US Presidential Debate: A listless affair

New Delhi, India Oct 01, 2020, 04.43 AM(IST) Written By: N S Venkataraman

Joe Biden and Donald Trump Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

There was much cross-talk and interruptions by both the candidates which reduced the presidential debate to an acrimonious TV debate. Should those aspiring to become US President reflect such standards?

First US Presidential Debate is over. Millions viewed it across the world. Since the US is an important country, the competence of the US President matters in world affairs.

As usual, journalists and people from all walks of life would now discuss to decide who was the winner of the first debate. Many surveys would be carried out to check what people think. Some would support Trump, some would support Biden, and the result of the online opinion survey would be interpreted by journalists as per their perspectives and prejudices. 

While presidential debates of previous US Presidential Elections were not known to have been of scholarly standards the first debate this time around appears to mark a new low standard. Presidential aspirant Joe Biden brought down the standards of the debate by calling Trump a liar and saying that he was bluffing. Trump was a little better, though he unnecessarily and mischievously made reference to Biden's son.

Most of the viewers must have realised that whatever was being said in the debate was said several times before during the last few weeks and nothing interesting was being brought into focus.

Ultimately, what stood out in the debate was Biden calling Trump a liar. People may have been left wondering whether this was a language befitting a presidential aspirant. 

Also Read | Name calling during presidential election campaign in USA

The anchor who conducted the debate did not do any better. That's because he gave the impression that he was questioning Trump more critically than Biden. One could not help but note the fact that the anchor did not caution Biden to not use words such a liar.

There was much cross-talk and interruptions by both the candidates which reduced the presidential debate to an acrimonious TV debate. Should those aspiring to become US President reflect such standards?

It was surprising that queries raised by the anchor were very ordinary and it seemed that he did not do his homework properly.

For example, during the debate on COVID-19, there was space for the anchor to ask challenging questions. Questions should have been crafted on the origin of the virus and Trump's criticism of WHO. Trump would have struggled to answer.

Similarly, Biden should have been asked about how he would have handled the COVID 19 crisis better.

It was surprising to see Trump bring up India saying that COVID-19 figures from India were not correct. It would have been appropriate if he would have mentioned the veracity of the figures from China.

The debate may throw up paramount doubts in the minds of the viewers about the possible dearth of talent in US for the choice of the next president.

One only hopes that the second round of debate would be more productive with all three of them namely Trump, Biden and the anchor doing better homework and coming out with probing questions and intelligent answers.

The candidates should avoid abuses. Sarcastic humour is necessary for such debates. However, it can only be an interesting tool when the contesting candidates and the anchor have the debating talent to emphasise their points with humour and impact.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL.)

Read in App