President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate former vice-president Joe Biden participate in the first presidential debate Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Olivier Douliery/Pool vi AP

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate former vice-president Joe Biden participate in the first presidential debate Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Olivier Douliery/Pool vi AP

Debate about televised political debates heats up after U.S. presidential ‘dumpster fire’

Americans and Canadians alike are no strangers to the political din

Hot mess, dumpster fire, train wreck: the reviews of the presidential debate are in, and they’re not good. And those are just the family-friendly ones.

So universally condemned was Tuesday’s televised clash between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, some political observers are urging the U.S. Commission on Presidential Debates to call a halt to the remaining two.

President Donald Trump spent most of the night needling, badgering and talking over both Democratic challenger Joe Biden and moderator Chris Wallace, fuelling a cacophony of interruptions and insults that offered little help to American voters.

“Just Cancel the Last Two Debates,” an online Time magazine headline blared Wednesday. “America has Suffered Enough.” The Atlantic slammed the confrontation as a “shambolic shout fest” with “scarcely a single morsel of substance.”

“The 90-minute spectacle tonight calls into question the value of having any ‘debates’ of this sort ever again,” James Fallows wrote in the Atlantic in the hours that followed.

“The modern presidential debate was invented in 1960. We may have seen the end of its useful life this evening.”

The commission acknowledged the controversy in a statement Wednesday as it promised changes to ensure a more useful exchange of ideas.

“Last night’s debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues,” the statement said.

“The CPD will be carefully considering the changes that it will adopt and will announce those measures shortly.”

The commission also thanked Wallace for his efforts and promised “additional tools to maintain order” would be forthcoming.

Americans and Canadians alike are no strangers to the political din.

The first meeting of the 2019 Democratic primaries featured no fewer than 20 candidates, debating 10 at a time over two nights. And in Canada, federal leaders’ debates now routinely feature four or five candidates and no shortage of crosstalk.

But Tuesday’s debacle has breathed new life into the debate about debates.

“It’s not an inconsequential assertion,” Biden said Wednesday when asked whether he believed it would be worth letting the debates continue.

The next one, scheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami, is slated to be a town hall-style event with a moderator helping the candidates navigate questions posed by members of the audience.

“I’m looking forward to it. And I hope we’re able to get a chance to actually answer the questions that are asked by the persons in the room,” Biden said.

“But God only knows what (Trump) will do.”

James McCarten, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Donald TrumpJoe BidenUSA

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Alberta joins Ontario in lowering minimum age for AstraZeneca vaccine

More than 700,000 doses of AstraZeneca have been administered in this country

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta identifies 1,516 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

Central zone has 1,849 active cases

Image/ Metro Creative Connection
County of Wetaskiwin responds to Alberta Energy Regulator’s decision on Directive 067.

On April 7, 2021 the Alberta Energy Regular (AER) announced a new edition of Directive 067.

A damaged unicorn statue is shown in a field outside of Delia, Alta. in this undated handout photo. It’s not often police can report that a unicorn has been found, but it was the truth Saturday when RCMP said a stolen, stainless-steel statue of the mythical beast had been located in a field not far from where he’d been taken. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Mounties get their unicorn; stolen statue of mythical beast found in Alberta field

Police are still looking for suspects, and have called in their forensics experts to help

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

The Rogers logo is photographed in Toronto on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Rogers investigating after wireless customers complain of widespread outage

According to Down Detector, problems are being reported in most major Canadian cities

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Nothing stopping provinces from offering AstraZeneca vaccine to all adults: Hajdu

Health Canada has licensed the AstraZeneca shot for use in people over the age of 18

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

A vial of some of the first 500,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

The male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

The funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip in Windsor, England, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Philip died April 9 at the age of 99. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip laid to rest Saturday as sombre queen sits alone

The entire royal procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of Windsor Castle

Most Read