Trump/Biden debate: the expected and the unexpected


The first debate of the 2020 presidential election between the Democratic candidate Joe Biden and the Republican incumbent Donald Trump VIDEO/Huffington Post/You Tube

The unexpected

The only unexpected thing at the 2020 presidential election debate September 29, 2020 was the former vice president Joe Biden‘s performance. It was not great but was surprising that he held onto 90 plus minutes without any gaffes or serious blunder against Trump’s constant incitement. Biden’s lack of energy was transparent and so was the future of a Biden presidency: If Biden wins the election, and if Trump leaves the White House, it will be Biden’s vice presidential pick Kamala Harris who will run the show and will, in case of Biden’s serious health problem or death, before long be the first black woman president.

The expected

It was expected that President Donald Trump would play his nasty self, that he did, with constant lying, interruptions, and ignoring the moderator Chris Wallace of Fox TV’s calls. This doesn’t imply that Biden was telling the truth – he lies a lot too but is much more careful than Trump.

It is difficult for Trump to understand his tantrums, boasting, and other nasty traits, a novelty during the 2016 debates, are now making people sick. It was something new then for people who were used to seeing debates historically, where candidates always acted within certain parameters. The 2016 presidential debates also benefited the electronic news media saw its ratings shoot up.

The first 2020 debate was a good chance for Trump to blast Biden for his hypocrisy. Trump could have told Biden now he talks about rights of black people but it was his Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, under chairmanship of Senate Judiciary Committee, which became law with President Bill Clinton’s signature, resulting disproportionately in incarcerating a big percentage of black youths. Trump touched on it but his attention span and lack of articulation prevented him from dwelling on it. Another point Trump could have raised about Biden’s corporate friendliness was his plan to cut social security.

On racism, Chris Wallace demanded Trump should condemn the white supremacist groups, Trump supported a white racist group, the Proud Boys, ignoring their violence, while in the same breath, criticized people protesting against police violence, often peacefully. But he did not:

“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by, but I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left, because this is not a right-wing problem. This is a left-wing problem,”

Trump telling a white supremacist group Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.” VIDEO/NBC/You Tube

Joe Biggs, leader of the Proud Boys, was more than happy with Trump’s open support of his racist group. He used Parler (a right wing social media site) to vent out his hatred:

Trump basically said to go fuck them up! this makes me so happy.”

After the debate, Proud Boys took Trump’s statement as an order to arm. The group acknowledged Trump command by accepting it on Telegram:

“Standing down and standing by sir.”

As is usual with Trump, the next day answering reporters, he claimed he’s not aware of the Proud Boys.

Biden showed his true color when Trump attacked him as a “socialist.” Biden said he’s not for the New Green Deal but has his own Biden plan for dealing with climate issues and he also said he’s not going to eliminate big pharma’s role in the health industry.

This was the correct time for Biden to counter Trump with the following answer:

Why is it that providing free healthcare to the entire population of the United States is termed socialism, whereas, your giving away hundreds of billions of dollars to the big corporations and reducing the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% is not.

But then such a response can’t be expected from a corporate supported guy like Biden, especially on corporate controlled TV channel and against a guy like Trump who is the owner of several corporations.

Chris Wallace should have been more strict with Trump.

New Rules

New rules are needed to give debates a semblance of sanity that give the audience a chance to understand the issues allowed by the corporate media.

The mike should be on of only the candidate answering or responding to the moderator’s question.

There should be a team of fact checkers present who should check the statements of dubious nature or outright lies, as one Trump cited: “take a look at West Virginia, mailmen selling the ballots.” It is not true.

There should be a team of people who could show past videos of candidates contradicting themselves.

If the candidate whose mike is shut off but still shouts and acts rowdy then he should be asked to leave the stage, The questioning should continue with the remaining candidate. This would bring them to accept the rules.

If the candidate is lying outright then the moderator should tell the candidate that he’s a lair.

For the second and third debates, United States’ presidential debates commission wants to make changes which could permit a “more orderly discussion.” Trump and his team have rejected the idea. Trump said:

“Why would I allow the debate commission to change the rules for the second and third debates when I easily won last time?”

In other words, Trump wants to insult and interfere constantly to please his white base who think it is smart to do that, and to cover up his lack of coherency in articulating his ideas – he has no constructive ones.

If no changes are made to the rules debates should be called off, because current or past debates have not helped as the real issues affecting common people are never debated in a manner that exposes economic inequality, political injustice, and the social ills in a way that could prompt actions leading to the elimination of these issues.

The average voter is always in the dark on the stance taken by these candidates on major issues impacting them.

B. R. Gowani can be reached at

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