President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate former vice-president Joe Biden participate in the first presidential debate Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Olivier Douliery/Pool vi AP

Debate about televised political debates heats up after U.S. presidential ‘dumpster fire’

Americans and Canadians alike are no strangers to the political din

Hot mess, dumpster fire, train wreck: the reviews of the presidential debate are in, and they’re not good. And those are just the family-friendly ones.

So universally condemned was Tuesday’s televised clash between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, some political observers are urging the U.S. Commission on Presidential Debates to call a halt to the remaining two.

President Donald Trump spent most of the night needling, badgering and talking over both Democratic challenger Joe Biden and moderator Chris Wallace, fuelling a cacophony of interruptions and insults that offered little help to American voters.

“Just Cancel the Last Two Debates,” an online Time magazine headline blared Wednesday. “America has Suffered Enough.” The Atlantic slammed the confrontation as a “shambolic shout fest” with “scarcely a single morsel of substance.”

“The 90-minute spectacle tonight calls into question the value of having any ‘debates’ of this sort ever again,” James Fallows wrote in the Atlantic in the hours that followed.

“The modern presidential debate was invented in 1960. We may have seen the end of its useful life this evening.”

The commission acknowledged the controversy in a statement Wednesday as it promised changes to ensure a more useful exchange of ideas.

“Last night’s debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues,” the statement said.

“The CPD will be carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly.”

The commission also thanked Wallace for his efforts and promised “additional tools to maintain order” would be forthcoming.

Americans and Canadians alike are no strangers to the political din.

The first meeting of the 2019 Democratic primaries featured no fewer than 20 candidates, debating 10 at a time over two nights. And in Canada, federal leaders’ debates now routinely feature four or five candidates and no shortage of crosstalk.

But Tuesday’s debacle has breathed new life into the debate about debates.

“It’s not an inconsequential assertion,” Biden said Wednesday when asked whether he believed it would be worth letting the debates continue.

The next one, scheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami, is slated to be a town hall-style event with a moderator helping the candidates navigate questions posed by members of the audience.

“I’m looking forward to it. And I hope we’re able to get a chance to actually answer the questions that are asked by the persons in the room,” Biden said.

“But God only knows what (Trump) will do.”

James McCarten, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Donald TrumpJoe BidenUSA

Just Posted

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

Police executed a search warrant at a residence on Nicol Street in September 2017 in relation to a murder investigation. John Albert Buchanan was charged with second-degree murder. (News Bulletin file)
Murder trial begins in case of man who was beaten and died in Nanaimo’s south end

John Albert Buchanan charged with second-degree murder after 2017 incident on Nicol Street

RCMP
Police appeal to ‘sense of right and wrong’ in fatal Campbell River assault

RCMP know of witnesses to Oct. 15 attack; want them to come forward

B.C. Ferries has a mandatory mask policy on vessels and at terminals. (News Bulletin file photo)
UPDATE: No tickets for anti-maskers on B.C. Ferries

West Van Police say their intention was to ‘keep the peace’ after being called to terminal

Steven Michael Bacon pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder of Nanaimo teen Makayla Chang. (Photos submitted)
Accused pleads not guilty in Nanaimo teen’s 2017 murder

Steven Bacon appeared in Nanaimo court Monday via video link from Thunder Bay

A jail cell at the Nanaimo RCMP detachment. (News Bulletin file photo)
Woman reports she was injured by Nanaimo RCMP while being jailed

Independent Investigations Office of B.C. looking into Oct. 1 incident

A 23-foot sailboat that broke free from its anchor was smashed against Cattle Point during the early October south-easterly storms. (Ron Geezin Photo)
Storm-smashed boat pulled off rocks of Cattle Point in Oak Bay

Sailboat a casualty of last week’s big storms

Local New Democrat Zeb King welcomed Premier John Horgan during a brief photo opportunity in Sidney Monday afternoon (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
NDP leader John Horgan predicts party will ‘flip’ Saanich North and the Islands

Incumbent MLA Adam Olsen calls Horgan’s claim ‘bold’

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

(File photo)
RCMP: Two men face charges in reported Parksville fatal hit-and-run

Investigation into man’s death began in August of 2019

Passengers seated in rows five to 11 on WestJet flight 195 on Oct. 10 may have been exposed to COVID-19. (Black Press File Photo)
UPDATE: COVID-19 exposure reported on WestJet flights two days in a row

The BCCDC is cautioning people who flew from Calgary to Victoria Oct. 19 and 11

West Shore RCMP officers delivered dumped Amazon packages on Monday. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore RCMP deliver Amazon packages dumped outside mailbox

Officers take matters into their own hands ‘before mailbox pirates got to it’

Most Read