Philipp recently closed a question about Joe Biden and Donald Trump's mental states: How come Joe Biden's mental state is in question while Donald Trump's is addressed with so much restraint? as "primarily promote or discredit". I can't disagree with this decision: this paragraph in particular blatantly crosses the line:

There is an elephant in the room, and it drives me mad, that it is rarely ever addressed: Trump is highly unintelligent. In fact, he may be the most inept person that I know of, not considering people with diagnosed disabilities.

I totally agree with Philipp that this kind of thing doesn't belong on this site.

Still, I think there is an interesting and on-topic question in there. Both Joe Biden and Donald Trump are attacked as stupid, senile, and/or mentally unfit. However, only the Trump has chosen to make this a specific issue in their campaign, while Biden has focused on other lines of attack. I think there is a legitimate question about the 2 campaigns' strategy and the more general issue of what sorts of arguments work on different groups of people.

I'm curious whether it's possible to save that part of the question, either by merciless editing or by asking a new question, or whether people think the entire enterprise is off-limits

UPDATE: I've made edits which remove what I consider to be the editorializing and "discrediting" parts of the question to the best of my ability. You can still see the original version in the revision history


1 Answer 1


Frankly this doesn't strike me as a good question, even factoring out the problematic assertions. The "how comes" question has a fairly trivial answer in that Trump has focused a lot on personal attacks. (I see the currently top-voted answer to the question just elaborates on this.) Maybe this is news/interesting to some, but others clearly disagree. (A somewhat similar question of my own in the past (seeking explanation for one of Trump's labels for an opponent) was closed, even though it was perhaps less trivial to answer...)

Another answer (less upvoted) to this "how comes" about Biden asserts that Trump is right and that Biden is showing signs of metal incapacity. (Interpreting the "how comes" as "is Trump correct about Biden's metal capacity" is frankly not very different from disparagement questions that were closed here before, some of them about Trump himself.)

So, the answers to this "how comes" question turned into the rather predictable opinion fest.

Frankly, it's hard for me to image such "how come" questions on attack ad matters having different a distribution of answers. Throught experiment: q--how come Trump tweeted a video of Biden dancing to (post-production added/faked) "F*** the police" soundtrack)

  • answer 1: Trump likes to troll and has posted manipulated videos before
  • answer 2: Biden really wants to f*** the police, by defunding it (or at least Trump claims that about Biden--oddly enough, they accused each other of this.)


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    Yeah, I don't disagree with the risk of this turning into a partisan opinion fest, but I've actually been surprised how substantive most of the answers have been. For example Kevin's argument that Biden is running on "return to normality", and Obie's discussion of the risks that Democrats specifically face in making those kinds of attacks, and Ted's (now deleted) answer about how these kinds of attacks are specifically geared to appeal to people with more of a nationalist mindset.
    – divibisan
    Commented Sep 15, 2020 at 19:27

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