Who won the debate? None of the above.

Biden and Trump square off in debate leaving both campaigns and even the country, underwhelmed.

Photo Courtesy of: Wikipedia

Earlier this week, America watched Donald Trump’s final debate of his political career: his last Chayna, his last interruption, and the last moderator failing to speak over him.

It was well known that if Trump wanted to close the national polling gap, he would need an undeniable victory. However, all he ended up getting was an anticlimactic draw. 

In a debate that had Trump showing flashes of his 2016 political outsider facade and Biden being forced to respond to unsupported accusations, the debate left many voters unphased by the event.  

The first topic of the debate was coronavirus, the issue that has taken control of this election to the likes of which hasn’t been seen in a long time by a single topic.

During this segment, Biden had his most compelling quote of the night, “Anyone responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America.” He’s right, Trump’s blatant neglect of COVID-19 is why America is doing so much worse than any other developed country right now, and voters will remember that going into the polls.

As a country, we saw more deaths in less than a year than we did in the Spanish Flu and World War II. Thus we were led to wonder, based on that metric alone, if the presidency would be won on debate night? The answer was no.

The debate went on to election security after the FBI announced that Russia and Iran had obtained American voting information. Somehow, both candidates went on the offensive.

“I don’t see why this president is unwilling to take on Putin,” Biden said, setting the pace. In response, Trump would counter Biden that “no president has been harder on Russia than me.” Then he topped it off with unsubstantiated myths about the former vice president being paid by China.

Trump had the confidence in this statement as if he had just derailed Biden’s entire campaign when, in reality, the baseless allegations will only stir up the core of his base. Throughout the debate, I saw little to no attempt from Trump getting undecided voters on his side and just more attempts at having a dynamic quote to be echoed throughout Facebook overnight. 

Biden tried to pivot away and appeal to the American people and stray away from personal attacks on their families, which Trump only responded by calling Biden a “typical politician.” Trump revealed his debate’s game plan saying, “I’m not a typical politician. That’s why I got elected.” 

Trump’s greatest success in 2016 was that he was different: a breath of fresh air for Republicans and middle America-the smaller more rural areas that have been feeling abandoned. He won not because of the plans he touted (all zero of them), but because of both his wild-card factor and the distrust of the opposition. Right out of the gate, he was attempting to recreate both with limited success.

The rest of the debate was more of the same Trump pointing out that Biden did not do what he had promised  as Vice President four years ago, while Biden criticized how Trump is doing as the current leader. 

Trump claimed to be the second least racist president after Abraham Lincoln. Nonetheless, Biden called him the most racist president of recent history and that the president, “pours fuel on every racist fire”.

As the debate stretched into the second half, Biden began to fall into the traps Donald Trump was laying. As the candidates talked about immigration, Trump deflected from his policies at the border and asked, “Who built the cages, Joe?” 

Although Trump makes a point that the Obama administration built some of the infrastructure at the border, it seems like an unusual argument to have chosen considering his base wants more security at the border.

Just about the only major takeaway from the debate was that Biden pledged to transition from fossil fuels and the oil industry to renewable energy. It will be interesting to see how this will playout in key battleground states, especially Pennsylvania.

Fracking has become a much fought-over topic, with more than 26,000 oil jobs in Pennsylvania, the state that could decide the entire election.  Biden had to connect his environmental policy plan with concerned workers in PA. What I saw was a failed attempt at both.

While Biden let down those who wanted a quicker and more comprehensive environmental plan, he still committed to switching over to renewable energy, with which Trump will parade around in Pennsylvania during the final week.

So, who lost? Was it Biden who could’ve closed out the race but showed no signs of doing so? Maybe Trump, who needed a big win but couldn’t deliver? I’d say it was the American people who finally got some comparatively civil discussion between the two candidates, although they were more or less left in the same place they were before the debate.