What We Learned From the US Presidential Debate

Alexander Korfiatis
Alexander Korfiatis
Saint Louis University Undergraduate Class of 2025. Studying Medical Sciences on the path to become an anesthesiologist assistant. Highly motivated to write about politics, particularly domestic.

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The earliest debate in presidential history has concluded, and it has been a major disaster for President Biden, according to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and members of his own party. His debate performance sent alarm bells ringing throughout the echelons of the Democratic Party, some even pushing for him to be removed from the ballot.

Biden Stumbles

While many Democrats have gone on the record to say that the debate was a disaster for the party, no elected party person has come out to call that he step aside. Axios, Politico, and the New York Times have had many off-the-record discussions with Democratic politicians and political operatives, who have all said President Biden must step aside for younger politicians. Possible candidates suggested by the Beltway rumor mill if Biden were to step aside have all been governors, including Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, and California Governor Gavin Newsom. While there can be calls for him to step aside, President Biden has won most of the Democratic delegates, which means he would have to step down voluntarily in order for a new candidate to take his place. Unless Democratic leaders, such as former President Obama or Senator Chuck Schumer tell him to do so, he may be unwilling to bow out.

Trump Remained Controlled

Former President Trump, in contrast, going against political predictions that he would be boisterous, was calm and measured. He only threw a few jabs out at Biden during what he perceived to be opportune moments. This is a direct contrast to the last time Biden and Trump shared the stage, where it devolved into a shouting match. The new format for the presidential debate preempted such behavior, introducing muted microphones for one candidate while the other was speaking. In the lead-up to the debate, political pundits thought this would play to Trump’s weaknesses because he has presented as a strong but bullying figure who interrupts frequently and calls his opponents nicknames. However, the muted microphones played to Trump’s advantage because he could speak forcefully. Biden was unable to be uninterrupted by Trump, which caused him to ramble on in some of his responses to the moderators. Both Biden and Trump made many factually inaccurate remarks, but as was agreed beforehand, the moderators could not fact-check the responses in real-time or rebut any responses.