Glick brings up an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate held in Manhattan last week. The subject was “Blame the elites for the Trump phenomenon.” All four debaters were conservatives who are, within a range, anti-Trump. Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney and The Federalist’s Ben Domenech were on the side blaming the elites for Trump’s rise. Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin and Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens opposed that view, mostly arguing that the voters share some of the blame.
John Donvan of ABC News, moderator of public broadcasting’s excellent Intelligence Squared US debates, has been making the media rounds urging that the debate format be changed to Oxford rules — to formally argue resolutions like “Resolved: The United States Should Withdraw from NATO,” in which the candidates would make brief opening and closing statements and in the time remaining question one another about the issue at hand, under strict time guidelines At Change.org, 60,000 have signed a petition urging this be done.
The debates this election season have been unprecedented in modern politics, but imagine if they looked a little different, and the candidates actually discussed the issues on Americans’ minds rather than scream over each other and hurl insults. Intelligence Squared U.S. is an organization that seeks to restore civility and constructive public discourse to today’s media landscape, with their ultimate goal being to provide a new forum for intelligent debates of opposing viewpoints.
On Tuesday, Tim Carney and I won the Intelligence Squared debate on the proposition “Blame The Elites For The Trump Phenomenon” by a significant margin. Undecideds broke for our side of the proposition by more than 4-to-1. You can watch the full unedited debate here. Jennifer Rubin and Bret Stephens had already been chosen as the Against debaters when the Intelligence Squared folks contacted me. Stephens in particular is an experienced debater, and so I expected a challenge.
The nonprofit debate organization Intelligence Squared facilitated a remarkable spectacle Tuesday evening: two elite conservative media pundits arguing that the failures of their social and economic class are responsible for the rise of Donald Trump—and for his winning by a large margin.
It’s a testament to a flagging campaign when thought leaders from your own party gather to hold a debate on who they should blame for your very existence. Donald Trump may be closing some of the gap in this horse race, but he’s still a long shot, and the conservative intelligentsia think it’s high time to start pointing fingers. Who are we to doubt them?
Like Saturn, the Reagan Revolution is eating its children, and it’s a spectacle to behold.