First Presidential debate: a fail



President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden have their first of three debates before the election.

COLIN HORNING, Sports Editor

The first presidential debate on Tuesday was hard to watch for many. While these debates are intended to give both of the candidates a chance to speak unfiltered to the American public, much of the night saw the two talking over each other with the debate moderator, Chris Wallace, trying to separate the two. Despite all of the attention given to the manner in which the debate was conducted, both President Trump and former Vice President Biden were in fact able to give their stances on many contemporary issues from COVID-19, the Supreme Court, race relations, climate change and law and order.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll conducted the day before the debate found that only around 10% of voters watching the debate say that their vote was up for grabs, and Tuesday’s debate likely did little to change anyone’s mind. Trump and Biden basically just repeated the same things that they had been saying for the entire campaign, oftentimes simultaneously. President Trump hit Biden for essentially being a puppet for the DNC, weak on crime and moving the entire country farther to the left akin to progressives like Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez, while the former VP hit the Democratic talking points of Trump’s COVID-19 response, race and the Supreme Court vacancies.

Personally, I tried to set aside any biases towards either of the two while watching the debate. I made the attempt to watch the whole thing through the lens of an undecided voter who just wanted to hear what the two had to say. Of course, my political leanings likely shined through anyways, but regardless the debate left me with no real reasons to vote for Biden aside from the fact that he isn’t Trump. The former Vice President hardly listed any policy proposals of his own and spent much of the debate refuting the president’s first term achievements instead. 

Along with that, he mostly returned to talking about his time as vice president in an attempt to convince voters that the country needs to return to the Obama era and its policies, which has been the DNC’s strategy for much of the 2020 campaign. Much of their strategy has basically been to convince people to vote for their candidate, regardless of who it wound up being, simply because they aren’t Trump. In a way, they want it to be an anti-Trump vote, rather than a pro-Democrat vote. Of course, there are millions of people who will vote for the Democrat on the ticket no matter who it is. But in order to win over the undecided voters, it appeared to me that this is the strategy for the Democratic party in 2020 and Joe Biden happened to be their final selection for the part. 

Looking at Trump’s performance, I saw a candidate who was outlandish and aggressive towards his opponent. Seeing how the President has been over the last several years, this was nothing new. This was pretty clearly his strategy: to come out swinging and as the aggressor. During the parts I could actually make out, I was able to hear the President cite some of his first-term achievements along with attacking his opponent’s record for being in politics for nearly five decades. I find it hard to believe that either of the candidate’s performances were able to win over these undecided voters.

Most people could agree that this debate could have gone better. In fact, some pundits were saying that it might have been the worst one in history. I wouldn’t go so far to say that, but Tuesday night likely did little to win over the all-important swing voters. The good news is that there are still two more of these to go, and they likely (hopefully) will get better as campaign season heats up. Either way, the first debate of 2020 should be taken by future presidential candidates as what not to do.