Oct 2, 2020

The 2020 Presidential Debate - Worst In American History?

Kristin Kerr

f you didn’t get a chance to watch the presidential debate that happened earlier this week, chances are high you’ve heard all sorts of opinions about it online. President Donald Trump and Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden faced off for the first time in the 2020 election and the outcome was, as far as presidential debates go, absolute chaos. Key subjects during the presidential debate included: the COVID-19 outbreak, economy, race, the candidates’ tax records, climate, and the integrity of the upcoming election. Tuesday’s debate marked the first time in over a decade that a debate moderator asked a question about climate change. It’s no surprise that 2020 events continue to make their mark in history.


Wildfire Discussion

What was proposed as a simple question related to climate change turned into an approximate 10-minute conversation about the devastating wildfires that have scorched millions of acres in the Western United States. Many Americans have stated they are glad this topic was covered, as global warming has become a key issue that voters consider important now. So how do Joe Biden and Donald Trump feel about the climate topic? Well, this is where things got a little chaotic. 

During the discussion, Trump failed to acknowledge the role Americans have played in contributing to climate change, even after the moderator questioned him on this topic. Just wait, there’s more. While speaking on behalf of the US wildfires, Donald Trump blamed the fires on poor forest management. He also said that wildfires could be avoided by raking the forest floors…

Trump isn’t ‘necessarily’ wrong here since scientists have verified that forest management does play a role in wildfires, but studies have shown that climate change is the main culprit in wildfire frequency and intensity. 

“Trump's comments were largely in line with his previous statements, notably his continued, mostly wrong, and overly-narrow focus on forest management practices as the cause of wildfires, which the science does tell us are fuelled by a changed climate,” Nathan Hultman, director of the Center for Global Sustainability at the University of Maryland, said.

And Trump Is Doing What To Help?

Know those memes you see that say “What my boss thinks I do” versus “What I actually do”? Well, that’s what Trump’s mirroring right about now.

“I want crystal clean water and air. I want beautiful, clean air,” Trump said during the debate. “We have the lowest carbon. Look at our numbers now. We are doing phenomenal.”

This is exactly why this situation is chaotic. In the approximate four years Trump has been in office, he has dismantled several environmental policies and rolled back over 100 regulations. Okay, so what’s the big deal? It’s because these regulations he has rolled back are designed to preserve clean water and air, and also curb greenhouse gas emissions. Something just isn’t adding up here.

Though carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. have  in fact dipped in recent years, scientists have said that the trend will likely be reversed as a result of the Trump administration’s dismantling of environmental regulations.


So What About Joe Biden’s Opinion?

Well, unlike Trump’s empty promises and blatant lies about the United State’s carbon emissions, Biden has made climate change a focus of his campaign. In July, he released a $2 trillion plan to build a clean energy economy. The plan intends to achieve a 100 percent clean electricity standard by 2035. Go big or go home, right? 

The Rest of The Debate

Aside from all the climate conversations, Tuesday’s presidential debate consisted of Trump frequently interrupting Biden and moderator Wallace, insulting Biden’s son, going over his allotted speaking time, and honestly, just turning a blind eye to any debate rules. Aside from chaotic, the debate was unprofessional. 

The next presidential debate is scheduled in Miami on October 15, 2020 and will be conducted in a town hall format. This will allow questions to come from undecided voters, so hopefully, this will be handled in a different manner. Who knows, maybe Trump won’t even show up. 

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