So far as last night’s Second Presidential Debate is concerned, I find it hard to maintain the kind of ironic distance as a position from which to blog. It was a shameful debate–a debate that started out in the gutter and stayed there. There was Trump’s ludicrous tax plan coupled with his outrage over the Federal Debt, which was absurdist theater but most importantly lost in the avalanche of sexual scandal. And then there is Global Warming and Climate Change. Campaigning is probably not the place to educate voters on these matters but it is at least worth hearing briefly what they plan to do with it. Trump’s accusation that we are energy dependent is about 5 years out of date. But he may be appealing to US oil and gas companies which are eager to start exporting the stuff. If we can find an issue that is being debated in the course of their confrontation it is a narrowly focused and distorted form of feminism, which is actually of prominent concern on college campuses: sexual harassment, abuse and worse.
In a funny way if Bush versus Kerry (2004) was a campaign that refought the Vietnam War, this election–some 12 years later is a return to Feminist issues that emerged on campuses–and certainly at Yale where HRC and I overlapped–in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Is any of this worth sorting out? We might not have any choice. Obviously media in different forms pays an important role here.