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The FACTS Of Debate 2.0

While this article is about the facts, it is not a "Fact Check." I'll leave that to people with far more time on their hands, and who think you NEED that. What I am hoping to do is to LAY OUT the facts, and let you make your own opinions on them. I'm going to attempt to leave out the emotionalism and sensationalism, as well as the partisan buzz words, and focus on policy and outcome. I will editorialize in each section with an "analysis" segment, but that should let you skip the opinion if you only want the facts.

The five sections covered were: The Corona Virus, The Economy & Relief, Immigration, Race Relations, and Climate Change. In an attempt to refrain from editorializing, I'll not share my opinion on the topics, but hopefully that statement alone will give you a clue in on how I feel personally.


On the Corona Virus:

Trump: His response centered on the original models and the fact that 2.2 million people were projected to die. He specifically talked about his travel bans to China and Europe, and spoke to the virus' Chinese origins and the fact that they didn't tell the world in time for the world to respond accordingly in order for China to protect its economy. He also highlighted Biden and Pelosi making light of the virus in the early stages (China Town dancing in San Francisco anyone?) just as they are attempting say that he did.

Biden: Targeted Trump's response to the pandemic and laid all of the COVID-19 related deaths directly at his feet. He point blank accused the President of covering up the seriousness of the pandemic and said that it was Trump's dissolving of Obama's Global Pandemic Team that led to the outbreak reaching America with us unprepared. Ultimately, he said that if the President had taken the virus more seriously, and had followed Obama's lead, we could have greatly reduced the number of deaths.

Analysis: First, it should be noted that the above sterilized version of their comments doesn't do the reality much justice. Trump's presentation in this space was dominated by facts and math. Not the most glamourous of arguments, but factually sound. Biden, however, was full of almost nothing but emotional appeal. He appeared to be searching for some kind of emotional resonance as he talked about people missing from chairs around the table or in bed with their loved ones. His lack of factual data and statistics only weakened his argument with any logical person, though those pre-disposed to emotionalism likely were tugged by his heart wrenching presentation.

In the end, I think Trump did an adequate job in this section of the debate by keeping the focus on the numbers and not on the emotion. I give this topic to Trump in this debate.


The Economy & Relief:

Trump: Trump focused mainly on the strength of the economy and on its recovery. He also talked specifically about the fact that we cannot continue to keep the economy shut down indefinitely. On the question about minimum wage, Trump answered that Federalism is the answer with each state being able to determine for itself what the minimum wage should be within that state.

Biden: Joe Biden spoke extensively about an economy that works for everyone with specific focus and attention paid to healthcare and the Obamacare legacy. He specifically stated that if Obamacare were ruled unconstitutional, that he would immediately work with Democrats to recraft the bill and put it back in place. He dubbed this process Bidencare. He spoke directly about a $15.00 minimum wage and stated that raising minimum wage did not harm or shut down businesses.

Analysis: Well, how you saw the winner of this section is going to depend GREATLY on how you see the capitalism v. socialism debate. If you believe that the government needs to get out of the way of the economy, you likely felt that the President won. If you believe that more government intervention is required to ensure a successful economy, then you likely believe that Biden won.

Unlike most of the other areas of the debate, this one was fairly clear cut. Two people on two completely different sides, with almost no bleed over. If you were watching you got to see exactly what you were voting for in terms of economic policy. You can't say you didn't know what your candidate was going to do and push for in their economic system.



Trump: Donald Trump focused largely on the need for immigration reform and spoke at length about the fact that the "cages" that were being used at the border were created and installed during the Obama administration. He had two questionable moments during this segment in which he appeared to double down on his insinuation that the majority of illegal immigrants were criminals and rapists, and in which he said that the ones who actually went to their immigration hearings were not very intelligent.

Biden: VP Biden went on the attack immediately. He accused the President of being heartless, racist, and xenophobic. He said that Trump was directly responsible for children being separated from their parents at the border and that it was Trump's policies which have left the US in a position of having to return children to their country of origin unaccompanied. However, during this time, he grew increasingly upset at the President for Trump's continued push on the fact that the cages and their use was directly linked to him and President Obama. This caused him to start to become visibly "cagey" towards the end of this segment.

Analysis: There can be no doubt whatsoever that VP Biden won this segment. It was a hands down win, and it wasn't even close. Trump's gaffes will cost him, and it will be replayed over and over and over again in campaign ads in places like Arizona and New Mexico which the President desperately needs to win in order to be re-elected.

The Trump campaign has some SERIOUS damage control to do on this topic, particularly in swing states (Florida, Arizona, and New Mexico) with large Hispanic populations who will see these statements as an attack.


Race Relations:

Trump: President Trump highlighted his accomplishments that have directly impacted minority communities, and paid specific and direct attention to his fiscal policies which have seen minority unemployment plummet to the lowest it has been in a long time, if ever. He talked about his Criminal Justice Reform Bill and highlighted his pardons and commutations of minority persons who were over sentenced due to the 1994 Crime Bill which he pinned directly on Joe Biden's working with his Democrat colleagues in the Senate.

Biden: Vice President Biden highlighted his years of working to improve the lives of minority communities. He claimed that the only way to bring about justice was to focus specifically on it. He spent most of his time during this segment attacking the President on his "racism" and "xenophobia." It was very difficult to pick out a solid and straightforward train of thought, so you'll have to watch this section yourself.

Analysis: It's hard not to give this one to Trump by default. It seemed like the Vice President was completely and utterly flustered at this point. He was literally huffing and puffing, and he was rolling his eyes and laughing uncomfortably. It was really awkward and hard to focus and it did not contribute to his appearing to have himself together.


Climate Change:

Trump: President Trump focused much of his time on highlighting the US' ongoing record of reducing emissions and our high standards of cleanliness compared to much of the world. He specifically called out China, India, and Pakistan, and questioned why Biden would want to put us back into the Paris Accords when they don't do anything to reign in any of these countries for over a decade. His big push was on improving technology to make all energy sectors better and cleaner without eliminating any of them.

Biden: VP Biden spoke at length about our need to reduce global warming, and our greenhouse gas emissions. He worked hard to sidestep, and fairly effectively refused to answer the questions that President Trump raised about China, India, and Pakistan by simply repeating over and over that he would put us back in the Paris Climate Accords. His big push was that we need renewable energy and pursuing such energy would bring about good jobs and higher wages. The two highlight moments from this section were Joe Biden saying that he would not, in fact, ban fracking, and that he would shut down the oil industry through a "transition."

Analysis: Though he started off shaky and awkward, VP Biden had mostly recovered about halfway through this segment and went back on offense against Trump by talking about how we ultimately need to move completely away from fossil fuels. There was very little overlap as this was the second place where you were able to see a very clear contrast between the two sides with regard to what they would do and how their policies would work going forward.

The biggest issue of the night for Biden came during this segment, however, as he said that he would not bad fracking (aggressive oil drilling), but that he would work to ban the oil industry (non aggressive drilling). He later tried to go back and make it about a "transition," but even if that really is his plan, he cast far too many doubts with his waffling and inability to give a straight and understandable answer. On top of that, many on the left will be very unhappy with his statement that he won't ban fracking or stop fossil fuel use "within his first term," which is what many of them have been pushing for.


All in all, I'd give the edge to Trump, but like the previous one, if you had your mind made up before you went in, you likely didn't change your mind as both candidates laid out the same or similar plans and position for which many people have already decided for or against.

The only ones that may have moved are those who did not have their minds made up and/or those who didn't know exactly where each candidate stood. It is likely that the "swing" voters were more favorable to Trump's demeanor this time, but the gaffes could come back to haunt him.

For Biden, the issue will continue to be that he looked like he came unhinged in the middle of it. The stuttering and inability to make points like he has in the past exposed some issues that the Trump campaign will likely use against him in the next 12 days. I would expect to see an ad that focuses on an inability to answer simple and direct questions forthrightly, and expect them to say something akin to, "Joe, if you can't even articulate your own position, how do you intend to protect and advance ours?" There are moments in this debate that will haunt him too.

At this point, however, America got to see where each candidate stands, and that should at least help the voters to know what they are voting for when they select their candidate. Too bad there were only two of them.

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