SATIRE: A Hypothetical Presidential Debate

Written by Kirk Laughead 

As the sun begins to dip in the west, President Trump descends the stairs of Air Force One. The balmy Miami air greets several family members, staffers, media representatives as they deplane after him. He is quickly bundled into a black armored SUV that swiftly departs the airport tarmac.

After a very brief transit, the president’s caravan arrives at a building on the other side of the airport. This location was the result of a request made by Joe Biden’s staff. They were concerned that any pictures of Air Force One in the background might give the president an unfair advantage in their debate.

President Trump enters the venue, a large hangar that has been specially equipped for the event. Two separate stages are set up in the far end, one for the president and one for Joe Biden. There are powerful fans directing the air from where the candidates will be standing and pushing it towards large exhaust vents that are vacuuming in the potentially COVID-laden air, disinfecting it, and then safely discharging it outside of the building.

The stage is brightly lit, but what you don’t see is the ultra-violet light rays bathing that entire end of the hangar. Safe for humans, the ultra-violet light is deadly to the virus and neutralizes the pathogen within moments. A light mist of disinfectant is dispersed from tiny nozzles on plastic tubing that have been installed above the stages. The systems have been running for several hours prior to the start time to ensure the area is as clear of any virus as possible.

A small contingency of the Debate Commission staff is there to greet the two candidates. All are wearing N-95 masks, gloves, and plastic face shields. One member of the staff has opted to wear a space suit-like garment similar to the ones the doctors wear when they work directly with highly infectious COVID patients. The bulging midsection of the suit indicates a potential risk factor that has been associated with the comorbidities that are documented as causing the most severe illness and death. They have been provided this extra level of personal protective equipment to ensure their safety.

Several remote-controlled cameras are positioned around the stage area to collect the requisite closeups, mid-shots, and those long shots where you are able to see both candidates in the same frame. Operated from a trailer outside of the building, the engineers can provide outstanding coverage. There is not a shot that they can’t get, and they are able to do it without ever coming into direct contact with anyone in either of the candidate’s entourages.

The official start time nears. The moderator assumes his place at a desk that has special fans strategically placed around it. This configuration is designed to create a positive air-pressure zone around them. It will be a wall of air that will create an impenetrable barrier between the moderator and the candidates. It will obstruct any stray viruses that may have survived the UV lights and disinfectant sprays and escaped the aerodynamically engineered safe zones around the debate stages.

The stage manager calls out “places everyone, and we are going in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.” The debate moderator comes to life, smiles and greets the audience. “Ladies and Gentlemen, we would like to welcome you to beautiful Miami Beach, Florida for the second of three presidential debates between former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald J. Trump…”


Photo by Andrea Widburg via Flickr