Politics

The 2020 Presidential Debate Was Mind-Numbingly Bad

"Old man shouts at old man."

2020 Presidential Debate

Given that the participants were Donald Trump and Joe Biden, the 2020 Presidential debate was never going to be intellectually stimulating stuff. But somehow, despite all the odds, the ensuing screaming matched turned out even worse than most expected.

Moderated by journalist Chris Wallace, the debate took about five minutes to turn into a petty squabble. Trump used his trademarked 2016 rhetorical style — as in, constantly interrupting his opponent — while Biden struggled to keep his words in a comprehendible order.

In the past, even in the ugliest of debates, there have tended to be a few “slam dunk” moments. But amidst all the back-and-forth, barbs never got much more savage than Biden telling Trump to “shut up”, and Trump noting that Biden was involved in the 1994 Crime Bill, which labelled members of the African-American community “super-predators.”

In fact, Biden — clearly trying to make himself seem like the responsible, mature candidate — even apologised for calling Donald Trump a “clown”, precisely while Trump was still interrupting Biden and throwing the whole debate off course.

Eventually, about 40 minutes in, Wallace managed to calm proceedings down a little bit. But given the floor, Biden’s points were still sometimes confused. When asked about the issue of systemic racism in America, for instance, Biden’s response — touching on the suburbs and carpools — quickly became jibed on Twitter.

Later, when asked whether he would do his best to calm down the election process itself, given that mail-in ballots will draw out counting procedures, Trump told his supporters to monitor the results closely. Elsewhere, when pushed to condemn white supremacists, Trump instead said that nationalists should “stand back and stand by”. Many online noted that this was a tacit endorsement of white nationalists.

So yeah. Mind-meltingly bad stuff; bad enough that most have taken to Twitter to voice what can only be described as out-and-out despair, mingled with a few bleak memes.

Others still were quick to remind everyone that there was, uh, a different way this all could have gone:

But hey, don’t worry — at least there are two more Presidential debates to go.