A civilized debate or just plain ruckus?

The first of the US presidential debates between Donald Trump, the president of the United States and Joe Biden, the former vice-president took place on Monday. Chris Wallace moderated the meet and each speaker got to speak for 15 minutes, 2 minutes on each topic; Trump’s and Biden’s records, the Supreme Court, the coronavirus pandemicrace and violence in cities, election integrity, and the economy. This was followed by faciliated discussion (or a discussion about Biden’s son to be specific).

Trump had come with a clear cut out plan to intimidate Biden by interrupting him again and again. In fact Trump interrupted Biden 73 times in the 90 minute debate earning himself a warning from the moderator that he was not abiding by the rules. However Biden himself responded to Trump by groaning “Will you shut up, man?”, “Inshallah” and also called him a clown. While both accused each other of lying, it was clear that Trump had simply maintained his lies whereas Biden was slightly inaccurate on certain accounts.  

Trump had claimed before the debate that if he lost the election he would not agree to a peaceful transfer of power. In the debate he says that in Pennsylvania, there were many discarded ballots found with his own name in a waste paper basket. While It’s also true that there was an incident with a small number of discarded ballots in Pennsylvania, it was baseless for Trump to term the election as rigged and an example of voter fraud. Furthermore, his sources were incorrect: There were nine discarded ballots, out of which seven were Trump votes. After this he claimed that the postcarriers and mailmen in West Virginia were selling the electoral ballots to buyers. However this is completely false and till date there is no evidence of postal carriers selling ballots in West Virginia.  Till date only one case of ballot fraud has taken place in Virginia where a postal carrier allegedly changed Democratic absentee ballot applications to Republican ones. 

In the debate, both Wallace and Biden put pressure on Trump to condemn white supremacy groups and condemn discrimination against blacks. In response to this Trump asked the proud boys to stand down but also remarked that someone had to something about the Anitfa and the Left as he believes this a left-wing problem not a right-winged one. This remark was understood by some members of that far-right group, as well as many others, as a call to arms against the blacks. Whereas when Biden was asked on his vision for police reform, he called for an increase in police funding. He explained that these funds will be used to hire psychologists and psychiatrists who could accompany police officers during arrests, defuse tense situations and reduce the frequent use of force.

Trump also claimed that he brought back 7,00,000 manufacturing jobs whereas, in reality, there has been a net loss of 2,50,000 manufacturing jobs. Biden, on the other hand, has falsely stated that the trade gap with China is much higher and that more violent crimes are taking place (only more murders have taken place in Trump’s tenure)

But two of the major issues coming into this debate were climate change and coronavirus. Trump’s administration has increased the permissible greenhouse gases limit from cars and trucks, as well as from the oil and gas industry. He has allowed public land to oil and gas drilling and reduced wildlife protections. He has relaxed pollution regulations on coal-fired power plants in a last ditch effort to resuscitate the fading industry. Trump has based his campaign on pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement (which he thinks is harmful for economy), and he’s on course to fulfill that promise the day after the Nov. 3 election. He has also specifically targeted California’s environmental protections. California’s tougher car emission standards than those required by the federal government have been revoked by Trump’s administration while also questioning the authority of the state to do so. This has proved to be a major hindrance in California’s fight to reduce greenhouse emissions and improve their air quality index.

Biden has made tackling the worsening problem of climate change a centerpiece of his campaign, proposing to invest $2 trillion (Trump says this sum of amount is 100 trillion dollars, a sum of money which cannot be generated by the American economy in 100 years) to build new renewable energy infrastructure. This money, would be spent over four years and would go a long way towards energy efficiency upgrades. He proposes the building of 5 lakh electrical vehicle charging stations and increasing the percentage of renewable energy from wind, solar and other technologies exponentially.  He also calls for ending the use of non renewable resources to generate power by 2035 and by 2050 to reduce the greenhouse emissions to net zero in the whole country. He also plans on investing in disadvantaged communities and restoring the environmental protections undone by the Trump adminstration and rejoin the Paris Cimate agreement.

Trump had walked in the debate absolutely determined not to allow COVID-19 to become a major topic in the debate, however at the insistence of the moderator, it was raised. He blamed China for the coronavirus, glossing over his shoddy handling of the containment of virus. Biden has accused the president of having “no plan” and critizised his handling of the virus, Trump rebutted that he had received “high praise” from Democrat governors and self praised his descison to restrict travel from china at the end of January, claiming that it saved millions of lives. Joe Biden also actively questioned the accuracy of covid numbers in America, Trump retorted that the governments of India, China and Russia also regulated the COVID-19 death tally. He also reminded Biden of the Obama government’s handling of the 2009 flu pandemic with a estimated toll of 12,000. But, Biden was also a part of the Obama adminstration which suffered the 2014 Ebola outbreak and therefore the 2016 Zika outbreak and played a lead role in creating the “Global Health Security Agenda”. Trump also says, without evidence, that drug prices will fall “80 or 90 percent,” and exaggerated that he’s making insulin at prices “so cheap, it’s like water” (insulin prices remain at about $300 per vial – of course, rich people problems)

Trump falsely said that the economy before the pandemic was “the greatest economy within the history of our country”. However, sources state that GDP growth was higher under United States Presidents, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Clinton, and the unemployment rate percentage was lower under Eisenhower.

To summarize the 1st presidential debate, the talk was more sort of a verbal brawl between two adults who were behaving like desperate men. A vital agenda not cited within the debate was China with only minor references being made to that regarding coronavirus. A post-debate CNN/SSRS poll found that 60% of debate-viewers thought that Biden had won and 28% thought Trump had, with a margin of error of six points. In keeping with a CBS News poll taken following the controversy, 48% of individuals thought Biden won, 41% of individuals thought Trump won, while 10% considered it a tie, with a margin of error of three points. Within the same poll, 83% of the respondents believed the tone of the talk was negative, while 17% believed it had been positive.

For the moment it seems that the advantage lies with Joe Biden and Trump getting the coronavirus is not in the favour of the Republicans, as the great man had himself said that it was not a big deal. To make a comeback, it seems that they’ll firstly have to include a definite agenda supported with truth and back it up with a relentless attitude and powerful arguments.












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