Are the Debates Worth Watching?

Two well-mannered presidential candidates debating? No way! It was more like two children fighting, making the highly anticipated showdown for the presidency, which took place on Tuesday, September 29, an embarrassment for American politics according to several media sources. 

“The first presidential debate between President Trump and Joe Biden featured a chaotic series of bitter exchanges and name-calling,” wrote Grace Segers, Kathryn Watson, and Stefan Becket of CBS News. 

Mr. [Donald] Trump frequently interrupted, prompting [Former Vice President] Mr. [Joe] Biden to tell him to shut up as the two fought over the pandemic, healthcare, and the economy,” wrote the BBC’s Anthony Zurcher.

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, the moderator of the first presidential debate, also did not have much control over the two candidates. He “faced much criticism as he struggled to referee the first presidential debate,” wrote Daniel Strauss of The Guardian

Not only has the media spoken out, but so have members of the TBS community.

“My goal for the debates is always to learn as much as I can about the issues and how each of the candidates feel about the issues,” said Head of Middle School Mr. Charles Hagy. “That is what I was looking for in the first presidential debate, and I am still left looking for it, so I am eager for the next debate.” 

“I don’t really think that I learned much about our country,” said seventh grader Tommy Errico. “One thing I did take away from the debate is that the candidates must be more civil when having arguments – that will affect the country and also our future.” 

The poor showing of both Trump and Biden made it seem like both of them were more concerned with one-upping each other rather than informing the public.

It is important that our leaders remember that they are here to serve the best interests of the American people,” said History Department Chair Mrs. Anne Franzen. “If they do not serve, they may find themselves out of a job.”

I gained insight on both candidates by watching the presidential debates,” said recently elected Student Council Treasurer Chester Coles, an eighth grader. “However, I felt it was not as informational as the [vice presidential debates] were.”

Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Vice President Mike Pence held a much more civil debate against one another on October 7. (Photo courtesy of

The vice presidential debate occurred on Wednesday, October 7. The debate was much more civil and more productive than the presidential debate. The two candidates, Republican Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic California Senator Kamala Harris were able to speak about topics like the coronavirus, the economy, and climate change. They were at least more respectful of one another and their time.

The second presidential debate, originally scheduled for Thursday, October 15, has been moved to October 22 after President Trump contracted the coronavirus. The debate will be the last one before the election.

Some students, like seventh-grader Caroline Welke, did not watch the presidential debate, but read the transcript. 

“I thought that the debate really ruined both of the candidates’ reputations because they talked over and did not respect each other,” said Welke.

With less than a month to go before the election, will the next presidential debate be more childish squabbling, or be a respectful exchange that will honor the process of democracy and provide the American people with what they deserve? We shall find out soon enough.