It was only a few months ago when vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris proclaimed at a Democratic Party presidential primary debate that “America doesn’t need to see a food fight; they want to know how we’re going to put food on the table.” Her wishes didn’t come to fruition at the first 2020 presidential debate, which took place on September 29th.
Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden and Republican nominee President Donald J. Trump took to the stage for the opening presidential debate ahead of November’s elections. The debate was moderated by Chris Wallace, American journalist and anchor of the Fox News program Fox News Sunday.
One thing remained consistent throughout the debate: each candidate repeatedly attacked the other. Trump’s attacks centered around the notion that the Democratic Party is far too radical to keep America sustained. Biden’s attacks centered around claims that Trump’s supposed ineptitude as president has led to a high COVID-19 death toll and severe racial injustices against Black and indigenous people of color.
The debate started off by addressing the hot topic on everyone’s mind: the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the vacant seat she left behind in the Supreme Court. Trump asserted that he’s well within his rights as empowered by the United States Constitution to appoint a nominee, pending Senate consent. Biden responded by insisting that the victor of the presidential election should have the privilege to appoint a new justice. He further explained that the American people ought to have some say in the process, and that translates to electing senators who’ll confirm the appointment made by the next duly-elected president.
The debate was civil for the Supreme Court nominee segment. However, that quickly changed as the topic transitioned over to healthcare. This portion wasn’t exactly coherent, as neither candidate adequately addressed the issue at hand and Wallace failed to control the debate. Trump attacked the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare, while Biden overemphasized the importance of voting.
However, the lack of productivity in the healthcare segment paled in comparison to the discussion on race. Biden opened by saying that the egregious Charlottesville protests, specifically the white nationalists taking to the streets and inciting violence, prompted him to run for president. He insinuated that “equity, equality and the Constitution” would be key in tackling the main components of systemic racial issues in our country. Trump responded by bragging about being able to “take back” cities that allegedly were overrun with violent protests (Seattle and Minneapolis, for instance, according to Trump), all the while citing the need for law and order.
Trump’s recent COVID-19 diagnosis prompted concerns about his being able to participate in the next debate, scheduled for October 15th. The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) put out a statement indicating that a virtual debate would not occur. “On October 8, CPD announced that for the health and safety of all involved, the second presidential debate, scheduled for October 15 in Miami, would be conducted virtually. Subsequently, the campaigns of the two candidates who qualified for participation in the debate made a series of statements concerning their respective positions regarding their willingness to participate in a virtual debate on October 15, and each now has announced alternate plans for that date. It is now apparent there will be no debate on October 15, and the CPD will turn its attention to preparations for the final presidential debate scheduled for October 22.”