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Competing With Biden’s Town Hall Did Not Go Well for Donald Trump

The difference between having a normal one and A Normal One.

(COMBO) This combination of pictures created on September 28, 2020 shows Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden(L) speaking at a "Build Back Better" Clean Energy event on July 14, 2020 at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, and US President Donald Trump speaking during a briefing at the White House September 27, 2020, in Washington, DC. - At the September 29, 2020 election debate, millions of Americans will watch as the two antagonists -- who depict each other as existential threats to the country -- step into the ring live on television after months of shadow-boxing. (Photos by Olivier DOULIERY and Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY,BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Tonight was supposed to be the night of the second debate of the 2020 presidential election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, but we were mercifully spared another one of those when Donald Trump refused to participate remotely amid uncertainty over his COVID-19 status. Instead, ABC decided to go ahead with the planned town hall style of the debate with Biden alone, and of course, Trump (aided by NBC) took the opportunity to turn it into a competition—one that is not going well for him.

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Everyone’s pretty unhappy with NBC in the first place for forcing the public to choose which candidate to watch and giving Trump yet another high profile platform to spew lies, the same kind of media circus nonsense that enabled Trump’s rise in the first place. In the end, it might wind up backfiring on Trump, though, with his ranting and raving sounding even more unhinged without someone else he’s supposed to be debating against—just calm needling from moderator Savannah Guthrie.

He was in rare form, from once again attacking the effectiveness of masks in combating the COVID-19 pandemic to defending spreading one ridiculous conspiracy theory via retweet and outright promoting his favorite one, QAnon—the anti-child sex trafficking conspiracy theory that actively undermines its own stated purpose.

Meanwhile, Biden gave substantive policy answers.

He also demonstrated an ability to respond to criticism thoughtfully, and whether or not his response is good enough, it is worlds better than Trump’s complete inability to ever admit to being wrong about anything.

The stark difference did not go unnoticed:

Of course, there are those out there who think Biden’s very normalcy is inherently a negative, including Trump’s own campaign, addicted to the idea that spectacle is all that matters.

Imagine thinking Mr. Rogers is someone you don’t want to be compared to.

There were also bad faith comparisons of how the two candidates, who behaved in wildly different ways, were handled by their respective moderators.

It should go without saying that handling two unequal things unequally is not bias.

However, the most memorable moment of the night may have come from Guthrie chastising Trump for sharing a conspiracy theory he claimed not to even necessarily believe, telling him he’s the president, not someone’s crazy uncle, and … well …

We can only hope that voters who tuned in will react the same way, because we cannot allow this kind of thing to go on any longer:

(Photos by Olivier DOULIERY and Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct <em>Geekosystem</em> (RIP), and then at <em>The Mary Sue</em> starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at <em>Smash Bros.</em>

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