Biden vs. Trump: A Clash of Ideologies in the Presidential Debate

In a heated debate, President Joe Biden and convicted felon Donald Trump presented starkly different visions for America, with Black jobs trending on social media as a topic of jokes. Here are five key takeaways from the event.

President Joe Biden and convicted felon Donald Trump faced off in a highly anticipated presidential debate. The showdown was a dramatic clash of ideologies, with each candidate presenting starkly different visions for the country. The debate highlighted the deep divides that characterize the race, from Trump's deflection and falsehoods to Biden's policy-focused responses. 

Here are five key takeaways from the highly anticipated debate.

Trump Was At The “Scene of the Crime”

The debate was held at CNN's headquarters in Atlanta, just ten minutes from the Fulton County Courthouse, where Trump took his mugshot in August 2023. Georgia is the very state where Trump infamously attempted to "find" 11,780 votes to overturn the 2020 election. As MSNBC host Joy-Ann Reid pointed out, this is “a return to the scene of the crime for Donald Trump." 

Trump Is An Endless Liar

Trump continued his pattern of misinformation, making several false claims. Notably, he asserted, "I gave him [Biden] a perfect country," which is far from the truth, given the unprecedented deficit, the COVID pandemic, and the horrific unemployment numbers when he left office

One of Trump's more egregious lies was accusing Biden of calling Black youth "super predators." In a 1997 hearing, Biden stated, “So when we talk about the juvenile justice system, we have to remember that most of the youth involved in the system are not the so-called ‘super predators.’” This attempt to rewrite history highlights Trump's continuous distortion of facts.

There was also an eye-rolling moment from Trump when he declared, “I did not have sex with a porn star,” despite sworn testimony in criminal court to the contrary.

Zero Fact-Checking

CNN moderators Dana Bash and Jake Tapper refrained from actively fact-checking during the debate, allowing Trump’s stream of misinformation to go unchallenged in real time. Trump consistently avoided direct questions, choosing instead to deflect, attack, and spread falsehoods. His refusal to provide clear answers on crucial issues like healthcare, immigration, January 6, and his legal troubles was alarming. While fact-checking a habitual liar is undoubtedly difficult, the absence of immediate corrections drew significant criticism on social media.

There was also a cringe-worthy moment from Trump when he launched into a tirade about "Black jobs" being stolen by immigrants. “The fact is that his big kill on the Black people is the millions of people that he’s allowed to come in through the border,” Trump pontificated. “They’re taking Black jobs now — and it could be 18, it could be 19 and even 20 million people. They’re taking Black jobs, and they’re taking Hispanic jobs, and you haven’t seen it yet, but you’re gonna see something that’s going to be the worst in our history.”

Naturally, "Black jobs" quickly became a trending topic on social media. Jaime Harrison, chair of the Democratic National Committee, chimed in with some much-needed sarcasm: “What the hell is a ‘Black job?!’”

Neither Tapper nor Bash offered any correction or clarification. 

Debates Rarely Have an Impact on Elections

Regardless of the spectacle, presidential debates rarely significantly impact election outcomes. Most voters have already decided, and a single debate is unlikely to change their views. The drama may provide material for media coverage, but the fundamental decisions lie with the voters, who often rely on broader factors than a single debate performance. 

President Biden didn’t have a strong performance. While he had the facts on his side, he struggled with a weak voice. However, it was reported that Biden was struggling with a cold but had a negative COVID test. Did Biden reassure the Democratic voters? That remains to be seen. That said, traditionally, presidents seeking re-election, from George W. Bush to Barack Obama, stumbled in their first presidential debate during their campaigns for a second term. Despite these initial setbacks, both went on to secure re-election.

The Stark Contrast in Leadership Styles

The debate underscored the stark contrast between the two candidates' leadership styles. Biden emphasized his achievements in office and focused on policy details, while Trump relied on his usual rhetoric and misinformation. This contrast highlights the differing approaches to governance and each candidate's future direction for the country. For voters, the choice is between continuing Biden's current policies or returning to a convicted felon’s contentious and tumultuous leadership style.

While the debate provided plenty of memorable moments – for better or worse – it ultimately served as a reminder that the real decision-making power rests with the voters. Whether it will influence the election outcome remains to be seen, but it certainly offers a clear picture of the choices at hand.

Clay Cane is a SiriusXM radio host and the author of the New York Times bestseller The Grift: The Downward Spiral of Black Republicans From the Party of Lincoln to the Cult of Trump.

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