A Look At The First Presidential Debate

Lily Belcher and Rachel Hesse

It’s no surprise that Tuesday night’s debate was filled with jabs, name calling, and interrupting from both Former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump. Covering the pressing topics in the news, Biden and Trump took turns interrupting the other’s two-minute allotments and talking around the original subject. Now this is no new issue, however, it led to a lot of personal jabs, including Trump’s bashing of Joe Biden’s second son, Hunter Biden, and eventually an enraged “shut up” used by Joe Biden.

The debate’s first question asked each nominee’s opinion on whether or not President Trump has the right to nominate a Supreme Court Justice. Following Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, President Trump nominated Federal Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barret, which Trump argued he had the right to all four years to make decisions as President.

Biden contrasted, saying, “The election has already started…we should wait and see what the outcome of this election is.”  

Senators are delaying the vote on Trump’s nomination using a filibuster, blocking any decision from being made. Biden refused to provide an answer as to whether he would support the filibuster or not but told the American people to go out and vote to change the conditions in the Senate.

Moving on from the heated topic of Supreme Court nominations, the candidates then discussed the health care plans presented by each of the opposing sides. Standard ideas, such as universal healthcare and protecting those with preexisting conditions, were debated. Trump explained how he overturned the Obamacare mandate planned to cut drug prices by 80%-90% and offer a public option for health care by ending private insurance and creating a government take-over of healthcare. Biden said those that do not have enough money for Medicaid would be automatically enrolled in the public option.

The discussion took a quick turn, to arguing about Trump being a liar. “The fact is that everything he’s saying so far is a lie. I’m not here to call out his lies, everybody knows he’s a liar,” said Biden, resulting in a seemingly endless back and forth by both parties. 

The bickering continued into the next question regarding  how to handle the Coronavirus. Both sides have disagreed on mask mandates and the rate at which business are reopening. Trump displayed his mask and explained that he only wears the mask when necessary, whereas Biden wears his all the time. 

Quoting the CDC, Biden said, “If we just wore masks between now and January, we would probably save [100,000 lives].”

The candidates’ views on economic recovery can be described as V shaped (Trump) and K shaped (Biden). According to Biden, the difference between the two plans is that millionaires and billionaires during the Covid crisis have done very well because of the tax proposal and Trump’s focus on the market. He argued that “you can’t fix the economy until you fix the Covid crisis.”

As the economy took a drop in the second quarter, President Trump has been focused on improving the economic state of the country, passing stimulus checks to motivate consumers to make more purchases and pay taxes on those purchases to put money back in the national economy.

The candidates then discussed a series of topics in the news cycle, including racism and climate change.

With the social unrest following the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, racial equality and protection was brought up in the later half of the debate. Trump responded, saying, “I want to see peace.” 

When talking about climate change, Trump explains how he’s for clear water and air without destroying businesses and that, as far as the forest fires in California go, there was a need for more forest management to remove the dry tinder fueling the fires. All in all, Trump’s goal is to have a balance between the economy and climate change efforts. Biden chimed in talking about the Biden plan, which he had originally, mistakenly called the “Green New Deal”.

Biden plans to put into place the Administration Recovery Act to instill cheaper energy price, promote the use of electric vehicles by adding 500 new charging stations throughout the country, weatherize four million buildings to reduce carbon emissions, all to create new jobs and support the environment. He also plans to rejoin the Paris Accord and work together with the rest of the world to supply a $2 billion check to the people cutting down the Amazon Rainforest in hopes of making them stop

At the end of the debate, Trump and Biden discussed election integrity regarding the mail in ballots. Biden seemed unconcerned about any fraudulent activities regarding the ballots and reminded the American citizens to vote and to vote responsibly so each vote would count. Whereas Trump countered stating why mail in ballots are unreliable and subject to fraud, but neither side presented a safe alternative for voting in the midst of the Coronavirus.

While the debate was heated and neither candidate ever had the chance at two uninterrupted minutes, the nominees will each have two more debates to fully lay out their plans if they are elected president and illustrate their future plans for America.