The presidential debate prioritizes drama

President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden caused a social media frenzy in what was possibly the most unruly presidential debate in United States history. The first presidential debate of 2020 was an exchange of personal attacks and loud interruptions. 

According to an article by CBS News, the Sept. 29 presidential debate was the first scheduled to take place this election year. Moderated by Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, the event served as an opportunity for Trump and Biden to make a case for themselves during this year’s tumultuous presidential race. 

Neither candidate took advantage of this opportunity. Instead, chaos erupted almost immediately. At the start of the debate, Wallace asked questions regarding health care and the Supreme Court. He first asked Trump about plans to replace the health care reform law, the Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare.

“Over the last four years you have promised to repeal and replace Obamacare, but you have never in these four years, come up with a plan, a comprehensive plan, to replace Obamacare,” Wallace said during the debate. 

Trump cut the moderator off before he could even complete his question. The president, for some reason, redirected his answer to criticize Biden.

“Drug prices will be coming down, 80 or 90%,” Trump said. “You could have done it during your 47-year period in government but you didn’t do it. Nobody’s done it.”

Trump’s response should not have involved Biden. The president has served for nearly four years and should be able to articulate his plan for health care without involving other politicians. We were left without a clear answer to Wallace’s question. I am still unsure on how exactly Trump plans to replace Obamacare. 

Trump deflected questions and interrupted both Biden and Wallace throughout the entire debate. The interruptions escalated to the point where Trump was practically debating with the moderator.

Although I expected a certain amount of unprofessionalism, I was still disappointed in our president’s lack of empathy. Trump’s remarks regarding Biden’s sons were particularly disturbing.

When Biden spoke about his son Beau Biden’s time in the military, Trump responded by attacking his other son, Hunter Biden, and his battle with addiction.

“I don’t know Beau,” Trump said during the debate. “I know Hunter. Hunter got thrown out of the military. He was thrown out, dishonorably discharged for cocaine use.”

Trump worsened his reputation even further when asked to condemn white supremacists and far-right groups, like the Proud Boys.

“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” Trump said during the debate. “But I’ll tell you what, I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem.”

He not only failed to condemn white supremacy, but also went on to change the subject and place blame on anti-fascism-focused groups.  

Although Trump’s constant interruptions left little opportunity for Biden to get a word in, Biden did make some strong points throughout the night. 

When Trump criticized Biden’s handling of the economy as vice president, he reminded us of the 2008 recession. He cited that many jobs were created to repair the damaged economy.

“Look, we inherited the worst recession, short of a depression, in American history,” Biden said during the debate. “I was asked to bring it back. We were able to have an economic recovery, the crazy jobs you’re talking about.”

Biden is not to blame for a recession that began prior to his term as vice president, and he was quick to point out Trump’s error here.

While I believe Biden came out on top, he did not exactly map out a clear strategy on how he plans to run the U.S. if elected, and threw insults at Trump as well.

However, I know that Biden is a good candidate and I trust that his experience in politics will have a positive impact on the country, but I feel that he relies too much on our vulnerability under the Trump administration to push his campaign.

We’ve been experiencing the effects of Trump’s faults for nearly four years.  I did not want to hear Biden explain why Trump is bad, I am already aware. I wanted to hear Biden make a case for himself. I was hoping he would delve deeper into his policies and economic plans. 

Overall, the debate was disappointing.  The U.S. needs reassurance and civility during these difficult times, and the explosiveness of the event was far from civil. I hope future debates will prioritize citizens’ concerns and maintain some level of professionalism.