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The first 2020 presidential debate — live blog

With commentary from Amber Athey, Bridget Phetasy, Caroline McCarthy, Chadwick Moore, Dominic Green, Freddy Gray, Jacob Heilbrunn, Matt McDonald and Stephen L. Miller

September 29, 2020

7:25 PM

29 September 2020

7:25 PM

7:25 p.m. ET — Matt McDonald: Hello and welcome to The Spectator’s live blog for tonight’s tête-à-tête between President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden. Along with eight other Spectator contributors and editors, I’ll be guiding you through the evening’s shenanigans in Cleveland. Hopefully we can offer a better quality of debate…

7:30 p.m. ET Matt McDonald: Here’s a lovely picture of some anti-Trump protesters gathering in Cleveland’s Wade Park to whet your appetite. Next up, what our writers are most looking for tonight.

Protesters in Wade Park, Cleveland (Getty)

7:35 p.m. ET Chadwick Moore: I’m expecting Biden to do surprisingly well, due to the ear piece and the mountains of Adderall they shoved up his nose beforehand.

7:36 p.m. ET — Caroline McCarthy: I speculate the two candidates will spend more time trying to trigger each others’ supporters with gotcha remarks than actually substantially talking policy.

7:36 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: I’m looking forward to seeing if Joe Biden lives up to his nickname from 19-Odd-6 ‘J. Clover Fisticuffs’.

7:37 p.m. ET Bridget Phetasy: I’m most looking forward to [insert Slobodan Praljak drinking poison gif]

7:40 p.m. ET — Caroline McCarthy: To your point Chadwick, that’s something I don’t get re: Team Trump. Why are they trying to set expectations for Biden so low? Like if he comes across as anything other than an addled old man on 10 different medications, it’ll look like he did shockingly well.

7:43 p.m. ET — Dominic Green: Hello, Cleveland! I’m most looking forward to reasoned debate, facts and figures at the fingertips, and Trump forcibly removing Biden’s cochlear implant

7:44 p.m. ET Bridget Phetasy: It would be great if Sleepy Joe went up behind Trump and whispered in his ear.

7:44 p.m. ET — Dominic Green: In Russian?

7:45 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy: Would be even better if they both started debating…in Russian.

7:47 p.m. ET Matt McDonald: Does anyone know any undecided voters?

7:49 p.m ET — Caroline McCarthy: The undecideds I know are deciding whether to vote for Candidate A or stay home, not whether to vote for Candidate A or Candidate B.

7:51 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy: Most of the undecideds I’ve heard from are sitting it out or making an election booth decision.

7:54 p.m. Stephen L. Miller: I am undecided on whether or not to vote in person for John McAfee or mail in my ballot.

8:03 p.m. ET— Matt McDonald: Tucker Carlson’s opening monologue is all about how unlikely it is that Biden actually made it to the debate and is participating. Forgive me for shamelessly quoting myself, but I was talking up Biden’s debate chops in August: ‘Perhaps reintroducing Biden into the familiar environment of a one-on-one debate will bring forth his true self, like one of those heartwarming viral videos in which elderly people with dementia play old music perfectly from memory.’

8:19 p.m. ET— Matt McDonald: So which of the week’s pre-debate ‘bombshell’ news stories do you think will have an impact if they come up this evening?

8:20 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: Oddly? Biden and Russiagate by Trump. Biden might have to admit he was in the Oval Office meeting which he has denied but is confirmed by Strzok’s notes. Daniel Dale will go diving under his desk.

8:22 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: WHERE’S HUNTER?

8:23 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: If Trump says ‘Where’s Hunter, fat’, the debate is over. I want to see Trump ask Biden what his seventh grandchild’s name is.

8:24 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy: Even grandparents without dementia don’t know that stuff.

8:25 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: Trump is going to walk out and give Sleepy Joe a My Pillow.

8:30 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy: The countdowns on all the news channels really drive home what performance theater this is. I have Challenger anxiety.

8:31 p.m ET — Caroline McCarthy: Like your space shuttle is going to explod?

8:32 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy: Yes like I’m about to watch a disaster on live television. Little did I know at my tender age that would be the first of many. Like the Challenger, I would encourage you to just sit back and enjoy the fireworks no matter what happens.

8:35 p.m. ET — Caroline McCarthy: ‘Wine’ is apparently trending exclusively because of the debate.

8:36 p.m. ET —Amber Athey: Cringe.

8:36 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy: I’ve never hated being sober more.

8:37 p.m. ET — Caroline McCarthy: I am not allowed to drink while awaiting the diagnosis of a sleep disorder and this is excruciating.

8:55 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy: Who’s going to poop himself first?

8:56 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: Depends.

8:57 p.m. ET — Caroline McCarthy: Juan Williams had a point that the conventions didn’t meaningfully move anything in terms of polling, so why would the debate?

8:58 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: The conventions were planned.

8:58 p.m. ET Chadwick Moore: Polling? Lol…

8:59 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: Dana Perino looks fantastic by the way.

9:00 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: Jill Biden is dressed like she is at a funeral. WHERE’S HUNTER?

9:00 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: The Trumps are not wearing masks in the audience but Jill is.

9:01 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: This is the debate we could have had in 2016, thank you.

9:03 p.m. ET — Jacob Heilbrunn: I say Biden comes out swinging.

9:04 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy: If Biden wins through this he wins.

9:04 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: It’s hilarious CNN has to air two hours of Fox News.

9:04 p.m. ET — Jacob Heilbrunn: Will Wallace win the debate?

9:04 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: Yes.

9:05 p.m. ET — Dominic Green: Chris Wallace is a highly articulate candidate with a good grasp of the details.

9:06 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: Biden’s tie sucks. Kurt Eichenwald would have a seizure.

9:06 p.m. ET Chadwick Moore: None of the questions were given to a candidate? Already shaking things up in 2020.

9:07 p.m. ET — Jacob Heilbrunn: Trump is treating it like a press conference, not a rally.

9:07 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy: Has Biden called a lid yet?

9:08 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: Trump needs time to get warmed up. He is best at quick jabs and back and forths.

9:08 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: Biden looks pale or Trump looks too tan.

9:08 p.m. ET — Jacob Heilbrunn: Both can be true. Trump playing against type so far.

9:08 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: Do you think Trump caked on the tan to make Biden look more pale and sick?

9:10 p.m. ET Chadwick Moore: Biden with the American flag pin. There goes the base.

9:10 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: Biden is…unsteady.

9:11 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy: Antifa gonna storm the stage and burn Biden’s pin.

9:11 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: Trump was strong there.

9:11 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy: I’m the PARTY NOW.

9:12 p.m. ET — Dominic Green: Trump landed some punches there, Biden comes back talking about himself in the third person.

9:12 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: Biden declaring that he chooses the party platform is not going to go over well with progressives.

9:12 p.m. ET — Jacob Heilbrunn: It’s going to be healthcare all night.

9:12 p.m. ET — Caroline McCarthy: This has serious ‘two old men arguing on a porch on a summer afternoon’ energy.

9:13 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: If Joe Biden is the Democratic party then he can answer if they are going to pack the Supreme Court.

9:14 p.m. ET — Dominic Green: Trump just blocked Biden’s switch to Roe v. Wade.

9:14 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: Biden’s getting pushed over — this is the left’s worst fear.

9:14 p.m. ET Chadwick Moore: Perhaps Biden is going for the sympathy vote. This is already murder, very difficult to watch.

9:14 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy: Now he’s fighting with the moderator. This is amazing.

9:14 p.m. ET — Dominic Green: Wallace interrupts Trump, who mutters ‘good healthcare’.

9:15 p.m. ET — Caroline McCarthy: Trump is now debating the moderator.

9:15 p.m. ET — Jacob Heilbrunn: Trump is flailing now.

9:15 p.m. ET — Caroline McCarthy: ‘I’m the moderator of this debate and I would like you to let me ask my question.’ This is priceless and Chris Wallace is more clear and coherent than either one of the actual candidates.

9:17 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: Dying. ‘He just lost the left.’

9:18 p.m. ET — Caroline McCarthy: One of my friends just texted me and said ‘Neither one of them should have a driver’s license.’

9:18 p.m. ET Chadwick Moore: I miss Hillary 🙁

9:18 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: They’re going to have to start cutting off mics at some point.

9:19 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: This is the best debate I’ve ever seen.

9:20 p.m. ET — Jacob Heilbrunn: Trump is getting angry.

9:20 p.m. ET — Dominic Green: Trump makes the clear point: ‘Obamacare is a disaster.’ Biden says he has no plan. All true.

9:20 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: Trump technically has a plan, it’s just a pretty incoherent one.

9:21 p.m. ET — Dominic Green: Will you shut up, man.

9:21 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: It’s not going to be good for Biden if he gets frustrated. He’s not nearly as good at personal insults as Trump.

9:21 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy: This feels like when I volunteer at the nursing home and it’s getting close to dinner.

9:22 p.m. ET Chadwick Moore: Oh! I have ‘Man’ on my bingo card.

9:22 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: I wouldn’t be surprised if that was Trump’s strategy. To frazzle Biden early.

9:23 p.m. ET — Dominic Green: Biden rallies with his COVID message: gets it across clearly. So far.

9:23 p.m. ET — Dominic Green: Sorry, spoke too soon.

9:23 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: Biden thinks China will let inspectors into Wuhan.

9:23 p.m. ET — Freddy Gray: Perhaps to manage my own expectations, I wrote a piece earlier saying this debate would be boring. So far it looks like I was very wrong. But it’s a bit manic. Biden telling Trump to ‘Keep yapping man’ is his best moment.

9:24 p.m. ET — Jacob Heilbrunn: Biden clearly wants to let Trump hang himself.

9:24 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: Biden shouldn’t be telling anyone else to get out of a bunker.

9:25 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: Trump is well rehearsed on this. It’s kind of surprising. He knew this was coming.

9:25 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: This is a good answer from Trump on coronavirus. Biden has no response for calling closing the border to China xenophobic.

9:25 p.m. ET — Jacob Heilbrunn: Here we go, the stump lines, fake news.

9:26 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: Both of their COVID answers were considerably better than I would have expected.

9:26 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy: I’m actually shocked at how well prepped Trump is.

9:26 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: Yep, he stayed more on message there than he has any time in the past four years.

9:26 p.m. ET Chadwick Moore: How is Biden not prepared for this line of defense?

9:26 p.m. ET — Jacob Heilbrunn: Biden is speaking to the audience, not Trump.

9:26 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: So does Biden not support the lockdown now? He just blamed Trump for the economy being shut down.

9:27 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy: The empty chairs is weird. How many of you know someone who died of COVID?

9:28 p.m. ET Chadwick Moore: I was speaking with a young man at the gym today and he said his aunt died. and in the next breath, said masks are bullshit and the whole thing is a hoax and Cuomo killed all the old people. And this was a black gentleman in Brooklyn, folks.

9:29 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy: Strong comeback undermined by the bleach remark.

9:29 p.m. ET — Jacob Heilbrunn: Biden’s voice is weak.

9:30 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy: He’s weak. And Trump is weirdly…strong? I have no idea what’s happening.

9:31 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: You can see the pull strings on Biden’s arms.

9:31 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: Wallace should ask Biden directly if he trusts a vaccine that comes out of the Trump administration.

9:31 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy: But he’s right to keep focusing on the lies. ‘Don’t ever use the word smart with me’, omg.

9:31 p.m. ET — Jacob Heilbrunn: Trash talk from Trump about IQ.

9:31 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: That was a NUKE.

9:32 p.m. ET — Jacob Heilbrunn: Nah. Biden is focusing relentlessly on viewers.

9:32 p.m. ET — Dominic Green: Thirty-two minutes in, Biden deploys his first ‘think about it’. Holding out for a ‘C’mon man’ in the next 10 minutes.

9:33 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: Trump started off the debate over-aggressive which got Biden off script and flustered him. Now he has reverted to his prepared talking points with the occasional jab, and Biden simply cannot keep up.

9:34 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: Trump pulled a mask out: debate over.

9:34 p.m. ET — Caroline McCarthy: I keep clicking from this to the livestream and occasionally checking Twitter and every time I do, it’s just a mess of people being like ‘Please, let this be over soon’.

9:35 p.m. ET — Jacob Heilbrunn: I’m not sold. In a way blowing up the whole debate works to Biden’s advantage. It’s just a mess.

9:35 p.m. ET — Dominic Green: This is a question: does Biden get sympathy as he emerges from the rubble?

9:35 p.m. ET Chadwick Moore: Freddy’s right. This isn’t boring. It’s eerie and disquieting. And without an audience Trump’s barbs are less enthralling. The whole thing seems more sad and cruel. It’s also stressful — everyone is waiting for Biden to have a breakdown or walk off stage.

9:36 p.m. ET — Jacob Heilbrunn: Biden has nothing to gain from this debate. If it’s a mess, Tump never lands a real blow.

9:36 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: Biden’s entire thing is, I’m the cool calm one. He gets sucked into this, it proves he’s the swamp.

9:37 p.m. ET Chadwick Moore: They’re only banking on ‘Trump is mean and I don’t like the way he tweets.’ Blowing up the debate may be all they have. As I wrote before, everything points to them trying to throw the election.

9:38 p.m. ET — Dominic Green: Biden is looking and sounding tired. If Trump keeps up this pace…

9:38 p.m. ET — Caroline McCarthy: Biden also comes across as chill. There was a really interesting NYU project after one of the 2016 debates that gender-swapped Trump and Hillary, and it found that Hillary’s authoritative, talking-points attitude actually worked better when delivered by a woman. The exact same words and delivery, when recast as coming from a dude, were described by audience members as ‘mansplaining’.

9:38 p.m. ET — Dominic Green: Trump is now talking positively: we haven’t yet heard anything positive from Biden.

9:40 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: Folks, we have two more of these. I’m so stoked. Is Biden’s pen a receiver? Just asking…

9:41 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: Is Biden for the shutdown or against the shutdown? I am genuinely confused. First he went after Trump for shutting down the economy, but now he’s attacking him for wanting to reopen.

9:42 p.m. ET — Jacob Heilbrunn: Does Biden want Trump to talk as much as possible?

9:42 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: Worked for Hillary.

9:42 p.m. ET — Dominic Green: Trump: people want schools and restaurants open. They want to get back to their lives. Strong message. Strange that Trump is now offering normality.

9:43 p.m. ET — Caroline McCarthy: The tax story came out so recently that I bet Trump’s team had to scramble to prepare him for this.

9:45 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: Trump’s message on taxes is much stronger. Every normal person can relate to wanting to pay as little tax legally as possible.

9:47 p.m. ET Chadwick Moore: No one cares about Trump’s taxes. The Democrats have tried everything else and now we’ve come full circle from October 2016, back to the tax returns. If President Trump only paid $750 in income taxes, that’s admirable for many Americans. You didn’t pay our taxes? Good!

9:48 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: Biden is completely wrong to say that Trump’s tax plan did not help regular people. Approximately 80 percent of all American taxpayers paid less under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. WaPo gave Biden four Pinocchios for that lie.

9:48 p.m. ET Chadwick Moore: If they care about anything from that NYT story, it’s that Trump is in debt and loses tons of money, not the tax stuff to your point. But that isn’t going to get asked about in a debate.

9:50 p.m. ET — Jacob Heilbrunn: If Trump was in a hole with women before this debate…

9:51 p.m. ET Chadwick Moore: And how dumb were the Democrats for breaking the ‘tax’ story right ahead of the Supreme Court nomination? It’s already dead. And Trump didn’t break any laws. Every American attempts to reduce tax burden as much as possible. If you could only pay $750 in taxes, wouldn’t you? And it’s not like Trump is sweating over a Casio on April 14, smoking a cigar with a green visor on, doing his taxes himself.

9:52 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy: The more Trump interrupts, the more he looks like an asshole.

9:52 p.m. ET — Jacob Heilbrunn: Biden is talking to audience again and again.

9:53 p.m. ET — Chadwick Moore: ‘Here’s the Deal’ is on my bingo card too!

9:53 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: Biden blatantly lied when he claimed Hunter didn’t get millions from the wife of the former Moscow mayor.

9:54 p.m. ET — Freddy Gray: ‘China ate your lunch, Joe.’ Clever line from Trump referring to Biden’s infamous line about China not eating America’s lunch. Then moves on to the Hunter Biden accusations — potentially a landmine for Biden. But Biden fends it off quite effectively. Calling him a clown undermines Trump neatly and we move on.

9:57 p.m. ET — Chadwick Moore: America is a tribal nation. Humans are tribal creatures. How do Democrats always get away with this ‘unity’ talk. What kind of a hell is 330 million people ‘united’?

9:59 p.m. ET — Freddy Gray: It’s unfair for Trump that the ‘good on both sides’ comment never goes away. As we all know, read the comment in full and it is clear he was not defending white supremacists. But politics isn’t fair and I think on race Biden’s grandstanding on Trump’s character works.

9:59 p.m. ET — Chadwick Moore: Trump is smart for not getting into the weeds of Charlottesville. His ‘very fine people’ line is so grotesquely misquoted and taken out of context. Instead, remind everyone of Portland, New York, Seattle…

10 p.m. ET — Dominic Green: Trump just flipped the accusation that he’s a racist back onto the law and order question. Adroitly done. Biden getting a second chance at the question of race, now digging himself into a hole.

10 p.m. ET — Matt McDonald: We’re 55 minutes in and Biden isn’t properly flagging. Why don’t we push through to 11 and see how things pan out?

10:01 p.m. ET — Dominic Green: Really glad we’re getting to the big issue, critical race theory. Trump is well prepped for this question. He’s been reading Adorno and it’s showing.

10:02 p.m. ET — Caroline McCarthy: Is the critical race theory question something that American voters at large even really care about or know about? It seems like something that bubbled up through media pundits and got the attention of the White House.

10:02 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: Biden is very tone deaf to compare the plight of Irish Catholics to black people in the US. It is true they were discriminated against but they were never enslaved and I can’t imagine that will play well with the left that supports critical race theory.

10:05 p.m. ET — Matt McDonald: Biden finds his mojo by talking up his middle-class credentials. The suburbs prove to be his smelling salts.

10:06 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy: I’m never voting again.

10:06 p.m. ET — Jacob Heilbrunn: Biden is getting his talking points in on opposition to defunding and true threats to the suburbs.

10:06 p.m. ET — Chadwick Moore: Can I have a smoke break yet, Jesus.

10:07 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: The general consensus among the large group of conservatives I am watching with is that Chris Wallace keeps jumping in to save Biden from Trump’s toughest lines of questioning.

10:08 p.m. ET — Dominic Green: I think he’s doing well to hold it together. Trump is wrecking the procedural.

10:08 p.m. ET — Caroline McCarthy: There’s some dissonance between Trump claiming Biden was tough on crime to the point of racism (‘super-predators’) and then claiming he doesn’t believe in law and order, but it’s getting lost in the fray of two old men arguing incoherently.

10:08 p.m. ET — Freddy Gray: A ‘9/11 call’ is Biden’s funniest gaffe so far. 9/11! Sadly for Trump he missed it.

10:09 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: I think it may just be coincidence that Trump waited until the ends of segments to ask about Hunter, law and order, etc.

10:10 p.m. ET — Jacob Heilbrunn: Is Trump proud of the Proud Boys?

10:11 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: ‘When a bat hits you over the head it’s not an idea,’ was a good line from Trump about antifa. This left-wing hand-wringing about whether or not it’s an organized group completely misses the point.

10:12 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy: I’m just lost, I think I need to go to the nursing home

10:12 p.m. ET — Jacob Heilbrunn: Has Trump finally destroyed another institution — the debates?

10:12 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy: I hope so.

10:16 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: Chris Wallace refuses to let Trump talk about Hunter Biden’s corruption.

10:18 p.m. ET — Freddy Gray: Amber I agree with your pals. Wallace does seem to scold Trump more and sometimes unnecessarily. Trump is breaching decorum more, naturally, but it does feel like Wallace is siding with Biden.

10:19 p.m. ET — Chadwick Moore: The environment issue is another good opportunity to make this about China, the world’s biggest polluter. The Paris Accord was written to hurt America, not help the environment.

10:20 p.m. ET — Freddy Gray: I generally hate so-called empathy in politicians. But Trump saying ‘I don’t know Beau, I know Hunter’ — speaking about Biden’s dead son without acknowledging Biden’s point that Beau served honorably in the military — seems a bit too heartless.

10:22 p.m. ET — Caroline McCarthy: Biden is much better prepared on the climate change answer even though Trump is right that poor forest management is a huge reason why California is on fire. I don’t think it’s an issue that Trump particularly cares about, because his base doesn’t, so he’s under-informed.

10:22 p.m. ET — Dominic Green: Under a Biden administration, four million buildings will emit significantly less gas and oil.

10:24 p.m. ET — Matt McDonald: Trump is running against a hologram-version of Biden who would ultimately be much more popular with young people.

10:24 p.m. ET — Chadwick Moore: We can’t even eat a burger indoors or hug your grandma, And they’re asking about ClImAtE cHaNgE? Yeah, that’ll get the heartland on your side. I mean, why even ask it? The professors have naughty pictures of Wallace or something?

10:26 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: I think it’s shameful that China wasn’t on the table during this debate yet we have to listen to this nonsense about climate change that is one of the lowest issues for voters. And Chris Wallace laughing and agreeing with Biden that he can’t follow along with Trump is really bad optics for a supposedly unbiased moderator.

10:28 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy: It’s funny to be here and also in my chat with undecided normies they’re all saying this has secured the fact that they’re not voting. Hahahahahaha.

10:28 p.m. ET — Matt McDonald: I’ll be honest, neither of these two have fully convinced me to cast an illegal vote for them.

10:28 p.m. ET — Jacob Heilbrunn: Good shot on Trump as a phony who sends in his ballot from behind the Resolute Desk.

10:29 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: This was too much of a mess to change many minds.

10:30 p.m. ET — Chadwick Moore: No one is worried about Biden not accepting the results, he doesn’t even want to be here. It’s his little chubbies and xirs, and BLMers that have us slightly worried. Or just exhausted.

10:31 p.m. ET — Dominic Green: Trump is discussing mail-in ballots in the persona of George Costanza.

10:31 p.m. ET — Caroline McCarthy: I think the problem with the climate change question is that, like tech policy, it’s a wonky issue that sucks on a debate stage.

10:31 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy:

I’ve received 20 versions of the above text.

10:32 p.m. ET — Jacob Heilbrunn: Is anyone still watching other than the pundits?

10:33 p.m. ET — Caroline McCarthy: This is literally the worst way to end a debate.

10:34 p.m. ET — Dominic Green: Trump is the stronger performer on the night, but this has been a disastrous reflection of the state of American politics. I can’t imagine any undecided voter who’d watch this and approve of either of them. Even I’m dreading the next debate.

10:34 p.m. ET — Freddy Gray: On reflection, I think my ‘this debate will be a dud‘ take earlier turned out to be apt.

10:30 p.m. ET — Chadwick Moore: The left is already, once again, setting the results of this election up to be illegitimate. We won’t have a winner until December 12. They know they’re going to lose, so it’s only about sowing chaos and confusion. It was Russia in 2016. With the last Republican president, George W. Bush, people forget that on September 10, 2001, the media and Democrats were still calling him illegitimate. Then ‘some people did something’ and they begrudgingly had to ‘unify’.

10:35 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy: People covering their ears and going ‘MAKE IT STOP’ seems bad for Trump.

10:38 p.m. ET — Jacob Heilbrunn: Trump would not answer the violence question. Biden did. Wallace maintained order.

10:38 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy: My ears are bleeding.

10:40 p.m. ET — Freddy Gray: Wallace is framing these questions about a contested result in precisely the way the Biden campaign does. This will strike Trump fans as fishy, won’t it?

10:40 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: It genuinely sucks that we only have two more of these.

10:42 p.m. ET — Chadwick Moore: ‘A night of chaos, interrupting and bullying,’ says the shaking, horrified news anchor on CBS, like she just saw puppy get microwaved.

10:43 p.m. ET — Matt McDonald: If this was the ‘right-wing’ debate, and it’s as hard as it gets for Joe Biden, a lot of conservatives and doubtful swing voters will consider him a candidate unscrutinized.

10:46 p.m. ET — Caroline McCarthy: Trump’s attempts to continually tie Biden to fringe leftist groups seems like a distraction, considering that’s a bloc of people who didn’t vote in 2016 and helped ensure Trump’s victory. ‘You’re losing the left’ — did he even have them?

10:48 p.m. ET — Stephen L. Miller: Everyone loved that debate. You acting like you didn’t love it when you secretly did is how we got President Apprentice.

10:50 p.m. ET — Jacob Heilbrunn: Now the real debate begins over the debate.

10:50 p.m. ET — Amber Athey: I have a headache.

10:51 p.m. ET — Bridget Phetasy: I want to die.

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