I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say last night’s debate between Biden and Trump was a disaster from start to finish. As the first official debate between these two I’m worried about Biden. I can’t imagine being undecided at this point, nor can I imagine being undecided at any point when faced with a choice between Mr child rape camps and… pretty much anyone else. And, folks, “pretty much anyone else” is about the best I can say for Biden.
Trump won. Hands-down. No contest. He framed and led the discussion. He made better points. “But, but, Trump was loud and arrogant. He was rude and he lied a lot.” Please understand that vast swaths of the American public tuned in to watch Trump loudly talk over Chris Wallace and Joe Biden.
The first question was about the Affordable Care Act. Trump claimed he’s going against Big Pharma with “favored nations” which will make insulin as “cheap as water.” Now I don’t know whether or not that’s true, but it sounds compelling.
Biden, on the other hand, tripped up on Medicaid vs Medicare. He pointed out that drug prices aren’t down and there’s no plan. But he didn’t talk about his own plan in any compelling way. He talked about people who lost coverage. But most people are covered and not only haven’t benefitted from the ACA, but have seen their premiums go up. This isn’t a winning topic for Biden.
When COVID came up a competent candidate would have eviscerated Trump. Biden did bring up that the US has 4% of world’s population and 20% of its COVID deaths. Biden also quoted Trump saying “It is what it is,” about COVID deaths. Biden said, “It is what it is because you are who you are.” But Biden wasn’t prepared with Trump’s specific failures on COVID. Which is inconceivable because they are so numerous and appalling. Instead, Biden bizarrely criticized Trump for asking reporters to keep their distance and claimed “No serious person” was against widespread mask wearing, which just isn’t true.
Biden did manage to put Trump on his heels about being dumb. But instead of digging in, Biden didn’t bring it up again. This is in stark contrast to Trump, who repeatedly hammered Biden on the controversies around on his son Hunter. It worked extremely well. Every time Trump brought it up Biden was visibly shaken. At no point did he respond with anything about Trump’s kids and their cronyism or nepotism.
When Chris asked whether the COVID recovery was going to be V-shaped or K-shaped, Trump said Democratic states shut down and hurt their economy to benefit Biden. Now Biden did say that you can’t fix the economy until you fix the COVID crisis.
But then Trump derailed him. Biden could have hammered Trump on testing. Instead, when Trump said people want their schools and restaurants open Biden created a false dichotomy by responding “People want to be safe.”
Biden brought up Trump’s tax returns and said millionaires are doing better than ever because of Trump’s tax cuts. But again Trump outsmarted him, hammering him for having 47 years of opportunity to fix the tax code. Trump is right. Biden then pivoted to justifying tax increases and “buy American” protectionism. So now we get to choose between two anti-trade candidates.
When the topic was racism, Trump is massacred Biden. Absolutely owned him. Biden somehow failed to hammer Trump on being racist. Biden said “We have never walked away from trying to accomplish equity for everyone.” Uhhh. Biden brought up Charlottesville and Trump using the military to clear the path to the church photo op, which isn’t going to change anyone’s mind.
Chris asked Trump to denounce white supremacist groups and the Proud Boys. Trump stood silent, then asked who specifically. He then said white supremacists and Proud Boys should “Stand back and stand by” but the real problem is antifa.
Again, Trump had the upper hand, rightly hammering Biden on his ‘94 crime bill. Trump accused Biden of calling Black Americans “superpredators.” That was Hillary Clinton, though apparently Biden did say "predators" while supporting his bill.
Trump bragged about his support from law enforcement, which is compelling to his target audience and a lot of people in the middle, unfortunately. Then the two argued over who loves cops more. Biden said he was “totally opposed” to defunding police and wants to increase funding for police and supports community policing.
Then Trump said that the people in this country want and demand law and order, and you’re afraid to even say it. That’s a compelling message for Trump’s target audience. Biden responded that the vast majority of police officers are good, but there are a few bad apples. Which is absolutely untrue, hardly wins over the average joe, and alienates everyone else.
Chris asked about Trump’s decision to end bias training, which was the right move even though it was for the wrong reasons. Research shows it doesn’t work and makes racist people even more racist. Biden fumbled here again.
Biden tried to hammer Trump by saying violent crime went up on his watch. But the evidence for the spike in homicides is pretty weak. It sucks that both parties push this crime spike narrative, which drives support for tough on crime policies that don’t work and lead to mass incarceration.
On the environment, Trump again bested Biden. Most Americans don’t want the Paris Accord, Obama Clean Power Plan, fuel economy standards, and other environmental regulations. They see them as costly and ineffective. And when it comes to preventing fires in California, forest management is the higher leverage move.
Biden, on the other hand, said he has a plan for $2 trillion in green jobs and greenhouse gas limits and said “No one is going to build another coal plant in America.” How does this dumbass not know that’s exactly how Hillary lost? No one is going to vote against coal but many people in swing states will vote for their livelihood. Biden said the Green New Deal will pay for itself (it won’t) but then said he doesn’t support it.
With election integrity Biden missed the opportunity to hammer Trump on voter suppression. Chris had to bring it up in the first place. Biden did bring up the fact that Trump votes by mail. Trump claimed people were finding ballots already filled out, people getting two ballots, fraud all over the place. Biden brought up how the military has used mail-in ballots for years but didn’t bring up that they’ve also had their ballots discarded for years.
When Chris asked whether will you not declare yourself a winner and urge supporters to stay nonviolent, Trump urged his supporters to watch (intimidate) the polls while Biden said “Yes.”
Before watching this debate, I definitely felt more “How could anyone have any question who to vote for?” But at this point, if I didn’t know everything I know about Trump’s COVID failures, Trump’s tacit support for white supremacism and his administration’s ties to white supremacists, and voter suppression I would not be swayed to Biden’s side by this debate. On free trade and police abuse, the debate didn’t reveal a hair’s worth of daylight between the candidates. And since I don’t follow environmental legislation, I honestly have to side with Trump here. The Paris Accord and Green New Deal, from everything I know, are bullshit that won’t stop climate change and will waste a lot of money.
[Updated 9/30/2020 to correct Trump’s claim that Biden said “superpredators” and the fact that I called Chris “Brian” several times throughout for some damn reason.]