Debate Debrief: Takeaways from the Second Presidential Debate | Carson McCloskey
Following the first Presidential Debate of 2020, the American people deserved a civil, sophisticated debate between the two candidates running for the highest office in this country. We certainly did not receive it during the first debate, but we got somewhere close with this debate. Compared to the first 2020 Presidential Debate, this one actually gave the American people an insight into what the candidates have planned for the future of this country. This debate allowed for us to see questions answered by the candidates without the constant interrupting and nagging from the other side.
The reasoning behind this might be the threat of turning off microphones, also known as the “mute button”. Prior to the debate, the candidates were promised uninterrupted time to speak freely without interruption, and it seemed to work. The use of the “mute button” successfully diffused the chaotic tension that the previous debate held and the candidates showed respect throughout the debate. Even when the candidates did attack each other, they did so calmly and in a deliberate manner, in extreme contrast to the last debate.
The moderator of this debate, NBC reporter Kristin Welker, proved to be the most in-control moderator the debate stages have seen in these past two months. She was able to remain authoritative while still showing respect, easily switching between questions and allowing for herself to not be talked over by the candidates. Welker set the stage by immediately asking both former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump about the COVID-19 pandemic and how each of their administrations would combat the virus during the next four years. President Trump toyed with the idea of a vaccine becoming available in the next coming weeks and offered a personal testimony to a new, experimental drug that he called a “cure.” Vice President Biden shot back with how the Trump administration has handled the pandemic so far, with 220,000 Americans dead and a prediction of 200,000 more dead by the end of the year.
Although the candidates showed more respect during this debate then the last, personal attacks were no stray to this debate. President Trump fired a personal attack at Vice President Biden, claiming that Biden makes money from both China and Ukraine, yet offered no hard evidence for these assertions. President Trump also made remarks about Vice President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, repeatedly raising allegations, but Biden was able to pull himself from under these accusations saying, “I have not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life” and turning the conversation back towards the American people.
Immigration was a heated topic of the debate. The recent news of Trump’s administration being unable to locate parents of 545 children who were separated from their families at the U.S. border with Mexico was highlighted in questions from Welker. Trump responded with vague and ambiguous answers, repeatedly blaming Biden and former President Barack Obama for the detention policy of the “cages” at the border. Trump was referring to the temporary enclosures built to hold unaccompanied minors. Biden shot back saying “they separated them from their parents,” and “it makes us a laughing stock and violates every notion of who we are as a nation.”
The debate included conversations of race and foreign relations, but neither topic included new information that the American people have not already heard and both topics were no stranger to personal attacks. One of the most memorable comments from this debate may just be Trump comparing himself to Abraham Lincoln, saying that besides Lincoln, he has done the most for black citizens in this country, and Biden referring to Trump as “the most racist president” that America has ever seen.
The debate ended with statements from both candidates about what they would say to those who did not vote for them during their inaugural speeches. Biden had the final word of the night, saying that he would be a President for all Americans, and represent every citizen of the United States, not only the Democrats. Overall, the debate can be characterized as having some class and dignity, but not shying away from the evidently unavoidable personal attacks from each side. As opposed to the previous debate, the second Presidential Debate of 2020 gave the American people a chance to hear what the candidates had to say, instead of childish arguing.