I have watched presidential debates since John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1960, and never have I witnessed a more disturbing or disheartening spectacle than what played out on Tuesday night in Cleveland. Whether it was ignoring the rules, hurling insults, or debating the moderator, the "debate" was a national disgrace. It provided a sobering metaphor for how divided this country is. Any undecided voter looking to gain knowledge or insight into the candidates’ plans on serious issues confronting us got little or no helpful information. Our nation is at a point where we need a clear, cohesive vision for where we are going, and sadly we got none of that. The pundits and partisans will make their claims as to who won the debate, but I say nobody won and America truly lost.
Arthur M. Shatz,
Why should anybody be surprised at the disgusting spectacle we witnessed Tuesday night, least of all moderator Chris Wallace, who should have been better prepared for President Donald Trump’s anticipated disruptive behavior. I turned it off after 10 minutes. It is clear Trump cannot hold his own against a superior opponent in any debate that follows the rules. And that explains his continually disruptive behavior in the first debate. Trump has spent his term of office and whole life flouting the rules and getting away with it, so why wouldn’t he expect the same during a debate? The debate organizers were caught flat-footed, and we the viewers were subjected to a free-for-all. Therefore, I propose this for the next debate: 1) Eliminate the dialogue portion; 2) Two minutes for each candidate to answer the moderator’s question; 3) Two minutes for each candidate to rebut the above; and 4) Add a microphone cutoff switch for the moderator when any candidate interrupts or talks over the other.
Michael J. Moonitz,
The so-called debate was an embarrassment to every American regardless of party affiliation or political preference. The Commission on Presidential Debates should cancel the remaining debates unless it has the technology to allow the moderator to turn off the microphone of the candidate who is not speaking. I’m sure Chris Wallace is humming that old Stealers Wheel lyric, slightly altered, "Clown to the left of me, joker to the right, here I am stuck in the middle." It was a truly sad experience for all of us.
Roy B. Daiell,
The debate was real chaos. I could not understand half of the time what was said. For the next two debates, they should be confined to their own booths — at least the president should be. After two minutes, their microphones should be shut off. The cross-talking of our bully President Donald Trump reminded me of a street thug. As a lifelong registered Republican, I am embarrassed by it.
I could not believe how President Donald Trump handled himself during the debate before a worldwide audience. I was embarrassed to see our president so rude and inconsiderate with constant interruptions. And how he has no plan for the coronavirus that has killed hundreds of thousands of people. His comments and lack of response on white supremacy groups were a disgrace. I found his thoughts on reducing air pollution a joke as was his apparent lying about the millions of dollars he paid in taxes. Anyone considering voting for this guy should first think of the poor job he has exhibited.
Tuesday’s debate was the most disgraceful performance by a sitting president in U.S. history. President Donald Trump seemed unhinged and was disruptive, talking over both the moderator and former Vice President Joe Biden. In addition to false and misleading statements on his handling of the coronavirus, I believe the most damaging statement Trump made was his refusal to denounce the Proud Boys, a white supremacist group that he said should "stand back and stand by." In effect, he’s endorsing the group coupled with the threat of violence.
It was painful to watch the presidential debate. The solution: The moderator could have turned off the opponent’s microphone for the initial two-minute response. An effective moderator could have shut down rude side comments, but the Republicans probably would not have agreed to that because disrupting was all that President Donald Trump seemed prepared to do.
Remember the old TV show "The $64,000 Question"? Both presidential contenders should be put in soundproof booths where they can hear everything said by the moderator and the other candidate, but their own microphone for answering is turned off until the moderator turns it on for them to respond. A simple plan, yes?