Open thread: Final debate between Biden and Trump

Will Trump totally lose control again? Should Biden respond to attacks on Hunter by pointing to Trump's kids?

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Today, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted out the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, while Democrats boycotted the proceeding, prompting Chairman Lindsey Graham to change the rules and move forward with a vote.

Joe Biden also announced, in response to the questions from media about expanding the Supreme Court, that as president he would create a bi-partisan commission focused on court reform, which would also include larger issues, and would report back after 180 days. He told this to Norah O’Donnell for “60 Minutes,” to air this weekend, but it was clearly put out now, before the debate, to neutralize the question as Trump seeks to focus on it in the debate.

There’s a lot to discuss on both of these actions related to the court, which will be a subject of tonight’s debate. And this is an open thread for before, during and after the debate, so feel free to discuss these issues in the comments as well as the debate.

Much of the media is describing this debate as Trump’s last chance to reframe things. But I think his last chance was the first debate — and he blew it big time by acting like a lunatic — as I think less people will want to watch tonight. I’m not, to be clear, saying the election is over and Biden has won. I just don’t think it will be reframed tonight — people have been locked in, and that first debate solidified a decision for many. If Trump is going to pull it out, it will be based on the message he’s been pushing for months —years — and not this last debate.

Trump will be prevented, a little bit, from shutting down Biden like he did at the first debate, because candidates will be muted, according to the debate commission, while the other is giving the initial two-minute answer to a question. But they won’t be muted in responding to one another — even though responses have time constraints — and it’s doubtful Trump will let Biden get a word in at all.

Trump will most definitely go in on Hunter Biden and the email non-story that the NY Post ran with, and which Trump is furious at Bill Barr and FBI director Chris Wray for not using to announce an investigation or charges before the election. The Washington Post reports he’s even considering firing Wray, and perhaps Barr, after the election. This is extraordinary and the same kind of extortion Trump engaged in against Ukraine’s president and which he was impeached for. It’s horrifying that it’s become another story, another reckless abuse, that gets lost in the shuffle.

How should Biden respond to the attacks on his son? Should he address any of it at all, or do what he’s been doing, calling it a pack of lies spread by the unhinged Rudy Giuliani using Russian disinformation? And should he focus in on the gall of Trump implying Biden’s son used his name for business purposes when Trump’s kids have done this a thousand times over? The conflicts of interest regarding Ivanka — who acquired Chinese trademarks because she is the daughter of the U.S. president — Don. Jr and Eric are massive.

But if Biden takes the bait, he allows Trump to shift the discussion to issues he wants to, and away from issues Americans want to hear about, such as coronavirus, the economy and health care. We had this discussion on my SiriusXM show, and it was interesting hearing various viewpoints. What do you all think?

Use this open thread for commenting before, during and after the debate. I’ll be jumping in during the debate, discussing it and look forward to your comments. And definitely be discussing it here after the debate.