Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Heather Cox Richardson: A National Disgrace

The first presidential debate of 2020 was unlike anything we have seen before. CNN’s Jake Tapper said: “That was a hot mess, inside a dumpster fire, inside a train wreck.” “He was his own tweets come to life.” “We’ll talk about who won the debate, who lost the debate … One thing for sure, the American people lost.” Conservative pundit William Kristol called it “a spectacle… an embarrassment… a disgrace… because of the behavior of one man, Donald Trump. The interrupting and the bullying, the absence of both decency and dignity—those were Donald Trump’s distinctive contributions to the evening, and they gave the affair the rare and sickening character of a national humiliation.”

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

If we were calling this like a normal presidential debate, Trump lost. He did not move the needle in his direction. Biden won; he did not lose anyone.

But this was not a normal presidential debate [….]


To read Heather Cox Richardson’s complete analysis of the 2020 Presidential Debate, please click here.

6 comments on “Heather Cox Richardson: A National Disgrace

  1. pyenser
    September 30, 2020

    Yes, a debate is a measure of competency. As a college debater, I learned discipline. Why not give these candidates a clock with their remaining time on it and proceed with the questions. Unlike a college debate, this would be based on cumulative time. Let presidential candidate with the least self control ruin his chance to respond to final questions. Problem solved. Winner is obvious.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Barbara Huntington
    September 30, 2020

    I thank Michael again for introducing me to Heather Cox Richardson through Vox Populi. I get her newsletter everyday in my email. It is delightful to read her analysis and know it is always backed up with citations that are right there. Her letters are free, but I subscribe because she is my first go-to news source and I respect her work.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reese E. Forbes
    September 30, 2020

    I was the Captain of the Debate Team at Brentwood High School. This Presidental Debate was a horrible mess and it is not only because of Trump’s arrogance but mostly because of Chris Wallace’s incompetence (I had a better opinion of him before last night). Other than to finish a sentence, a debater is not allowed to go over his allotted time in replying to any question. Trump showed himself as an arrogant fool, but his supporters don’t care. Biden made many logical and on-point statements but occasionally got a bit flustered. The next debate should have an automatic cut-off device for the candidate’s microphones if they ramble past a few seconds.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TheChattyIntrovert
      September 30, 2020

      That’s what surprised me. it’s freaking Dump. A moderator mic cut-off switch should be mandatory for all debates, no matter who it is. And with him on stage, they definitely should’ve used it. I tried to watch a few minutes last night before bed (had been up 20 hours so I couldn’t stay up for the whole thing) and I was disgusted. I could barely hear anything but the blowhard.

      I don’t remember who said it, but I think it’s true. Dump tried to create a 90 minute tweet. That mic should’ve been cut off when it wasn’t his turn. Debates have gotten worse and worse over the elections because the rules aren’t being enforced. This one’s a great example of what’s NOT to be done in a debate, and to show every rule of formal debate broken.

      I wonder if they should even bother with more debates at this point. And if they do debate, they’d better double down on the rules, cut off the mic, and stick with the rules.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Vox Populi
        September 30, 2020

        I completely agree. Let him speak his allotted time, then cut off the mic, so the other guy gets a turn.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Vox Populi
      September 30, 2020

      I completely agree, Reese.

      Liked by 2 people

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