Takeaways From the Final Presidential Debate of 2020
So Thursday night the final Donald Trump vs. Joe Biden Presidential Debate of 2020 took place, and while we all can breathe a huge sigh of relief that the shit show is just about over, November 3rd is right around the corner. So did we learn anything new from last night that we didn’t already know? Well…. not really. Although it was definitely a huge departure from the one, which was seemingly a shouting match between two dementia patients at a nursing home, it still managed to be fairly predictable and lame. It seems learning something new about the candidates during a presidential debate has become an outdated concept. So for those of you with better things to do with your time than indulge in this vapid nonsense, like puff and bump some hip hop from the golden era, I wasted my high and some junk food on watching it so you wouldn’t have to.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
So let us begin with a quick overview of the good, the bad, and the ugly. The good – this debate marked the first time ever that the debate commission initiated the muting of the mics while each debater gave initial answers to the questions given by the moderator. Although this was created in response to the last debate, where Donald Trump refused to act like an adult and remain quiet for longer than 2 seconds, it’s actually a rule that I think should have been implemented a long time ago. Debaters talking over one another and attempting to hog the spotlight with zingers has always been an annoying aspect of presidential debates, long before Trump came around, and this new rule was extremely effective in mitigating that, allowing both candidates to speak in a more unfiltered fashion.
The bad – because of this new rule, we got to hear and see a lot more of both candidates which… was a challenge to watch in and of itself. Joe Biden is just not the sharp debater he once was and it shows. While he was definitely about as on point as Biden could be last night, that’s not really saying much. And Trump, holding the most powerful job position in the world, is literally the worst person to listen talk about it, and last night brought back the ghost of old Trump-isms that we all thought might be dead, such as the immigrants as murders and rapists trope.
And finally, the ugly – there was the most air time I’ve ever seen of a quiet, seemingly reserved Trump as he made the most horrid faces while awaiting his turn to spew nonsense and shamelessly lie to the American people. That butthole mouth thing he does will forever haunt my dreams.
Donald Trump – Our Liar in Chief
It has to be said that Trump was as tame as he has ever been as a leader, and while it was effect, it still didn’t stop him from being painfully predictable. His constant lying, attempt at dividing the American people, and apparent lack of nuance didn’t go out the window with this new tame approach, it just came off a bit more subtle and calculated.
In stellar fashion, Trump’s disdain for the truth was in full swing last night. On just about every issue, he managed to pull numbers out of his ass to make points that didn’t exist. For example, early on the questions regarded his handling of Covid (or lack there of) which he used as an opportunity to downplay the rising numbers of what some would call a 3rd wave of the virus and he also shamelessly claimed that he is now immune to the disease. He touted numbers of possible death tolls if he hadn’t taken the measures the he did which were actual projections by experts that were taken out of context so he could look and feel better about himself. He also claims that we are “rounding the turn” (whatever the hell that means) on Covid as cases are rising here in the states. As always, it was extremely difficult to watch him lie like it was his day job, and then have to sit with the fact that so many people still support him regardless. No matter how much older I get and how inundated we as a country get with his shit, I just can’t wrap my head around that.
Surprisingly, immigration and the whole “kids in cages” thing was brought up, a subject that hasn’t been touched on in a while. We got to hear him reprise the “murders and rapists” line made popular back in 2016 and he repeated the false claims that the Obama administration started many of the poor immigration policies that are currently in place. He also stated that the facilities we call cages are “so clean” and the children separated from their parents are “well taken care of”. And finally, in my opinion the worst thing he said all night was his opinion that migrants that show up to their asylum hearings have “the lowest iq”; not only is it an incredibly strange statement to make, it’s also incredibly offensive and insulting. But that, of course, is no surprise coming from him.
The rest of the presidential debate was about as predictable as could be for Trump. He kept pushing this stupid idea that states with democratic governors are shit, while red states are best. He further pushed his hatred for Black Lives Matter by tying them and their ideologies to a hatred for law enforcement. And the cherry on top was towards the end when he stated (again, I couldn’t make this up even if I tried) that he was “the least racist person in this room”. So overall, we learned absolutely nothing about Trump’s plans for the future and what 4 more years of him would be like. Just a lot of the same old blame game and divisive language we’ve all grown horribly used to.
Joe Biden – As Mediocre As Can Be
The hardest thing about watching Joe Biden these days is that sometimes you just want to jump through the TV and shake him. Donald Trump is not at all a good debater, and because the moderators don’t take the responsibility of fact checking the candidates, it’s really on Biden to call out Trump’s faults and lies but… he has a tendency to miss so many open opportunities to attack while not stooping to Trump’s level. But I will say that Biden was on his game, about as well as he’s capable of being.
He came out swinging right from the beginning about Trump’s terrible handling of Covid and it hit pretty hard, and throughout the night he had a handful of zingers and sound bites that were fairly effective. But Biden has a way of coming off vague, not really delivering the details on his policies and ideas when its needed most. For example, after effectively calling out Trump by stating, “Anyone who’s responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America” he failed to elaborate exactly what he would do differently. Covid should have absolutely been Biden’s bread and butter. Trump’s abysmal response makes him an easy target, and even when questioned about it he seems to ignorantly dig a deeper grave for himself. The same can be said about immigration and just about any race related issue. Biden has had many perfect opportunities during both presidential debates to attempt to unite the nation against and speak to those directly effected by it, and yet he always seems to come up short.
While Biden came off far more mature than his opponent, his delivery was also boring and quite possibly overall ineffective. So many people and political commentators say that all Joe needs to do is stay calm and not put his foot in his mouth, and for those that agree, they probably think Biden’s performance was good and will help maintain his lead until election day. But personally, I’m looking for Trump to get bested and beat at his own game; I’m talking fatality, followed by a flawless victory. People seemed to have forgotten that Biden was once a very effective and sharp debater; back in 2012 he debated Paul Ryan and absolutely crushed it. The Biden we have today is just… disappointing.
Before we are all forced to the polls to choose between these two, it must be said – it’s so hard to believe that these two are the best each party could come up with. Neither candidates during the presidential debates seems to have any true passion for the job they claim to want. Trump seems to be fueled by self interest and greed, and Biden just seems like an empty vessel used to advance the Democratic party and their vague agenda.
Have you ever mindlessly done something, like watch a TV show you know is vapid, unengaging and lame but you just continue to do it anyway? That’s pretty much how I felt about watching this and even American politics in general. I think a lot of American’s feel a similar sentiment. We continue to get told over and over how important it is to vote and how our vote matters, yet at the end of the day we are forced to choose between two (allegedly) wealthy, decrepit old white men who clearly have no passion or knowledge about the position they are running for.