I find it hard to believe at this point in the 2020 election cycle – in a contest between two very polarizing candidates — that there are many Americans still sitting on the fence and thinking, “a couple more debates is what I need to really make up my mind.”
Sides have been chosen. Lines have been drawn.
Time will ultimately tell but at this point it feels like there is no middle ground left: Just a political divide so deep and wide that it would take a miracle to close it and bring some semblance of normalcy back to our nation.
The cancellation of this past week’s scheduled presidential debate due to circumstances surrounding the president’s bout with COVID-19, was probably a blessing in disguise.
I don’t think anyone was looking forward to Trump versus Biden part two mostly because it reminded us all of the sad state of our union.
What played out on our television screens was a microcosm of all that is ailing society. Trump and Biden pummeling each other incessantly, neither listening to the other, and both entrenched in their positions, reminded me of the social media battles that play out on my Twitter and Facebook feeds daily.
It was uncomfortable, to say the least, and really offered nothing new or anything of substance. What we needed from that debate were answers to questions on policy that directly affect us but what we got was finger pointing and name calling.
In the end, I don’t think either man answered a question. If they did, their answer was lost amongst noise.
Biden offered no details as to how he was going to follow through on his politics 101 promises of more jobs, higher taxes on the rich, and better health care. He never explained why those things aren’t already in place - seeing how he has been in office since the turn of the century - and nobody asked him how he was going to do any of it now.
When Trump would interrupt and demand an answer, Biden, looking frazzled, would turn toward the camera (as his people no doubt trained him to do) and throw out his buzzwords of the night — unity, together, Americans.
He was ill prepared for the fight – much as he has been since he stepped into the ring to take on Trump and his weaknesses were glaringly obvious. His tendency to turn bully when pushed or prodded reared its ugly head early on as he told the sitting president of the United States of America to shut up and also called him a clown.
Some people believe Trump is a clown and at times he may have needed to shut up, but if Biden really believes he is above the antics Trump’s detractors see as juvenile, then he needs to react differently and show the American people that he is above such behavior.
Instead he jumped head-first into the mud and started slinging.
I wouldn’t expect anything less from a man who has shown time and time again over his 47 years in politics that he believes he is the big man on campus – a tough guy who can take on the likes of Corn Pop or anyone else who gets in his way.
Then there was Trump: A man who has yet to show he knows when to end a sentence while he is ahead and at this point could care less what the swamp or the media thinks about the way he conducts himself.
He held himself in check for about two minutes before going on the attack, doing everything in his power to shake Biden up and get him off his rehearsed talking points. While I sometimes found it hard to watch (I actually turned away from the television at points, embarrassed for the president, his family and all of us really), I feel like he had no choice but to plow through the deck stacked against him. The moderator, Chris Wallace, hates Trump, the questions were tailored to make the president look bad and Biden wasn’t going to deviate far from his comfort zone of not answering any questions too specifically.
In the end, Trump probably knew as most of the rest of us did – the outcome of a civil debate wasn’t going to change many minds, so he came out swinging for the fences and the game got ugly quick.
It was a swing and a miss for the president, who after a very good town hall appearance on NBC Thursday, will get one more chance to hit a home run during a final debate scheduled for this Thursday.
But will anybody be watching, and will it really make a difference?