I just finished watching the debates and it was just as bad as any debate that Trump participates in. I don’t think Biden did a good job. But it’s hard to do a good job when Trump is constantly interrupting Biden and trying to break Biden’s train of thought. Trump has been a lot worse in the debate because of his constant interruptions, his bullying, his crazy statements, his petty insults that bring out the worst in people. This debate is reminding me of everything that I despise in Trump (not that I need any reminding).
I watched Hillary’s debates with Trump in 2016 a few days ago and I think Hillary was the only person who effectively debated Trump. I can tell that Biden was struggling to keep his cool. But Biden still got caught up in the same name-calling trap that Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Jeb Bush got caught up in 2015 and 2016.
I think Biden’s best moment had nothing to do with any arguments on policy. I think Biden’s best moment was when he defended both of his sons’ honors against Trump’s personal attacks. I did sense a plan in Trump’s performance. Trump tried to emphasize the differences between Biden and the more progressive Democrats on issues like the Green New Deal and on the more radical proposals of some of the Black Lives Matter activists. And Trump made legitimate criticisms about Biden’s support of the 1994 crime bill. But all of that got lost with Trump’s constant interruptions and bullying.
A few days ago, PBS News Hour posted all the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates since the Kennedy/Nixon debates in 1960. I watched a few of them to remind me what a sane debate of policy and a debate on differing political philosophies looks like.
I am deeply depressed seeing how Trump has degenerated political discourse with his name-calling, conspiracy theories and bullying since he entered the political scene in 2015. Naming his opponents “Little Marco”, “Lying Ted”, “Low Energy Jeb”, “Crooked Hillary” or “Slow Joe” only makes the political discourse about personal insults rather than a debate on ideas. This is dangerous for democracy.
Watching tonight’s debate, I felt sorry for Chris Wallace. I think he did a commendable job trying to control the debate, even reprimanding Trump at one point. But I don’t think anyone would’ve done a good job. Wallace moderated the third Clinton/Trump debate in 2016 and he did a commendable job in that debate.
I got really depressed watching the debate. Personally I think Donald Trump is one of America’s worst Presidents. Before Trump came along, I used to think Nixon and Carter were the worst Presidents in my lifetime. But I think Nixon and Carter were far better Presidents than Trump, even taking into account their flaws.
The 1960 presidential cycle featured former Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts, the Democratic nominee, and Vice President Richard Nixon, a Republican. The first debate, and the first one ever to be televised, featured an hour-long discussion focusing on domestic issues. Moderated by Howard K. Smith of CBS, with questions posed by a panel of journalists, the debate took place on September 26, 1960, in Chicago.
The 1976 presidential cycle featured former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter, the Democratic nominee, and incumbent President Gerald Ford, a Republican. The first debate featured a 90-minute discussion, focusing on domestic policy. Moderated by Edwin Newman of NBC, with questions posed by a panel of journalists, the debate took place on September 23, 1976, in Philadelphia.
The 1992 presidential election cycle featured incumbent President George H.W. Bush, a Republican; Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, the Democratic nominee; and businessman Ross Perot, running as an independent. The second debate was a 90-minute town hall on a variety of topics, where uncommitted voters could ask questions. Moderated by Carole Simpson of ABC, it took place on October 15, 1992, in Richmond, Virginia.