What Were You Expecting?

Trump and Biden faced off in the first presidential debate of the 2020 election on Tuesday night. I didn’t watch. The last time I watched a presidential debate was probably 1992, and that was only because a teacher told me to. It’s not like these are two fresh faces. I wasn’t going to learn anything by watching. If either of them said anything so extraordinary that it could change my vote, I knew I’d hear about it afterward, anyway.

But, a lot of people watched the debate. And, to hear them tell it, were shocked at how bad it was. Mark Hamill tweeted, “That debate was the worst thing I’ve ever seen & I was in The Star Wars Holiday Special.” It’s a funny line, but it’s what everyone was saying, the debate was a low point for American politics. It makes me wonder, what were people expecting from the debate?

Of course it was awful. I couldn’t have been anything but awful. It was 74 year old Donald Trump debating 77 year old Joe Biden with 72 year old Chris Wallace as moderator. Neither candidate is a gifted public speaker, to put it mildly. Neither is particularly quick on his feet. Not that he was trying very hard, but Wallace wouldn’t be able to ask an insightful line of questions if a real journalist had written them for him. If everyone had been at the top of their game, it was destined to be a dumpster fire. Apparently it was worse.

The first debate of the 2020 presidential election made everyone’s lives a little worse. But, everyone should have known that going in. Please, I implore you, don’t watch any future debates. It’s the only way to make them stop.

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