The First 2020 Presidential Debate: My Thoughts


Image obtained from CNN

Last night was the first presidential debate of the 2020 General Election and it was a night of chaos. What should have been a respectful debate between two adults became a messy squabble full of lies, interruptions, and personal attacks. As I stated in my presidential endorsement blog post, I do plan on voting for Joe Biden this November and this debate did not change that. Putting that aside, however, I want to discuss a few points that stuck out to me while watching what news anchors and journalists are calling a dumpster fire of a debate.

Stand Back and Stand By

Currently, one of the biggest things people are talking about is President Trump's refusal to simply and plainly condemn white supremacy and white supremacists. We have seen this before, for example, during the Charlottesville protests when the president stated there were "very fine people on both sides," so it shouldn't be a surprise that when offered an opportunity to condemn white supremacy on a global stage, he was unable to do so. Instead of simply saying, "I whole-heartedly condemn white supremacy," President Trump instead told them to "stand back and stand by", before shifting the focus to the left-wing. Some defenders of the president say he might have misspoken, but the fact is that condemning white supremacy shouldn't be so easily misspoken to the point that certain white supremacists are embracing the president's remarks and viewing them as him being on their side! For me, it seems as if the president was handed such an easy opportunity and somehow still missed his chance.

Biden's Sons

The second thing with the presidential debate that stuck out to me was the personal attacks that President Trump levied on Biden's sons. Not only did the president continuously interrupt and interject throughout the whole night, but he went low when attacking Biden for his son's history of drug addiction while the former vice president was discussing his late son Beau Biden. Addiction is a horrible thing and attacking someone because their son had fought a battle against addiction is disrespectful and inhumane on its own, let alone doing so while someone is talking about their dead child... it was repulsive.

Biden's response was to defend his son. "My son, like a lot of people, like a lot of people we know at home, had a drug problem. He's overtaken it. He's fixed it. He's worked on it and I'm proud of him. I'm proud of my son."

(The moment I am referencing in this section starts at approx. 3:56)

Biden also could have easily turned back with personal attacks on the president's children but he chose not to. He defended his son and moved on, and I respect that. 

The Environment

One issue that was touched upon was something that is very important to me and should be very important to everyone: the environment. Biden's policies regarding the environment and climate change are one of the non-Trump-related reasons why the former vice president has my vote this year. 

I feel Biden did a much better job of using specifics and being more detailed with a plan for the future, and in all honesty, when President Trump was speaking about forest fires and forest cities - I will admit he lost me. I was trying to follow his thought process but for me, I couldn't. It was all over the place and very vague. I took away "forest management" and that's about it. I believe there was something about (more?) cars at one point - but I digress. We should be listening to environmental and climate scientists on the matter and using that information to create jobs in green industries for a better future.

Going Forward

With those points aside, I want to take a step back and just look at the debate as a whole. Trump interrupted so many times, he made exaggerated claims and lied. Biden mostly held his composure throughout and talked to the American people, trying to make the conversation about them as it should be. I have said many times that I definitely do not agree with Biden on everything, and really I don't know any candidate that you could agree with 100% of the time, but I think he did a decent job overall. He said some things I personally don't agree with, for instance, I believe the Green New Deal could certainly be a very good thing and Joe Biden stated that he does not support it, but policy differences are to be expected, and voting for a president is not marriage. Voting for a president is a vehicle to use in order to take a step in the right direction for the country, and tonight showed me that Biden is certainly a better step than Donald Trump.

Moving forward, if Donald Trump wants to correct his statement on white supremacy, it would be important to do so. The president should clarify that his position is against white supremacy, and he also owes an apology to Biden and the American people for using past drug addiction as an insult. Common decency is a bare necessity.


Thanks for reading. I hope you all have an amazing rest of the week! :)

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