The first presidential debate of 2020 is in the books, and reviewers have nearly universally called it a “ shit show .” Very little info...
The first presidential debate of 2020 is in the books, and reviewers have nearly universally called it a “shit show.” Very little information of real use came through to viewers of a 90-plus minute debate, mainly because President Donald Trump “came in too hot,” as even his debate preparer Chris Christie noted most charitably.
Most reasonable people also saw Trump as rude for his constant interrupting and baseless attacks on Joe Biden, who revealed himself not to be senile or suffering from dementia. Even if he benefited from the soft bigotry of low expectations, the former Vice President appears to come out the winner.
If some may see the idea that Biden won as media bias, enter Frank Luntz, the well-known focus group leader and long time conservative wordsmith known for spinning many GOP policies in language that “sell “to the public better. He has long held post-debate focus groups on Fox News, but last night he hosted a Zoom-based focus group for the Los Angeles Times (full video below).
Thanks to the fine editorial team at Vox, we know the reactions of proclaimed undecided voters.
Luntz asked 16 undecided voters from swing states to sum upTrump and Biden’s debate performances in one word or phrase, and, well, the results are stunning. To wit:
Asked to describe Trump in one word or phrase, the responses were: “horrid,” “chaotic,” “unpolished,” “crackhead,” “ehh,” “puzzling,” “un-American,” “unhinged,” “an ass, but a confident ass,” “classic Trump,” “forceful,” “unhinged,” “bully,” “arrogant,” arrogant,” “typical.”
Then, asked to describe Biden, the responses were: “I was surprised at how well he did,” “better than expected,” “definitely more professional than Trump and I think he’s more a people person,” “competent,” “politician,” “showed restraint and compassion,” “politician,” “predictable,” “nice guy but lacking vision,” “coherent,” “leader,” “attentive and rehearsed,” “somewhat evasive,” “humanity and integrity,” “predictable,” “presidential.”
Later, Luntz tweeted that roughly a third of his undecided subjects were so turned off by the debate that they may not vote at all:
This debate has actually convinced some undecided voters to not vote at all.
I’ve never seen a debate cause this reaction. #Debates2020
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) September 30, 2020
The comments made by these “normal” people assembled by Luntz are not that far off than from the remarks made by pundit after pundit in the minutes that followed the historical debate. So maybe the thought that Trump lost the debate is not just media bias, but something that most reasonable people believe as well.
Watch the full (hour plus) panel here:
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.