Trump Triumphs? Biden's Debate Performance Under Scrutiny

A deep dive into the recent Trump vs. Biden debate: strengths, weaknesses, and implications for U.S. politics and global relations.

Published June 29, 2024 - 00:06am

4 minutes read
United States

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The recently concluded debate between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump has become a significant talking point, not only in the United States but around the globe. The engagement provided a rare side-by-side comparison of the two oldest candidates ever to seek the U.S. presidency.

According to a flash poll conducted by CNN, 67% of registered debate watchers felt that Trump delivered a stronger performance compared to Biden's 33%. Trump's approach in the debate echoed his 2016 style, characterized by control over the conversation on pivotal issues such as the economy, immigration, and foreign policy. This represented a stark contrast to his 2020 performance, often described as combative and less focused.

The debate revealed significant concerns about Biden's capabilities, particularly regarding his age and fitness for the presidency. Biden's frequent pauses, trailing off on thoughts, and at times, incomprehensible answers, fueled apprehensions within the Democratic Party. David Axelrod, a former Obama adviser, mentioned on CNN that the Democrats might need to reconsider Biden's candidacy due to his faltering performance.

In assessing Trump's performance, he was often described as energetic and in command. Trump's strategy seemed to be to stay on message without delving into deeply personal attacks, a tactic that may have paid dividends. Republican figures like Matt Gaetz and Lindsey Graham were quick to praise Trump, declaring his performance coherent and strong compared to Biden's portrayal of being weak and confused.

Beyond domestic politics, the debate has had considerable international repercussions. Allies of the United States, particularly in Europe and Asia, are bracing for Trump's potential return. Countries like Japan and South Korea experienced strained relations during Trump's previous administration due to his demands for increased defense spending and trade tensions. Analysts like Peter Lee from the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul have noted that the debate brings the possibility of a second Trump administration into sharper relief.

The debate also highlighted issues with the debate format itself. Trump's ability to make repeated claims without real-time fact-checking allowed for unchecked statements to be heard by voters, further complicating Biden's efforts to present a coherent narrative. This was crucial, given the high stakes placed on the first impressions of these candidacies.

The economic discourse was another critical element of the debate. Biden attempted to blame the former president for leaving a 'terrible' economy while Trump countered by criticizing the current economic conditions, particularly the rising inflation rates. This ongoing issue remains a critical point for voters who are currently favoring Trump's economic management over Biden's.

Biden's supporters hoped the debate would alleviate concerns about his age, but the performance may have exacerbated those worries. Key figures in Biden's party, like California Governor Gavin Newsom, attempted to defend the president, but the debate performance made it challenging to counter the Republican narrative effectively.

Internationally, European allies are particularly concerned about Trump's criticisms of NATO and other defense pacts. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz's administration expressed apprehensions regarding Biden's ability to continue providing strong leadership in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In summary, the debate was not just a confrontation of policies but also a strategic battle for public perception. Trump's composed and focused delivery stood in stark contrast to Biden's, leading to significant ramifications for both domestic policies and international relations. With the 2024 elections on the horizon, both candidates' performances have set the stage for an intense political season, requiring keen navigation by both parties.


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