Many Americans across the political spectrum were not impressed with either candidate’s performance, or especially with the performance of moderator Chris Wallace, at Tuesday night’s presidential debate in Cleveland. Here is a sampling of voter reaction. When a name isn’t noted the voter asked for anonymity.
From Baltimore, Maryland: “It was horrible. An embarrassment to everybody.”
New York City: “Thinking about the debate I came up with two thoughts. I was prepared for Trump to behave this way because this is how he behaved during his first debates. So, anyone who supports him expects this. Thus it shouldn’t be a deal breaker. I’m sticking with Trump.”
Kim Kilbourne, Ohio: “I don’t even know what to say… President Trump could have gained a lot more ground if Chris Wallace wasn’t part of the debate. And if he would have stopped interrupting. Biden lied about everything. Trump should have let him keep talking. In my opinion, Biden was getting confused contradicting himself a few times…Trump was on the attack from the jump. Wallace clearly was trying to help Biden…Biden pissed me off at the lack of respect with the comment telling the President to ‘shut up man’. Total sh**show.”
Nicholas Loya, Maryland: “The host should be able to mute microphones. Trump had to seem competent, high-energy, and confident. Instead, he came off as shrill, protesting that he was in the right on scandal X, Y, or Z. Biden had to seem like an older, basically ‘all still there’ white man to a diverse electorate. Mission accomplished, Joe. Houston’s hearing you loud and clear.”
Marta Sosa, Miami, Florida: “Telemundo in Spanish said Trump won the debate by 66%. It must be that Latinos, as a whole, like loud and drama!”
Lexington, Virginia: “Whoever won, it wasn’t the American people. Biden surpassed expectations by remaining mostly comprehensible throughout the entire debate, but failed to make a positive case for why he should be president. Trump was characteristically belligerent and probably turned off potential voters in key demographics. On the issue of law enforcement, Biden was unable to elaborate on his platform of reimagining policing except for laughably suggesting that police officers should have wonky psychiatrists tagging along with them to hold hands with rioters. Trump did well to hold Biden to the Democrats unconscionable support for the BLM/ANTIFA riots and to promote providing outside support like the National Guard for local law enforcement. Who won? Trump may have had more zingers, but it will be a line by Joe Biden that will be quoted by watchers of the debate for days to come: ‘Will you just shut up! ‘ ”
Durham, North Carolina: “Trump won on points, but came off rude, defensive, and at times childish. Biden came off too weak and looked down nonstop which doesn’t make one trust him. Incredibly disappointing on any law and order. Wallace a complete ass and a true Biden supporter. Winner Trump.”.
Dr. Tim Blessing of Alvernia University, Reading, Pennsylvania:
Rob: this was a disaster not just for Trump but for the GOP in general. Trump repeatedly missed opportunities to make his & the GOP’s case and, in addition, appeared disorganized, off topic, ill-informed & even disoriented. https://t.co/ODYClA6JUD
— Tim H. Blessing (@Blessti) September 30, 2020
Note: I also spoke Dr. Blessing on the phone.
Hilary Fordwich, Washington, D.C.: “All Trump had to accomplish tonight was to present an exceptionally presidential persona and he would have won hands down. Being uncouth and uncontrolled was unfortunate. Sadly, slinging his sweeping statements without statistics to back up his points lost any impact. Biden’s battling was shockingly strong, he did what he had to in goading Trump. He didn’t make too many mistakes, didn’t drool and was on his numbers. While he looked washed out he held his own. Bottom line, their both interrupting each other was unbearable. In terms of impact on the election, it is going to be a referendum on President Trump, tonight was another of his unforced errors which didn’t serve him. He actually was in the right on so very many points.”
Dallas, Texas: “Trump won but the whole night was a disappointment. I’d be ashamed if my kids acted the way those two men did.”
Los Angeles, California: “I was going to vote for Trump. Not so sure now. But Biden is still probably worse.”
Pembroke Pines, Florida: “Cancel future debates.”