Trump vs. Biden: who "won" the debate in Atlanta, who was accused of lying and whether it will change the balance of power in the election

Maryna LisnychukWorld
Trump and Biden held a debate

The first debate before the election took place in the US city of Atlanta (Georgia), during which current President Joe Biden and former front-runner Donald Trump clashed on a number of hot-button issues. The two politicians did not greet each other before or after the meeting, and the speeches were dominated by the Democrat's shaky and uncertain actions and, to a lesser extent, the Republican's lies.

A quick poll by CNN, which hosted their first face-to-face meeting since 2020, showed that only 33% believe Biden won, while 67% chose Trump. OBOZ.UA explains how this may affect the US presidential election to be held on November 5, 2024.

Both candidates made mistakes

According to experts, US President Joe Biden's speech was marked by "stumbling, repeated remarks, coughing, misstatements, and prolonged freezing," which raises concerns about his "physical fitness and visual acuity." He has misstated key figures, such as the number of new jobs created under his administration, as well as limits on spending on drugs and insulin, which are key pillars of his re-election bid.

"That shaky preparation threatens to undermine Biden's faltering campaign, fueling Republican attacks that at 81, the oldest president in U.S. history is unfit for another four-year term," Bloomberg writes.

Trump vs. Biden: who ''won'' the debate in Atlanta, who was accused of lying and whether it will change the balance of power in the election

At the same time, Trump took advantage of his opponent's mistakes by "hitting him" during the exchange of views on the migrant issue. Although his speech was not without its mistakes. When asked about Americans struggling with opioid addiction, the former president spoke about immigration and Russia's detention of a Wall Street Journal reporter. He falsely took credit for limiting insulin prices, claimed that the January 6 rioters were invited to the Capitol by police, and was forced to defend himself against allegations of a relationship with a porn star. Trump also repeatedly sidestepped the question of whether he would honor the election results.

The candidates generally began their first presidential debate with a dispute over the economy, blaming each other for rising food and housing prices. They also argued about restrictions on abortion in the United States. They also touched on the 2021 uprising in the Capitol, the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, and the wars in Ukraine and Israel.

Trump claimed that the Russian invasion of Ukraine would not have happened if he had been president of the United States in 2022. He also expressed confidence that he would personally end this war "as soon as he enters the office in the White House in 2025." Biden emphasized that if Putin is not stopped in Ukraine, he will expand his aggression to other countries, including NATO members.

Biden and Trump's behavior at the debate

The 90-minute meeting, which was broadcast online, took place much earlier than any modern presidential debate-more than four months before election day in the fall. Both candidates spoke without a live audience, and their microphones were automatically turned off when it was not their turn to speak. It is noted that these two atypical rules were introduced to avoid the chaos that disrupted their first debate in 2020 when Trump repeatedly interrupted Biden.

The two politicians did not hide their mutual hostility, did not shake hands, and generally did not greet each other either before or after the meeting.

Trump vs. Biden: who ''won'' the debate in Atlanta, who was accused of lying and whether it will change the balance of power in the election

"But there were many more moments when their animosity was obvious. Each called the other the worst president in history; Biden called Trump a "loser" and a "whiner," and Trump called Biden a "disaster." At one point, the rivals argued over a game of golf, with Trump boasting that he hit the ball farther than Biden, and Biden countering that Trump would have a hard time carrying his bag," Reuters describes the debate.

Analysts recognized Trump as more lively and more critical of his opponent. Biden, on the other hand, performed "shaky and confused" when his opponent "launched a series of often misguided attacks".

"The two oldest presidential candidates traded barbs on abortion, immigration, the wars in Ukraine and Gaza, their approach to the economy, and even golf, seeking to turn the tide in what opinion polls have shown to be a near-tie for months," they added.

Biden's allies explained his behavior by saying he was fighting a cold. But the "poor performance" of the debate for the president has raised concerns among his fellow Democrats and, analysts say, will increase voter fears that the 81-year-old leader is too old to serve another four-year term.

Trump vs. Biden: who ''won'' the debate in Atlanta, who was accused of lying and whether it will change the balance of power in the election

What is expected from the debate

The debate took place at a time of deep polarization and deep anxiety among voters about the state of American politics. Local media emphasized that Trump took to the podium "like a criminal" who still faces three criminal cases, including for his attempts to cancel the 2020 election. But the former president, who persisted in claiming that his "loss was the result of fraud," threatened to punish his political enemies.

"If he returns to power, he will need to convince wavering voters that he is not a mortal threat to democracy, as Biden claims. Biden, on the other hand, faced the task of delivering a convincing performance after months of Republican claims that his abilities have dulled with age," the publications say.

National polls so far show a tie, but at the same time, Biden is lagging behind Trump in most of the battleground states that traditionally decide presidential elections. Only this month, he lost his financial advantage to Trump, whose fundraising has increased dramatically.

Trump vs. Biden: who ''won'' the debate in Atlanta, who was accused of lying and whether it will change the balance of power in the election

After the debate, the US Democrats started talking about a possible replacement for their candidate in the election. The NYT writes that it is precisely because of Biden's "unconvincing performance". However experts believe that at this late stage, this may be hardly a technically feasible task, as all 50 states have already held primaries, and Biden received the vast majority of delegates from them.

Only Biden himself can instruct these delegates to vote for the other, as they are obliged to support him if he does not withdraw before the Democratic Party convention in August.

So far, neither Biden nor Trump has been popular, and many Americans remain ambivalent about their choice. About one-fifth of voters say they have not yet chosen one of the two candidates, are leaning toward a third party representative, or may skip the election altogether.

The second and last debate in the American presidential campaign this year is scheduled for September.

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