Drawing Debate Chaos
Last night, I live drew the first Presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump. It was a little different for me for two reasons: first, I was drawing for the New York Times Opinion section’s social media accounts. I’ve written and drawn for them before, but never live drawn with the Grey Lady. Secondly, it was such a messy and at times incoherent debate that I found it hard to focus on what to draw and how to quote.
Trump was the culprit, of course. He interrupted Joe repeatedly with slights and lies, and accusations that had no foundation in reality. He offered no policy, bragged incessantly about how everyone loves what he’s done. Joe held his own, offering hope and ideas in between the attacks. He did an excellent job in surfing Trump’s incoherent rage and bravado.
Any negativity from Biden towards Trump was, in my estimation, warranted and somewhat remarkable in its tameness compared to what often comes out of Trump’s mouth. The moderator Chris Wallace could not control the president, repeatedly trying to reign him in and follow the rules of the debate he had agreed to. Trump just ignored him, probably thinking that because he was from Fox News, he would let Trump do whatever he wanted. Wallace did not, and repeatedly scolded Trump, who would snap back and then proceed to ignore the rules.
The whole two hours was extremely painful and I felt lucky that I had my drawing to focus on. Anger and fear surfaced later over a glass of wine before retiring. The most frightening thing I heard was when asked about denouncing White Supremisists, Trump would not do so. Instead he said,
“Proud Boys — stand back and stand by. But somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left.”
Proud Boys is a far-right, neo-fascist, male-only group established in 2016 that promotes and engages in political violence, according to Wikipedia. Trump basically was saying to them, just wait, I will call on you when needed. This is his plan when he loses the election.
I think the American people saw the real Trump last night. An angry, hateful, insecure, vindictive and self centered shell of a man who couldn’t control himself. Let’s hope enough voters understand what an enormous threat he is to our democracy and will vote in historic numbers for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
Below are my drawings.