Kueppers: An utter disgrace

Shock and awe don’t even scratch the surface of the “shitshow” that was last night’s debate.


Henry Kueppers

I am not a fan of either of these men. Maybe that is what has allowed me to almost be nonpartisan in this analysis of the first presidential debate of 2020. In fact, I think I am so nonpartisan, I’m not sure I could possibly speak a single word of positivity or encouragement for either party. Because this was a joke. The first debate was a disgrace, because it was reflective of the current state of our country, and it resembles a flaming bag of poop left on the doorsteps of Lady Liberty. We are in disarray. We are in madness. Democracy is on the cliff edge, and I have no solace to offer you. (Sorry, um, I guess I am the goofy guy. Trump is so dumb he tried to alphabetize M&M’s? Joe Biden looks like a golf tee wearing a toupee? Is that good enough for you?)
The topics of the debate included the future of the Supreme Court and the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, COVID-19, race relations, the economy, the candidates records and health care, among many other things. But you wouldn’t really know that if you watched the debate live, because it felt less like a civilized, intelligible conversation and more like a “yo mama” schoolyard showdown. Both candidates displayed weird and alarming responses to several of the aforementioned topics and it left many viewers wondering, “Wait, what?”

In regards to the Supreme Court, President Trump praised Amy Coney Barrett, saying she was an excellent scholar and a great candidate. Former Vice President Biden did not discredit any of Barrett’s accomplishments, but he argued that we should be waiting until the end of the election to decide on the empty Supreme Court seat. However, that was all we were really able to hear on the topic, because it quickly dissolved into a shouting match over the Affordable Care Act, and Chris Wallace was left trying to moderate two grown men who were arguing like kids.

Oh, speaking of which, Chris Wallace. A terrible moderator, as he clearly showed partisan favor towards the Republican Party and Trump throughout the debate through his wording of questions and his allowal of Trump to interrupt Biden (for several minutes at a time). Yet, even without the bias of Wallace, the debate was destined to take a very contentious road, as neither candidate wanted to yield any of their allotted time.

On COVID-19 and the economy, Biden claimed Trump was a disgrace and was irresponsible in his response to the virus, and was too naive in pushing the country to try and reopen. Meanwhile, Trump told the Vice President that he was unintelligent and that he could not do a better job.

This debate was increasingly less of a coherent discussion and more of a crazy episode of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” where you feel like everyone is just sort of yelling at each other and we’re just supposed to be amused by it all. Some key takeaways from the debate were that Biden encouraged the American people to vote and not pay mind to the lies that President Trump is spreading. He told the world not to be bullied by Trump, a man who could not stop interrupting him throughout the entire 90 minutes of the debate (which prompted Joe Biden to tell Trump to “Shut up, man”). Vice President Biden also acknowledged the presence of systemic racism in our country and the need to hold people and protestors accountable, and that violence is never the answer. Biden also said that he does not support the Green New Deal, a policy being pushed by progressive Democrats in the party, and that it is time to remove the clown that is Trump from office.

Meanwhile, President Trump executed a strategy of throwing Biden off and holding him back from speaking for too long by interrupting nearly every one of his answers. It proved to be a quasi-efficient strategy, as Biden did falter a few times and struggled to keep momentum in response to Trump’s insistent blabbering. Trump argued that the economy will come back better than ever and that he is in full support of wearing masks and social distancing. He even mentioned that a vaccine for COVID-19 was on the near horizon.

Perhaps the most notable moment for President Trump came when moderator Chris Wallace gave Trump the opportunity to openly condemn white supremacists. However, rather than publicly condemn white supremacists, Trump simply turned the conversation towards Antifa and refused to make any comment on the racist group.

Finally, there was climate change, a topic thousands of Americans desperately argued to be included into the topics for the candidates. While climate change did not make the original roster, the two candidates burned through their other questions so quickly, Chris Wallace found they actually ended up having time to discuss climate change. Unfortunately, neither candidate had a satisfactory stance on the issue. Trump claims the wildfires in California are the result of “poor forest management,” and Joe Biden ended up going on an unusual tangent about the science of coal and how we need to be switching over to renewable energy.

There are no clear winners from this debate. Both probably appealed to their constituents, and both probably deterred many viewers. But the fact that we’ve reached the point where our presidential debates are basically no more than a competition of who can yell the loudest and argue the longest is not a good sign for our democracy and the fate of our country.