Even with mute, debate still rankled

Thursday’s debate was a more conventional, less bizarre encounter than the first one, but it didn’t change the nature of that choice.



October 23, 2020 - 3:19 PM

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and U.S. President Donald Trump, shown in a reflection, participate in the final presidential debate at Belmont University on October 22, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo by (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/TNS)

More than 47 million Americans already have voted, and it’s doubtful that many who still haven’t cast a ballot are undecided about whom to choose for president. In Thursday’s second and final presidential debate, President Trump said nothing to persuade those who haven’t made up their minds that he deserves a second term. Democratic nominee Joe Biden, on the other hand, demonstrated a command of the issues and a seriousness of purpose that ought to reassure any voters who still are struggling with their choice.

The challenge for Trump going into the event was to repair the damage he has inflicted on his campaign since the first debate Sept. 29, when his unhinged interruptions made a mockery of the idea of an exchange of views.

Since then, Trump has continued to minimize the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic — despite his own infection — while calling Dr. Anthony Fauci a “disaster.” He has publicly agitated for his attorney general to undertake — or at least announce — an investigation of Biden and his son Hunter before the election, a domestic reprise of the corrupt attempt to shake down Ukraine’s president in 2019 that led to his impeachment.

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