Michael Brown on The Trump-Biden Presidential Debate Was a Snapshot of the State of America

US President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speak during the first 2020 presidential campaign debate in Cleveland, Ohio, US, September 29, 2020. / Brian Snyder, Reuters

Things got ugly fast and they stayed ugly until the end. That’s why headlines from both the left and right spoke of “chaos” and a “circus” and a “bitter shouting match.” As I tweeted early on, “I have heard family arguments that were more mature and civil than this. Unreal.” And then later, “There’s so much dirt flying it’s hard not to feel dirty just watching.”

Over at Red State, Joe Cunningham put it like this: “This is a hard one, folks. Time and again, this debate proved to me that this is a terrifying time to be alive. Two old men shouting at each other while a third old man tries to get them to stop shouting at each other? Watching this debate was a type of self-destructive behavior that I’ll be recovering from for a while, I think.”

Howard Kurtz on Fox News said: “It was the presidential debate as barroom brawl, as television shoutfest, as exhausting insult derby.” Over on CNN, Chris Cillizza stated: “It was, without question, the single worst debate I have ever covered in my two decades of doing this job.”

The sad thing, though, is that the debate was a microcosm of the state of America. We are gravely divided. We are nasty. We burn bridges rather than build them. We don’t trust anyone that is not in our camp. We are deeply suspicious. Everyone seems biased.

And are there any, national, unifying voices? Sadly, there are not.

As for the debate itself, there were clear misses on each side (and I say this as someone with decades of experience in public debates).

When you refuse to answer a head-on question (like Biden refusing to answer whether he would pack the Supreme Court if elected), you lose. When you do not expose a blatant lie told about you (like Trump failing to refute the “very fine people” Charlottesville lie), you lose. When you constantly interrupt, you lose (Trump started it, Biden joined in, Wallace added to the confusion).

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Brown