The 2020 Presidential Debate Was Mind-Numbingly Bad
"Old man shouts at old man."
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.
trump: i support bad things. my opponent supports good things
biden: shut up, man. i do not
— Shaun (@shaun_vids) September 30, 2020
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.
biden apologizing and correcting himself for calling trump a clown while trump is shouting at chris wallace is why biden will lose
— kim possible facts (@kimpossiblefact) September 30, 2020
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.
JOE BIDEN JUST SAID KIDS ARE BEING DROPPED OFF TO SOCCER PRACTICE, BLACK AND WHITE AND HISPANIC, IN THE SAME CAR IN THE SUBURBS THEREFORE THE SUBURBS ARE INTEGRATED AND THERE IS NO ISSUE IN THE SUBURBS. IM LOSING IT
— habibti please (@jennineak) September 30, 2020
"there have been more people in the suburbs white black latino driving in the same car to soccer practice than ever before"
-joe biden 2020
— ☯️ (@GUiiUTRILIA) September 30, 2020
“Soccer practice. Black. White. Mexican. SAME CAR.”
– Joe Biden
— v chill michael (@blockburnermike) September 30, 2020
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.
President Trump refused to condemn White Supremacy. Was asked multiple times. Refused. Didn't do it. Instead, told the Proud Boys to "stand back and standby."
Trump supporters, defend this.#Debates2020
— Wajahat "Wears a Mask Because of a Pandemic" Ali (@WajahatAli) September 30, 2020
This is genuinely unwatchable. Not unwatchable in the ‘can’t bear it’ way – it’s unintelligible. (Also it’s unbearable.)
— Richard Cooke (@rgcooke) September 30, 2020
For the record, these are the "Proud Boys" trump told to "stand by" when asked to denounce them.
He REFUSED to denounce White Supremacy.
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) September 30, 2020
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.
Tough debate —but Trump got to Joe, and Joe snapped “shut up, man!” To the President? A bad and memorable moment for Biden—and he kept rolling his eyes and making faces. Just like Al Gore—not good. Not good at all. Trump won the worst debate I’ve ever seen.
— Lou Dobbs (@LouDobbs) September 30, 2020
This was the worst presidential debate in American history.
— Gravel Institute (@GravelInstitute) September 30, 2020
It’s too bad neither candidate believes in universal healthcare because im not gonna be able to afford the brain damage this debate gave me
— Joey⚡️ (@joeygllghr) September 30, 2020
thinking about libs being like ‘smart guy Biden is going to CRUSH trump in a debate’ lmao
— lucy (@LucyXIV) September 30, 2020
I expected it to be two old guys rambling but I didn’t anticipate they’d be doing it concurrently, not even really at each other
— henno (@jrhennessy) September 30, 2020
Heartwarming! America Spends 90 Minutes Listening To These Senior Citizens Ramble About The Past
— vine picking influencer (@cameronwilson) September 30, 2020
in Biden's defence, it's not like he knew he was going to have to debate today
— Patrick Lenton (@PatrickLenton) September 30, 2020
this debate is so bad Canada just built a wall
— Matt Oswalt (@MattOswaltVA) September 30, 2020
Others still were quick to remind everyone that there was, uh, a different way this all could have gone:
— People for Bernie (@People4Bernie) September 30, 2020
But hey, don’t worry — at least there are two more Presidential debates to go.