Lisa Lavadores | Election 2024: One Screen, Two Movies

SCV Voices: Guest Commentary
SCV Voices: Guest Commentary

Within the last few years, the political phrase “one screen; two movies” has become increasingly popular with pundits. The phrase refers to the phenomenon of two political opponents looking at the same piece of evidence yet coming to opposite conclusions as to what that evidence means.

For example, there’s a popular post that is often shared on Facebook. It’s a picture of a bunch of books with an outrage slogan about the evils of banning books. What’s interesting is that this post (or meme) is being shared by people on both sides of the political aisle. To avoid confusion over the myriad of political labels people give themselves, this article will label those sides Democrat and Republican because that most clearly expresses how each group of Facebook warriors is most likely to vote in an election.

Democrats are sharing the meme because they think Republicans are banning books such as “I Am Jazz,” “This Book Is Gay” and “Gender Queer.” Republicans are sharing the meme because they think Democrats are banning books such as “To Kill A Mockingbird,” “Huckleberry Finn,” and a host of Agatha Christie novels. 

But the reality is that nothing has been banned. All of these books can be purchased at nearly any bookstore — although, according to The New York Post, new printings of Agatha Christie have been edited by “sensitivity readers.”

But the most glaring example of “one screen: two movies” has got to be the varied reactions to the recent presidential debate. 

Surprisingly, a few usually adversarial groups saw the same movie. Republican voters, Republican media, Democrat media, and Democrat insiders all saw a sad, confused President Joe Biden mumble, gasp, ramble, stare, and trail into silence for 90 minutes until he was mercifully led slowly away by his wife, who later gave him a pep talk fit for a kindergartner.

Amazingly, the Democrat media, which had been hyping Biden’s cognitive skills, and the Democrat insiders who set the (unprecedented) rules for the debate, nearly all saw the same movie Republicans saw. 

As a result, Democrat pundits began publicly spitballing ideas on how to clean up the mess – including openly talking about removing Biden as the party’s nominee.

However, there is still a group of people who saw a different movie. 

When CNN polled viewers after the debate, 33% believed Biden had won. Most of that number are admitting he was tired and off his game — messages about the president’s sudden cold circulated while the debate was in progress — but they still believe that nice Ol’ Joe is the only one who can save democracy. 

Here is some of the most common evidence that  the 33% submit to support their claim that President Biden won the debate:

1. The debate was rigged against Biden. But it was Biden’s White House that set the terms of the debate.

2. Trump lied. But so did Biden.

3. Trump deflected. But so did Biden.

4. Trump’s ego showed. But so did Biden’s.

In short, the debate was fairly moderated and there’s not one negative thing that Trump did that Biden didn’t do as well. The difference is in what Trump didn’t do. Trump did not trail off in mid-sentence, grow quiet, then suddenly shout about beating Medicare — whatever that means. 

Trump did not wander through different decades in his answers or mix up his figures or wars. Trump did not drift into a bizarre tangent about how many young women are raped “by their in-laws, by their spouses, by brothers and sisters.”

Most importantly, Trump made no contradictory, nonsensical statements such as claiming that Roe v. Wade mandated that third-trimester abortions were to be decided “between the woman and the state” because politicians, who run the state, shouldn’t make the decision.

Ol’ Joe may or may not be a nice guy, but it is difficult to see how hypothetical niceness trumps demonstrable cognitive disability. 

The Donald definitely is a convict, but it is difficult to ignore the fact that all of the crimes were old, victimless, and extremely Clintonesque. 

As events play out on the screen over the next four months, it will be interesting to see which movie the majority of voters end up seeing. In this era of remakes, there’s a decent chance it will be a reboot of that timeless classic, “It’s The Economy, Stupid!”

Lisa Lavadores has been a Val Verde resident for 19 years. She also grew up in Saugus and was part of the first-graduating class of Saugus High School.

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