My usual disclaimer: I speak about mental health aspects without diagnosing, but as a part of fulfilling my responsibility to society.
I do not speak about things I do not have enough information for, but I also do not withhold things I have abundant information for and would be critical for the public to know.
The moderator, Kristen Welker, is introducing the candidates.
Donald Trump is starting with lies already: coronavirus “spikes now gone, or will be gone.” He got better from it and claims he is immune.
“It will go away”: moderator does not challenge him, but Joe Biden is. He speaks of 70,000 new cases a day, and masks would save 100,000 lives, but DT has no plan.
DT is saying vaccines will be available within weeks. JB brings up how DT said this disease would go away by Easter; DT is keeping calm so far.
There needs to be someone fact-checking right away; the moderator is too neutral, which does not, of course, bring about a neutral result.
JB is being nimble by reinterpreting his “People are learning to live with it” as “learning to die with it.” They are now beginning to spar.
DT interrupted without consequences. We will likely see behavioral loss of control toward the end. JB is doing well with sharply confronting him on content. DT interrupted again, and the moderator yielded.
DT keeps citing mental health data: suicides, abuse, etc. JB should emphasize how DT caused this! He is not addressing the mental health issue.
Unfortunate.... DT is allowed to appear empathic for New York losing 11,000 people, now talking about losing friends. JB is losing the thread. This is an example of where a mental health professional would be crucial....
DT is going into talking points about Fauci’s errors. JB brought up the Woodward tapes. Good. DT is starting to become agitated.
Topic: Russian election interference. JB is good here, bringing up Rudy Giuliani’s compromise, bounties, etc. DT is bringing up “thing last night” (?) and “Nobody is tougher on Russia than me.”
DT is now bringing up emails and money “scandal”, and JB shifts it to tax returns. This is a nimble response! Now DT is on the defensive trying to explain, becoming agitated again.
The moderator is not at all the right person for this, official and nonreactive. If this continues, DT will have gained greatly just for making it through the debate. She is also allowing him to interrupt, although it is more attenuated than last time.
She is having JB explain his accusations the same way she asked DT. This is not the way to do it!!
The problem with sociopathy is that, when dealing only with the surface, not internal process, they appear very normal. He just became very agitated and overran. “Please be calm,” or “Please do not interrupt me again,” was the right thing to say, not “Okay, Mr. Biden please.”
She is again yielding to him! This is where limit setting fails. “Okay, okay, now Mr. Biden please,” she said again.
Frustrating!! He interrupted her rudely, and she said, “Okay, 10 minutes.” Finally, she is asking a tough question about North Korea, but not tough enough.
*10 seconds
JB is explaining his own policy, and then going back to DT treating Kim Jong-un, “a thug” as a buddy. Good!
DT is now turning red, very agitated, and constantly interrupting. The moderator overlooks this and goes to the next question without setting limits. We will see how long this holds together.
DT speaking of “beautiful” health care, “incredible job,” all good feeling without substance. JB would do better to speak about these aspects, how unrealistic these are, but he is explaining the details of his plan instead.
DT is highly skilled at exploiting key phrases such as “socialized medicine” and “fracking”. JB does not have the equivalent of resonating phrases.
DT is interrupting badly, and the moderator is simply going, “Okay, okay.” There was no plan against his interruptions!
This debate was a mistake, in my view. The moderator was not prepared. DT, as much as he interrupted, showed enough spaces of not interrupting. JB is doing well, but not with the level of talking points sufficient to lure DT deserters.
The moderator is now bringing up separated children. DT is speaking of coyotes bringing them, and then talking points about cages being built under Barack Obama. Good: JB is clarifying how parents brought them, how it is criminal, etc.
JB must be tired, too. He is unable simply to stay on topic but must reshape misconceptions with each response. He is spending more time correcting than arguing his own points.
On racism: “Nobody has done more for the Black community than me,” DT says again, owning criminal justice reform. The emotion he brings creates a hypnotic effect, legitimizing even the most ludicrous statements. This is how he throws people off.
JB has charisma, as well. He just did something very well: “You know who he is, and you know who I am,” referring to character.
DT is now interrupting rudely, speaking over others, and the moderator still has not said anything about this! Too much control is being given over to DT. “I am the least racist person,” again he repeats.
DT is railroading JB again with “the crime bill,” and JB is giving an explanation, instead of bringing up the white supremacist terrorism that DT provokes. This allows DT to go into “You are more talk and no action.” JB is in the defensive.
On climate change, DT speaks of “best carbon emissions.” Someone should have been there to call out his lies immediately, rather than rely solely on JB. He is doing as well as anyone could, but DT has the emotional valence that will keep his followers devoted.
JB said something good: “I do not know when he comes up with these numbers.” This should have been the main theme every time he speaks.
DT is allowed to interrupt, bulldoze, and lie with impunity! This is a failure of moderation, nothing else.
DT is allowed to shape everything according to his own conception of perfect economy, best minority employment, and how he is going to cut taxes, etc., in the last statement.
JB is speaking of fact over fiction, which is good. “What is on the ballot is character.” This is his strong point.
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