Presidential candidates offer a memorable debate season

The presidential candidates squared off in a chaotic first debate that left viewers speechless.

Reece Plimpton, Staff Writer

As Election Day neared, the two candidates from the Democratic and Republican Parties had a series of debates to tell the American people what they will do for the country if they get elected. 

President Donald Trump and Former Vice President Joe Biden had their first debate on September 29, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio, moderated by Chris Wallace.

Leading up to the debate, it was revealed by the New York Times that President Trump only paid $750 in taxes in 2016 and 2017 and COVID-19 cases were on the rise, both of which harmed Trump.

The debate started off well, but soon turned into chaos with Trump constantly talking over Biden and the moderator, preventing Biden from answering any question given directly to him. Biden could no longer conceal his frustration with Trump interrupting him. “Will you just shut up, man?” Biden asked.

The first debate covered topics such as coronavirus, racial injustice, and the Supreme Court. When racial injustice came up, the moderator asked Trump if he would condemn white supremacy and urge his supporters to remain calm, but Trump completely avoided the question, shocking many viewers with his response. “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by, but I’ll tell you what, 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 said.

A CNN poll found that 60% of viewers believed that Biden won that night, and 28% believed Trump won, but the mood was not celebratory.

The Vice Presidential Debate took place on October 7, 2020 with added precautions, as Trump and many other White House employees had tested positive for COVID-19. 

Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris took to the stage in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the debate was moderated by Susan Page.

Pence mostly reiterated what Trump’s messages from the previous debate. Viewers found Pence’s reporting misleading concerning the COVID-19 pandemic while finding Harris’ responses vague and out of context. Both candidates dodged questions and pivoted.

Harris attacked Pence and the Republicans for Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett as a Supreme Court Justice after Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away. She mentioned that Abraham Lincoln refused to nominate a Justice after Roger B. Taney passed away 27 days before an election. Lincoln said it should be up to the American People on who the next Supreme Court Justice is.

The final Presidential debate, moderated by Kristen Welker, took place on October 22 in Nashville, Tennessee with several changes put into effect to avoid another disaster. Trump and Biden would each have 2 minutes of uninterrupted time to answer the moderator’s question while the other candidate had his microphone muted to prevent interruptions. 

When asked about the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump made claims that a vaccine would be available within the next few weeks. Biden then slammed Trump with criticism about the pandemic, claiming he never had a plan to contain the virus.

During the climate change section, Trump made false claims about the state of the United States carbon emissions, saying they were the “Lowest carbon emissions since 1990.”

Biden on the other hand, controversially proposed to combat climate change by switching the country from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Trump also claimed he knew more about the wind than Biden. “Wind [turbines] kill all the birds,” Trump said.

 The final debate was praised for being less chaotic, which allowed for more in-depth responses from both candidates. A CNN poll found that 53% of viewers believed Biden won the debate and 39% believed Trump did.

While all three debates and the candidates had their ups and downs, these debates gave a quick glimpse to the American People of what we would see if Donald Trump is reelected or if Joe Biden becomes the new President of the United States.