Analysis of the Final Presidential Debate
Winners, Losers and Overall Impression
Now that the debates are in the books for the 2020 election year, there are certainly a few things we have learned. Some of those insights have been about either Donald Trump and Mike Pence or Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Some have been more about the debate process itself or the importance of a quality moderator with a professional method for conducting the event. More often than not, debates don’t necessarily play a huge role in swaying voter opinion or getting people out to the polls. But, this is not a typical year and certainly not a typical election.
Winners: The American People, Kristen Welker, “presidential behavior”
Unlike the first debate in September, this second and final contest provided a more traditional discussion between candidates. Perhaps it was the installation of a “mute button” to cut down on cross-talk and interruptions. Maybe it was the simple fact that both candidates toned it down a little. No matter what the reason may be, the public was treated to a much better debate than the first.
Part of the reason for a better showing could have been the moderator Kristen Welker. While there was some speculation going into the debate as to whether or not Welker could be impartial, she came across as pretty fair. Even with having a history of spending holidays with the Obama family and having donated to Biden in past campaigns, she was clearly more professional and impartial than either Chris Wallace or Susan Page. When Trump complements you on your fairness, that’s really something considering his feelings toward the mainstream media.
Many pundits frequently opine about their thoughts on how a president should behave and what his or her attitude should project. Whether you agree with the notion of some kind of “presidential behavior” or not, both candidates conducted themselves with grace and professionalism. There were a few moments of snickering and snarky comments but they were kept to a minimum.
Losers: People hoping for chaos, coherency
While many viewers wanted a calmer and more tempered discussion than the first debate, there are undoubtedly some out there who were hoping for another metaphorical dumpster fire. Those people surely ended up coming away disappointed. There was very little cross-talk, zero name calling, and interruptions were few and far between. Yes, the moderator did interject to move on to another question on several occasions. I think the official count was around 28. And the vast majority of those came while Trump was speaking. However, this was significantly less of a problem than either the first contest between these two or the VP debate.
Right or wrong, some have questions the cognitive state of a particular candidate. I’ll leave it up to the reader to delve into that. That candidate did stumble several times when attempting to make statements and recall facts and it was more than a bit upsetting to watch. Even so, he performed much better than could have been the case and for that we should all be glad.
As a consensus, the first debate was pretty close and could have went either way however, most likely scored it as a win for Biden. This was mainly because Trump seemed to go a little too far in terms of his aggressive approach. Conversely, the majority of people seemed to think that in the VP debate, Pence won by a pretty large margin. In this one, the winner/loser result was fairly murky. I’d say it was pretty close but whether or not you think either candidate won, Trump had a much better showing than the last time they verbally duked it out on stage.