Debate analysis

The setting for last night’s presidential debate was wrong. Donald Trump and Joe Biden should not have been standing at lecterns in a sterile auditorium. They should have been seated on stools at a bar. The moderator should have been serving them each a mug of beer every thirty minutes. The conversation, rhetoric, and debate would have sounded much the same, but the setting would have been more natural—two elderly white men discussing politics, sharing their opinions and perceptions, interrupting each other—a classic American scene.

President Trump was able to use the debate to make a few statements that have been ignored and unheard over the last several weeks. He was finally permitted to explain to the American people the distinction between solicited absentee ballots cast by mail and unsolicited ballots mailed out by the thousands. He had the chance to point out that worldwide figures for COVID cases and deaths are probably not reported equally—that many more cases may exist in China, Russia, and India than have been reported. He also indicated that the harm caused by the economic shut-down—as measured in drug and alcohol abuse, divorce, suicide, and depression—offsets the lives that may have been saved through the shut-down.

At the same time, Candidate Biden was able to appeal directly to the American people, repeatedly begging them to participate in the election. This reflects the concern of Biden and his supporters that Trump is more effective in motivating people to vote, while many of those who prefer Biden to Trump might not have the zeal to cast their ballots in this election. For that reason, Biden several times looked straight into the camera and addressed the voters at home, calling upon them to be sure to vote.

Some questions went unanswered. Did Donald Trump enter office following the slowest economic recovery since 1929 and turn the country around so that (before the COVID shutdown) it had its strongest economy ever? Or did the Obama administration begin an economic upturn that continued into the Trump years but was ultimately bungled by the Trump administration?

I found the segment on climate change particularly interesting. President Trump blamed the fires in California on poor forest management and refused to address the matter of climate change causing or worsening fires. Candidate Biden insisted that building new factories with lower carbon emissions would result in fewer storms and floods, ultimately saving money. In these examples, I believe that Trump’s statements were more scientifically valid than Biden’s statements.

If the format of the debates will continue to include two uninterrupted minutes from each candidate, followed by conversation, then the moderator ought to have a cut-off switch for both microphones to enforce that two-minute rule. Donald Trump and Joe Biden will continue to pepper each other with “that’s not true” and other exclamations; neither of them is going to change style at this point in the campaign. Enforcing the two-minute rule with muted microphones, applied equally to both candidates, might benefit the production.

On the other hand, serving beer and putting the candidates on barstools would also help define the nature of these presidential debates. J.

11 thoughts on “Debate analysis

  1. A bit funny you mention a bar scene, Salvageable. I got a lot of flack when I first began supporting Trump, from Dems for sure, but also from Christians, never Trumpers, who disapprove of his demeanor and his past, who would prefer a candidate who looks more like a pastor. Funny, because I was quite clear that what I believe we need in this country right now is actually a bouncer, like one might find at a bar. I had a revelation about that a few years back that kind of eased my mind and my conscience. I love pastors and some can even be a bit fiery, but when I’ve prayed about the election God has said, “you’re hiring a bouncer.” Well, no disrespect intended, but usually bouncers are not to be found in the drawing room having a gentlemen’s tea and speaking Shakespearian English.

    Liked by 1 person

    • From what I’ve heard, a lot of people wish there had been a bouncer at the bar last night to toss both argumentative, inebriated gentlemen out the door so they could finish their argument without bothering the rest of us customers. J.

      Like

  2. The fact that Biden addressed the camera to encourage those at home to get out and vote bothered me a bit. It looked like a campaign commercial and seemed totally insincere.

    Liked by 1 person

      • A couple of hours before the debate, I was in the backyard with our two dogs when I saw a big hairy tarantula. Our curious dogs saw it, too. To protect them from possible injury, I rushed over to get rid of the nasty bugger, and got a face full of stinging, irritating urticating hairs in the process.

        I’m seriously not sure which was worse, the tarantula attack or the debate.

        Yeah.. the more I think about it, the debate was worse.

        Liked by 1 person

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