The first presidential debate for the November US election had given a noisy experience to not only Americans but also to the rest of the world.
President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, met in Cleveland on Tuesday for the first of three debates ahead of the election (November 3). After more than a year of circling each other, Republican President Trump and Democratic challenger Biden met on the debate stage in front of the moderator, Chris Wallace.
What happened during the speech?
The 74-year-old president and the 77-year-old former vice-president share a mutual dislike which was also evident in the debate last night. Both the candidates differ majorly in style and substance and therefore had a clash in the 90 minutes debate throwing personal attacks on each other. The debate was almost certainly the nastiest in history as it started off quiet but quickly descended into fighting and interjections.
During the contentious first debate, Trump denied condemning white supremacists and violent right-wing groups when the issue of anti-racism protests and civic unrest was raised as one of the topics of discussion. On repeatedly asked by the moderator, Chris Wallace, Trump ignored the question and sought to instead criticize the actions of left-wing groups and activists.
Trump defended himself when questioned about the news report on the minimal amount of income tax paid by him. To answer the question related to his tax payments he criticised Obama’s tax laws and said, “I don’t want to pay tax.” When pressed about how much he paid for the taxes, he replied, “I paid millions of dollars in taxes. Millions of dollars in income tax.”
It’s no new to watch Trump taking offence to almost everything asked to him, but this time his aggressive posture on the stage left his Democratic opponent fighting to complete even a sentence. Trump was frequently interrupting Biden and said, “There’s nothing smart about you, 47 years you’ve done nothing.”
Moderator Wallace was spotted pointing Trump and asking him to stop interrupting so that his opponent can speak.
Biden on the other hand blamed trump for the havoc coronavirus caused in the US. He said, “Trump downplayed COVID-19 while he privately he knew how dangerous the virus is.” To this Trump replied by saying there will be a vaccine soon.
Trump was barely letting Biden speak, but there was one interruption that was more horrifying than most. Biden was talking about his late son Beau, who was in the military and whose unit was deployed overseas during the Iraq War. Biden attacked trump about his derogatory statements related to the military.
Trump’s style of politics, but with a glaring flaw:
Trump before the presidential debate has often made it clear what he thinks about Joe Biden. In earlier speeches, Trump called Biden as “Sleepy Joe” who is barely coherent, a “dumb guy” who “doesn’t even who where the hell he is.” In online advertising also, the Trump campaign has repeatedly alleged that Biden is “too old and out of it” to be president.
Trump used a series of endless distractions before Tuesday’s debate. Trump even demanded a drug test before the debate and asked to check the hidden earpieces. He also accused Biden by saying that he might have gotten the questions ahead of time, with all these allegations he tried to heighten the tension and drama.
This isn’t new for Trump. In 2016, he demanded Hillary Clinton be drug-tested before the last debate because he believes that at the beginning of the debate, she was all pumped up and, in the end,, she was all tried and was not even able to walk to her car.
How important are presidential debates in determining the election?
Presidential debates aren’t a tradition that dates back to the founding fathers in the US. Until 1913, it was up to the state legislature to elect a senator, but it was with the passage 17th amendment act that allowed for a popular vote of senators. Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas in 1858, were the first to attribute to this tradition.
It was then after a century when John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon went toe-to-toe during the debate. The debate was not just broadcast on radio but on television, as well, and created a huge impact on the voters. The regular tradition of the debates began in late the 1970s and now stands a leading vote decider in the elections.
Presidential debates that actually made an impact:
Ever since the very first televised presidential debates in 1960, there are few candidate face-offs that served as some of the most critical points of the nation’s elections.
Kennedy Vs Nixon (1960):
The first televised presidential debate in U.S. history may also be the most consequential since it is widely viewed as playing a crucial role in Democrat John F. Kennedy’s victory over Republican Vice President Richard Nixon in that year’s general election. Nixon attracted the voters who listened to him on radio, while Kennedy attracted the television audience majorly because of Nixon’s sweaty discomfort.
Reagan Vs Carter (1980):
The 1980 election is now probably best remembered for Ronald Reagan’s landslide victory which is credited with spawning a conservative revolution in this country. However, not only did Reagan sufficiently convince the American voters that he was up for the job, he devastated the less dynamic Carter with a single one-liner (“There you go again”) and an FDR-inspired closing statement (“Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”).
Bush Vs Clinton Vs Perot (1992):
The unusual inclusion of a third-party candidate, the businessman Ross Perot, attracted a greater level of interest in the 1992 presidential debates. They were also the first to introduce the so-called “town hall” format, which has become a staple of the modern debate series.
Gore Vs Bush (2000):
During the presidential debate that took place between Vice President Gore and then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush in 2000 made it clear that the debate can change the results of the elections. Gore’s sighing during Bush’s answers was deemed smug and disrespectful. Then, his aggressiveness, particularly when he appeared to be ready to pounce on Bush physically went against him in the election.
Obama Vs Romney (2012):
In 2012, President Barak Obama headed into his second prime-time sparring match with Republican Mitt Romney. Romney tried to take Obama over the embassy attack in Benghazi and alleged the President that he did not call it a terror attack.
Then Obama urged moderator Candy Crowley to “get the transcript.” Crowley finally interjected and confirmed that the president had called the incident an “act of terror.”