Following the year of 2020’s lead, the first Presidential debate left the country speechless, disheartened, and frankly, terrified. Before we cover what really happened, let’s take a look at what the night was supposed to look like, on paper:
Republican nominee, President Donald Trump, and Democratic nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, faced off Tuesday night at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
Fox News anchor Chris Wallace took the place of moderator, compiling six, fifteen-minute segments, hoping to cover everything from COVID-19 and race relations to the supreme court.
Now here’s what the night really looked like: though the pre-game anticipation was nerve-wracking, it was nothing compared to the main event.
This was no debate, but an embarrassment for our country, democracy, and those that came before us.
Biden said what we all wanted to say from home on our couches, “Will you shut up man?” and rightfully so. It was clear from the first question that Trump had no plan on engaging in civil discourse, but rather made it a priority to not only interrupt Biden thoroughly and consistently but deflect from his own wrongful doings.
Due to this, the “debate” quickly became more of a match in the ring, rather than two presidential candidates sharing ideas. Though the Trump administration publicly stated prior to the debate that they were not conducting pre-debate practice, I don’t believe anyone including his team expected the outbursts and continual disrespect for the process, opposing candidate, and the moderator that were to come.
Biden attempted to hold his own with many years of civilized debate in his back pocket, but he eventually did fall guilty to participating in the chaos, sneaking in a word here or there, and not respecting the rules of the debate.
However, no amount of practice could have prepared Biden, or the American people, for what hard hits came out of the current President’s mouth.
Amid high tensions concerning police brutality and race relations around the country, Wallace asked Trump whether he would condemn white supremacists and militia groups and say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence we’ve seen in cities like Kenosha and Portland.
Trump responded stating the violence he’s seen has been from the left, then directing a question back to Wallace, asking him what he wanted him to call them after Biden chimed in noting a notorious ring wing group “proud boys.”
Trump’s following statement, though not surprising, was the most alarming of the night, “Proud Boys, Stand back and stand by.”
Unfortunately, this was only one of many alarming footnotes from last night, including personal attacks on Biden’s deceased son Beau, as well as his son Hunter, a recovering addict and veteran.
Topics quickly became skewed and buried as the candidates continuously got sidetracked, in what was much more of an argument between two grown men than a presidential debate.
With that being said, Wallace has gotten the hammer throughout post-debate coverage regarding his lack of control and favoritism despite working for a predominantly right-wing news outlet.
It is hard to say at this point in time whether we will see the next two debates scheduled for October 15th and 22nd will take place, given the turnout of the first event resulted in nothing but turmoil, and the largest amount of donations to date for the Biden campaign.
Regardless, the start of the race has begun like never before, and in proper 2020 fashion, we can expect the unexpected.
Photo Courtesy BBC