World News – AU – Worst debate in modern American history: how hope was assaulted in Trump-Biden shock


Ninety minutes is a lifetime in politics these days – and Wednesday’s reality show let us know that was 90 minutes of our lives that we will never come back A horrible, disastrous and unnecessary session that left viewers utterly disappointed – the worst debate in modern American history

President Donald Trump hates being challenged, and he has played this debate to occupy the platform and intimidate former Vice President Joe Biden and moderator Chris Wallace to recreate his favorite playground: where he possesses the oxygen and the aspiration of the House He loved all those precious minutes where he could fly unhindered because, in the words of an Australian Prime Minister, he doesn’t know, « I’ll take you slow, buddy « Trump criticized Biden for being a Trojan horse of socialism, lawlessness, crime and much worse

At the start of this first debate, the polls and fundamentals of Biden’s campaign were stable Nationally, he is up seven to 10 points against Trump and consistently registers more than 50% of the voters polled – a important benchmark He leads in all crucial swing states and is competitive even in the Republican redoubts of Iowa, Georgia and Ohio Women voters support Biden on Trump 65-35 – up 15 points from Hillary Clinton margin

Trump’s approval is 43% No president has been re-elected less than 50% – a benchmark Trump never reached during his tenure He wears white voters 52-46, but in 2016, he won them by 16 points

Biden leads with older voters 52-37; Trump won them by seven points in 2016 Sixty percent of Americans don’t want the Supreme Court to ban abortion – but it’s a major factor for Trump to put Justice Amy Coney Barrett in court on Election Day At 57% approval, Obamacare is more popular than Trump

So Trump had to take Biden apart and restart the engine that won the key states that gave him the presidency in 2016 with just 46% of the popular vote, compared to Clinton’s 48% Trump only plays offense – never backs down on defense

Biden struggled under the onslaught – to be heard, to stay focused on the issues as Trump changed the subject – and was defeated Biden couldn’t continue for more than 30 seconds without Trump not letting him down interrupt

Trump was pugnacious in the extreme, but Biden didn’t fight under these conditions and was injured Trump absolutely cemented his base with his performance They loved it Biden supporters left disgusted by the president more than ever This debate has left the country as divided as ever over their leadership and their future

But was Biden’s performance strong enough to lead him to victory in the final 34 days of the campaign? His enthusiasm factor is much lower than that of Trump Sixty-five percent of Trump’s base are « very » enthusiastic about their president, but only 49% are also reinforced for Biden That probably hasn’t changed after this debate If all Trump supporters show up to vote and 10% of Biden stays home, Joe is in trouble

Biden’s Hispanic vote isn’t particularly strong, and it could cost him Florida, where Hispanics who have enmity for the regimes in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela are firmly behind Trump and his animosity for the dictators their families fled

African-American vote projected for Biden will be higher than Clinton’s in 2016 – but lower than Obama’s in 2012

There are wild cards that could come into play No one is safe from the coronavirus If Trump or Biden get sick it will change the race If Biden stumbles physically or mentally it could raise doubts about his abilities to the presidency

And unfortunately there is a prospect of violence The days leading up to the elections will be the most tense the country has faced since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 The mood is dark – and was not helped at all by this Trump-Biden meeting

During the decade 1963-1972, horrific political violence raged, because of the assassinations of President John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Robert F Kennedy and the attempt to kill Governor George Wallace of Alabama while campaigning in 1972 on a platform of white supremacy and law enforcement The presidential candidates have not been attacked since The danger today is an America with too much anger and too many guns

Trump and Biden will meet two more times But with 90 million plays, this is the one that matters most He disappointed and reinforced the terrifyingly sad state of American democracy Hope was assaulted on the debate stage in Ohio

Bruce Wolpe is a senior fellow at the United States Studies Center He was a Democratic staff member of the US Congress and chief of staff to former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Our weekly newsletter will provide expert analysis of the White House race by our US correspondent Matthew Knott Sign up for the Sydney Morning Herald newsletter here, The Age’s here, Brisbane Times’ here and WAtoday is here

Bruce Wolpe is a senior fellow at the United States Studies Center He was on the Democratic staff of the United States Congress and was chief of staff to former Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Trump vs. Biden Debate

World News – AU – Worst Debate in Modern American History: How Hope Was Assaulted in Trump-Biden Shock



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