An Infamous Trainwreck

The First Presidential Debate


Nicholas Lockwood

The stage was empty, and the audience was ready, with open lights glistening straight onto the background in front of the moderator, Chris Wallace. Many Americans were waiting to see their candidate to speak about the policy positions that matter. So, how did this debate go between the two men running for president of the United States? To put it straight, it was a disaster.

Situation Before The “Debate”:

Before the debate even started, Trump was severely down in the polls compared to Joe Biden. Joe Biden before this debate was in an extremely good position in the polls. Before the debate according to a Yahoo News poll, Biden was leading Trump nationally by, 49% to 42%. This would indicate that a larger popular vote lead than Hillary Clinton.

This leads to the question about if this national lead matters in the long term when it comes to the elections. Remember when Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, but lost the election by losing the electoral vote by 306 – 232. This was due to Clinton having a large underperformance in swing states. Hillary Clinton underperformed Barack Obama in states all across the U.S., with a couple of exceptions (Georgia/Arizona) which are needed to win the election, which in turn gave Trump the victory. However, in several of these key swing states, Trump is getting trounced by Biden. In Florida and Pennsylvania, states Trump desperately needs to win.

Debate Time:

The time of the night occurred, and millions of views were prepared to watch the two candidates speak about current events like Covid-19, the economy, and social unrest. However, people did not get what they were expecting, and the debate quickly turned into a petty and divisive nightmare that displayed the worst aspect of modern politics. 

The debate was unwatchable, and would be easily deemed as the worst debate in presidential history. This was an extremely shameful display from both candidates. They are both running for president of the United States and it is extremely disappointing that these candidates can not go onto a forum and have a common sense debate.

Trump during the debate was constantly interrupting Biden, and was continuing to stop Biden from being able to speak. Even when Biden was making a mistake, he would still intervene and act bombastic not leading to any discussion. Trump also got into an argument with the moderator, Chris Wallace over questions that were asked. Biden on the other hand, was also interrupting and not answering questions asked but not the extreme that Trump was behaving at. Both candidates were also throwing huge personal jabs at one another with Trump calling Biden, a “socialist,” and Biden saying to Trump that he should “just shut up, man.” 

For the way the questions were handled as well, they were also pretty terrible. The questions were all justifying the past instead of looking at the future policies. Rarely was there a question about policy rather than issues with personal belief.

Who Won and How Does It Affect the Election?

While there was no clear victor in the debate, the person who won in the end was Joe Biden. Joe Biden, while not providing the best answers during the debate, won by default. Polling after the debate showed that Biden expanded his national lead after the debate. New CNN Polling showed him leading by 16 points nationally which is a huge expansion of a leader from the original average before the debate.

Trump desperately needed this debate in order to survive this election, but this surprise victory is becoming less likely when organizations like Real Clear Politics have him up by an average nationally by +9.8. Trump is on track to lose this November by a historic margin after this debate, and while things could eventually change, it is extremely unlikely that this would change the dynamics of the race. People have made up their mind on who they want to elect, and it is only a matter of time that he is probably going to be kicked out of office. 

In the end, optics are very important, people around the world and citizens in the U.S. watch this debate, and we need fair debating for people to hear the issues that they care about most dearly. These are troubling times, and a majority can only hope for issues to become less divisive.