By Sonny Tapia
Presidential and Vice Presidential debates should continue because it gives the public more of an insight to how the candidates think.
President Donald Trump announced over Twitter that he had contracted the coronavirus along with First Lady Melania Trump. After the news of Trump getting COVID-19, Presidential Candidate Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden received tests and the results came back negative.
This caused the Commission on Presidential Debates to redefine how the debates should go forward, to avoid an outbreak at the debate.
The CPD recommended that the debate be changed to a virtual meeting to avoid any contact with other people. Trump responded to these comments from the CPD by stating that he will not waste his time on a virtual debate in an interview with FOX.
Biden and his team stated that they would be participating in the revamped version of the debate. This alone can show the public a little bit more about each candidate.
Trump is refusing to adapt to the new circumstances and Biden is willing to adapt. Trump was hospitalized due to his diagnosis and factors contributing to the contraction of the virus. He is at a higher risk due to his age, 74, and his unhealthy eating habits. This also leaves Biden at risk because of his age as well, 77.
There were two more presidential debates set for October 15 and 22. The debate set for October 15 was cancelled by the CPD on Friday. Regardless of the decision, by having these debates the public can listen to the ideas and attitudes of each candidate.
“They provide the rare chance for supporters of one candidate to stick their heads out from their echo-chambers for once and actually hear words from the other candidate,” Political Science Professor Kenneth Chaiprasert said.
Chaiprasert said that the fact that Trump refused to participate in the idea of a virtual debate, was disheartening because it would deprive the voters additional opportunities to view the candidates in a different light,”
In the first presidential debate, Trump was asked if he would condemn white supremacists. He replied by saying that the white supremacists as Chris Wallace put it, should “stand back and stand by.” This shed light on his true ideas about equality in the United States.
Biden spoke about the Affordable Care Act that Trump wants to take away from the U.S. Biden said this would take health care away from millions of Americans. Biden wants to save the Affordable Care Act, while Trump wants to replace it with TrumpCare. Trump’s form of health care would cost more for low-income communities.
During this discussion in the debate, the moderator Chris Wallace, was trying to control the argument between the candidates. This was a failed attempt because Trump continued to speak over Wallace to argue with Biden. Biden finally lost his composure and had to say “Would you shut up man?” This displayed two candidates that are unstable for the position of president.
Trump rambles about nothing which was proven by a fact-checking team at the New York Times, and Biden cannot stay focused on a debate without responding with harsh words.
The debates give an insight for the candidates themselves on what each other are thinking and doing in terms of processes. If the candidates hear each other’s ideas, they may be able to replicate what they said or plan to do in their own way.
If there is an idea that they like they can do the same thing by replicating it. Although, no matter how disappointing the first presidential debate was, it still gave insight to what the candidates have in mind.
This gave a window for undecided voters to look through and hear the options out. They could have their opinions changed or maybe not at all.
The debates also offer the candidates a chance to sway more voters to their side if they have an idea on how to initiate that process.
“The debates provide candidates the opportunity to make an appeal to voters. Depending on their performance, they can gain momentum during the final stretch of their campaigns,” Political Science Professor Rogelio Garcia said.
The debates act as free air time for the candidates. They get to have the screen for over an hour and get to talk about their plans or bash the other candidate.
In the case of the first presidential debate, it was more about interruption than talking points. The behavior of each candidate can also be a major factor in voting. The way the first debate happened may have lost voters for either side based on childish reactions to one another’s sentences.
“They provide everyone a glimpse of how candidates behave themselves while under the pressure of hard-hitting questions,” Chaiprasert said.
The added bit of pressure from the questions being asked by the moderator can change the thought process of a candidate, especially if they know nothing about the question. Regardless if they know the question or not, they will answer to the best of their ability to stay away from harsh criticisms.
The debates are a part of American tradition and should continue partially for that reason alone. The white supremacist groups that are said to be patriotic and all for the United States, should be upset about the cancellation of the second presidential debate.
“I hope the president has a 180 degree, whiplash-inducing sudden change and concludes the election according to our traditions,” Garcia said.
The debates have been around since the debate in 1856 between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas. Lincoln would follow Douglas on his campaign trail to give a speech after Douglas would.
This is a tradition that should not be broken because of a president that refuses to change and adapt to the ways of the current times. It will deprive the public of something that could sway the election in a good or bad way depending on what side the voter is on.
The debate with Trump will not be something worth noting due to his interruptions along with Biden’s, but it is still an outlook on what is debatably the right choice for the position.