Anger and Chaos: The First Trump-Biden Debate Disappointed All

Personal attacks, anger, chaos: This was the first debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. The former tried to bulldoze his opponent, while Biden called Trump a “clown” and at one point said, “Will you shut up, man?”

Trump began interrupting Biden, the Democratic nominee, at the debate’s commencement. This was to be expected – in the lead up to the Ohio debate pundits warned that debating Trump is like street racing a drunk driver. If this disruptive tactic was a trap then Biden fell in.* The Biden campaign confirmed that the former vice president would participate in the next debate.

Each candidate was supposed to respond to questions within 2 ½ minutes. Trump constantly talked over his opponent and did not allow Biden to speak without interruptions. Discussion about ideas and governing agendas became impossible – a loss for the American people.

Voters’ and pundits’ first impressions lean toward a loss for Trump even if Biden did not emerge as a winner. Disappointment, unpresidential behavior – those who watched expected much more from the leader of the free world and the commander of the world’s most powerful army.

Trump refused to condemn white supremacy and armed militia groups at a time when race relations are at a historic low. He continued to sow doubt about mail-in voting, a practice employed by millions of Americans. Trump also refused to promise that he would not unilaterally declare himself the winner in the event that ballots need to be counted beyond Nov. 3.

“He cannot stop you from being able to determine the outcome of this election. … When the votes are counted and they’re all counted, that will be accepted. If I win, that will be accepted. If I lose, that’ll be accepted. … He can’t stay in power. It won’t happen. … You have it in your control to determine what this country is going to look like the next four years,” said Biden.

“Don’t tell me about a free transition. As far as the ballots are concerned, it’s a disaster. … This is not going to end well,” said Trump.

Biden spoke directly to the cameras while Trump attacked Biden’s intelligence, Biden’s status as a moderate and Biden’s alleged plans for closing the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and thus ruining the economy. (Biden has never claimed to want to close the country down and has stated that he will consider the advice of scientists and experts.)

Trump’s base will surely feel good, but undecided, middle of the road voters are unlikely to join the president’s campaign. At this point it is unclear if Trump is trying to reach anyone but his base.

This is perhaps partly true of Biden as well – it is unclear if he can expand his constituency beyond those who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. However, he proved that he is no “sleepy Joe” and that he can withstand Trump’s barrage on a debate stage.

*Translator’s note: This sentence is accurately translated from the original. However, its meaning seems at odds with other statements in the article.

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