- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 25, 2016

Presidential debate obsession has reached its zenith. But there’s big doings elsewhere. Consumer advocate, author, activist, attorney, corporate critic and former presidential hopeful Ralph Nader is the driving force behind “Breaking Through Power,” a four-day summit that begins Monday in the nation’s capital, centered on civil justice, civic culture, citizen action and other robust themes. There are 93 speakers, including Mr. Nader himself, who favors the idea of “daily” democracy and “daily” citizenship.

“The most powerful instrument under the Constitution for redirecting this country towards the path of justice and well-being is the Congress,” Mr. Nader tells Inside the Beltway, noting, however, that lawmakers behaving badly have sparked cynicism and disinterest among voters.

“Presently, Congress is the graveyard of democracy,” Mr. Nader says, though he hasn’t lost confidence that Americans can unite. His most recent book, in fact, is titled “Unstoppable: The Emerging Left/Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.” Forthcoming: “Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier than We Think”, described as a “Tom Paine-style wake-up call”, to be published Oct. 11

“My message to the people of this country is this. Send your senators and representatives a laser beam-like message, listing your demands for a brighter future. After all, Congress is using the people’s sovereign power in ways that need to be redirected, as if people mattered first,” Mr. Nader observes, adding that he still has “a relentless thirst for justice for the people and the environments of the world.”

Mr. Nader was a third party presidential candidate in 2000, running as a Green Party hopeful and ultimately carrying home 3 percent of the popular vote. He also ran in 2004 and 2008 as an independent.


Donald Trump could win the debate simply by bluffing,” writes New York Post columnist Kyle Smith. “Hillary Clinton is going to be armed with facts, logic and policy chops at the debate. It’ll be like bringing a knife to a gunfight.”

“Debates are about style, comportment, authority, the occasional zinger and the dreaded gaffe. They’re about the direction of the country and who will steer us down the right path,” Mr. Smith continues. “They’re about matching the emotional temperature of the voters. Now more than ever, they’re also about sizing up which candidate would be less unbearable to see on TV every night for the next four years.”


The nation’s bars are only too happy to offer debate watching parties, drink specials and big screens for the Clinton/Trump political match. Inventive cocktails are part of the package, bearing names like “Third Party Candidate” and “Trump’s Wall.”

And a few specifics: D.S. Tequila Company in Chicago features the “Democrazy,” consisting of tequila, lime juice, orange juice, blueberry Red Bull and blue Curacao. The Pine Box Rock Shop, a Brooklyn bar, will feature “The Pantsuit,” which combines rum, melon-flavored liqueur and almond milk, served on the rocks. Parkers Bar in Boston features “POTUS Punch” — vodka with blackberries, lemon juice and grenadine.


Clash of the titans: Here’s what Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump face during this pivotal debate according to Mitchell McKinney, a University of Missouri communication professor:

“Unlike his primary debates that included multiple candidates, Mr. Trump will have much more time to respond to questions. He can’t fill his entire talk time with his signature glib one-liners or with self-praise the entire evening. He needs to demonstrate to voters that he has sufficient substance to be commander in chief,” Mr. McKinney tells The Beltway.

“Hillary Clinton will need to keep in check her policy wonk tendency. We don’t tune in to debates to find out who is the smartest of the two candidates or who comes equipped with the greatest number of facts and figures,” he continues, advising Mrs. Clinton not to get too critical of her opponent, as it could impact that elusive “likability” factor.


NBC anchor Lester Holt may be the debate moderator for the evening, but that does not stop the competition from showcasing their own talent. Fox News, for example, begins its debate coverage at 6 a.m. Monday with “Fox & Friends”, broadcasting live from the debate venue at Hofstra University. It ends at 2 a.m., when host Sean Hannity wraps up a two-hour special.

The 90-minute debate itself is mercifully commercial-free, though there will be plenty of ad fare before and after, including a Tecate beer ad which mocks Donald Trump‘s promise to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. Some of these ads are pricey, fetching as much as $250,000 for a 30-second spot.

C-SPAN begins their night at 7:30 p.m. “Additional access to the debates in their entirety and without commentary will be available online,” the network advises. Find it all at C-SPAN.org


“On this day, as we celebrate America’s hunters and fishers for the ways in which they have strengthened our communities, we also honor their call to serve as good stewards of our lands and waters.”

— From President Obama‘s official proclamation for National Hunting and Fishing Day, which was Saturday.


67 percent of Americans say they will watch the presidential debate; 69 percent of Republicans, 61 percent of independents and 75 percent of Democrats agree.

51 percent of Americans overall say the debate moderator should correct participants if they say something untrue; 38 percent of Republicans, 48 percent of independents and 65 percent of Democrats agree.

23 percent of Americans overall will not watch the debate; 23 percent of Republicans, 27 percent of independents and 18 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: An Economist/YouGov poll of 1,293 U.S. adults conducted September 18 to 19.

Big talk, small suggestions to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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