From yesterday's debate, the image already known to the public of Trump and Biden has emerged strengthened, for better or for worse. Here because. The comment by Federico Punzi, editorial director of Atlantico Quotidiano
A rather chaotic brawl with no holds barred, this is how we can sum up the first presidential debate held last night in Cleveland, Ohio, between President Donald Trump and the challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden. On this occasion it would be more wrong than ever to try to understand who was the winner of the contest by establishing who was most effectively able to explain to the public his programs, his ideas, his "vision" for the country. Because never as this time it was not about this.
Worst debate ever, many will observe. The only debate possible, given the level of polarization and mutual de-legitimization reached in the last four years between the two sides – and certainly not just because of the president in office …
And do not listen to the polls of the networks on who won and who lost, the same ones that after the debates four years ago gave Clinton over 60 percent and Trump not even 30 percent.
From yesterday's debate, the image already known to the public of the two candidates emerged strengthened, for better or for worse. It immediately became clear why Trump nicknamed Biden Sleepy Joe: but in the eyes of his supporters he appeared calm and "presidential", not aged and stunned, at times confused, unable to react to the blows except with disconsolate smiles and escaping thanks to the rescue of the "moderator". Just as the president confirmed his reputation as a "bully", while in the eyes of his fans as a "one against all" fighter.
It is probably President Trump who led the dance in this respect. If Biden seemed comfortable only when he could do the homework, repeat the lesson learned by heart before the debate, Trump tried not to allow him to recite the script and with his constant interruptions to show his weakness in the face of his greater vigor, largely succeeding, although paying the price of appearing too aggressive and overbearing.
Just as we believe it was Trump's precise intention to immediately make it clear to the public that the debate was actually two against one, on the one hand the president and on the other Biden and the "moderator" Chris Wallace, who for the whole the duration of the meeting did nothing but confirm this impression, never demanding punctual answers from the Democratic candidate to the most uncomfortable questions and instead pressing and interrupting the president. Trump therefore had an easy game in highlighting the bias of the host (and the press), which he probably intended to do from the beginning, judging by the image, spread on Twitter already during the debate, which sees him "vs" both.
Knowing full well that Wallace would allow Biden to escape, that he would try to keep him standing by taking charge of supporting the contradictory in his place, interrupting him when in trouble, Trump took it upon himself to pursue his opponent with the uncomfortable questions that the moderator does not. would have placed or allowed him to evade. And this was the script for the evening.
Wallace did not demand a response from Biden on "court packing" (the DEM's proposal to increase the number of members of the Supreme Court by law, so as to be able to immediately appoint more in the event of a conquest of the White House). When the Democratic candidate reacted with a "but you want to shut up!", Trump interrupted him because he was not answering the question asked by Wallace: in the event of Judge Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation in the Supreme Court, and victory in the elections, you would appeal at the "court packing"? Rather than respond, Biden began appealing to voters to vote for him as the only weapon to avoid a conservative-oriented Supreme Court. And in the end, pressured by Trump, he said “I don't intend to answer that question”, without the moderator pressing him.
Wallace did not demand a response from Biden on whether or not he supported the Black Lives Matters movement, while Trump was pressured on "white supremacists and the militias", a passage in which the "moderator" literally took the place of the challenger in pressing President. When asked to condemn supremacists and militias, Trump replied "sure", twice, but as Wallace insisted, he recalled that the riots that in recent months have caused death and destruction in dozens of American cities, led by Democrats, are the work of extreme left movements. But on these Wallace did not demand any response from Biden, who even denied that Antifa is an organization (it is "an idea").
Of course Trump was being pressed, as he was, on his tax return, but Wallace preferred to change the subject when the president defended himself by explaining that he had used the tax rules adopted and maintained by the Obama administration, silencing Biden. Just as he changed the subject when Trump raised the issue of the $ 3.5 million coming to a partnership co-founded by Biden's son Hunter, the wife of the former Moscow mayor. "False", repeated the former vice president, also in this case saved in a corner kick by the moderator, who failed to point out that the passing of money is mentioned in the report of two congressional commissions based on data from the Department of the Treasury. An embarrassing topic for Biden, so the subject was immediately changed (let's move on to the topics that interest people…).
In conclusion, the questions to ask in order to evaluate how a debate went are essentially two: whether the candidates managed to enthuse and mobilize their base and whether they were effective in persuading the undecided. As for the first, Trump certainly appeared effective, keeping the point on everything (Supreme Court, law and order, economy, China Virus, fraud risk …) and counterattacking, while Biden some problems to satisfy his own base, or at least the the most radical wing of the party, now very influential, had them. He was forced to distance himself from policies that have become must-haves on the progressive agenda, such as the defund the police and the Green New Deal , even going so far as to deny the existence of the joint "manifesto" with Bernie Sanders. Regarding the undecided, however, neither of the two appeared very effective. It is unlikely that Trump has gained positions with his aggressive attitude, but also Biden with his ambiguity about law and order, about China and about his son Hunter.
But you know, in general the first debate serves to "turn on" one's base, we will see if in the subsequent ones the search for the consent of the undecided will prevail …
This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL https://www.startmag.it/mondo/vi-dico-come-e-andato-davvero-il-primo-dibattito-presidenziale-fra-trump-e-biden/ on Wed, 30 Sep 2020 06:58:18 +0000.