Failed Debates

Opinion

Over the past month, presidential and vice-presidential candidates have come together for a series of three debates. Usually, these debates would be a time for each of the candidates to lay out their plans if they were elected and have civil discourse with their competitor; however, this was not the case for these past debates.

Before watching the first presidential debate I knew it would not be the typical debate, but it was worse than imagined. This debate was filled with irrelevant family insults, name-calling, interrupting, and of course, it was littered with false claims. Not only were those actions unpresidential, but they also made it difficult for the viewers to gain anything from the debate. When we were able to gain anything from the debate, the takeaways were not good.

I think both candidates were far from the level of presidential they should be, but that being said, Donald Trump’s performance was slightly more unhinged. First, Trump neglected to condemn white supremacy and instead deflected the question, which I shouldn’t have to tell you is unacceptable. Additionally, Trump insulted Joe Biden’s son, which is not relevant to any argument. When he wasn’t insulting the other candidate, he was making false claims, whether it be about the economy or the dangers of COVID-19. The false claims made it increasingly difficult for the viewers to get an accurate representation of the candidate’s agenda. With all the bickering, the moderator was obsolete, and could not control the candidates. 

Next up was the Vice Presidential debate between Republican nominee Mike Pence and Democratic nominee Kamala Harris. Since this debate was not as chaotic as the presidential debate, the American people were able to gain more from this debate. Both of the candidates did dodge questions, but some of the information we did get was helpful. Harris slammed the Trump administration for their horrible handling of the coronavirus, their plans for Obamacare, and many more issues. In comparison to the presidential debate, this was more policy-oriented than either of the presidential debates, but it did not lack confrontation, and just like both presidential candidates, there was a pattern of interruption throughout the night. When talking about this debate you cannot forget the iconic fly on Mike Pence’s head, which seemed apropos.

The last presidential debate was significantly better than the first one, but that does not say a lot. Both campaigns agreed to new rules, which included muting their microphones when their allotted time was up. While this seemed like a great idea, Biden and Trump both still managed to interrupt each other. One of the main reasons why this debate was more successful than the first one was because of the moderator Kirsten Walker. She was able to somewhat control the two candidates, and this allowed them to focus a little more on the policy. Just like the first, this debate was full of false claims, but there were considerably less.

Watching all three of these debates honestly reminded me exactly why American politics are in such a sad state of affairs. Instead of focusing on policy and ideology, both candidates were focused on landing personal blows. Through all the yelling, arguing, insults, and name-calling it was almost impossible to get a clear thought from either candidate. It is safe to say that the presidential debates were a failure, and the vice-presidential debate was slightly less pathetic.