A Review of the First Presidential Debate of 2020

Written by Beckett Glass (News Editor)

On Tuesday, September 29, a debate was not televised, but instead, a brawl. There was no civility present, Donald Trump (R) interrupted Joe Biden (D) 71 times, and Biden interrupted Trump 22 times, charging to hammer their points home. They made personal attacks on each other, sticking insults among their policy goals. This was the most jarring debate in a presidential election in recent memory. 

The debate was moderated by Chris Wallace, who provided an even and fair moderation. At times he had to break up arguments on stage, raising his voice to gain the attention of the candidates. The topics ranged from the Supreme Court to racism against Black Americans. 

With the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a seat on the Supreme Court has opened up. During the 2016 election, the Republican Senate said that the next president should fill the seat that was held by Anton Scalia, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland for the court. Instead of waiting until the end of an election year to appoint a new judge to the Supreme Court, the precedent that Senate Republicans set themselves, they are proceeding with the nomination process. When asked about this, each candidate gave their thoughts,Trump claimed that he is the president so he should be able to appoint a judge whenever needed. Biden said the opposite. 

The debate also discussed the hotly contested topic of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the dismantling of which was one of Trump’s main campaign promises. Though Trump has discussed it since his election to the office, he has not yet put forth a plan to replace it. The topic came up when discussing the new Supreme Court nomination. Biden did discuss his plan which is to expand and increase he Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) while still allowing people to keep their private insurance. 

 One of the most important aspects of this election cycle is the disagreement on election fraud. In recent weeks Trump has been filing lawsuits in several states about mail-in-ballots. Mail-in ballots were started in the Civil War for the election of 1864 so Union soldiers could vote while on the campaign. There is a famous picture of soldiers voting while besieging Petersburg.  In any case, Trump has made several claims regarding the legitimacy of the election, including repeated claims that the mail-in-ballots were tampered with. 

This will be the most consequential election in our history. It will determine if our Republic will continue. If our candidates can not be civil in their debates how can we expect them to uphold democracy?  To that end, there’s a tired old phrase, but it bears repeating; vote. 

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