After a chaotic first debate where President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden sparred aggressively, this final debate saw a huge turnaround compared to what voter’s received last time. With White House correspondent Kristin Welker as moderator, who was praised for her performance, the debate proceeded accordingly. Both candidates allowed each other to talk and had more respectful tones, even when on the offensive.
What We Know:
The moderator was able to roll through all the topics in the allotted time for last night’s debate, much of which was never clearly answered in the previous one due to its disastrous outcome. Biden once again held his own while under fire and greatly avoided any slip-ups that would have caused Republicans to question his age and mental acuity. Trump, in a much more collective manner, stood his own as well. As the incumbent, he didn’t bring anything else new to the table but reiterated his attacks on the Biden’s family and questioned the Democrat’s responses on key issues.
Winner of the debate: @kwelkernbc who was clearly in command from start to finish with poise, substance and authority. Bravo!
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) October 23, 2020
Covid-19 finally hits the stage
- The Trump campaign reportedly complained that this debate was supposed to be on foreign policy, most likely for the president to speak on what he sees as accomplishments in trading, the Middle East, and Syria and target Biden’s son’s business ties to China.
- Instead, the debate began with the COVID-19 pandemic, a topic which polls suggest is of greater interest to the American public currently. Trump didn’t seem to offer any new insight, only reiterated a vaccine is in the works and expects distribution in a few weeks. After his diagnosis of COVID-19 earlier this month, he used it as a way to promote new drugs that are being used as treatment and saying he’s probably “immune” now.
- During Biden’s turn, he went on the attack pointing out how Trump has repeatedly downplayed the virus and how it would just disappear. He quoted the over 220,000 American deaths to the virus and stated 200,000 more could perish by the end of 2020.
- The rest of this topic saw back and forth from both candidates. Trump continued to give reassurance on how everything is getting better, without evidence, and how lockdowns are not the solution. Biden countered by insisting he will “shut down the virus” not the U.S when addressing the pandemic. He also frequently advocated for mask usage and social distancing throughout the event.
Seemingly inevitable Hunter Biden topic
- Ever since the last debate, when Trump brought up Hunter Biden, it was set in stone that his son would once again come up during debate night. It didn’t take long for the president to bring up the former vice-president’s family. Trump claimed that Biden profited from his son’s overseas deals in Ukraine and China. He cited recent stories about information acquired from Hunter’s laptop.
- Biden’s response was a simple denial of those claims. He followed the financial dispute by turning it over to Trump’s taxes and business ties to China. The shift forced the president to spend time explaining how he “pre-paid” millions in taxes and vaguely describing when he’d release his tax returns. Biden confidently asserted how he and his running mate have already released theirs and asked Trump “what are you hiding?”
- The exchange, being analyzed from various different angles, was one of the few parts that would have left a voter confused. Trump was clearly seeking to draw blood for personal attacks on Biden’s family. In the end, those attempts to make his rival lose his cool failed, which resulted in a cleaner debate.
A focus on immigration in the U.S
- During Trump’s first run for the White House, he hammered onto the issues of immigration as one of the main issues he wanted to tackle. Now after four years, Trump tried to downplay some of the more extreme steps he’s taken while in office. His famous Mexico border wall did not come up.
- A question the president received about immigration was the separation of children from undocumented migrants under his current administration’s policies. He quickly turned the conversation over to detention facilities near the border and brought up what his term “cages,” created by the Obama administration before him to temporary house undocumented minors.
- Biden, with some visible annoyance, implied that all the children of undocumented migrants came over with their parents and it was these unfair separations that make the U.S a “laughing stock”.
- The handling of immigration has been heavily criticized under Trump’s administration these past four years ranging from I.C.E. raids, the border wall, and children cry for their parents which still may be fresh in voters’ minds. Trump’s only rebuttal to that was the children were “well taken care of” and that the facilities were “so clean”. It probably didn’t help his case at that point.
Trump and Biden on criminal justice/racism
- One of Trump’s biggest fluke’s last debate was when he turned the conversation into race relations. He skipped around the topic and notably refused to directly condemn white supremacy and in fact told the Proud Boy’s to “stand back and stand by”. This time, it appeared that Trump did his homework and remained calmer.
- He went ahead and bragged about his cross-party criminal justice reform and aid to historically black colleges. He attacked Biden’s involvement in a draconian crime bill in the mid-90s which consequently lead Black Americans to prisons. The moment Biden had a chance to speak on new reforms to correct that, the president questioned Biden on why he didn’t accomplish more under former President Barack Obama.
- “It’s all talk but no action with these politicians,” Trump stated. “Why didn’t you get it done? You had eight years to get it done.”
- For older viewers who watched this portion of the debate closely, it would have been interesting considering the crime in the 1990s. Both candidates spoke on the number of felons to whom they gave clemency and their efforts for reforms in the justice system. In a year plagued with social injustice, this is more important than ever.
CNN poll of debate watchers: Biden won 53-39. In first debate, poll of debate watchers said Biden won over Trump 60-28
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 23, 2020
In the grand scheme of things, the final presidential debate was more along the lines of what voters expect to see of a future leader. The dumbfounding first debate will certainly be one marked in history and talked about for generations. As of this point in the election, polls have demonstrated most Americans have made their choice with more than 50 million people already have cast their votes. There is a small chance this debate turned the tide to favor either party.
Georgia Sets New Early Voting Record for Senate Runoffs
Early voting for the two Georgia Senate races began on December 14th. So far, the turnout has been unbelievable and record-breaking.
What We Know:
- As of Dec. 18th, over 1.1 million ballots have been cast in early voting for this Senate runoff election. These twin U.S. Senate runoff elections, as Reuters calls it, will determine which party controls that chamber of Congress. Voting in the Senate runoffs, which are taking place because no candidate won 50% support on Nov. 3rd. State data published on Friday showed the number of accepted ballots was just below the level seen at the same point in early voting for November’s election.
- According to MSN, roughly 168,000 Georgians went to the polls on Monday, the first day to vote early in-person in the state’s two critical Senate runoff elections, according to numbers provided by the Georgia secretary of state’s office. By comparison, some 128,000 voted on the first day of early voting for the November general election. Another 314,000 people cast absentee ballots on the first day of the early-voting period. The first-day early in-person turnout broke a record previously set in October when early in-person voting began for the 2020 general election.
- The runoff’s Democratic challengers are Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff against Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, respectively. Perdue won more votes than Ossoff in November, while Warnock won more than Loeffler in a 20-candidate field that also included Republican Congressman Doug Collins. Loeffler and Collins together drew nearly 46% of the vote, according to Reuters.
- The party control of the Senate is at stake in this runoff election. Republicans currently hold a 50-48 seat edge in the upper chamber. If Democrats win in the Georgia runoffs, this will hand them an evenly divided chamber, in which Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would cast the tie-breaking vote. If both Democrats lose, President-elect Joe Biden will be forced to work with a divided Congress and may not be able to implement his agenda.
Early voting will take place up until December 31st, and election day will be held on January 5th. Georgians still have a few more days to get out and cast their in-person votes. In addition, absentee ballots may still be mailed in before December 31st. To view your sample ballot, find your polling place, or verify that you’re properly registered to vote, log in to the Secretary of State’s My Voter Page.
WSJ Columnist Writes Misogynistic Op-Ed About Dr. Jill Biden
The Wall Street Journal was widely criticized over the weekend for publishing a column by Joseph Epstein where he wrote “misogynistic views,” suggesting soon-to-be first lady Jill Biden should stop using her doctorate title.
What We Know:
- Epstein begins the article by writing, “Madame First Lady–Mrs. Biden–Jill–kiddo: a bit of advice on what may seem like a small but I think is a not unimportant matter. Any chance you might drop the ‘Dr.’ before your name? ‘Dr. Jill Biden’ sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic.”
- Jill Biden has spent most of her life educating and holds multiple degrees, including a doctoral degree from the University of Delaware. Her “Dr.” title is noted in all of her public profiles and usually what she is referred to in the media. In the article, Epstein regarded this as “fraudulent, even comic.”
- In attempts to discredit and undermine the numerous achievements Dr. Biden has received, Epstein writes to the WSJ to argue that the prestige of post-graduate titles has been diminished by lack of academic rigor.
“Such degrees were once given exclusively to scholars, statesmen, artists, and scientists. Then rich men entered the lists, usually hoping that they would donate money to the schools that had granted them their honorary degrees … Famous television journalists, who passed themselves off as intelligent, followed. Entertainers, who didn’t bother feigning intelligence, were next,” he wrote.
- In response to the column, Jill Biden tweeted, “Together, we will build a world where the accomplishments of our daughters will be celebrated, rather than diminished.” Her response is among several across social media from icons such as Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Meghan McCain, the daughter of late Republican senator John McCain and a commentator on the morning talk show “The View.”
- Paul A. Gigot, the top editor for The Journal’s opinion section for nearly two decades, deemed the media’s response to the column as a political strategy, stating, “There’s nothing like playing the race or gender card to stifle criticism,” as he accused Democrats of coordinated the mass of responses following the publication.
- This is not the first wave of criticism received by the WSJ over their op-eds. According to The Washington Post, members of The Journal’s newsroom have sent letters criticizing Journal columns at least three times this year.
In just one month, nearly 300 employees sent a letter to The Journal’s publisher, Almar Latour, identifying a “lack of fact-checking and transparency” on the opinion desk.
Black Lives Matter Signs Burned at D.C. Churches; Police Investigate as Possible Hate Crimes
An investigation has begun into the burning of Black lives Matter signs at historic Black churches in Washington, D.C., during a pro-Trump rally this weekend.
What We Know:
- The incident will be investigated as a hate crime, and the police are looking for information on the events that occurred on Saturday. The burning of signs occurred at Asbury United Methodist Church, founded in 1836, and Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church, where Frederick Douglass’ funeral was held in 1895.
- The protest is in reaction to the Supreme court tossing a Texas lawsuit and pushing for the changing election results n five swing states, Michigan, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Nevada.
- Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted on Sunday, “This weekend, we saw forces of hate seeking to use destruction and intimidation to tear us apart… We will not let that happen, and continue to stand together strong and United to Love.”
- According to NBC News, Asbury’s senior pastor, the Reverend Lanther Mills, stated the pro-Trump supporters removed a Black Lives Matter and literally burned it in the street. Mills compares the incident to that of the burning of crosses during the days of Jim Crow.
“We are as people of faith. As horrible and disturbing as this is for us now, it doesn’t compare with the challenges and fears the men and women who started Ashbury faced 184 years ago faced,” stated Mills.
- “So we will move forward, undaunted in our assurance that Black Lives Matter, and we are obligated to continue to shout that truth. We are assured that our church is surrounded by God’s grace and mercy,” he added.
During the protest in Olympia, Washington, 4 people were stabbed, and one person was shot in the clash between Trump supporters and counterprotesters.
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