Final Presidential Debate Sees Resemblance of Normalcy


(Note: This article is categorized as an Op-Ed. As such, all opinions are that of staff writer Kelsey Byrd’s, and do not reflect the ideas or thoughts of Memorial High School nor the MHS Journalism staff team as a whole.)

The second and final presidential debate occurred on Thursday and, all things considered, it was at least a reflection of normal compared to the bizarre catastrophes the American people have come to expect in modern politics. Both candidates sought to consolidate their policies and expand on their personal strengths as we enter the last lap of the race for who will become the next president. Perhaps the real winner, however, was Kristen Welker and her immaculate job at reigning in both parties to make a, dare I say it, somewhat, almost, if-you-squint, ordinary debate. 


Right off the bat, Trump was hit hard with his administration’s utter failure to handle the COVID-19 pandemic and was asked, if re-elected, what specific policies he will put in place to end this crisis. For his part, Trump spouted his usual mumbo jumbo when questioned on his ineptitude to deal with the virus (mostly that it was China’s fault, that he’s done a tremendous job, despite what the numbers say, and the only feasible explanation for the high mortality rate is an acceleration of COVID testing…this, of course, is not entirely accurate).  He also made sure to include a few jabs on the Obama-Biden administration’s handling of the swine flu outbreak in 2009. “I take full responsibility. It’s not my fault it came here. It’s China’s fault. And you know what, it’s not Joe’s fault it came here either,” Trump stated when asked about COVID. Biden countered that by advocating for, and this might shock you, listening to scientists (something that Trump attempted to criticize Biden for in one of his rallies) and not rushing the re-opening of businesses. In one of the most memorable lines of the night, Biden powerfully said “He says we’re learning to live with it. People are learning to die with it.” The two also sparred on the timeline of the coronavirus, with Trump pushing a falsely-optimistic narrative that vaccines are just on the horizon and Biden saying that a return to complete normalcy is a long way ahead. 


Additionally, the subject of race relations, taxes and healthcare were also spoken upon. Instead of explaining to people of color how he plans to end their oppression in this country, Trump unwittingly- and not for the first time- compared himself to Abraham Lincoln by proudly saying, “Nobody has done more for the Black community than Donald Trump. And if you look, with the exception of Abraham Lincoln, possible exception, but exception of Abraham Lincoln, nobody has done what I’ve done,” (I’m pretty sure Lincoln rolled over in his grave at that). In what was arguably the most “meme-able” moment of the debate, Biden took a jab at Trump by saying “Abraham Lincoln here is one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history,” (this resulted in the sharp minds at Twitter making memes displaying Lincoln’s response if he heard the comparison to Trump- usually ones of flagrant disgust). Trump continued to defend the existence of his bank account in China- “I have many bank accounts and they’re all listed and they’re all over the place”- his goal to to repeal the Affordable Care Act- “I would like to terminate Obamacare, come up with a brand new, beautiful health care”- and the troubling possibility that he might have paid less federal income taxes than an average middle-class family- “I get treated very badly by the IRS.” 


With the conclusion of the debate reached, now all the candidates can do is finish these final few days as strong as possible. Polls have consistently shown Biden leading Trump but the President and his supporters remain vigilant that he’ll serve a second term. As for the American people, it is our job to get out there and vote like your nation depends on it, because, at this point, it very well might.