Presidential Debate Reform Needed


(AP Photo, file)

Abe Condrich, '22, Edsman Staffer

Last Tuesday, the first presidential debate took place at Case Western University in Cleveland. This was the first of three planned debates and a rough one to say the least. A total of six topics were covered in the debate: Biden and Trump records, the Supreme Court, Covid-19, the economy, race and violence in cities, and the integrity of the election. The first topic discussed was the supreme court. The supreme court has become controversial in the last few weeks because of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Trump’s nominee Amy Coney Barrett. When asked about the nomination, Biden said that never in history has a president nominated someone to the Supreme Court with only a few months left in his presidency. Biden says that Trump should wait and that the winner of the election should be able to decide who the nominee would be. Trump argued back that since he won the presidency, he had the right to put up a nominee which is true. When asked if he would pack the court if he won the presidency, Biden refused to answer the question.   

      The next segment of the debate was on the topic of Covid-19. This was where the debate started to get out of control. Biden criticized Trump for the 200,000 dead Americans. Biden quoted Trumps, “It is what it is.” Trump fired back saying that if Biden were president, he would have over 2,000,000 dead. The key to this is that Biden is not president. The segment then took a turn toward the economy. Biden made the point that Trump knew about how dangerous the coronavirus was and only started to care when it hit the stocks. Trump again fired back that Biden would have much more deaths if he were president. An important moment in this segment was when Trump said that states were shutting down to hurt him politically. Biden had the perfect response. Biden said that the coronavirus is not a political matter. Biden stated that coronavirus is a national health emergency and that all people regardless of party should be working together to help suppress the virus. He said, “the only way that we are going to fix the economy and the stock market is by dealing with coronavirus first.” Biden is totally correct here, even though a shutdown will cause economic damage, the coronavirus must be dealt with seriously even if more shutdowns are involved.  Biden also laid out his plan for helping businesses reopen with the necessary PPE. He also called out Trump for having no plan. The main takeaway from the coronavirus segment was Biden’s plan for a safe reopening and Trump’s incompetence to come up with a solution.

     During the economy segment of the debate, tax plans and healthcare were the main topics. Trump was quick to slam Biden on his healthcare plan stating that he would wipe out private health care. Biden’s plan gives people the option for government healthcare or private healthcare. When called out by Biden for enacting no healthcare plan during his presidency, Trump was quick to say that he had a plan that would be set in motion if he won in November. After questions from Biden, Trump never gave any detail or substance of the plan. Tax plans then came up. To summarize, Biden gave his tax plan that would benefit the middle class and called out Trump for his one sided tax plan. To many people’s surprise, Trump was not pressed on his recent tax returns and allegations of paying 750$ in taxes during his first year in the presidency. Then the debate went into Biden and Trump’s record. By this time in the debate, Trump seemed fed up. Chris Wallace, the moderator, could barely keep control. Trump at one time questioned Wallace on whether he was debating him or Biden. Topics like Russia, China, and family matters were the most prevalent in this section.

     One of the most important parts of the debate came out of this segment. In the light of Trump’s comments about veterans being “suckers” and “losers,” Biden counterargued Trump saying that his son, Beau, who served in Iraq was a patriot and fighter. The last segment of the debate was the integrity of the election. This section mostly consisted of Trump complaining about voter fraud. While on the other side, Biden urged people to vote. At this point in the debate, it was chaos. Biden nor the moderator could get out a sentence without Trump interrupting. One of Trump’s points in this section was that he told his supporters to go in and watch the voting. He then complained about how his supporters were thrown out of voting stations in Philadelphia.  First, what Trump instructed his supporters to do is illegal. You must register to work at voting stations. It is also voter intimidation. After the debate ended, Trump was still complaining about fraud and “unsolicited ballots.”

      Something must be done about future debates because this debate was embarrassing and portrayed the US as a laughing stock. Major rule changes or a cancellation of future debates is needed because a debate like this can never happen again.