Yesterday afternoon New Zealand time American Presidential candidates Democrat Joe Biden and Republican President Donald Trump had the first of three scheduled debates.
To sum up, it was a disaster. Neither Mr Biden or Mr Trump came out of it very well.
Mr Trump’s performance swung wildly between bullying, childish/immature responses and the downright terrifying. Several notable quotes came out of the debate from the Trump side which mainstream Americans would have found horrifying to contemplate. The award for the silliest goes to a claim made before the debate had even started, that Mr Trump had already won it. Then there were the alarming ones. They included a comment about white supremacy, which Mr Trump refused to condemn where he told the Proud Boys white supremacist group: “Proud Boys – stand back and stand by”, before saying that something needed to be done about ANTIFA and the left. And finally there were comments about whether he would ensure a peaceful transition of power in the event of him losing:
“It’s gonna be rigged. It’s gonna be a disaster. It’s gonna be a fraud, the likes of which you have never seen. This is not going to end well. But also we are going to win.”
It was not just Mr Trump’s conduct that should bother America. Mr Biden had lapses of concentration, which showed when he was asked a question about climate change.
But the worst thing Mr Biden did was to say that he does not support the New Green Deal for America. In other words he is – as Mr Trump once called him – “Status Quo Joe”. He is a person who is clearly showing a great reluctance to announce policies that will transform America for the better, and that clearly came out when he shot down the Democrat’s signature policy of a Green New Deal to get Americans into work; boost infrastructure and start the environmental sea change that is needed to make America more sustainable.
In a chaotic debate that had so many negatives from both the Republican and the Democrat candidates, it is much much easier to focus on the non-existent positives. The only positive I could find in this debate is that there are two more debates to go in which the audiences and the voting public will be wanting massive improvements from both sides. It bothers me that the best America would let itself come up with is two old pale stale males with no really radical plans that would bring about genuine benefits for America, no reassurance to America’s friends or reasons for America’s rivals to respect the United States. Mr Biden will be into his 80’s by the time he leaves office irrespective of whether he gets one term or two terms. Mr Trump will be 78 when he leaves office, if he gets another term.