It was a “normal” face-to-face, where there was no lack of spicy crosses, chicanes and punches, but in a correct tone, facing the elections of November. Did the two win?
The first and most important novelty: it was a “normal” debate, civilized, something that is not a small saying when one of the protagonists was Donald Trump, a man who usually break all the rules. It is that the first television clash between the president of the United States and his rival Joe Biden had been so chaotic and aggressive that for the latter, 11 days before the November 3 elections, they had to invent a new format to contain the candidates. Microphones turned off at certain times when the opponent and the journalist spoke Kristen Welker -strong, agile and sagacious moderator- they managed to put on a normal corset for unbridled temperaments.
There were spicy crossovers, chicanes and some punches, but in the right tone and at the height of a presidential debate. But, beyond the decibels, who won? Can you change the course of the elections? It is convenient to place the magnifying glass on the performance of each candidate.
The president managed to circumvent the broad segment of the coronavirus, one of the most controversial points and one of the great concerns of voters, without being shipwrecked. He had to defend his management with hundreds of thousands of victims and swallow some stilettos from Biden such as: “220 thousand people died. If there is any person responsible for not controlling the situation, it is Trump and he should not remain as president. There are a thousand deaths a day. It has no comprehensive plan. I do have “.
Trump, who has always downplayed the disease, faced the challenge of not appearing “ignoring” the pandemic that takes away the sleep of a large part of Americans, especially women and those over 65, two segments of the electorate where he is suffering great sangria.
There were strong contrasts of vision, when there is a new peak of the disease these weeks: Trump said that the virus was “going away”, while Biden warned that it was coming a dark winter. He called for all schools and restaurants to be opened, while the Democrat called for a responsible opening.
He had the right to don’t make fun of biden for wearing a chinstrap and for not setting himself up as a superhero who had personally defeated the disease, something he constantly does in front of his bases in his campaign acts, but which scares the moderates he seeks to catch.
Unsurprisingly, according to what has been heard in recent days, Trump attacked Biden for his son Hunter’s business in China. The president thus sought to install the successful strategy of 2016, which linked Hillary to corruption due to the email scandal. However, the challenge is tougher this time because 64% of Americans consider Biden as a “decent” man, while only 30% assign that label to Trump, according to a Quinnipiac poll. Hillary at the time reaped 34% in this area and the strategy was easier.
Perhaps Trump’s best moment was precisely on that question. When the president attacked him for his son, Biden addressed the audience and said that what mattered was not his family but the suffering American families. Trump sneered that his rival was seeking to divert the controversy over to the family table. “Typical politician, come on Joe!”
The president managed to turn one of his weak points – caring for the environment – into an offensive by denouncing Biden as an opponent of fracking, an extraction method that is important in key states such as Pennsylvania or Ohio. Questionable phrases such as that “USA. it has the lowest carbon emissions in recent years ”.
On another controversial issue he also launched: “I am the least racist person of this audience “and said he had done more for African Americans” than any president in history since Abraham Lincoln, “
Perhaps his weakest moment was when he referred to undocumented immigrants and the more than 500 children separated from their parents. Showed no empathy, said that they were brought by coyotes and that only those with “low IQs” appear in court. And he accused the Barack Obama administration of locking them up: “Where are the cages, Joe?”
Beyond the details, Trump had a drastic change regarding the past debate. He must have taken into account that the aggressive style did not sit well with the moderate independent electorate that desperately needs to win. But he had the opposite that he spent the debate defending his management and did not manage to raise clearly His plans to future.
He entered the stage with a mask and only took it off when he reached the lectern. He later exhibited it when he said it was necessary to stop the virus. It was a symbol of how important the theme is to his campaign, which has turned the mask into a hallmark. Trumpista bases, especially in the interior of the country, they don’t use it. But independents are concerned about the virus. He was adept at punching the president about the pandemic, but failed to deliver a punch that made a difference.
His lowest moment was when Trump attacked him on Hunter. Although this time the president – well advised by the way – avoided personal attacks against his son, Biden made visible in that section su tartamudeo, a problem that he overcame as a child and that surfaces when he gets nervous.
His best moments were when I looked at the camera to speak to the audience. He was seen less aggressive than in the previous debate, but energetic, far from the image Trump usually endows him with as “Sleepy Joe” or as a senile old man. In addition, he did not commit any of the gaffes that usually characterize him.
Above all, he managed to focus a message that is vital in this final stretch of the campaign and that had been blurred in the first: that the November 3 election is about “The character” of the United States. “You know him, you know me. Character matters, it is at stake in the vote, ”he said. And he spoke of “decency, honor, respect.”