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Op-Ed: A Post-Debate Thank You Note to Joe Biden

By Sam Youngman and Adam Parkhomenko

It turns out, Joe Biden has quite a way with words. 

Clown. Racist. Liar. 

Joe might not have delivered enough Sorkin-ish lines for the pundit crowd on Tuesday night, but the words he did deliver were damn welcome and long overdue.

For four years, Democrats have fantasized about what would happen when Donald Trump had to stand on a debate stage and answer for all of the horrible shit he has said and done while degrading the presidency and everything America stands for. It was perhaps the most discussed question during our long primary season: Who would do the best on a debate stage against Trump? Would that person call Trump a racist to his face? Would he or she channel some of our anger? Would they call him out for all of his lies? 

On Tuesday night, it was showtime. And while Trump did his dead-level best to cover the whole debate hall in feces in an effort to turn away every last person with a sense of decency or smell, ol’ Joe Biden held his nose and did the job we sent him there to do.

There were, of course, some missed opportunities, punches that didn’t land and punches that were never thrown. If it had been up to us, Joe would’ve walked in there armed with countless lines about Don Jr.’s coked out videos, Stormy Daniels and that South Florida orgy palace. 

But unlike us, Joe actually knows what he’s doing.

No, he didn’t deliver any knockout punches, but that’s not a real thing because this isn’t boxing. Only pundits think that way. What Joe did, is what America has done for the last three and a half years.

He bowed his head in sadness and disbelief. He laughed at the absurdity of the lies and the situation. He tried to make sense of chaos. He tried to do his job while the president worked against him. And he stood there and called Donald Trump a clown, a racist and a liar. 

And he did most of it with a smile. 

Because Joe Biden remembered something really important about politics last night: Being liked is kinda important.

The immediate numbers after the debate were a disaster for Trump (but hey, what isn’t, arewerite?), and what we’ve seen beginning with the convention and increasing over the last few weeks is that Biden’s favorable numbers have been slightly improving. In a static race where the numbers haven’t changed despite weekly political earthquakes and one of the incumbents spraying everything with skunk juice, for one candidate to improve his favorable numbers even just a smidge is a damn miracle.

Part of what helped Trump win in 2016 — aside from Facebook, Russia, Jill Stein, the FBI and the New York Times — was that he successfully pulled the whole damn process into the shit-filled gutter where he lives and frolics. On Tuesday night, he tried to do it again.

His constant grotesque interruptions, his boorish attacks on Joe’s only surviving son and his total assault on American elections were all clearly part of some drawn-in-the-dirt strategy to blow up the whole debate, the whole process and sully Biden along the way. If they’re both awful, then Trump has a chance.

As far as Trump strategies go, it was actually not bad, especially when you consider that one of his strategies resulted in the unnecessary deaths of more than 200,000 Americans. 

But it didn’t work. And it didn’t work because of Joe. 

Just like Joe on stage last night, America is tired of the chaos and the name-calling and the demented antics of a dim-witted bully. Just like Joe on stage last night, America is tired of being lied to. And just like Joe on stage last night, America is done with Donald Trump.

So thank you, Joe, for being our champion. Thank you for sharing our grief and our outrage. Thank you for standing there and laughing at this disgraceful man.

But most importantly, thank you, Joe, for being our voice. Because Tuesday night someone finally stood on a stage with Donald Trump and called him a liar, a clown and a racist. 

And we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.


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