Last night’s presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden started amicably enough. Both men strolled on stage, Trump wearing a red and blue striped tie, ready to battle. Joseph ‘Average Joe’ Biden greeted the president with a ‘How are you, man?’
From that point on, the debate quickly degenerated into one of the most despicable, embarrassing clown acts Americans have ever seen on national television. It took about 20 minutes before Biden, visibly exasperated by Trump’s badgering and interrupting, pleaded with his opponent across the debate hall to ‘please shut up.’ When the whole thing wrapped up about 90 minutes later, moderator Chris Wallace had a sore throat, newscasters were aghast, and the tens millions of Americans who spent their night watching likely went to bed saddened and aggrieved.
We all know how Trump acts. He is bullying and domineering. He refuses to accept any responsibility whatsoever for his actions, preferring to distract from the problem. He embellishes his record (like most politicians, by the way) and peddles falsehoods. This is what the American public have gotten used to over the last three and a half years; some like it, many others hate it. But even the president’s strongest supporters may have been surprised at the venom Trump spewed Biden’s way — visibly going after the former vice president’s son, who he attempted to castigate as a criminal and a swindler. The strategy of attack, attack, attack didn’t work for him tonight — not necessarily because Biden chalked up a good performance himself, but rather because Trump executed it in the most aggressive way imaginable.
If you were looking for substance during this shout-fest, you came to the wrong show. While the debate was divided into six sections, the issues were largely gobbled up by the childish antics. Trump spent about as much time talking about his crowd sizes as he did on his plan to extinguish the Covid-19 epidemic that continues to claim the lives of Americans every single day (over 200,000 Americans have died from the virus). When asked whether there was a problem with policing around the country, Trump sidestepped the question, bragged about all of the endorsements he received from police unions, and painted Biden as a far-left Antifa radical who would spend the first day of his hypothetical presidency burning down police stations with a smile on his face. The closest Americans got to an answer from either candidate was Biden’s call for accountability, which is a recommendation people have heard since the dawn of man.
Biden tried to play the sentimental man on stage. Standing next to Trump, it wasn’t a hard role. The former vice president and longtime senator was at his best when the discussion turned to Covid-19. Asked for a plan, Biden talked about the need to ensure every sector of society, particularly schools, had the personal protective equipment and supplies they needed to prepare for a full reopening. At one point during the exchange, Biden looked directly into the camera, addressed the Americans who have lost a love ones to the disease, and told them things would eventually turn around.
Even Biden, however, lost his temper on numerous occasions — an understandable emotional reaction to an opponent interrupting every five seconds. ‘Donald, can you just be quiet for a minute,’ he asked Trump at the very beginning of the debate. His blood boiling, Biden called the President ‘a clown’ at least twice. Never before can I recall a challenger telling the sitting president of the United States that he is “the ‘worst’ the country has ever had. It happened tonight.
None of this even begins to mention Trump’s allegations about widespread voter fraud (unproven) and his assertion that mailmen were selling ballots for cash.
Between now and Election Day in America, Trump and Biden will meet for two more debates. Normally, I would be excited for both of them. But after tonight, I may very well turn the TV off for the remainder of the race.
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