Last night’s debate was much better than the first debate. The 2-minute responses to questions without the interruption of the other candidate made for a smoother debate focused on policies. Donald Trump stole the night with a calm demeanor that is almost never seen from him. Maybe he learned from Mike Pence’s stellar performance at the vice-presidential debate where he was respectful and polite to Kamala Harris. The lack of a second debate also raises the stakes for this debate, and humility clearly goes a long way.
We cannot know for sure what led to the change in Trump’s demeanor compared to the first debate. There were many factors that happened simultaneously. The first moderator, Chris Wallace of Fox News, did not do a good job. He comes across as rude and nasty by repeatedly interrupting President Trump. Joe Biden did not get interrupted as much but he also did not say as much. Biden consistently finishes with time 20-30 seconds left on the clock. He seems tired and does not come close to the debate performances of Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Barack Obama has a sharp wit, high level of intelligence and is a very likeable person. An election between Obama and Trump would have been a real competition as both do well in playing down racial divisions and speaking to the forgotten men and women of the Mid-West. The voters that put Trump over the edge in the Mid-West in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan were Democrats who voted for Obama.
The biggest surprise of the night was Kristen Welker. Having worked for Obama and being on NBC I assumed at first that she would be helping out Biden. This clearly happened when Wallace was the moderator and also with Savannah Guthrie’s town hall. Welker is the best moderator I have ever seen in my life in a presidential debate. She is a super articulate, a great voice and checks every box to be an incredible anchor in the future. I would not be surprised to see Fox News offer her the Sunday news slot that Chris Wallace has at 2pm. She should replace Wallace given she is much more capable and talented. Welker treated both of the candidate’s fair and was respectful to both candidates the whole night. Donald Trump even said that she was much better as a moderator than the last one.
October has been a wild month in terms of politics and life in general. As businesses open in the tri-State areas, continued rises in positive cases threatens small-businesses. Driving around different towns I have seen dozens and dozens of small businesses closing because of the Coronavirus. When Donald Trump tested positive for Coronavirus it seemed that the world froze. Nobody knew what would happen, if he would live or die. As a 74-year old and overweight, Donald Trump represents the most likely group to die from the virus. His quick recovery was miraculous and led to a renewed support and presence after a rough first debate. The Coronavirus may have humbled Trump as it was almost like watching two different people at the two different debates. 40 million Americans according to the moderator have already voted. Independent and swing-voters in the battleground states will decide this election. According to the Wall Street Journal, Biden is leading by 8 points on average and in several states, Trump won in 2016. Only God knows who will win this election, but this is starting to look more and more like 2016 all over again.