Police arrest a protester during a clash at the Hong Kong airport Tuesday. (Vincent Yu/AP)
Opinion writer

What a terrible standard-bearer for democracy. He doesn’t even try. “Donald Trump calls Hong Kong protests ‘tough,’ ‘tricky’ but declines to warn Beijing.” He’s sure there are very fine people on both sides, right?

Only a terrible negotiator makes threats and constantly retreats. “The Trump administration on Tuesday narrowed the list of Chinese products it plans to impose new tariffs on as of Sept. 1, delaying levies on cellphones, laptop computers, toys and other goods to spare shoppers from higher prices during the back-to-school and holiday seasons. … Trump faces mounting pressure from businesses and consumer groups over the harm they say the continuing trade war between the United States and China is doing.”

This doesn’t sound like anything terribly new. “A little over a month ago, despite putting on a brave face publicly, Bernie Sanders’ aides privately concluded that a shake-up was needed for his presidential campaign. … Over the past several weeks, his staffers have organized a flurry of events centered around the failures of the current health care system and highlighting his role as the author of the main Medicare for All proposal in the Senate.” Wait until voters fully understand what he’s pitching.

Trump’s behavior is so terrible his cult resorts to distortion. “They don’t want to give an account for whether his post-Charlottesville remarks gave cover to white nationalists, just as they didn’t want then to give an account for whether his racially charged campaign had emboldened white nationalists to gather in Charlottesville in the first place. Their only use for these sorts of specifics is as a way of muddying the waters just enough to refocus their supporters’ attention on the only issue they think really matters: That the media and Democrats are in cahoots, that they fear you, that they hate you, that they want to destroy your way of life, and that only President Trump can stop them.” Pathetic.

The Democratic National Committee set up a terrible system. “Qualifying for the Democratic debates has become a game, and Tom Steyer has more than enough money to play it. In the span of five weeks, the San Francisco–based billionaire activist has channeled millions of dollars of his own money into trying to win a spot on the stage in September. If the effort works—and he’s getting close—Steyer could beat out many major candidates who have been running for president for months.”

It’s a terrible idea for Democrats to sound like President Trump. “Sen. Bernie Sanders scaled back his criticism of the media on Tuesday, telling CNN he did not believe that Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos was dictating the paper’s coverage of his campaign. But while the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate acknowledged that there is no direct link between The Post newsroom and Bezos, he continued to argue that the structure of the mainstream media leaves candidates like him at a disadvantage.” And he also plays victim just like Trump!

Do consumers and farmers figure out he’s been terribly dishonest? “President Trump has repeated the same mantra for months: The Chinese are paying the full price of his tariffs. It’s a line that the overwhelming majority of economists and business owners say is false, but Trump kept saying it — until Aug. 13. … Trump himself told reporters that the delay is to ensure consumers don’t face higher costs this Christmas.” Oh. So he’s been lying for years.