Biden, Trump face off in final debate before November 3

751 Joseph Robinette Biden

Polls show Biden won

With our current provincial election over and done with it’s important to look to our neighbours to the south to see how they’re faring. After all, as the saying goes, when America burns, Canada suffers smoke inhalation.

On Thursday, October 22 at Belmont University in Nashville, US President Donald Trump and Democratic Party challenger Joe Biden had what was supposed to be their third and last debate before the November 3 presidential election. The second debate had of course been cancelled due to Trumps contracting COVID and not being in condition to make the second debate. In an effort to prevent the repeated interruptions from Trump that had been a distraction in the first debate, each candidate’s microphone was switched off as the other made a statement on each topic. NBC News moderator Kristen Welker kept the two candidates in check and ensured that questions would be answered and things would be moved along quickly.

This debate came with its fair share of interesting takes. As many of you have probably seen, immortalized in gifs and memes, Trump was quoted taking full responsibility for the pandemic and the toll it’s taken. “I take full responsibility.” He said, followed up by, “It’s not my fault it came here. It’s China’s fault.” That pretty much plays out Trump’s entire election strategy. Sure, he’s been in charge for the last four years. But everything that’s wrong that has happened wasn’t his fault, it was Obama, it was Biden, it was China, but if they vote him again in another four years, he’ll keep blaming it on someone else. Biden promised to look at a new coronavirus plan, including further stimulus payments. Trump’s response was predictable by this point. “I say we’re learning to live with it. We have no choice. We can’t lock ourselves up in a basement like Joe does.” Trump said.

Biden swung strong this debate, especially in regards to healthcare. “People deserve to have affordable health care, period.” Trump of course, continued a rally against healthcare. “No matter how well you run it, it’s not good. What we’d like to do is terminate it.”

Biden also commented on the children being separated at the border, at people being detained, and the women being forcibly sterilized in ICE detainment camps. “It makes us a laughing stock and violates every notion of who we are.” Trump again attempted to avoid the question and plead ignorance, and deflect the question saying, “Children are brought here by coyotes and lots of bad people, cartels… we let people in but they have to come legally.” 

Biden also stated his support for a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour, while Trump said, “minimum wage should be left to the states… A federal minimum wage would hurt businesses.” An oft heard conservative response to increases in minimum wage, even here in Saskatchewan.

Biden also had a surprising response when Trump asked him if he would ban the use of fossil fuels. “I would transition from the oil industry, yes… because the oil industry pollutes significantly.” In the current pandemic and racial tensions taking center stage, it was looking like environmental issues would be put on the backburner during the debate so it was interesting to see some representation for those who have environmental concerns at heart.

Finally, there couldn’t be a debate without some mention of Trump’s still-unreleased tax returns. “Go look at them,” Biden said “22 years of my tax returns. You have not released a single solitary year of your tax return. What are you hiding? Why are you unwilling?” Trump managed to dodge the question, again claiming he would release them but that he couldn’t right now. This is also coming in the wake of rumours that Trump has a bank account in China, and that he has over $400,000 in debt owed to someone who he has refused to comment on.

In a post debate NCC poll, 53 per cent of debate-viewers though that Biden won the debate, while only 37 per cent of viewers thought Trump had. The debate was watched by over 63 million people, but FiveThirtyEight a political analyst site reported that the debate did not have a major impact on either candidate’s favourability, polling numbers, or likelihood of winning. Current polls show that Biden leads Trump by only 8 per cent, however as we saw with the last election, sometimes polls shouldn’t be taken as fact. Thanks to the electoral system in the US (and Canada) a candidate can form a government even if they don’t win the popular vote.

This debate, and the election to the south is important to us because the United States is such a powerful nation and Canada’s strongest trade partner. It can exert some power over us as we have seen with trade tariffs being implemented in the last four years. It also has the ability to influence our people and our mindsets up in Canada. Having a misogynistic, corrupt, and blatantly racist individual in charge of what is the most powerful nation on earth validifies other misogynistic, corrupt, racist individuals. 

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