A Train Wreck of a Debate


Painful as it was to watch, Tuesday’s presidential debate left me with — besides a headache — the following random thoughts.

  1. Donald Trump is still the bully that he was when his parents pulled him out of New York public schools and sent him off to a military academy. He didn’t come prepared to debate but to interrupt and disregard the rules.
  2. Joe Biden performed beyond what was anticipated, clearly winning the body language contest. He was able to smile occasionally and restrain any urge to glower and frown. He did flub up somewhat when it came to climate change details and could have been better at explaining his law enforcement stand.
  3. Donald Trump does not intend to participate in a fair election. 
  4. The most shocking thing the president did was his undisguised dog whistle to white supremacy. His failure to condemn racism and his attempt to somehow try to turn things around was the most outrageous and distressing moment. 
  5. Chris Wallace did well formulating questions, but he totally lost control of any semblance at debate. If the debates are to continue, the rules must change — mike shutoffs or iron-clad guarantees of adhering to rules.
  6. Trump played to his militant supporters but failed to gain undecideds who must have been turned off by his rude performance. It’s certain he lost support with women, especially in the suburbs. One of the follow-up commentaries was that it was like driving down the freeway with an 8-year-old having a tantrum in the backseat.
  7. By Trump’s reaction to managing the Covid pandemic and to the death of Beau Biden, Trump shows once again that he is without empathy.

Sorry that I managed to have seven points rather than three — I could have added another seven. This was a train wreck of a debate. 

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Jean Godden wrote columns first for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and later for the Seattle Times. In 2003, she quit to run for Seattle City Council where she served 12 years. She now writes for Westside Seattle and has been a co-host on The Bridge, aired on community radio station KMGP. You can email tips and comments to Jean at jgodden@blarg.net.


  1. Your points are all great takeaways. Interesting but not surprising that today Trump is blaming Chris Wallace for how he handled the white supremacy question. Classic Trump MO is to never back down and always point the finger elsewhere.


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