Trump Vs Biden

President Biden concluded the debate on his feet and did not crawl out, but did not give any reason for the voters to choose him except Trump is a bad choice for the Presidency

Izzet Enünlü

Izzet Enünlü



Trump Vs Biden

Yesterday, President Biden and former President Trump participated in the first Presidential debate of 2024. Both presumptive candidates accepted the rules and format of the debate that was hosted by the news network CNN. Three other candidates from non-major parties - Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Cornel West and Jill Stein - failed to qualify the criteria of CNN. The criteria included to have at least 15% support in four approved national polls and be on the ballot in enough states to be able to win 270 votes in the Electoral College which is the threshold to win the presidency.

Currently, only the independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has received at least 15% in three qualifying polls and is on the ballot in six states, making him eligible for 89 Electoral College votes and he hopes to participate in the second debate that is scheduled for September.

The candidates had accepted that there won’t be any audience.The right to choose for the positions on the podium and final word of the night was determined by a toss of coin. Their microphones were muted except when it's their turn to speak. No props or pre-written notes were allowed on the stage, candidates were given a pen, a pad of paper and a bottle of water.

The first televised presidential debate was on November 4, 1956 between two surrogate debaters - former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt representing the Democrats and Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith representing the Republicans. However, the first debate that included the candidates was between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960.

The US presidential debates create an opportunity for the voters to learn the candidates’ policies, vision, and personality. Although the majority of the viewers have already decided whom they will support, there are still enough undecided voters that may sway the outcome to one side.  

By the time of the day election which is five months ahead, the majority of the debate will be forgotten. Only the important moments that will become viral and memes will persist and affect the voting decision. President Biden was the winner in their last debate in 2020 and his ‘Shut up man!’ rebuke is still remembered.

Since the current President’s advanced age is a major concern to lead the country for a second term, the debate was especially important for him. Even though the two candidates have an age difference of three years, President Biden displays more signs of ‘seniority’. It is such an issue that some commentators had set the criteria of his success as staying straight up by the end of the debate to prove that he still could hold up under pressure and have the energy and stamina for another four years. However, the president needed to perform much better to show that he is superior to Donald Trump.

President Biden concluded the debate on his feet and did not crawl out, but did not give any reason for the voters to choose him except Trump is a bad choice for the Presidency. Even then his attacks were deflected more skillfully than expected by Trump commenting on unrelated topics. In his turn, Trump focused on hitting Biden on inflation, foreign policy and immigration to prove the ineptitude of Biden.

While Trump blatantly lied and exaggerated the facts - according to the New York Times he lied 26 times - Biden could barely answer them and even some of his answers were so mumbled out that Trump questioned whether Biden understood what he said. One of the falsehoods of Trump, for example, was that Biden led the US to a record deficit while the deficit peaked during his administration and the Biden administration reduced it from $3.13tn to $1.7tn. At a certain point the debate devolved to be silly as they discussed their golfing skills to prove their mental and physical prowess to lead the country.

After the debate Biden expressed his belief that he performed well but an on air poll of CNN showed that 67% of debate watchers felt that Trump won the debate. A similar poll in the 2020 presidential debate had shown that 53% of viewers thought Biden won.

While campaign runners of both sides announced a success, voices for the necessity of a new democrat presidential nominee began to rise. But the door for a new nominee can be opened only if President Biden accepts to step down otherwise Democrat Party delegates elected from each state have to revolt against their pledge to elect Mr Biden as the nominee at the Democratic National Convention.

A Democratic strategist already offered three alternatives as nominee - California governor Gavin Newsom, Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer and Vice President Kamala Harris. The same strategist saw it unlikely that the Vice President may bring victory as the US is not ready for a black woman to be president.

Even if these voices get stronger the remaining five months may not be enough for the introduction of a new candidate and the voters of the USA will need to make a decision between a criminal autocrat and an old man with mental decline. A small hope for Joe Biden is that another elderly US president - Ronald Reagan blew up his Presidential debate but was able to be elected for a second term. After his term he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and still it is a topic of debate if he was afflicted with the disease during his presidency. But he was a Republican President and Democrats are more fussy with theirs.

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