No, you shouldn’t have expected Donald Trump to obey the rules in the first TV debate of the US presidential campaign. But that the evening’s moderator, Fox News journalist Chris Wallace, has to fight for so long to keep the discussion under control is shocking. On Tuesday evening, it was quickly reported on Twitter that Wallace had lost control.
This is what it actually looks like for a while. Time and again President Trump interrupts his challenger Joe Biden, tries to provoke him or talk about him. Biden then responds in his own way and drives to his counterpart, “Can you shut up, man?”
The former vice president knew what to expect, he armed himself – and wasn’t interested in just being politely involved. It will soon become clear that it will not be a harmonious evening.
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Trump, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be well adjusted to this quick-witted Biden. And probably not because of the fact that his opponent remains so calm. Even when he attacks his son Hunter Biden, something the former vice president is often sensitive to.
The Trump campaign and the president himself wanted to portray Biden as a senile old man, someone who would have to use stimulants and technical assistance to survive such a debate. Has 74-year-old Trump underestimated Biden, who was three years older than him?
They haven’t met in years. On the 19th anniversary of September 11 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, it almost happened recently. But organizers were careful that one (Trump) would meet the relatives of the crashed passengers on Flight 93 in the morning and the other (Biden) in the afternoon. In Kenosha, Wisconsin, where two people died in serious turmoil after protests against police brutality, they missed each other by a day. So now Cleveland in Swing State Ohio.
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On the grounds of the Cleveland Clinic, US broadcaster Fox News is organizing the first of three debates between the two men looking to win the November 3 election. Observers anticipate one of the most violent clashes in the history of TV duels, full of personal attacks, especially from the incumbent. They will be proved right in this regard.
But after moderator Wallace struggled hard for the first 50 minutes or more to keep Trump from always talking about Biden, he succeeded much better in the second half of the 90 minutes. He should become legendary with his short “no” to Trump’s question of whether he should be “honest”.
Biden continues to collect
Biden has his own tactic for dealing with the presidential heckler who only wants one thing: to throw him off the hook. Time and again in these cases, he turns directly to the tens of millions of viewers – 74 percent of Americans said beforehand that they would watch the debate on television or on the live stream, at the Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion, from where it is broadcast , themselves are only nearby. 80 selected viewers.
This clearly has a calming effect on Biden, he then becomes very calm and gets back together. So he thwarts Trump’s strategy of just causing chaos.
Otherwise he succeeds in counterattacking. On Trump’s insinuation that the Democrats want to introduce ‘socialism’ and that Biden is just a puppet of the left, he explains, ‘Right now, I am the Democratic Party. I beat Bernie Sanders. “
At the same time, he manages to accommodate his points, for example about the health care reform in Obamacare, which Trump wants to roll back without presenting alternative plans, or about the 200,000 corona deaths in the United States for which the president is responsible. If Trump can’t get the crisis under control, he won’t be able to get the economy back on track.
It gets personal time and time again, like when Trump declares, “You don’t have it in your blood, you couldn’t do the job.” comes in – “nothing about you is smart”. Or accuses him of trying to “destroy” America because he wants to shut down the economy.
He laughs at Biden, who always wears huge masks and only organizes events with few spectators. “Nobody comes to his events,” he says. In contrast, at his own meetings, which he currently organizes at regional airports, 20,000 to 30,000 people showed up, “sometimes just 24 hours in advance.” The truth is, these events are usually between 4,000 and 6,000 people.
It’s hardly about the future of the US.
Biden responds, calling the president a “fool”, an idiot. Of his son Hunter, he says frankly: “He had a drug problem, like many people. He survived. I’m proud of him. And to the president and his treatment of Corona, he says, “Get out of your bunker, get out of your golf course” – then not so many people would die.
This evening is rarely about the future visions that the candidates have for their country. At one point, Biden talks about his plan to use green technologies to boost the economy and create jobs. But it is much more about balance sheets and mutual accusations. When asked why he should be the next president, Biden says, “Under this president, the US has become weaker, sicker, poor and more divided.”
Those who expected new knowledge of the content will not be really smarter tonight. But that was not to be expected anyway with these two candidates, who are as well-known as no two presidential candidates.
After the “New York Times” revelations about his barely paid income taxes, Trump is not tempted to provide accurate information about his tax returns himself – simply calling the reports “fake news.” He is still willing to condemn white supremacists (he prefers to refer to the Antifa, which is much more dangerous). And again he refuses to declare that he would not prematurely declare himself the winner if there was still no independently verified end result (Biden agrees).
Wallace can’t get him to do this. He must be content with the evasive maneuvers, just like Biden – and the American voters.
Who else is watching the next debate?
Even Fox News commentators, who are considered to be very Trump-friendly, say in retrospect that Biden, who was under the greater pressure, held his position. But they also add that this debate has barely changed the minds of many voters. That, in turn, might consider Biden a success: He’s been at the forefront of the polls for months.
If it is true that most Americans already know who they are voting for, then the main purpose of this debate should have been to help the few remaining voters make decisions. Because they could make the difference with two blocks of almost the same size. How many viewers will be ready to watch two more TV duels after this performance remains to be seen. The next debate is scheduled for at least October 15th.