discounted and helps explain Biden’s senatorial record where he pioneered in jailing Blacks, his major constituency,” replied the academic who has written several books on the history of African-Americans.
Biden confirmed there is “systemic injustice” in law enforcement, but also said the blame lies simply on individual “bad apples” in the system. Commenting on his statement, Horne highlighted that “Biden is seeking vainly to appeal to contrasting blocs with such incoherent statements.”
Meanwhile, Richard N. Haass, President of the Council of Foreign Relations, has described the debate as “the most discouraging, most depressing, most troubling 90 minutes” that he can recall, noting that “If you are not worried about the future of this country you were not watching.” He believes such debates will “weaken what American influence remains in the world and will set back the cause of democracy.”
Commenting on Haass’s remarks, Professor Horne said that “He is correct.”
“He could have added that a desperate and declining US. imperialism may be more prone to launch a war.”