Analysis of the Presidential Debate

By Jasleen Chadha
National News Staff Writer

The presidential debate that occurred on September 29, 2020, got pretty mixed reviews from the general public and the media. The majority of the negative reviews about the debate are associated with President Trump’s tense and inappropriate behavior and his unwillingness to respond to the questions posed by the moderator. Six in ten debate watchers stated that former Vice President Joe Biden “won the debate,” while only 28% stated that President was the winner, according to a CNN Poll of Debate Watchers conducted by SSRS. In interviews with the same voters conducted before the debate, 56% claimed that they expected Biden to do a better job. The poll also found 45% of those surveyed saying Trump performed worse than expectations, while 11% said the same for Biden.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden participate in the first 2020 presidential campaign debate held on the campus of the Cleveland Clinic at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., September 29, 2020. (Photo Courtesy of Oliver Douliery, Reuters)

But just 2% of respondents said the debate changed their vote, versus 98% who said it didn’t. Another poll from CBS News’ battleground tracker gave Biden the edge in the debate, 48%-41%, while 10% said it was a tie. A large majority of respondents in that poll, 69%, said they felt annoyed watching the debate. That poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

An instant poll from CNN and SSRS, with a higher margin of error of plus or minus 6.3 points, showed 60% of respondents calling Biden the victor and 28% saying Trump won the debate.
Nonetheless, the survey, designated to be indicative of the opinions of the registered voters who watched the debate, does not represent the views of all Americans and all states. Thus, it is necessary to review the debate as a whole, taking into account the credibility of the answers and responses given by the presidential candidates.

Pre-decided topics included the two candidates’ records, the coronavirus response, the Supreme Court, the economy, and voting issues — though viewers only got a sense of each candidate’s platform in brief moments when they let each other answer. During a portion of the event that focused on the concerns of racial inequality, the Black Lives Matter movement, and police brutality, President Trump claimed that American suburbs would “be gone” due to the “riots,” if Biden is elected. As a response to Trump’s claim, Biden said Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate issue has harmed the suburbs more. One of the reasons why President Trump received so many negative reviews after the debate, as mentioned in the CNN Poll, is his unclear statement about the problem of White supremacy. He refused to condemn White supremacy, asking the white supremacist militia group Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.” Furthermore, President Trump pivoted to attack ANTIFA, adding that in 47 months, he’s “done more than [Biden] has not done in 47 years.” Biden’s response came later in the debate. “Under this president, we’ve become weaker, sicker, poorer, more divided and more violent,” he said.

Another unexpected phenomenon that occurred during the debate was a completely chaotic interaction between the candidates. By CBS News’s count, President Trump interrupted Biden in a total of 73 times. Biden, on the other hand, called Trump a clown and asking him if he “will shut up.”

During the debate, President Trump accused Biden of supporting “socialized medicine,” which Biden was sure to reject. “I do not support the Green New Deal,” was his response. As a form of retaliation, Biden brought up Trump’s “hidden taxes,” which did not bother Trump. He accepted the fact of his hidden taxes and added that he knew the tax code better than any previous candidate.

At the end of the debate, Biden attempted to make a few points as his conclusion, but Trump interrupted him again, which was followed by Wallace’s announcement that the debate was officially over. After the debate, President Trump, on his social media platforms, declared his victory, “based on a compilation of polls, etc,” referring to unscientific Twitter polls in which anyone, regardless of one’s eligibility to vote, can participate.

Derecka Purnell, a Guardian US columnist, and a social lawyer, called the debate a “manifestation of our government.” Trump used false information when establishing his arguments. Biden denounced the Green New Deal. Instead of providing serious steps on how the candidates are going to help the country move forward after a series of unfortunate and traumatic events (COVID-19, national protests, and economic crisis), the presidential candidates focused on insulting each other personally, avoiding questions, and on unprofessionally interrupting their opponent. It is still unclear what would be the outcome of this election. Although, it is obvious that a person who is going to get elect for the upcoming term has some serious work to do in order to uplift the economy, the social order, and motivate the American peoples to trust the government regardless of the critical situation that occurred in 2020.


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