Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images
President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden met for their second and final debate as tens of millions of Americans have already voted. A deeply divided country is starting its final election day sprint amid the coronavirus pandemic, and it is unclear how many voters have not yet made up their minds.
Here are five lessons from the debate in Nashville, Tennessee, a very different – and far more bourgeois – night than the last encounter.
1. There was a real debate
The first debate between Trump and Biden was not observable. It was overwhelmed by interruptions and crosstalk, disregard for the moderator and attribution – all largely on the part of the president.
One of the new rules imposed by the Commission on Presidential Debates was a mute button operated by a CPD staff member that turned off each candidate’s microphone for the first two minutes of their opponent’s speaking time at the beginning of each debate topic.
NBC News host Kristen Welker kept the conversation moving. She followed and pushed for answers, and in fairness gave both candidates an opportunity to respond to the other’s comments. Welker pushed back as the contestants tried to run or change the subject over time. She was firm and her no-nonsense approach kept candidates to task.
Trump took the polls after the initial debate and received advice from Republicans to ease this time. Last night he was more measured and tried to keep up to date. Biden was also more disciplined, preparing for personal attacks that the Trump campaign previously signaled that it would affect his son Hunter’s business relationships.
2. The coronavirus is still the driving force behind the elections
The 2020 election continues to focus on Trump’s handling of the coronavirus and was the subject of Welker’s first question. Both candidates tested negative for the coronavirus before entering the venue on Thursday, and those in the small audience had to wear masks. Members of the Trump family obeyed the rules, put on masks and turned up leave them on afterwards conspicuously rejected in the first debate.
The approaches and attitudes of the two candidates could not have been more different with regard to the pandemic. Biden warned that a “dark winter” was imminent and that the president had failed to take control of the response to the virus from the start, with 220,000 dead.
“Anyone responsible for so many deaths shouldn’t remain President of the United States of America,” said Biden.
Trump repeatedly claimed that his approach saved millions of lives and that “We round off the curve.” After testing positive himself after the last debate, the president admitted having had personal experience with the disease, but argued that it was manageable and said, “I had it. And I got better.”
He reiterated his claim that a vaccine was weeks away, but admitted, under pressure, “It’s not a guarantee.” Trump said “it has a good chance of being approved by the end of the year” and that he had a plan for the military to help distribute millions of cans.
The president tried to focus on the economic impact of the return to restrictions, arguing that Biden wanted to close the country. He said, “We cannot keep this country closed. This is a massive country with a massive economy. People are losing theirs.” Jobs. “
Biden replied, referring to the virus: “He says we learn to live with it. People learn to die with it.”
3. In the health care debate, “Bidencare” was against the end of Obamacare
Democrats have made the GOP endeavor to end Obamacare a major campaign line of attack, both in the presidential election and in congressional races, and it has proven to be effective.
Biden named his plan for the Affordable Care Act “Bidencare“during the debate on Thursday evening.
The president vowed to protect pre-existing conditions, but Biden pounded him for it do not submit a plan to replace the ACA despite four years of warnings that one is imminent. The Supreme Court is expected to hear a challenge to the law from the Trump administration a week after the election. As before, Biden linked health care concerns about the coronavirus pandemic with government efforts to tear down the ACA.
The previous Thursday, the president released a raw video from a recorded interview on the CBS News broadcast 60 minutes where it was pressed over its position on the ACA. Trump stated: “I hope you finish it. It will be so good when you finish it. “And during the debate, he continued to harshly criticize the ACA, which 10 years after its inception is more popular and has proven to be a political plus for Democrats.
“What we want to do is cancel it,” the president said, also noting that he was “canceling” the individual mandate that required people to sign up for coverage plans or pay a fine.
The president claimed Biden’s plan was a socialized medicine that would threaten Medicare, the popular state health insurance for the elderly. He equated Biden’s plan with that of other Democrats who pushed for a more comprehensive Medicare for All program during the primaries.
But Biden turned down these suggestions, saying, “I hit all these other people because I didn’t agree with them”.
4. Trump attacked Biden as a typical politician involved in corruption
Trump won in 2016 in part arguing that he was not a politician, but a businessman who would go to Washington to “drain the swamp”. He’s been trying for the past few weeks to repeat that strategy, branding Biden a corrupt Washington figure who has had a 47-year career in government without showing much in return. Though re-election races for incumbents are usually referendums on their first terms, Trump has spoken less about his own record than about Biden’s.
When the Trump campaign entered the debate, it signaled that the president would see Biden’s son Hunter work with companies overseas, arguing that this led to the former vice president becoming personally enriched. The President referred to reports in the New York Post about alleged emails from Hunter that described the effort to set up a business venture in China that included money for his father and uncle.
However, the authenticity of the material cited in the news reports has not been verified – it has been post Office by Trump’s attorney and ally Rudy Giuliani. And Biden’s election campaign denies the allegations. One of the Trump campaign guests was at the debate a man who claims to be a former business partner by Hunter Biden, who said he had direct knowledge that Joe Biden was involved in his son’s business dealings and intended to meet with Senate GOP investigators on the matter.
Biden was ready to attack. “I’ve never taken a dime from a foreign source in my life,” he said. He argued that Trump’s focus on the Biden family should detract from the problems faced by voters’ families.
The president waved off Biden’s answers and changed the subject like other “typical politicians” and said, “I’m not a typical politician. That’s why I was elected.”
The president pointed out several times that Biden received millions from foreign governments but did not provide any evidence to support his claims. Biden pointed out that many of Trump’s claims about the Biden family were proven false during the impeachment investigation.
Less than two weeks before election day, Trump’s efforts to change the focus of the campaign may have been disconnected and could have confused voters as his allegations were not clear. Many voters also focus on business and health care, not unsupported corruption allegations.
Biden used the exchange to: a New York Times A report that revealed that Trump himself had a Chinese bank account, which raised questions about Trump’s own tax payments to China and his refusal to publish his U.S. tax returns. The president said he think he was closing the China account and again claims he will release his returns once an IRS audit is completed. The IRS is aware that the review will not prevent Trump from releasing his returns now.
5. The debate may not matter
More than 40 million people have already voted, and current surveys show that a very small portion of the electorate can be persuaded so close to the election. Even Biden seemed bored and checked his watch towards the end of the debate.
Both campaigns were primarily concerned with avoiding major mistakes in the final debate, and both candidates delivered. Now, in the final stage, her focus will be on getting backers out and seeing states process an unprecedented number of ballots from those who vote ahead of time or by mail to avoid long queues during an ongoing national health crisis.