• Zoe Spikerman

A Recap of the First Two Presidential Debates

“A Hot Mess Inside A Dumpster Fire Inside a Train Wreck” - Jake Tapper

At the end of the first presidential debate, Chris Wallace, the debate’s useless moderator, summed up the lawless, chaotic, emotional evening with a simple phrase laced in sarcasm and defeat: “President Trump, Vice President Biden, it's been an interesting hour and a half.”


I think many would prefer the adjective “disheartening”.


President Trump’s constant interruptions, the debate’s most memorable catastrophe, might have drowned out Biden’s voice, but definitely did not distract from Trump’s--the man who currently controls the nuclear launch button---blatant unpreparedness, rudeness, and immorality.


Our President’s foolery made its expected appearance during some key moments:


  • I wear a mask, when needed -- when needed, I wear masks. I don't -- I don’t wear masks like him. Every time you see him, he's got a mask. He could be speaking 200 feet away from me, and he shows up with the biggest mask I've ever seen” I relish in the irony.

  • President Trump’s failure to condemn white supremacy and success in buttering up the Proud Boys.

  • President Trump’s live-action reenactment of Mr. O’Hare---the greedy businessman who doesn’t believe in Climate Change--from the Lorax Movie. Sadly, he was not actually acting.

  • President Trump’s refusal to leave office peacefully if--and hopefully when--he loses the election.


Though, at least in my opinion, there was a clear “winner,” when faced with these events, I’d say the overall verdict was a loss. A loss of hope in the survival of American Democracy.


Thankfully, the first Vice Presidential debate, both incredibly more coherent and civil, shined a dim light in the dark abyss that is the 2020 election.


I believe Kamala Harris, with her eloquent, factual speeches, successfully redeemed the democratic party and re-established the Biden-Harris campaign goals . Her explanations on how the Biden administration wouldn’t increase taxes for those earning less than $400,000 a year, wouldn't ban fracking, and would create a surplus of clean-energy jobs effectively cleared up voters’ possible misconceptions. I hope by clarifying how the Trump administration--by trying to abolish the Affordable Care Act--is “coming for” people with pre-existing conditions and young adults aged 18-26 (who would no longer be included in their parents insurance plans) Kamala Harris gained the support of undecided voters.


On the other hand, Mike Pence, clearly--and far more eloquently than Trump--explained the Trump Administration’s agenda. One notable goal was the need for “Tree Management” (whatever that means) over the demotion of fossil fuels.


Vice President Pence was also able to show off his only talent: ignoring and manipulating questions to benefit his standing.


Significant questions, however, were ignored--or left partially unanswered--on both sides.


Mike Pence:

The questions he overlooked:


Why is the U.S. death toll, as a percentage of our population, higher than that of almost every other wealthy country?


How can you expect Americans to follow the administration safety guidelines to protect themselves from COVID when you were at the White House and have not been doing so?


Vice President Pence, have you had a conversation or reached an agreement with President Trump about safeguards or procedures when it comes to the issue of presidential disability? And if not, do you think you should?


In recent days, President Trump's doctors have given misleading answers or refused to answer basic questions about his health. And my question to each of you, in turn, is, is this information voters deserve to know? Vice President Pence, would you like to go first?


Do you believe, as the scientific community has concluded, that man-made climate change has made wildfires bigger, hotter and more deadly? And it made hurricanes wetter, slower and more damaging?


Vice President Pence, do you believe that climate change poses an existential threat?


President Trump says that he's going to protect people with pre-existing conditions, but he has not explained how he will do that. So, tell us, specifically – how will your administration protect Americans with pre-existing conditions and give access to affordable insurance if the Affordable Care Act is struck down.

If Vice President Biden is declared the winner and President Trump refuses to accept a peaceful transfer of power, what would be your role and responsibility as Vice President? What would you personally do?


Kamala Harris:

The questions she overlooked:


Have you had a conversation, or reached an agreement with Vice President Biden, about safeguards or procedures when it comes to the issue of presidential disability? And if not, and if you win the election next month, do you think you should?


Senator Harris, as the Vice President mentioned, you co-sponsored the Green New Deal in Congress, but Vice President Biden said in last week's debate that he does not support the Green New Deal. But if you look at the Biden Harris campaign website it describes the Green New Deal as a crucial framework. What exactly would be the stance of a Biden Harris Administration toward the green New Deal?


(Pence’s Question) If Judge Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed to the Supreme Court of the United States, are you and Joe Biden, if somehow you win this election, going to pack the Supreme Court to get your way?


We can only wait in stressful suspense for the following Presidential debates---if they even happen.


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