Interruptions and chaos: the first debate between Trump and Biden

Democratic and Republican candidates participate in a rough show without proposals where interruptions and chaos are the main characters
Televisions broadcast the first presidential debate in Washington

AFP/ SARAH SILBIGER  -   Televisions broadcast the first presidential debate in Washington

Constant interruptions, insults, few proposals and a lot of chaos. This could be the summary of the first presidential debate of the 2020 elections between Donald Trump, 74, and Joe Biden, 77. Lots of spectacle for the second most-watched event in the United States, after the Super Bowl, but little substance. The only thing that could be highlighted is the extreme polarization that the American country is experiencing, and which was once again staged in prime time. 

The Republican President lied and repeatedly refused to condemn extreme right-wing racist groups and questioned the electoral process, sowing the seeds of possible fraud. Former Vice President Biden showed, once again, that debate is not his forte and the occasional hesitation and outbursts of tone, calling Trump a "clown", flooded a festival with chaotic shouts.

El Presidente de los Estados Unidos (izq) y el candidato demócrata (drch)
AFP/JIM WATSON- The President of the United States (left) and the Democratic candidate (right)

he third protagonist, conservative Fox News journalist Chris Wallace, also appeared to be the loser of the evening by losing control of the debate in the first few minutes and not finding it again within an hour and a half. Trump interrupted Biden; Biden interrupted Trump and Wallace tried to do both, but to no avail.

Within five minutes of the debate, the Republican candidate had already described Biden as "socialist" and "controlled" by the left wing of his party, referring to the most extreme wing represented by Bernie Sanders. "The thing is, I beat Bernie Sanders. I am the Democratic Party now," the Democratic candidate said. Mr. Trump was quick to bring into the debate the personal side of the argument against Biden, repeating his as yet unsubstantiated accusation that Hunter Biden engaged in "corruption" by working for a Ukrainian gas company while his father was vice president and that he was expelled from the army "with dishonor".

El presidente de los Estados Unidos habla durante el primer debate
AP/PATRICK SEMANSKY-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden

Under this president, we have become weaker, poorer, sicker, more vulnerable and more divided," said the former Obama-era vice president, who "recommended" that Trump "get out of his bunker [at the White House] and your golf course and do what needs to be done to save lives [from the pandemic]". Frustrated by Trump's disruptions, and also to avoid a moderator's question about the Supreme Court, the Democrat said, "Why don't you shut up, man?

Wallace was equally frustrated when he reminded Trump that during the campaign, he had agreed to two-minute answers from both sides. Uninterrupted. "Why don't you stick to the ground rule you agreed to during your campaign?" "He never keeps his word," said Biden.

Asset without programme: Public order

The president's slogans were based on all matters relating to public order and the insistence that the November elections are "rigged". For the conservatives, the delays resulting from the pandemic and the increase in postal voting could mean that the election result could take several months

El presidente de los Estados Unidos habla durante el primer debate
AP/JULIOCORTEZ- The president of the United States of America, Donald Trump

Taking advantage of the fact that polls do not follow him to create a breeding ground for electoral fraud perpetrated by the Democrats, he encouraged his supporters to remain vigilant during the election: "I would like my supporters to go to the polls and look very carefully, I urge them to do so. "This is going to be a fraud like you have never seen before, it is a horrible thing for our country. It is not going to end well. If I see tens of thousands of votes being manipulated, I can't tolerate it," Trump repeated his intention to see this issue go to the Supreme Court, whose Republican majority could be strengthened if the Senate approves a new judge appointed by Trump before the election.

Biden distinguished himself in discussing the most topical issues in the United States - COVID-19 and racial equality - where he contrasted sharply with Trump's policies and outlined his plan.  

Condemning White Supremacy

Trump, asked about the condemnation of white supremacy and its violence, with a very direct question from the moderator, rather than answering, bargaining with some difficulty to avoid condemning the violence of the extreme right.​​​​​​​

-Moderator: "Are you ready tonight to condemn white supremacists and militias and say that they should withdraw and not increase violence in different cities, as we saw in Kenosha and as we saw in Portland?
-Trump: Give me a name (repeated)
-Wallace: White supremacists and nationalists
-Biden: The white supremacists, the Proud Boys (an extreme right-wing group)
-Trump: Proud boys, step back and be ready. Someone has to do something about Antifa and the left. Because this is not a right-wing problem. It's a left-wing problem.

No wonder Trump didn't want to reject racism, which was used to advance his career. In an ongoing dialectical struggle over who would interrupt the most, Biden entered the game where the New York tycoon felt most comfortable and called him a "clown". "It's hard to talk to this clown, excuse me, nobody." Trump didn't want to get into the rag, probably happy to see his opponent enter his field.

The election debates are organized by the Presidential Debate Commission, an independent, nonpartisan body that is based on the idea of "ensuring, in the interest of the American electorate, that election debates are held every four years between the leading candidates for president and vice president of the United States . The PCD was created so that the public could watch the debates of the major candidates during the election campaign. But after this spectacle, many wonder if there is more to celebrate.

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