The 2020 debate season has finally come to an end. Nearly a month of debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris and current Vice President Mike Pence as well as two town halls have delivered us just twelve days before the election.
The debates have brought to light the issues in America and with each candidate. The information brought about by these debates is now in the hands of voters as they prepare to take part in the upcoming election.
Before the Action
There has been much pre-debate controversy before the beginning of the debate season. The debates were no smooth ride either. President Trump and former Vice President Biden turning the first debate into a fiasco with unlimited interruptions, sly name-calling and chaotic yelling.
Sen. Harris and Vice President Pence following in their footsteps for the Vice Presidential debate, ignoring their moderator, Susan Page, and talking over each other.
The town halls, while smoother, accomplished nothing more than the two previous debates. Furthermore, the halls only occurred upon cancellation of the second presidential debate.
Just hours before the debate, Biden tweeted reminding us just how close we are to finding out who will serve for the next four years.
Folks, the final debate is here. Tune in at 9 PM ET as I go head-to-head with Donald Trump for the last time before Election Day.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 22, 2020
The final debate took place in Nashville, Tenn at Belmont University and there were a few changes in how this debate was run. The Commission on Presidential Debates muted the candidates’ mics during the initial two-minute answer portion at the beginning of each segment.
However, this did little to deter the candidates from running overtime in the open discussion and ignoring moderator and NBC White House correspondent Kristen Welker’s requests to move the discussion forward.
Overall, the debate wasn’t met with the amount of chaos that stole the stage during the first Presidential debate. Yet, it was still a night of interruptions and a seeming need for the last word on the part of both candidates.
Here are the highlights from Thursday’s debate.
As always, a large portion of the debate was devoted to the ongoing global pandemic. The candidates took similar approaches to this topic as they had with the first Presidential debate.
President Trump claimed that his quick action with closing borders to China saved thousands of lives. In addition, he once again expressed his relief in a quick vaccine. He claimed that it would be available in weeks based on the work of companies such as Johnson and Johnson. Trump also stating that the military would make quick work of distributing the vaccine.
Trump also praised his administration’s work on delivering necessary medical supplies needed to combat the virus such as masks, gowns, and ventilators. He also claimed that we are ’rounding the corner.’
“Were rounding the turn, were rounding the corner. It’s going away,” Trump said.
Biden quick to point out the 220,000 American lives lost under Trump’s administration and denounces Trump’s claim to the Presidency on this fact. He once again claimed that Trump has no plan.
“We’re in a circumstance, thus far, where the president still has no plan,” Biden said.
Meanwhile, Biden stated he plans to encourage masks be worn at all times, improve rapid testing and create a plan for national re-opening and delivering the funds to do so.
Overall, President Trump made his stance clear on opening the country.
“We’re learning to live with it, we have no choice. We can’t lock ourselves up in a basement,” Trump said.
Biden stating that he does not want to shut down the country. However, if he is to reopen it will be with the property safety guidelines and funds needed to do so.
“He says that we’re learning to live with it. People are learning to die with it,” Biden said.
The candidates discussed the possibility of Russian meddling in the election as well as US relations with China and North Korea.
Biden began this segment by ensuring the American people know where he stands on foreign election corruption.
“Any country, no matter who it is, that interferes with American elections will pay a price,” Biden said.
President Trump claiming that Biden’s family has received millions from foreign countries, especially through Hunter Biden. Biden rebuked these claims and shot back that Trump is making money from said foreign countries.
During this time, President Trump’s taxes resurfaced and Biden scrutinized him for not releasing his returns. Trump once again claimed that as soon as his audit is completed he will release his returns. However, there is no law preventing him from releasing them while he is under audit.
Much time was spent discussing Trump’s relations with North Korea and China. Specifically the difference in nuclear negotiations between President Trump and the Obama administration with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Trump pointing out the Obama administration’s lack of handling North Korea and stated that he improved our relations and avoided war.
Biden scrutinized the president for handling US and North Korean relations in such a way that opened a door for North Korean nuclear advancement.
The moderator began this section by discussing the recent Senate hearing to appoint Amy Coney Barett to the Supreme Court. A main Democratic concern is that Barett will tip the Court more along the Conservative side. Leaving the door wide open to abolish the Affordable Care Act.
Donald Trump claimed that Obama Care is too much of a disaster to fix. He plans to replace the act with what he calls better healthcare and vowed to protect those with pre-existing conditions. Trump also stated that those who want to keep their existing healthcare plans will be able to.
Biden on the flip side claiming that he wants to reform Obamacare by including a public option, reducing premiums and drug costs. He also claims that he supports private insurance and ensured that people who like their healthcare plan will not be forced to lose it.
“Healthcare is not a privilege, it’s a right,” Biden said.
The debate also addressed those affected by COVID-19 and relief bills that have yet to be passed. President Trump stated that he would approve a relief bill but Nancy Pelosi is pausing his attempts.
“Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to approve it, I do,” Trump said. ” Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to approve it because she wants to have some victories on a date called November 3.”
Immigration was also a hot topic specifically the more than 500 children who are currently separated from their parents. Trump claiming that they are working towards reuniting. However, he blamed the separation on “coyotes and drug cartels.” Trump also pointed the finger at Biden and the Obama administration for building the cages in the first place.
Race in America
This segment was almost a mirror of the first Presidential debate. Biden responded to the idea of ‘The Talk’ and having to teach minority children about how to avoid being killed for average activities.
“I never had to tell my daughter if she’s pulled over make sure she puts… both hands on top of the wheel and don’t reach for the glove box because someone may shoot you,” Biden said. ”
Biden claimed that he made a mistake when vying for the 1994 crime bill and called out the institutionalized racism of this country.
Donald Trump once again claimed that no other president, with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln, has done more for African American communities that he has.
“Criminal justice reform, prison reform, opportunity zones with Tim Scott…tremendous investment is being made, biggest beneficiary to Black and Hispanic communities and then historically Black colleges and universities,” Trump said.
Trump also claiming that he is the least racist person in the room. Biden did not agree.
“Abraham Lincoln here is one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history,” Biden said.
Progressing into the segment, Donald Trump claimed that he ran because of Joe Biden and his work as a politician. And questioned Biden’s capability to make a change now when he hasn’t for all his time in office.
“It’s all talk no action with these politicians,” Trump said. “Why didn’t he get it done?”
Trump began this segment once again vocalizing his desire for crystal clean air and water. He praised his trillion trees program as well as lowered carbon emissions.
Biden claimed that we have a moral obligation to climate change and insisted his plan is a way forward. He also stated that his plan will create millions of jobs and was endorsed by environmentalists and labor unions. Biden also stating that he does not support banning fracking.
Trump called Biden’s plan an ‘environmental disaster’ that will result in job loss and unrealistic goals.
Finally, the moderator asked what each candidate would say to those who did not vote for them if they won the election.
President Trump stressed the imperative notion to return America to its pre-virus glory. He also stated that success will unite us.
“Success is going to bring us together. We are on the road to success,” Trump said.
Biden emphasized his need for unity as well.
“I’m an American president. I represent all of you, whether you voted for me or against me,” Biden said. “And I am going to make sure you’re represented. I’m gonna give you hope…”
The debate was certainly much calmer than previous debates this season. The muted mics certainly added to this change of pace. As did Welker, for her calm demeanor and strategic moderation.
Regardless, the debates are officially over and the clock is ticking down to Nov. 3. All that is left is for Americans to cast their ballot and await the results soon to come.
Edited by Ryan Sylvia
Featured photo courtesy of Jim Bourg/ Reuters