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Students unimpressed after first debate

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The first presidential debate of 2020 occurred on Sept. 29 between President Donald Trump and former-Vice President Joe Biden. Memes and criticisms of the debate have been circulating ever since, and Doane students are no exception.

Using a poll conducted from Oct. 6 through Oct. 9, 25 students voiced their opinions about the debate. Based on a one-to-ten scale with “one” indicating “not happy at all” and “ten” indicating “extremely happy,” most students fell in the middle. 

Senior Austin Miller said he is slightly involved in politics, and he was not impressed by the first presidential debate. 

Overall, I felt it was a waste of time if that’s how the debate is going to be. Constant bickering will get us nowhere. Bring the focus back to the issues and not each other. Every time the moderator brought up a question, the question was answered after the two candidates had their time degrading each other,” Miller said. 

Sophomore Claire Carpenter said she follows politics to stay informed, but “with everything else going on in life,” it can be hard to stay up-to-date. 

In regards to Trump’s and Biden’s performances, both Carpenter and Miller were unimpressed. 

“I feel like no true opinions were put on the table. Most of the time when [Trump] was speaking, he was defending his actions and words instead of telling us how he stands on topics… 

I also feel like we didn’t get many opinions from Biden as he spent most of his time speaking back to Trump for the interruptions,” Carpenter said. 

Miller said he was not surprised by Trump's performance, but he said he was hoping for more substantial information from Biden.

President Trump acted just as expected, immature and incoherent… [Biden] was more mature about the debate, but his ideas didn’t seem realistic,” Miller said. 

Miller also said he is worried about changes in Biden’s campaign.

“It also seems like Biden has changed his campaign to adhere to members of the Black community that I haven’t seen from him before. This sudden change of focus from him gives me doubt that he will actually put in the effort to bring equity and justice to America,” Miller said.

Neither Carpenter nor Miller feel particularly optimistic about the subsequent debates. 

“I hope that there is a mediator who will not allow interruptions and rude comments. I hope [the mediator] can keep them in a debate about the status of the presidency and that both men can keep their composure and actually inform Americans on what we want to know,” Carpenter said. 

The second presidential debate was originally scheduled for Oct. 15 but has been cancelled since Trump contracted COVID-19. Trump has refused to participate in the debate virtually.

That leaves the third, and final, debate remaining on Oct. 22 at 8 PM CST which can be viewed via livestream from your preferred news network.