Assuming Hillary Clinton has chosen not to follow Obama aide David Axelrod's advice to skip the third presidential debate,* the debate is still on and will air Wednesday evening, Nevada time. I'll catch the bloody, shredded-fetus aftermath Thursday morning, Korea time.
The third debate will take place in Las Vegas, and I can't imagine a more appropriately sleazy venue for a campaign with a record-breaking amount of sleaze sticking to it. This debate will also be moderated by Chris Wallace, a conservative Fox News commentator. Trump is, in a manner of speaking, on his home turf in Vegas, a city in which he has deep business roots (Trump International Hotel, etc.), but the debate won't be held among the casinos: it will take place at the slightly more staid University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Thomas & Mack Center.
With the election having reached a fever pitch, I find it highly doubtful that any needles will be moved by whatever happens during this final exchange between two unsavory candidates. Commitments have crystallized, and for the uncommitted: when it's kaiju versus kaiju, there's no one to root for.
Just a heads-up: talking about this election has been a massive headache for me. My post-debate commentary will probably be the last thing I write about Election 2016, after which I leave everything in the hands of the gods—as everything has always been, really.
My final thought for this post is to reiterate that we really do have two utterly different worldviews, two utterly different doxastic practices (to borrow a philo term that means, approximately, "how we form our beliefs") at work this election cycle. One worldview hews to the mainstream, relying on poll aggregators like Real Clear Politics; evolving-forecast sites like Nate Silver's 538; and various legacy-media outlets like CNN, MSNBC, ABC/NBC/CBS, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and so on. The other worldview subsists mostly online and has nothing whatsoever to do with print media. This is the demimonde of YouTube commentators like Styxhexenhammer666, computer-savvy folks like Wikileaks, undercover documentarians like James O'Keefe, and shadowy sources like Anonymous.** King Baeksu, on this blog, has called Trump "the internet candidate," so the question is the degree to which internet-based discourse has superseded more conventional/traditional forms of public discourse. Are the legacy media really dead? If the internet is indeed influencing people in ways that the mainstream is blind to, then surveys like this Arizona Freedom Alliance poll are not merely wishful thinking: they're truer reflections of reality than what's being produced by the mainstream. Or they're not. One worldview is going to be proven decisively wrong on November 8. Will it be egg on the face of the legacy media? Will Styx be shown to be a reality-denying Baghdad Bob? All will be revealed in just a few weeks.***
UPDATE: an excerpt from Scott Adams's latest:
I’m here to tell you that if you are afraid that Donald Trump is a racist/sexist clown with a dangerous temperament, you have been brainwashed by the best group of brainwashers in the business right now: Team Clinton.
Go read the rest to understand his argument before responding. Meanwhile, this gentleman says Trump "doesn't have a racist bone in his body."
UPDATE 2: as with Brexit, betting patterns seem to be skewing Trumpward.
UPDATE 3: in case you failed to click the link I left above to Malcolm's blog, here's an excerpt from Malcolm's leftie frenemy Peter, who goes by the moniker "The One-eyed Man" on Malcolm's comment threads:
James O’Keefe? You’re kidding me, right? Was Alex Jones unavailable?
Here in the reality-based community, we rely on “facts” and “evidence” to create reasoned argument. In the la-la land of the right wing bubble – where global warming stopped back in the 1990’s, the President is not an American, and non-existent Muslims celebrated 9/11 – facts and evidence are in short supply, so the work of convicted fraudsters like O’Keefe will have to do.
Trump’s claims of a rigged election are horseshit. The fact that an election which hasn’t occurred cannot possibly have been rigged, combined with his complete lack of evidence, does not deter the credulous Trumpen proletariat from insisting on absurdities which no thinking person would dare conceive.
Trump is groping for a solution to his dismal and disgusting campaign, and has gone full Breitbart with lurid tales of international conspiracies and heinous plots. Those who view O’Keefe, Daily Caller, and Drudge as credible sources of news will swallow this whole. Those who are capable of observation and ratiocination recognize it for what it is: the whiny excuses of a small man who knows he is heading for a crushing defeat.
To a girl, no less.
So as per usual, both sides are calling each other stupid.
Peter has more to say here.
UPDATE 4: Malcolm has written a heartfelt post here. He spends a few column-inches hammering away at notions of "diversity," "inclusiveness," and "multiculturalism." I think his concerns are valid, to some extent, but his extreme formulation of "diversity + proximity = war" seems to paper over the idea that some diversity is not only desirable but essential for a country to be strong. Lack of diversity leads to situations like that on the Korean peninsula, where the ethnic/racial echo chamber reigns.
My own attitude toward diversity is Buddhist in flavor: it's neither inherently good nor inherently bad. There can indeed be too much diversity, but it should be obvious that a certain measure of it, in any country's culture, is salubrious because it exposes people to other points of view that can then inform a larger view of the world. I have to wonder, in practical terms, just how far back Malcolm would care to roll America's diversity. Where does one stop? If we roll it back far enough, all we'll have left will be American Indians, and theoretically, we could roll back even further until there's no one at all.
Obviously, Malcolm isn't advocating anything as horrifying as ethnic cleansing, but I can't get a lock on what, exactly, Malcolm is advocating. How much diversity is enough? How much is too much? Are un-diverse countries (Korea, Scandinavia for the next little while) really a model to follow? As a resident of Korea, I see the pathologies of un-diversity up close.
*The idea was to skip the debate as a protest against the "depths" to which Trump has "sunk" in floating the prospect of drug-testing both him and Hillary Clinton before they take the debate stage, just so the public can know what chemicals are coursing through Hillary's veins. Trump's reasoning was, apparently, that what he and Hillary are doing is akin to what athletes do, and if athletes get drug-tested, then by parity of reasoning, presidential candidates ought to be drug-tested, too. I'd have found this argument more convincing had Trump made it before the first debate, but this is obviously an ad hoc, trash-talking tactic that's meant to rattle, or at least annoy, the Hillary camp.
**Strangely, we might also include Facebook in this list if this article holds any water: Facebook has apparently seen record levels of pro-Trump activity.
***Of course, whichever worldview turns out to be the loser will do what it can to save face through various justifications, which will likely revolve around election-rigging, which seems to be a rich topic of discussion right about now.