COLUMN: Watch the 2020 presidential debate for some comedic relief

Unfortunately, the first presidential debate was a sad representation of what America has in store for its executive power.
Graphic by Jacob LaGesse

Campbell Biemiller is a first-year journalism major at MU. She is an opinion columnist who writes about politics and entertainment for The Maneater.

Those who haven’t seen the first presidential debate didn’t miss much. Here’s a summary: President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden attempted to talk about important issues and policy, but failed to mention any real solutions because they were too busy interrupting each other and moderator Chris Wallace. We aren’t surprised.

Interruptions were the focal point of the presidential debate. Trump seemed to have the most trouble following the “two minutes of uninterrupted talking for each candidate” despite agreeing to it before the event began. Through his actions on stage, Trump made his lack of respect for his opponent’s voice abundantly clear. Yet again, Trump has proven that he values the sound of his own voice over the opinion of American citizens.

Trump took the strategy of lashing out at Biden to the point where Biden was forced to retaliate in order to speak. Biden became desperate enough to sink to Trump’s level of childish name-calling like equivocating Trump to a “clown," Insults rather than policy seemed to be the more important factor to the candidates. The debate was a disaster in every way.

The two candidates engaged in a never-ending battle. Slate Magazine reporter Jeremy Stahl counted the 128 times Trump interrupted Biden and Wallace during the debate.

Trump personally attacked Biden multiple times, making remarks about his son, Hunter Biden, who overcame a drug problem. He followed this statement by saying he wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for Biden’s position.

“He got thrown out of the military” Trump said. “He was thrown out, dishonorably discharged for cocaine use.”

This sent shockwaves across the country, especially because America is battling an opioid crisis. The insensitivity Trump has toward the opioid epidemic shows his lack of concern for the American public and its safety. The American public is disgusted that Trump targeted Hunter Biden when between eight and 12% of prescribed patients develop an opioid use disorder according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. It is an epidemic, not an issue with Hunter Biden.

In retaliation and self defense, Biden began to interrupt Trump’s arguments as well. Biden stooped to a childish level, trying to get a single word in over Trump’s obnoxious banter. Biden seemed overwhelmed by Trump’s nagging and let his emotions unprofessionally get the best of him.

Political opponents shouldn’t bash each other on personal topics — it should be a civilized, factual conversation rather than childish side comments.

The entire conversation felt like an elementary school argument. Pointless insults were exchanged until someone was left crying and the teacher (Wallace) had to get involved. Welcome to America, these are our options.

A particularly shocking point in the evening was when Trump seemed deeply confused when asked if he would denounce white supremacy. He even stopped talking for a split second after Wallace asked the question.

Ultimately, his silence and lack of expressing anti-supremacy revealed his support for white supremacists. Trump told the group Proud Boys, a far-right men’s group with an extreme sense of patriotism, to “stand back and stand by”. Instead of denouncing the white supremacists, like any sane person would do when asked to, he indirectly issued them to be ready by making this comment to the Proud Boys. The Proud Boys claim to be against white supremacy, but their underlying ideals and association with hate symbols shows their true colors.

Trump couldn’t have picked a better way to show his support for white supremacy. The potential empowerment given to the Proud Boys by Trump’s statement is concerning for the safety of the nation.

Biden called Trump out for poorly handling COVID-19 with over 200,000 COVID-19 related deaths that occurred under his presidency. America has 25% of the entire world’s deaths even though America is only 4% of the world population. America is significantly behind most countries in handling the outbreaks.

Trump repeatedly called the virus the “China plague,” an extremely insensitive racist remark toward Chinese people. Trump assigned blame to the entire country in an unprofessional manner by calling the disease this nickname. The president has always shown his hatred toward minority groups and statements like this further amplify his racist tendencies.

Trump boasted about how he handled the virus in its first stages by closing the country, which he claimed Biden would have never done. Trump claims a vaccine will be ready soon, but provides no evidence of this happening.

Trump and Anthony Fauci, the White House’s infectious diseases expert, haven’t definitively answered questions addressing the potential vaccine. According to The New York Times, only “two of the three drug companies working on a vaccine have said they hope to have only initial clinical-trial results by the end of this year.”

Of the top 10 trending hashtags on Twitter throughout the first week after the debate, many of them include political references of the debate. Michelle Obama is trending after releasing her closing argument. She urged Americans to vote for Biden after condemning Trump’s handling of COVID-19 and division of the American people. This was also trending with #Bidencares.

Michelle Obama’s closing argument for the Biden campaign carries heavy influence in the weeks counting down to the election. It emotes the despair from Trump’s presidency, especially coming from a mother, person of color and someone who traditionally dislikes politics for the way they target certain groups of people.

A lot of Americans acknowledge Biden may not be great, but he is far better than Trump. Many voters have been publicly saying they are settling for Biden, showing their lack of full support toward his policies. The Settle for Biden organization has grown a large following of young adults that want to remove Trump from office above all else. Biden is running a progressive campaign and not supporting him in the 2020 election would be detrimental to the safety and success of the country.

This debate represents the state of America after President Trump’s first term: a complete and utter mess. Divisions have split the nation and it is about time American citizens vote out a president that will destroy people’s safety and prosperity. The debate exemplified Trump's hatred of basic human rights that should be guaranteed to all.

There are plenty of political clubs and organizations at MU to help students stay informed and involved. America needs support for its citizens in the current health and safety climate the country is facing due to Trump’s inadequacies during his first term.

The Black Voters Matter Fund raises money to help marginalized, predominantly Black communities increase their power through effective voting. They work toward social justice throughout the year and speak their own issues in order to give power to Black voters. We at The Maneater encourage you to donate to this cause. Donations can be made at: https://blackvotersmatterfund.org/

Edited by Sofi Zeman | szeman@themaneater.com

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