posts 16 - 30 of 39
kurapika
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 5

processing the debate

Watching the debate felt like watching a reality show (or, more like two siblings bickering). To be honest, I wasn’t expecting a civil debate but I was totally shocked at the level of disrespect during the 90 minutes. While rather entertaining to watch, I left with the thought “what is happening to our country?”. The fact that I entered the debate expecting a limited amount of civility speaks for itself.

Over the interruptions and bickering and overall confusion, I found that there was little to no substance given to the points that the candidates were able to squeeze out amidst the schoolyard taunting and blatant disrespect to the moderator and the debate in general. Trump would vaguely pass over a word or two about his policies and then resort to trying to diminish Biden’s appearance, bringing up personal subjects (like Biden’s sons) into an argument which it had no place for. I’m amazed at the level of restraint Biden exhibited, especially during those moments, as I don’t know if I could’ve been as collected as he was if put into his position. Even though Biden did exhibit rather childish behavior - which was totally unprofessional- it was nowhere near as extreme as the behavior President Trump displayed. Not only did Trump actively argue and harass Mr.Biden, but he also directed his brusque remarks to Chris Wallace (the moderator) who was just trying to do his job. It got so bad to the point that even Wallace had to raise his voice to be heard. This decorum was very embarrassing to watch.


I was irritated with both candidates with how vague they answered the questions (if they even answered the question at all). Biden was a little more clear in his answers but to be quite honest they left me with even more questions than what I had coming into the debate. I also feel many of Biden’s points were drowned out by all the interruptions and insults by President Trump. One thing I liked about Biden is how he continued to look into the camera while speaking his points. While kind of cheesy, I think that it was a smart decision to make it appear that he was speaking to the viewers directly (unlike Trump, who chose to position himself so he only looked at Biden and at times the moderator). Speaking of Trump, he was vaguer in his answers, choosing to skirt around the main point of the question and choosing to answer with arbitrary information that held no substance to the topic at hand (ex. his “I brought back football” in response to how well he handled COVID-19). He wouldn’t even answer the question about condemning white supremacy and white supremacists groups, instead telling them something along the lines of, “Stand by and stand down.” (like @ernest, I was also surprised by the directness of the question and very frustrated by the president’s answer). By the end of the debate, I honestly felt like I wasted 90 minutes of my life as I had learned virtually nothing about the candidates’ policies/plans.


In response to the question of whether this debate will affect the upcoming election - I seriously doubt it will. Trump’s behavior in this debate was nothing that we’ve never seen before and I don’t know how undecided voters will react to this debate.

cherryblossom
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 9

Is there still hope for the American people?

This first presidential debate was a disaster, as I found it very difficult to watch. Throughout most of the debate, Trump and Biden were talking over each other. At many moments, like @boricua1234, I also asked myself what was happening and was this real. There was an overwhelming number of personal attacks, especially from Trump, and very little talk of their plans for this country.


A moment that stood out to me was when the moderator asked Trump to call out white supremacist and tell them to stop adding to the violence in the nation. However, he did not condemn them, as he said he could do it but then made no effort to denounce extremist groups. Even though Trump’s response was no surprise, it was a good point for the moderator to bring up because it clearly showed the president’s racist disposition and tolerance for extremists’ actions. There was another point in this chaotic debate that stood out to me. Trump expressed that racial sensitivity training in federal agencies should end “because it’s racist.” It is sad to know that some people in America believed this and other things he has told them. Becoming knowledgeable about racial discrimination and systemic racism is something that everyone should strive for. As individuals, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves about racial inequality. It is important not only to be aware of racial injustices, but also to actively fight against racism as anti-racists, rather than as non-racists.


When Biden spoke, Trump often interrupted him. He claimed that Biden was lying, or he criticized the former vice president personally. This shows that Trump is very defensive and is a bully. He could not abide by the simple rules that were set for the debate. How can we expect a person that cannot have a civil conversation to lead this nation? On the other hand, most of the time Biden refrained from talking over Trump and the moderator. He was also able to maintain a controlled attitude, despite the aggravating comments that Trump made. Even though some people might argue that he was too quiet, his demeanor showed that he could control himself and be the adult in the room. Biden was able to reorganize himself and get most of his point across even with Trump’s loud and frequent interruptions. In addition, he made several efforts to look directly into the camera to speak to the American people, unlike Trump. Although Biden clearly demonstrated better character, nobody really won this debate. We need a president that can lead us through the pandemic and social unrest. We need a president that priorities the people and their concerns. Most of all, we need a president that can feel compassion and empathy for the people that are struggling in this country.


While it will be an unforgettable one, this first presidential debate was not informative or successful. Like @ernest., I hope that the future debates will better address each candidate’s plans and their intentions instead of having another debate with unproductive and personal arguments. With more promising debates, some citizens will be able to make a meaningful and clear choice by November 3rd, as our next president is an investment for our future.

Noodles
West Roxbury, MA, US
Posts: 8

Nothing Presidential About It

Four years ago, during the 2016 presidential election, was the first time that I ever watched a presidential debate, and while Trump acted similarly childish back then, the debate still had a level of professionalism. And just earlier this year, with the democratic presidential debates, I was able to gain a much better understanding of each candidate's policies and goals. But there was a starch difference between those debates and this recent one. It sort of felt as if I had just watched a SNL presidential debate skit, as neither candidate got their point across. Sadly that works in the favor of Trump. By causing confusion during the debate, undecided voters leave the debate unsure to who to support, voters who might have turned to Biden had they heard his policies.


Throughout the debate, I noticed that Biden was stooping down to Trump’s level, getting rid of the professionalism that should be shown in the debates. In years past, I always saw presidential debates and candidates as being the best of our society, people who represented the values and strengths of America. And while we all knew Trump never represented that, we had put our trust in Biden to restore our respect and pride in the US democratic presidency. And because of that, I was surprised that he lost his cool and told Trump “will you shut up, man?”, and changed the tone of the debate from formal to informal when he used Trump’s first name. I feel like this will leave a permanent stain on our democratic process, ruining forever the title of President of the United States of America. I was also disappointed that Biden was constantly on the defense, refuting points that Trump brought it, instead of telling America his policy. He fell for Trump's tricks, but at the same time Trump crossed a line bringing up Biden’s dead son. Biden did well showing how proud he was of his son, especially that he served, but I hoped that Biden had then come at Trump for faking an injury to avoid serving.


But because of their constant arguing, and with Trump at times trying to debate the moderator, I wasn’t able to learn about their policies. Trump especially tried to confuse voters by talking about Biden’s 1994 Crime Bill, trying to portray him as a racist, which was hypocritical. Biden was able to talk a bit about his policy for the environment and tax reforms, but there were no real details as Trump kept trying to bring up the Green Deal, which Biden was not backing. As for Trump’s plan, I only learned that he was seemingly making America better, never hearing him talk about a real plan to make that happen. But I did learn more about their characteristics, specifically that Trump would stoop to any level to insult someone. I always knew he was a horrible person and would insult anyone, but I didn’t realize he would insult his opponent's dead son, especially one who was a veteran. As for Biden, I was able to see a part of his aggressive side when we defended his son and shamed Trump for speaking bad of him. I had only previously seen him as defensive, but it was good to see he could be aggressive when necessary.


Sadly I feel like this debate only helped Trump, as Biden was unable to get his points across with Trump was yelling over him. I hope that people will notice the immature nature of Trump and realize the necessity of voting in a competent leader, which might cause higher voter turnout. But this was just the first debate, and I am hoping that Biden will step it up in the later debates and not get side tracked by Trump as he was in this debate.

Cookie Monster
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 9

Welcome Ingolstadt students! You guys are so lucky that you get to look at what is going on in America from afar because it really sucks being stuck in the middle of it. Coronavirus has ravaged the US because of that fact that we lack a national strategy to combat it still to this day and I am STILL stuck in my home. A lot of people are doing a lot economically worse than they were prior to the pandemic because they lost work and the government failed to serve as a remedy for that. Our country is finally starting to come to terms with its wrongs when it comes to racial justice and equity, but we have an administration that refuses to do anything to substantially fix these systemic issues. Republicans in the Senate are rushing through a Supreme Court nomination that threatens the human rights of just about every marginalized group there is.

With all that being addressed above, I was unsurprised by what occurred at the Presidential Debate the other night, but I was angered. How could we as a country elect someone who does not respect our most sacred political institutions? How could we have elected a president that has the emotional capacity of a kindergartener? This may seem like something that is a joking matter for people disconnected from American society like people in Ingolstadt, but it really is not a laughing matter because I felt like as if I was and still watching the implosion of a significant global super power. The fact that foreigners are now not taking us seriously shows how far we have come between 2016 and now.

I do not think I learned one substantive new thing from any of the candidates on Tuesday night. Both Biden and Trump stated a lot of platitudes without more depth or elaboration. However, one can be judged on how fit they are to hold office by their character and how they react under serious pressure. After the debate, I heard a lot of two sided arguments and people complaining that "there was fault on both sides¨. However, I think we all deep in our bones know that one person facilitated all the mess on that stage and that candidate is Trump. He made 73 interruptions that night even though his party agreed that each candidate would get two minutes to respond to a question. He brought up baseless conspiracy theories that had nothing to do with who could manage a country of 325 million and had showed no respect for Biden at all. Although I do not think Biden had the most showstopping debate performance ever, I do think he did what he needed to show the country someone who is an actual politician who cares about every single one of us.

Do I think this outrageous behavior will effect the outcome of the election in November? I do not think I can really answer that question because some people have a very different lifestyle and mindset than me or people in my circle. Trump supporters will continue to be proud of their membership in his cult and defend him no matter what he does. Although we as a society like to think that undecided voters are the most thoughtful and logical in terms of their political views, it seems that some of them are okay with a psychopathic narcissist sitting in the oval office. After the debate, CNN held a control room with Ohio voters who were physically present in the audience. Although they believed Trump was unamerican and acted like a ¨crackhead¨, their minds were not swayed in any one direction. How exactly do you vote for someone who you do not believe represents the American people in his character to lead the highest office in this nation, and, therefore, be the sole image of the US abroad? All I can say is that we have a lot of work to do to get back on track and keep up with other, arguable more just countries such as Germany.

lurando
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 9

The Debate: A Beautiful Failure

I have to be honest, like many others, this was my first ever presidential debate, and honestly… I don’t even know what I was expecting. I mean, I figured Trump was likely going to be a generally unpleasant person during the debate, but I was just… man, that was something. That entire night I was just filled with frustration, anger, amazement, confusion... just, a whole range of intense emotions that I was swept up with. I’m not going to tiptoe around it, that “debate” (if you can even call it that) was awful to watch and even more awful to endure.


There was almost nothing new that I learned from the candidates other than the fact that being aggressive, highly disrespectful, ignoring the topic at hand, and throwing constant insults is supposedly the new standard for an official, professional, political debate. @BlueWhale24 brings up a great point when they mentioned how Trump has been trailing behind according to the election forecasts but still has a big fighting chance from the swing states. I believe that the reason why Trump adopted this rapid-fire, aggressive, and interruptive behavior during the debate is because this is one of his last pushes to discredit Biden and to assert himself. He knows he has nothing else to lose, and believes that if he wants the approval of those swing states, then he has to go with a bang. Perhaps, just like the last election, if he was able to win like that, then he can win like this again. I know @ernest. has a different opinion however, believing that the Presidential debates in recent years are actually not very important for the voter to consider. With the arrival of the Internet and meme culture, all these train-wreck of a Presidential debate do is add to the meme fodder and convince trolls to vote for the ultimate meme. It’s disheartening to no longer see a proper debate where the candidates treat each other as humans rather than a tool to make yourself look good. I’m slightly more hopeful for the future debates after seeing @ernest. mention that changes to the format are coming, but really though, they really need to start muting mics.


As for Biden, I was heavily disappointed by his performance, but I also understand that there was little he could do to fight back effectively. I know he has a stutter problem, and I also know full well that Trump was taking full advantage of that. Awful. Biden skirted around on some of the topics and there were so many good rebuttals and answers he could have presented instead, but I also understand that he was trying to intently appeal to the moderates in order to increase his votes. Like how @BlueWhale24 and @iluvcows mentioned earlier, he really did his best to appeal to the American people and the most poignant thing he did was looking at the camera. Meanwhile, Trump was not trying to appeal to the common people, he was looking for reaffirmation from his supporters. At most, he might be trying to appeal to people who revere a “strong” forceful leader that blazes through their own path, one thing’s for sure is that he’s basically just trying to tighten the support from his supporters.


@boricua1234 mentioned something which I heavily agreed with and that no one else on the board has said yet, and that is the fact that they were disappointed neither candidate discussed the deeply rooted inequalities in our current system. Biden sort of quickly mentioned it by bringing up the statistics of the number of black people who were affected by COVID-19, but both of them largely stayed away from that topic, likely because Trump kept interrupting and distracting everything. It was such a missed opportunity for Biden to mention the current problems going on between the black community and the police officers, but instead he opted to say how he was going to increase the funding. Again, I know he’s doing this in order to appeal to the moderates, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be disappointed.


There were way too many moments that I was just baffled at. Should I talk about how Trump used a racial slur literally twenty minutes into the debate and continued to use racist terms throughout? Should I talk about how he literally brought in Biden’s son who is completely irrelevant to the topic at hand, and, worst of all, drags his dead son down right in front of him? Should I talk about his constant hypocritical jabs, the moment that was most obvious when he described Biden’s racist past and his supposed support from black Americans? Or, the most baffling moment of all, him not condemning white supremacists when he was literally handed the opportunity to do so. I’m dumbfounded. Of course, the icing of the cake is the amount of lies and ad hominem attacks that he throws all throughout the ninety minute debate. Don’t get me wrong, Biden himself did not keep his cool and also threw insults back at Trump, but at least he had the excuse that most of the time it was Trump provoking and attacking him.


I definitely understand the thinking and idea behind @BlueWhale24’s point that as long as the person is effective at running the country, then it doesn’t matter what their character is like. I disagree though, because if you’re an incredibly narrow-minded, outright racist and disrespectful individual, they aren’t going to listen to sound advice, cause problems in diplomacy and with other politicians, shoot down laws that would benefit marginalized people while encouraging laws that could be very harmful, and appoint individuals in high positions that could make detrimental decisions for people.


Trump supporters will keep on supporting Trump, Biden supporters will keep on supporting Biden, and undecided voters will either be more disgusted at the candidates or get more fed up with Trump. This debate went more like a parody or a comedy sketch more than anything else, and I doubt people came out of it feeling proud of our current state of affairs.

ithinkitscauseofme
Roslindale, MA, US
Posts: 8

the whole circus

Trump comes from the world of reality television, and it’s obvious. Not just because he is uneducated about politics, not just because the one thing he does seem to have a grasp on is the news cycle, but because he knows how to put on a show.

The debate was not informative, or even interesting, but it was entertaining. I don’t know about anyone else, but I for one laughed more at that debate than I have at any other political function. Some of my laughter was incredulous, some disbelieving, and some was regular old laughter. After all, wasn’t there a clown on stage?

But after my giggling settled down, I got mad. I thought of my eighth-grade self, who sat in a car for 11 hours to go to the D.C. Women’s March and led a chant of “Tell me what democracy looks like!” “This is what democracy looks like!” This, I think it is safe to say, should not be what democracy looks like.

But it is. This debate was as official as any other. This was not meant to be a playing field, a kindergarten classroom, a boxing ring. But it was, and both candidates took far too many shots, failing to land most of them.

I learned nothing. I am sure that debate changed no opinions about either candidate. I am feeling a bit hopeless and like there isn’t much to say. All we can really do right now is vote, and tell others to do the same.

Hey BLS kids - if you can, vote. Please vote. Please. Vote.

And to the Ingolstadt students - I am sorry you have to put up with the mess our country has made.

zooweemama
Posts: 6

First Presidential Debate Reflection

This was actually my first time watching an entire presidential debate and it wasn’t what I expected. I expected both candidates to act professionally but Trump kept talking over Biden and Biden was getting lost in his words. At times the debate was just between Trump and the moderator, Chris Wallace. I think this was extremely unprofessional as president of the United States. He should be setting a good example for everyone but he was basically bullying Biden and not letting him nor Chris talk. In addition to this, Trump interrupted Biden’s tribute to his late son, Beau, to attack his other son, Hunter. I felt so bad for Biden at this moment.


When asked about Covid-19, Trump quickly turned it into him “bringing back Big Ten football” and he was very proud about that but the president of Big Ten stated Trump had nothing to do with their decision. Also when Trump said the Portland Sheriff supports him but the Sheriff came out with a statement saying he never did… well that’s embarrassing. On the other hand, Biden turned to Trump’s ways and said “will you shut up man?”. I was kinda shocked but at the same time I understand he was frustrated with his opponent constantly talking over him. I was also shocked to hear that Biden doesn't support the Green New Deal but instead the Biden plan.


I don’t think this debate will have much of an impact on the elections. Hopefully this opens more people’s eyes so they can see how disrespectful and childish Trump is (if they haven’t already noticed). As I was watching the debate live, one of the reporters said in order for Trump to gain more supporters, he has to prove it to them in this first debate like he did in the first presidential debate in 2016. However, Trump didn’t do this at all and that’s why in my opinion Biden won this debate. Although it was a mess, Biden acted more professional and mature given the circumstances which could’ve helped him gain more supporters.

bebe
Posts: 6

"Mr. President, Please Stop"

Once the 90 minute “debate” came to a close Tuesday night, I could not think of anything except the pounding headache I was left with. The first actual thought that came to mind was that I had just witnessed an over tired kindergartener sandbox fight. And even that is unfair to an over tired kindergartener.

These last four years have really forced me to come into my political voice and beliefs. Even in the 2016 election, I got most of my information from the SNL cold open reenactments of the presidential debates. I went into this year’s, speculating on what comical skit SNL might perform this Saturday, but I really do not think they could do anything more embarrassing than what actually happened.

Both candidates stooped down to the low level of name calling and interrupting, however president Trump was the main offender of this. It was so clear that he was unprepared and ill informed on every topic, and that his only defense was to be able to stop candidate Biden from being able to get any type of actual content in. The fact in itself that our president could not even show the decency to acknowledge his opponent’s deceased U.S. veteran son, shows how little actual respect he has for this country. Not to mention, that he is the first president in decades who absolutely refused to denounce white supremacists. Donald Trump’s performance at this week’s debate left me with little faith that our country will ever be able to return to a truly prosperous and democratic state.

In the article, “‘I feel Sorry for Americans’: A Baffled World Watches the U.S.” they compare the current state of the United States to the fall of the Roman Empire. Unfortunately, I could not agree more. The outcome of this election will determine whether or not we have a shot at preserving democracy. Although, even if Trump loses, he himself said that he may not accept the results of the election. That is extremely scary to me.

Unsurprisingly, the media is covering this first debate through a very negative lense. They are being very critical of both Trump and Biden. After today’s brief discussion in class, it was clear that many of my classmates feel the same way. Although I do not disagree that Biden fell into the temptation of immaturity, I also think people are failing to give him any kind of benefit of the doubt. Biden is definitely not going to lose the support of far left liberals, as they will do anything to get Trump out of office. What he needs to do is appeal to the small population of more neutral voters, who are yet to make a decision if they will even vote in this election. Unfortunately, this means taking a strong stance against Trump, which is something his supporters really admire. I do hope that in the next debate, he is able to talk about his plans for our country a little bit more.

Neither candidate really said anything about what they would do if they won. Trump seems to have no ideas, and Biden could not get a word in. I was really disappointed that Biden did not even say the phrase, Black Lives Matter. However, I really liked his approach for an environmental plan, and I think he got that point across very well. He also managed to say over and over how important it is to vote on November 3rd, and he applied to the pathos of the American people by looking directly at the camera and addressing us.

The student, @BlueWhale24 was able to sum up my final astonishment and disbelief extremely well. This student asked the blatant question, “Where is the line for Donald Trump.” I absolutely agree with them in that we are raised with the preconceived notion that we should trust the leader of our country, but the past four years were terrifically represented in Trump’s behavior Tuesday night. Since 2016, we have lived in a country led by a lying, scheming, and racist man, and the embarrassment that has cost our country could be seen by any competent person who watched this presidential debate.


ernest.
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 13

Originally posted by Noodles on October 01, 2020 18:54

Four years ago, during the 2016 presidential election, was the first time that I ever watched a presidential debate, and while Trump acted similarly childish back then, the debate still had a level of professionalism. And just earlier this year, with the democratic presidential debates, I was able to gain a much better understanding of each candidate's policies and goals. But there was a starch difference between those debates and this recent one. It sort of felt as if I had just watched a SNL presidential debate skit, as neither candidate got their point across. Sadly that works in the favor of Trump. By causing confusion during the debate, undecided voters leave the debate unsure to who to support, voters who might have turned to Biden had they heard his policies.

I think this is a really interesting and good point, @Noodles: by sowing disorder, Trump wins. This makes me wonder if there are more strategies he will employ in the next debate in doing this, or if he will cool off a bit.

I and many others have also expressed that his aggressive tactics were somewhat effective by preventing Biden from being able to actually make his case, but I do think some revision is called for. This is chiefly because Biden has much less to lose by being forced to talk less: he is consistently ahead in the polls right now. Of course, Trump was still able to win in 2016 without being ahead in the polls this close to the election, but, he still is ultimately at a disadvantage in this moment. With all the same-old, exhausting division and misinformation dogging his presidency as usual, the debate was an opportunity for Trump to find a way to offer something new in his campaign, which he hasn’t really done so far— mostly, he’s just presented himself as better than Biden, without actually promising new policy or anything else. By following the aggressive and frankly uncivilized strategy that he chose in the debate, he gave up this opportunity and ultimately only dug his heels further in the sand, so to speak.

yvesIKB
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 10

Counting Our Options...

Going into the debate, I was actually somewhat excited — I’d admittedly never watched a full presidential debate before, mostly I’d just browse the news summaries afterward. I truly was looking forward to learning more about each candidate’s plans for the next four years, as I think I, and maybe many others, don’t know many specific policies, just the candidate’s persona. Of course, since we are now in the future, I can see that my hopes were misplaced. Instead of a productive debate, the general impression of this first 2020 Presidential Debate seemed to include the key words: embarrassing, kindergarten, brawl, personal.


Granted, I still learned several things from the candidates. Moments that stood out to me were both the informative and the despicable parts of the debate. For instance, I learned that Trump plans to overturn Obamacare and implement his own plan, which includes cutting down drug prices by 80-90% and is notable, he claims, as no one had dared to “go against big pharma.” What is misleading with this, however, is the following statement he makes, that he made insulin prices so cheap that it’s “like water,” which is false as it’s still largely unaffordable for people who need it. Additionally, this strikes me as odd considering Trump dismisses Biden’s “public option” to Obamacare, which will make healthcare affordable for those who qualify for Medicaid, and is actively trying to overturn the Affordable Care Act. How is it that he claims to be making parts of healthcare more affordable, while refusing to make it accessible for many impoverished Americans? I also learned about Biden has plans for climate action, which Trump immediately dismisses for its cost — trillions, he claims — and because he doesn’t actual believe in climate change as a real issue. While I support approaches towards climate action, I don’t think Biden presented a strong enough defense for the issue of cost. His response that he will be creating millions of jobs and saving us the cost of future reparations is true, but I don’t think that this is enough since he still needs to find ways to fund his project, whether it is by taxing the rich or some other method — the point is, we don’t know. Overall, neither of these candidates gave me a plan or steps that I could believe in, which really just makes it difficult to believe in them themselves.


Still, there were more appalling, shameful moments that stuck out to me. The most heartbreaking, for me, has to have been listening to Trump attack Biden’s family. Watching as Biden, on live air, attempts to prove to American citizens that he is worthy of being their leader, while braving the absolute slander of his son, was tough. As for their character, Trump’s baiting reinforced his reputation for being prideful and low, while Biden’s response, despite attempts at manifesting a calm authority, revealed his own pressure points. I don’t think I could agree with @BlueWhale24 with their statement that Biden won this debate, as I think America needed someone who differed from and outshone Trump, but in their exchanges, he seemed to me only to be pulled into Trump’s orbit further, which seemed impossible considering a cornerstone of Biden’s early campaign was the chance to beat Trump. Dropping the question of who was worse, I think that the only conclusion which these moments outlined perfectly was that this is what politics should not entail. That must be the worst part of this debate — not that Trump was vicious or Biden “stooped to his level,” but that in front of the world, on one of the most protected occasions for validating and practicing the privileges of democracy, the United States proved itself incapable for even 90 minutes of being respectable, of being great.


The question of character, however, is what I find most interesting. I believe that character is certainly relevant to leadership, though, as we’ve seen through the Trump era and even just in this debate, it might be the way that we characterize the candidates that is the problem. Back in 2016, Trump was frankly characterized in a similar way by the leftists as he is now — a sexist, racist, xenophobic billionaire, who lies instead of taking responsibility for his actions. Over the past few years, we have more information that strengthens these views, but not really any new substantial, character-defining attributes. For his supporters, however, Trump in 2016 represented something entirely different — an open book, someone they could trust. Sure, the things he said were controversial, but he had the guts to say it! This mentality, I think, gave him an edge over his 2016 candidate Hilary Clinton. The issue with this, for me, it that once his supporters characterized him as trustworthy, they deemed any opposers liars. When, for instance, the news broke that Trump knew and feared the coronavirus since February, or recently when the New York Times revealed Trump’s outrageous, almost laughably small, share of income tax paid to the nation, he need only deny for his followers to believe him. His supporters see leftists as propagandist socialists, while liberals cannot fathom what Trump has going for him. The debate, I think, hasn’t moved the minds of Trump supporters, as his depravities haven’t done so thus far. In fact, I think this might’ve strengthened their enthusiasm; Trump, in this debate, has been able to build solidarity with his supporters, by referring to dissenters as radicals, labeling Biden’s plans as the notorious Communist Manifesto. Biden, too, builds community, less by labeling Trump’s evils, and more by seeming relatable, looking at the camera, appealing to moderates.


The character of Biden is also important, and overlooked, which is the problem. While Trump’s supporters view him as weak — perhaps for his stutter, which I think is quite ableist — I feel as though Democrats try not to view him at all. He’s our best option, we said months ago, when there were still enough candidates to argue differently. He’s our only option, we say now, dreading the possibility of the same four years. How many of us are actually excited about, actually believe in the leadership of Biden? I don’t think there is anyone in my personal circle who is — at least not in the way people were excited about Bernie, or Warren, or Clinton in 2016. Due to the lack of enthusiasm, I think that with several key missteps, many undecided voters who might choose Biden wouldn’t bother going through the hassle at all. It makes sense then, in the debate, Biden stressed most of all to vote. While I doubt this debate necessarily changed anyone’s mind to favor a candidate, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for many Americans to be scared off mail-in voting by Trump’s tirade; I also wouldn’t be surprised if there is push-back when the winner is announced, after November 3rd, with Trump’s conviction in a rigged election.


P.S. Hello to any German students reading this monster of a post! Looking forward to talking and learning from you all :)

yvesIKB
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 10

Originally posted by Noodles on October 01, 2020 18:54

Throughout the debate, I noticed that Biden was stooping down to Trump’s level, getting rid of the professionalism that should be shown in the debates. In years past, I always saw presidential debates and candidates as being the best of our society, people who represented the values and strengths of America. And while we all knew Trump never represented that, we had put our trust in Biden to restore our respect and pride in the US democratic presidency. And because of that, I was surprised that he lost his cool and told Trump “will you shut up, man?”, and changed the tone of the debate from formal to informal when he used Trump’s first name. I feel like this will leave a permanent stain on our democratic process, ruining forever the title of President of the United States of America. I was also disappointed that Biden was constantly on the defense, refuting points that Trump brought it, instead of telling America his policy. He fell for Trump's tricks, but at the same time Trump crossed a line bringing up Biden’s dead son. Biden did well showing how proud he was of his son, especially that he served, but I hoped that Biden had then come at Trump for faking an injury to avoid serving.


But because of their constant arguing, and with Trump at times trying to debate the moderator, I wasn’t able to learn about their policies. Trump especially tried to confuse voters by talking about Biden’s 1994 Crime Bill, trying to portray him as a racist, which was hypocritical. Biden was able to talk a bit about his policy for the environment and tax reforms, but there were no real details as Trump kept trying to bring up the Green Deal, which Biden was not backing. As for Trump’s plan, I only learned that he was seemingly making America better, never hearing him talk about a real plan to make that happen. But I did learn more about their characteristics, specifically that Trump would stoop to any level to insult someone. I always knew he was a horrible person and would insult anyone, but I didn’t realize he would insult his opponent's dead son, especially one who was a veteran. As for Biden, I was able to see a part of his aggressive side when we defended his son and shamed Trump for speaking bad of him. I had only previously seen him as defensive, but it was good to see he could be aggressive when necessary.


Sadly I feel like this debate only helped Trump, as Biden was unable to get his points across with Trump was yelling over him. I hope that people will notice the immature nature of Trump and realize the necessity of voting in a competent leader, which might cause higher voter turnout. But this was just the first debate, and I am hoping that Biden will step it up in the later debates and not get side tracked by Trump as he was in this debate.

I agree with your point that Biden "was constantly on the defense," I never really realized that before! I think, too, that Trump was intentionally provoking and interrupting Biden so that he couldn't really present his own point. I remember my first thought in the debate was that Biden really couldn't get a word in — with Trump's aggressive approach — and that we didn't really understand what he was trying to say. Later on, when Biden snapped and turned a bit more informal and defensive of his ideas and his abilities as former Vice President, I'm still not sure he articulated his plans clearly either. There seemed, to me, to be a pattern with him of only going on offense to express his exasperation with Trump. I, too, hope that Biden will be able to share his ideas in the next debate, I'm sure at least some of them are ones I could be hopeful and excited for.

wisteria
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 9

The First Debate, A Whirlwind of Emotions

Hi to all the Ingolstadt students! I’m very interested to see what you guys think of this debate, but it’s a bit embarrassing that this is how our leaders choose to represent us to the rest of the world.


The Democratic candidate debates of last summer seem like a very distant memory, yet I can still recall gaining a much clearer sense of what they actually planned to do if elected president. The most memorable thing from Tuesday night’s spectacle were the vitriolic personal attacks. Most were made by President Trump, and most were completely irrelevant to the issues at hand, like his attacks on Biden’s son. I understand why Biden lost his composure at that, but I wish he’d risen above of some of Trump’s other taunts. However, as @babypluto9 mentions, it shows that Biden is able to stand up to Trump. I personally don’t think this is the most important factor, as Trump won’t be relevant to the presidency if he loses, but many people seem to like this. Also, if people are still unsure of who to vote for, they must not consider common courtesy or tact as essential qualities in a president, so Biden’s aggressive responses shouldn’t be too detrimental to his campaign.


I thought it was odd and ineffective how Trump brought up instances from Biden’s past to imply that he was either lying about his plans for coronavirus and health insurance or he was incompetent. For example when he brought up swine flu and some incident where Biden apparently took coverage away from many veterans. Instead of countering with his own new and improved plans for the future, he kept trying to reassert his success with the Covid-19 response and the economy. He kept taking responsibility for the surge in the economy following the Obama administration, saying he could do it again, but he never actually explained how. When confronted with his tax revelation, Trump also said he was in the process of releasing his tax returns, so I’ll believe that when I see it.


I agree with @lurando that Biden took a far less radical stance on law enforcement than many would have hoped, and chose to employ phrases like “bad apples” rather than address the obvious systemic racism that fueled this summer’s protests. Even if he did speak in a way that satisfied the most left-leaning activists, I doubt he’d follow through completely on those promises. His mission was to appeal to moderate voters and it’s not like he could possibly lose any votes from the far left, as Trump was loudly claiming. There is no alternative to Biden, and it would be foolish for someone to choose no vote over a vote against Trump. Trump made no effort to appeal to left-leaning swing voters who might support police reform, or at least some kind of anti-racist action. Instead he refused to condemn white supremacy (shocker) and spewed more racist rhetoric, replacing “Chinese Virus” with the alternative “China Plague”. He must have thought he was really creative to have come up with that one. I also thought he had moved on from calling Elizabeth Warren “Pocohontas”, but no. I didn’t catch it when he mentioned the Proud Boys that night, but the fact that a bunch of white-male-supremacists got a shout out from the president is terrifying.


I also thought it was especially hypocritical of Trump to call out Biden for using the term “super predator” in the past when he is the one who paid for that newspaper ad calling for the deaths of the Central Park 5, a bunch of teenage boys of color who were wrongfully imprisoned for a rape and attempted murder. I don’t even think they had been convicted at that point, but he still saw no issue in dumanizing these children and calling for their deaths (and yet all these pro-lifers support him).


I wonder what would have happened if there was a live audience and we weren’t in a pandemic. Trump and Biden knew they were being watched by millions at home, but would they have controlled their behavior better if they were actually looking the American people in the eye? We’ve seen protests from small groups of people at debates before, and even those caused significant disruption. If supporters of both candidates were present, the whole event could have descended into chaos as the audience reacted to what was happening on stage.


Towards the end Trump began to talk about potential voter fraud and mail in ballots, and this made me very scared. By claiming that the whole process is “rigged” and casting doubt on our entire election system, he is laying the groundwork for his own victory no matter what the ballots read. I know that many people will believe this nonsense, and stand behind him as he challenges the very foundation of our democracy.


Also, would somebody please let the next moderator have a mute button for each candidate. I feel like that would have solved a lot of problems.

speedyninja
BOSTON, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 7

Time for a Change

One of my first reactions after watching the debate was that they should probably change the name if it continues in the same manner. Calling it, “presidential” feels wrong after all the interrupting and personal insults, and labeling it as a “debate” may be a bit of a stretch. After taking some more time to unpack everything that happened, I came away with several primary thoughts relating to both subtle details about what was said as well as the bigger picture of the United States political situation as a whole.


In terms of the details of the debate, a few moments certainly stuck out to me. One was Trump’s failing to explicitly condemn white supremacists. As @ernest. mentioned, initially I was surprised and a little bit excited to hear Trump say something along the lines of, “what do you want me to say, give me a name, I’ll say it” when Chris Wallace asked if Trump was willing to condemn white supremacist and milita groups. I was ready to give him props for finally making it clear that he does not support and rather disavows ideas of white supremacy, straying from his usual off topic, subject changing answers when asked similar things. However, he instead told the “Proud Boys”, a radical alt right group, to “stand down and stand by”, placing the blame of recent violence on Antifa. Obviously, his inability to condemn white supremacy was disheartening, however I was not too surprised that this happened. For example, after a rally in Charlottesville in 2017 during which a neo-nazi drove a car into a crowd killing one woman, Trump commented, that there were, “very fine people on both sides”. To me, his choice of words in telling them to “stand by”, was the bigger news. These words suggest to me that Trump is telling far right militia groups to be ready. Other than being terrifying, this makes no sense to me because as president, Trump is the commander in chief of the military. For him to see any need in having militia groups does not make sense, because law enforcement are the ones who should be in charge of keeping peace. This leaves the only possible purpose of militia groups to be to stir up violence the way I see it.


Another striking moment came when Trump attacked Biden’s son, Hunter Biden for his previous drug problems, and getting discharged from the Navy Reserve. Although personal insults were spewed throughout the debate, in my opinion this crossed the line. First of all, I agree with Biden, who commented that families should not be a topic of discussion in these debates, and that it should be about the American people and how they plan to run this country. Furthermore, using drug problems to discredit the character of Hunter and Joe Biden is very insensitive and bullyish, which I guess should be expected from Trump at this point.


Although little concrete policy was talked about in the debates, I was able to get a sense of both Biden and Trump’s overall ideas when it came to a few key topics for the country. When asked about the pandemic, Trump continued to defend the United States’ Response, although the numbers tell us the United States has not done well with the pandemic. Biden insisted that with him as president, there would be more of a plan than under Trump, who he claims has no plan. Additionally, when discussing the environment, Trump did acknowledge that climate change is real and that humans play a role in it, but also said that things like the economy need to be taken into consideration as well. Biden claimed he would rejoin the Paris Agreement and enact his own plan to aid in saving the environment.


After watching the debate, I think it was quite easy to gather information on the character of both Trump and Biden. Trump is best compared to a bully, who does not care about rules or norms of being a president. Meanwhile Biden at least in this debate was like a child constantly getting antagonized, trying to keep his patience, but sometimes not being able to. I do believe character is important to leadership, as I think it is important to keep in mind that not only does the president try to enact their policy to help the country, but they also represent our nation to the rest of the world. The president's actions and words are the ones that people in other countries see and associate with the United States, and therefore the character of the president, whether we like it or not, most closely reflects the character of our country. For myself and many others, this is a sad and frightening reality, as the fact is that enough people were willing to have Trump’s character represent the United States for him to be elected.


I find it hard to gauge how this debate will affect the election and what follows. In my opinion, the debates in this election more than in any I can remember are relevant in deciding a very small number of votes, albeit important ones. This is because of how polarizing both parties and as a result, both Trump and Biden have become, with most people already having made their minds up one way or another. As for the people still undecided, I think that if this debate had any effect on their votes, then of the two candidates Biden should have convincingly won most of them. As @BlueWhale24 mentioned, based on this debate, “Mr. Biden made it clear that he is the choice for those who are still struggling between who to choose”. I believe that in terms of the election itself, the debate strictly matters for these undecided voters. Most of them, I figure, lie somewhere in the middle in terms of political ideologies, and I believe Biden came off as the far more moderate choice, with his takes on policing, the environment, racial issues, and more.


However, as many people have mentioned, the discussion on policy was quite limited. Instead the debate was filled with interruptions and insults, which I see as an even bigger reason than policy as to why Biden handily won this debate. Trump is running for reelection and has already spent almost 4 years in office. Meanwhile, Biden is running against Trump, in hopes of becoming the president and replacing him. Pretending to be an undecided voter, my thinking would be that Trump has to convince me that everything is going well in America and no change is needed, while Biden needs to convince me that change is needed. Based on nearly everybody’s analysis of the debate, it was an unproductive mess and a disaster. If the debate reflects how things are being run under Trump and the current situation in the United States, Trump certainly did not convince me that things are okay. Rather, the debate proved, a change is urgently needed.

orangedino
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 8

That debate was... for sure something. I thought I was watching the extended SNL skit of that debate instead of the real thing. Something that really bothered me throughout the entire thing was that Donald Trump kept disrespecting the rules of the debate. He treated the debate like a joke, which (to me) also shows that he treats running our country like a joke. He speaks so often about he is "one of the people" and how he loves this country so much, but he doesn't even have the decency to act according for an American debate. I also was VERY angry when he brought up Biden's sons. Trump had no right to speak about Biden's family in a disrespectful manner during that debate. He spoke about Biden's deceased son AND also spoke poorly about Biden because his other son suffered from addiction. Biden's personal life has nothing to do with how well he can run a country, and I can't think of a reason as to how anybody on Trump's team thought it would be a good idea to bring it up. One thing that I did find very interesting was that Biden claimed that he doesn't support the Green New Deal, which I thought he did. I later found out that on his website he claims to support it, which makes me wonder what other things his website says he supports that he actually doesn't. I'm not really sure how this debate will effect the election. Not much was actually said so there is not much to go off of in that regard.

dxaoko
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 7

What To Do Now

After watching the first presidential debate, it was no doubt that my thoughts did not know where to go first. Not even ten minutes had passed before Donald Trump’s and Joe Biden’s arguing had escalated even further on live television, with Chris Wallace constantly having to bring them back to the relevant topics. My exhaustion at the end of the debate was beyond words. To be very honest, I did not have many expectations or great hopes for civility in the debate beforehand as I understood that both of our candidates are not the best choice. However, all I was left with was a sense of deep confusion and an increasingly pessimistic attitude of what this country’s leaders have become.


Although the debate is difficult to dissect, something that stood out to me was Trump’s refusal to denounce white supremacy, and instead attempted to divert the conversation about Biden. Through his hesitation and deflection, the citizens can see how much disregard he has for the communities that continue to fight for equality and rights in this country, during a pandemic. He went even further as to jokingly tell the Proud Boys, a white far-right neo-fascist group, to “stand back and stand by”, saying that leftists are a problem in this country. Again, although not surprising that Trump would do something as disturbing as this, his racist patterns only prove that he is unfit to be president.


It has been apparent in the past, even more now than ever, that Trump’s inappropriate behavior and corruption has translated to the exponential downfall of this country. His constant interruptions left Biden no room to make his points or explain more in-depth about his plans. However, as @Iurando said, and I agree, there is no incentive for Trump to consider handling the debate professionally because he has several Republican senators and the electoral college in his favor, thus, he is trying to deter Biden from making his arguments. Stemming from this, I was also disappointed with Biden’s overall performance. As @BlueWhale24 mentioned, his body language and his eye contact with the camera, amplified the appearance of his confidence, which in turn, made a difference as it made him seem more engaged and relatable to the citizens. Despite that, the points he made during the debate were very vague and not substantial, which is problematic as he is the more suitable candidate in the end. I feel as if the points he made about climate change and the economy were decent, although the idea of setting off nuclear weapons to dispel hurricanes was a questionable plan-in-the-making. Like @Iurando said, he is also trying to appeal to moderate voters, which is why his plans to defund the police but continue to support them instead of having active plans to actually prevent police brutality was a little disheartening.


For both candidates, I was disappointed when neither of them mentioned the number of systemic inequalities in this country, which is what I was most looking forward to in the category of race. Trump felt like a lost cause and Biden may establish good regulations and has legitimate plans for this country, but the matter of race and discrimination still stands and it always will because of how this country was brought up, so I would have hoped that he would’ve been more inclined to talk about these issues. Neither of them showed favorable characteristics of a leader who could manage this country at its best and at its worse and someone who could show even the most basic human empathy that we need.


My overall impression of the future debates after the first one is that they will not go so well either. Hopefully, the new precedents will allow for more smooth sailing of civil argumentation and provide us with more helpful insight into the plans they have for our future, so that by November 3rd, we are more confident in ourselves to initiate the change we need with a better president.

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