Presidential Debate Synopsis: Pitiful and Painful to Watch

Mish

Wow, what an embarrassment for the US.

Pitiful, Painful, Nauseating

This was one of the worst debates in history if not the worst. Moderator Chris Wallace lost control early and never regained it.

If you insists on a winner I would suggest Trump won the first 20 minutes or so, but the score was something like -10 to -30. 

There were no winners in the middle but enough messiness to give a score of -20 each, a tie. Each candidate looked ridiculous at times and OK to good at times, but good only for fleeting moments.

Biden won the final two questions easily. His response on a peaceful transition gets a genuinely positive score. Let's call it +20 to -20. 

That makes the final result -50 for Trump to - 20 for Biden. That is based on Trump's refusal to honor the result of the election and his poor handling of white supremacy.  

But how many even watched the final 5 minutes? So, call it a draw if you like but Six in 10 say Biden Won.

Here is an assessment of the debate from various Tweets.

Unwatchable Draw

Unbelievable

Pitiful

A Word About Debate Moderation

The Audience was Superb!

Ann Coulter is Spot On

Can We Do Better?

Tweet of the Day

The Tweet of the Day award goes to Danielle DiMartino Booth for "This is a cluster you know what colliding with a you know what show."

Low Moments

  1. Constant Interruptions (mainly by Trump but by both)
  2. Biden calling Trump a clown multiple times
  3. Trump debating Chris Wallace
  4. Biden's refusal to look at Trump except in the final minutes
  5. Trump's terrible response on white supremacy
  6. Biden's refusal to answer a question about packing the Supreme Court
  7. Trump's finish about accepting the results of the election 

Who Won Fox News Style

I watched Hannity braying like a mule about how magnificent Trump was. Yeah, right. 

It was a pathetic mess all around.

If you are looking for another single word description, I suggest nauseating.

Who Did This Help?

That is a much better question than who scored debate points.

We will not know until the polls come out, if then. 

There were plenty of sounds bites for each side to attack the other. That lends credence to Nate Silver's "draw" idea. 

But a draw does Trump no good. In fact it hurts him.  Even a tiny win for Trump does him little good.

Conclusion

I suspect Trump's answer regarding accepting the results of the election will cost him more than anything Biden said. 

Trump's best hope is people were so nauseated they refuse to vote because his supporters will turn out anyway.

Biden's best move is to cancel the remaining debates.

What an embarrassing performance by contenders for president of the United States of America.

Mish

Comments (140)
No. 1-44
Casual_Observer2020
Casual_Observer2020

Biden won because he turned it into a referendum on Trump. Which is exactly what the election against a terrible sitting president should be. I actually thought Trump did just about everything wrong. I'm not sure the country needs two more of these debates unless they can shutoff Trump's microphone when he keeps interrupting.

TimeToTest
TimeToTest

The sad part is is we won’t know a winner for awhile.

This could drag into December. Just terrible.

lol
lol

HA HA,A career scam artist vs a senile old grifter.Trump better win,he's lookin down the barrel of a tax evasion charge,the minute he leave the WH!First prez to leave the WH and head straight to the Big House and neither he or Ivanka look like the type that can do time!

Augustthegreat
Augustthegreat

The winner tonight? the Proud Boys!

Felix_Mish
Felix_Mish

In 2016 Wallace was the only competent moderator. If the next two debates have moderators like the first two in 2016,,,,,, Imagine looking back on this "debate" as these guys' finest hour. It could happen.

One point they never acknowledged or addressed is that they both believe (or pretend to believe) their own side's media's stories.

Tengen
Tengen

This is to be expected in an election where neither candidate has a discernible platform. Biden wants to erase the last four years and return to the status quo of 2016, whereas Trump wants to pretend that the last four years remotely align with what he said on the campaign trail.

Based on what I've seen so far, it looks like most people thought the debate was pitiful. If anybody wants to know how we got here, I'd point them toward 2008, 1971, and 1913.

bradw2k
bradw2k

I caught 5 minutes. It's depressing that my teens watched and saw what the pinnacle of political culture has become. This is really a world for cynics, isn't it.

I watched Jorgensen's stream. She isn't what I would call great, but she is good, especially on a couple of issues (ending victimless crimes and forever wars) and she's a giant of reasonableness compared to those pod-people.

AshH
AshH

Interesting that the poll has Biden winning this debate by 6 of 10, which is roughly the same as the national election poll numbers. This could be confirmation bias, where people only want to see the things that confirm what they already believe.

Jojo
Jojo

There is discussion already as to if Biden should bow out of the next two debates.

Biden campaign faces questions about whether he should skip next debates
The campaign insisted he would participate in the final two, but some Democrats said he should demand rule changes.
09/30/2020 02:26 AM EDT

Casual_Observer2020
Casual_Observer2020

Looks like Trump's poll watchers will be prosecuted by multiple states.

Sechel
Sechel

WUT?

One of the worst? What debate comes comes close to that?

Trump decided he can't win a conventional debate against Joe Biden so he sought to blow it up.

As far as Trump winning any part of that debate that's absurd. Trump sabotaged that debate. He prepped for that performance with Kellyanne Conway, Giuliani and Chris Christie. He not only refused to let Biden speak he attacked Chris Wallace. There's no way that performance improved Trump's polling with anyone except members of the Proud Boys which instead of denouncing he wound up giving a voice of support.

That debate was not only pathetic it shows a marked mental decline in Donald Trump who lacked any self control , was intent on blowing up that debate performance and told America he's the #1 victim in all this.

There is only one criteria where you might arguably say Trump won the debate. Trump prevented Biden from being heard and getting any sound bites his campaign could use to attack Trump with. Trump's strategy was to rattle Joe Biden and in that he failed.

This is one of those posts where I feel like you and me watched different debates. After last night any country considering Democracy shrugged and said "Are you nuts?"

numike
numike

"Whatever happens to Richard Nixon when the wolves finally rip down his door seems almost beside the point, now... All we can really ask of him, at this point, is a semblance of self-restraint until some way can be found to get rid of him gracefully." Hunter S. Thompson

Sechel
Sechel

Trump puts on a shitshow and the media insists on false equivalency. There are not two sides to the debate. Biden should not be held to Queensbury rules when Trump was using a switchblade. Enough of false equivalency journalism.

Herkie
Herkie

I shut it off about 20 minutes in, it was a horror show. To that point I thought Trump was a bully, as usual NO respect for the rules, it was not a debate at all. With all those inturruption he never managed to make a truthful point in his favor about anything, but it did make Biden look less than presidential, he looked old and weak, and like a doormat. I understand he woke up a bit later but by the time I quit my only thought was this is just pathetic. I thought Biden should have confronted Wallace for total failure to enforce the rules of the debate.

Lance Manly
Lance Manly

Winner Biden. Why? Gives him an excuse to bow out of the next two debates. Trump needs the debates to even have a chance.

WesternSky
WesternSky

I thought Trump made a good point about a "peaceful transition" that wasn't fully heard though all the interrupting. What do the Dems know about a "peaceful transition"? They spied on Trumps campaign without probable cause in 2016, used the US intel apparatus to try to frame him on Russia collusion, and dragged out the whole phony Mueller investigation for 3 yrs purposely past the 2018 midterms. How is that a "peaceful transition'?

Eddie_T
Eddie_T

I never watch debates on TV because I don't watch TV. The medium is the message.

Thanks for the recap. Sounds like I made the right call.

Art Izagud
Art Izagud

Trump wiped the floor with Biden. It was two on one, with Wallace protecting feeble Biden by constantly interrupting Trump and not allowing rebuttals. This forced Trump to be extra assertive, which he is smeared as a bully for. Biden looked like Max Headroom up there, a soulless corporate mirage being fed facts by earpiece. The effects of this debate will take a week or so to sink in, as subconsciously, those with TDS are now faced with the prime reality that the alternative is corruption and incompetence.

zurtkz
zurtkz

How many will tune in for the next debate? I know I will if only for morbid curiosity and a few laughs. My 12 year old son wanted to watch last night and called them dumb and dumber.

Reiterating my prediction for this election cycle lowest voter turnout in history

CCBW
CCBW

Take a pit bull and beat and kick him for four years. There is no doubt he’s going to lash out. Hillary made a big deal about Trump had to accepting the election but Hillary and the Dem’s never did. Then the Dem’s and the left press threw so much S**T at Trump from every angle tried to impeach him with BS charges. That came from the Hillary campaign. If they had anything like the video of Biden talking to the council on foreign relations they would have had him in prison before he took office.

Rusty Nail
Rusty Nail

Trump played only to his basest of bases, in a way sure to harden opposition and likely to alienate whatever moderate folks remain undecided. His base is too small to win the election without help from swing voters. I don't see how this was anything but a disaster for him. Correspondingly, my predictit bet on NO for Trump to win has been gaining value overnight. I find the kind of false equivalence we see in Mish's piece between Trump's performance and Biden's last night to be odious... Biden had no choice but to get aggressive, which is plainly illustrated by perceptions he looked weak for the first 30 minutes.

Sechel
Sechel

Trump was claiming before the debate that Biden was senile, couldn't go toe to toe wiht him and stay in the ring for the full 90 minutes. That was the metrics set by Trump. Both arguments failed. So by Trump's own definition Biden won. It may not have been the best debate performance in Presidential history but Biden looked far more Presidential than Donald Trump last night.

Woodturner
Woodturner

After 45 minutes my head was about to explode so I turned it off and poured a large Irish whiskey. I really tried to watch it all but I couldn’t listen to Trump’s antics any longer. Though regardless of his politics, Bernie would have wiped the floor with Trump. Biden, meh.

KidHorn
KidHorn

I thought the last election had the worst choices of all time. This has it beat. Trump can't shut up and Biden calls Trump a liar while constantly lying.

Why does Trump have to answer question about White Supremacists when Antifa and BLM have done far worse? Makes no sense.

Captain Ahab
Captain Ahab

Frustrated circus clown debates political zombie!

It defies commonsense that people debate the merits of either one. This is a 'lose-lose' for the USA.

Biden appears exactly as he should, (a wise, venerated leader) after a lifetime in politics--that's a lifetime of looking like the innocent flower, but being the serpent under it (Lady MacBeth). He's a 'C', without wit, creativity, or critical thinking.

Trump is a braggart and brigand, a real estate developer/entrepreneur/ showman. He clearly doesn't belong in politics, yet in 2016 people voted for fewer snakes. He's also a 'C', loud-mouthed, uncontrolled, and frustrated, because from Day 1, he was doomed to failure.

However, I do think last night's debate was part of a 'gotcha moment.' October will tell. That said, if you haven't bought gold, now is not a good time; but better late than never.

Rocky Raccoon
Rocky Raccoon

Sean Hannity gets paid a lot of money to throw out conservatism and defend the Republican flavor of the day. He is a pathetic little man who isn't even good at what he does. It's so easy to see through him. There is no wisdom when it comes to Hannity, and deep down inside he probably knows this was a shit show and Trump was the ringleader of this circus.

If you want wisdom, I suggest George Carlin who realizes these two candidate are nothing more than a reflection of America--which means we are in serious decline as you see the rot in this 90 minutes.

Rocky Raccoon
Rocky Raccoon

Can you image these two pathetic sides dragging this on into the Christmas season ready to kill each other? Nothing says Christmas more than...

Casual_Observer2020
Casual_Observer2020

Looks like Proud Boys founder is not even an American. He should be deported back to Canada for prosecution as a terrorist.

MikeC
MikeC

This was basically two old men from a nursing home yelling at each other. Saw a sign in the yard down the street that said Any Functioning Adult 2020, couldn't agree more because these two are both clowns.

njbr
njbr

The reality is that both of these guys are past their sell-by date.

The difference for me is that one of these guys is fully tooled up with lick-spittle, groveling, incompetent underlings placed throughout the government who will roll over and piss their pants in their eagerness to fulfill their leader's order, and agree, "yessir, the grass is blue and the sky is green". He's the only guy is on the verge of dismantling all the checks and balances of the system. Enough is enough. Trump is dangerous to America and must go.

Carl_R
Carl_R

I don't know that Biden won, but Trump certainly lost. He was un-Presidential, poorly behaved, a petulant bully, extremely immature, non-responsive, and rude. As for Biden, we have to remember the old saying that you shouldn't wrestle pigs in the mud because, not only will you get dirty, the pig likes it. Trump's supporters probably enjoyed the mud wrestling, but the one thing it didn't do was bring any non-Trump supporters into the Trump camp.

For Biden, for what he needed to do, the bar was low. Trump has said Biden was senile, and so the burden was on Biden to be able to string words together into cohesive sentences. Biden did that well enough to show he is not senile, so from that standpoint, Biden clearly won. Biden didn't give anyone a reason NOT to vote for him. Was he Presidential? I don't think that was possible in that fiasco, but he was certainly far closer than Trump was.

In the end, I think that this "debate" simply reinforced opinions, and didn't change anyone's minds:

  1. Trump supporters liked what they saw, and saw nothing that changed their minds.
  2. Trump haters were appalled at what they saw, and wanted even more to vote Trump out.
  3. Biden supporters saw no senility, and no reason to not vote for Biden.

Thus, the debate largely preserved the status quo. I see no reason why Biden should agree to any more debates. We already know what we need to know, and there is nothing to be gained from them. Those that like Trump are happy with their choice. Those that hate Trump are happy with theirs. If they do have more debates, after this fiasco, I can't believe anyone will watch. I certainly won't.

Rocky Raccoon
Rocky Raccoon

Once again I am reminded WWE Hall of Famer Donald Trump graduated wrestling fans to the next level--into politics. The storylines Trump played along with in Vince McMahon's imaginary sport have led many idiots into supporting this man.

Realist
Realist

I completely agree with Mish. Nauseating is the correct word.

To think that Trump managed to become President, is a tremendous embarrassment for Americans.

I tried to watch the debate but had to mute it after 10 minutes, because of Trump’s insane performance. Instead I simply watched the video feed, while reading a running commentary from analysts.

It was enlightening to simply watch without audio. Trump appeared angry, agitated and couldn’t stop talking. Biden, by comparison, mostly looked straight into the camera to connect with his audience and appeared for the most part, calm and measured (or Presidential). The closest comparison I can come up with is Biden as the calm parent or teacher, and Trump, the precocious 5 year old who wants to get his way, by screaming and stomping his feet. Too bad that Biden couldn't spank him. This is your President? How embarrassing!

Based on Trump’s need to attract the few independent and undecided voters remaining, I can’t see how this ridiculous performance helps him in any way.

Jojo
Jojo

Very good article here:

They wanted disruption in 2016. Now they're Trump defectors
29 Sep 2020

Shawna Jensen’s moment of reckoning came in March, as she sat in her suburban Fort Worth, Texas, living room next to her fireplace. Her laptop was open to a Zoom happy hour with five girlfriends. She sucked in a breath, gripping her glass of red wine.

“Hey, guys, I gotta tell you something,” she said. The women, all white, Republican, suburban moms, stared back at her.

Jensen’s heart raced. How would they react? What would they think? She never dreamed she would utter these words aloud.

“I’m not voting for Trump this year. My heart will not let me do it. I can’t vote for someone who is that ugly to other people.”

JJ Johnson
JJ Johnson

They should let Kanye on the stage next debate.

If you think it can't get worse....let's just try

Felix_Mish
Felix_Mish

Here's an idea: Let the candidates control a mute switch on their own mikes. Allocate total un-muted time equally. When the first candidate's time has run out, his mike is dead. The other gets the rest of the time. (Yes, this would get complex, given that the moderators of the remaining "debates" are likely to be partisans. Give the moderator a time limit and mute switch, too?)

bowwow
bowwow

I expected Biden to be the way that he was. While not surprised by Trump's belligerence, he could have been less defensive than he was. I think Trump believes that he is going to lose.

Both candidates are feeble-minded. In terms of what either can possibly contribute as executive over the four years, this is a contest between two meaningless candidates.

Jojo
Jojo

Weird Al Presents: ‘America Is Doomed, the Musical’
By the Gregory Brothers and Weird Al Yankovic
Sept. 30, 2020, 4:32 p.m. ET

Weird Al Yankovic’s take on the weird debate.
The first presidential debate of 2020, was, in the words of Jake Tapper, “a hot mess inside a dumpster fire inside a train wreck.” But the show must go on, and, out of duty to a nation longing for a debate wrap-up set to music, the Gregory Brothers teamed up with the greatest American parodist alive and set to work. In the video above, Weird Al provides the debate recap we all need.

JGJones
JGJones

i agree that Trump lost it more than Biden won. But the Proud Boys cleaned up!

Jojo
Jojo

Opinion
For the Sake of Democracy, Cancel the Trump-Biden Debates
The president is maneuvering to steal the election. Why help him?
By Frank Bruni - Opinion Columnist
Oct. 1, 2020

Jojo
Jojo

thestreet.com platform really sucks today! Page goes to blank white on refresh, which is needed to show my comments. Have to restart the browser (Chrome) regularly. Didn't have these issues yesterday.

Herkie
Herkie

Just saw this at 538, latest presidential race poll:

SEP 29-30, 2020

Change Research 925 Likely Voters
Biden 54%
Trump 41%

Biden +13

I do not think that includes any post debate on the 29th itself as they do not usually call that late when polling. but on the 30th basically all responses would be aware of the CATASTROPHIC debacle that was Trump's behavior on stage.

And then at 270 to win they made some changes today:

October 1: Delaware, Rhode Island move from Likely to Safe Democratic; Maine (at-large) Leans to Likely Democratic; ME-2 Leans Republican to Toss-up; Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania Toss-up to Leans Democratic.

If their map stays the exact same till election day Biden will win with 279 and that is without picking up even one toss up state. Trump could take ALL toss ups and still lose as it stands now.