The “debate” was a contest between barbarism and civility. At first blush, it might appear that barbarism won. I didn't count the words, but I'm sure, if the win had been based on word count, the barbarian would have been the victor. After all, he used his own allotted time and some of Biden's, too. The agreement had been that each candidate would give a two-minute, uninterrupted response to the initial question in each of the six segments of the program. Those statements were to be followed by a few minutes of discussion--as in "give and take." You might be familiar with the concept; in debates of yore, this would have seen one candidate speaking at a time. Not so now.
Was anyone surprised when Trump jumped in to talk over both Joe Biden and moderator Chris Wallace as they spoke? Shortly, the event became a free-for-all, Trump performing with all the grace of a grizzly at a tailgate party and Biden treading a fine line: respond in kind or let the bully rant? It was a no-win choice. Meanwhile, Trump lied, bragged, dodged, and attacked the Biden family. Did we know any more about his policies at the end of the night than we did at the beginning? (Does he have any policies? That's a question for another time. His "party." you know has no platform.)
The winner was not the guy who spewed out the most words. The winner was Joe Biden. While Trump confirmed his immature, bull-in-the-china-shop ignorance; Biden showed us his capacity for empathy, his love of family, and his concern for those who are suffering health and economic devastation brought on by the coronavirus. He was as presidential as a guy can be while in the sights of a run-away bulldozer.
The absence of a policy discussion was a plus for Trump. With no party platform and no plan of his own, Trump goes wherever his impulses take him. A serious discussion of policies would have been such an inconvenient handicap.
I can't help myself. I thought the best line of the night was uttered by CNN's Anderson Cooper in the “post-game” analysis when he described Donald Trump as “obesely immoral.” I’m not sure what that means, but as one of my educator colleagues used to say, “It communicates.”
There’s no point in further debates unless the moderator—or another designated person—is given a “kill” switch which would enable them to turn off the microphone of the person not designated to speak. Some have even proposed putting the candidates in sound-proof booths like those used in high stakes game shows. Unless some kind of controlling measures are instituted, the debates are an exercise in futility, of no value except for the purpose of highlighting the differences between an ignorant bully and an experienced, empathic leader. But we already knew about that.
In these chaotic times, get your day off to an equilibrious start, by reading the work of Heather Cox Richardson on Facebook. She describes herself as “a political historian who uses facts and history to make observations about contemporary American politics.” She posts a column nearly every day. They're always rational and cogent and deal with major events in the news.