First Debates Fall Short of Expectations


Photo courtesy of Vulture

Emily Brennan and Minsung Kang

On September 29th, during 90 commercial-free minutes, we as US citizens were able to witness one of the most chaotic and dysfunctional presidential debates to date. Both candidates acted as though they were fighting to say their part when they had individual time limits already set up for them. President Trump especially struggled to adhere to this rule, as he repeatedly interrupted former Vice President Joe Biden throughout the majority of the debate. The topics discussed in this debate were the current pandemic, the decision about the new Supreme Court seat, race and violence in our cities, the integrity of the election, and the records of both candidates. In this debate, although there was plenty of talking, we didn’t really receive new information – both candidates rambled about each other’s pasts and how horrible the other would’ve handled the situation. In addition, moderator Chris Wallace did not do a great job balancing out time between candidates. He let President Trump ignore Biden, and Wallace’s presence didn’t really help with the constant chaos throughout the interview. Similar to a group of teenage boys arguing about the ref’s call during the NFL football game, the argument never ends, they never get to the point, and nothing is gained from screaming at each other. 

Due to the President testing positive for COVID-19 on October 3rd, what was supposed to be a virtual debate turned into a town hall featuring only former Vice-President Joe Biden.  After President Trump tested positive, the committee that is responsible for the debates announced that they would hold it virtually. President Trump did not agree with this decision and publicly came out on Twitter announcing he will not be participating in the debate. The Trump campaign later announced their own town hall running at the time as Biden’s. I personally believe that this decision is unfair to the American people because they are not able to see both candidates side by side talking about the same topics. 

The town halls were a very confusing and new way to make up for a debate. At the same time and on two different networks, it was very hard to try and grasp both. And clearly, American voters were most likely to watch the town hall of the candidate they are planning on voting for come November 3rd. Someone planning on voting for President Trump is more likely to watch the town hall that he had last night, same way with Biden supporters. This made it extremely difficult and challenging for voters who have not made up their minds on who they are voting for. They could not see both candidates side by side debating on the same issue. President Donald Trump mainly was asked about his recent diagnoses of COVID-19 and what his stance on the virus is after he recovered, asking if he has changed his mind. “As far as masks are concerned, I’m good with masks. I’m OK with masks. I tell people to wear masks,” Trump said. Democatic Nominee and Former Vice President Joe Biden mainly talked about the Supreme Court, Coronavirus, the economy and more. Joe Biden’s town hall was more direct and got to the point, he talked about what he wanted to do, when he wanted to do it, and how he was going to do it. Trump was more focused on telling people that the Coronavirus is not a big deal, he did not talk about policy, or anything about what he was planning on doing if he won the election. 

The culture of politics throughout the years has changed a lot for young people. Social justice issues have made headlines throughout the past couple months such as the Black Lives Matter movement and the pandemic, and kids and millennials are more intrigued to listen since it is current and they can really see what is going on around the world. Before, we weren’t able to really grasp the importance of the daily news since there weren’t a lot of continual issues in the US we really knew of. However, now through social media we can just swipe and see how big of an issue the pandemic is or the 2020 election may become. This year is a very big jump for a lot of us and a lot of change within the world. Therefore, young people are carrying on the trend of being more intrigued in politics so that they also can have a say and change for the world. I believe that young people have a strong and powerful voice, no matter if they can vote or not they are the next generation and the next change.