For the last time before Election Day, President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden faced off in person for 90 minutes on the political debate stage to make their final arguments for the presidency to the American people on Thursday night.
Moderated by Kristen Welker of NBC News, and this time with a mute button the contestants were more vetted, which was a distinct difference from the first and only other chaotic in-person debate between the two.
In six 15-minute segments, Trump and Biden clashed politically, took personal punches, and glared glances during their two-minute silence. On the coronavirus pandemic, a juxtaposition was clear. Trump spoke of his desire to reopen the country and said, “We are learning to live with it.” Biden retort, “He says we are learning to live with it. People learn to die with it.
On the topic of race, Trump noted he was “the least racist person in the room” according to moderator Welker. Biden said there is an issue of institutional racism the country needs to tackle. The two also fought over taxes, fracking and climate change.
Before the debate, we asked Boston.com readers if either performance would influence their vote. The vast majority, 94% answered “no”, that they had already decided who to vote for. After the debate, we repeated the same question. Only 21% answered “yes”, while over 7,000 others wrote to say “no”. 18% had already voted.
So who won ? It was a close call from readers. 15,320 voted on our poll, by e-mail and by Instagram survey. Interestingly, the results of the social media poll tipped the scales: without Instagram votes, Donald Trump would have won 51%.
With 2,333 votes on Instagram, however, Joe Biden was ultimately the winner of the debate, according to readers at 54%.
Although divided, readers also agreed on several things. Many said this debate was less chaotic and that they were grateful for the mute button. Readers on both sides of the political spectrum have noted that Kristen Welker has moderated effectively. Some even named Welker the winner. Most said the debate had not changed their minds or votes. The Associated Press reported that a record 58.6 million The Americans have already voted. Election day is a week away, November 3.
Here’s what some readers had to say about the final presidential debate.
Some submissions have been edited slightly for length and clarity.
“I was happy to see and hear a more ‘traditional’ debate. I found Biden relevant. One thing that stood out was that the president said that we will succeed and that we will come together. I feel the opposite. We unite and create success. This comment really struck me.
“Trump cleaned up the slate! “I’m running because of you” was the statement of the night. “
“Both candidates did a much better job of self-control and led to a lot more discussion. “
“Joe Biden stayed on the message. Called on the president for his most criminal behavior that claimed the life of an American. I’ll be proud that Joe Biden is the 46th president!”
“Donald Trump should have behaved like this during the first debate and it would have been clear a long time ago who should be elected. Joe Biden tired of the “come on” phrase, dodged questions, and flattered the American people about the “character” on the ballot. I did not buy it.
A reader who voted for Joe Biden in the poll wrote: “I believe the bar is set so low for Trump that because he has managed to hold on, he will be seen as the winner of the debate.
“I didn’t want to throw the TV out the window this time.”
Trump said he was the ‘least racist person in the room’ as the woman of color asking the questions watched. So disrespectful.
“I thought Donald J. Trump was assertive and knew what he was talking about as opposed to Joe Biden.”
“Biden. Because he is the best! He supports trans rights. Which means the world to me.
“Trump was much calmer.”
“Both have worked relatively well without deviating significantly from what they are. It helps Biden but hurts Trump.
“Trump took the debate much more seriously than the first one and performed better. hour wouldn’t lead to massive layoffs, and Trump is coming back to the point that he’s not a career politician trying to remind people why they elected him in the first place.
One person emailed, “Joe Biden won. Trump just lied. I am a conservative.
On Instagram, someone simply wrote “# settleforBiden2020”
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