Vanity Not Fair

There’s a George Bernard Shaw quote that speaks to the dangers of debating Donald Trump: “I learned long ago never to wrestle with a pig,” the adage goes. “You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.” No matter what happened in Cleveland on Tuesday night, Joe Biden was always going to wind up with at least a little mud on him. But he was absolutely covered in it by the end of the first 2020 debate. From the outset, Trump turned the proceedings into an absolute fiasco—a grotesque, impossible-to-watch bickering match led by a president who bulldozed over the moderator and his opponent with a deluge of familiar lies, empty boasts, and rage.

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