25 votes

Trump & Biden 2020 US Presidential Town Halls Discussion Thread

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Watch Trump's Town Hall on YouTube
Begins approximately ~2 hours from the time of this posting. Runs for one hour.
Watch Biden's Town Hall on YouTube
Begins approximately ~2 hours from the time of this posting. Runs for an hour and a half


More information from CNN.

In case you're wondering why there are two separate town halls happening instead of Debate #2 tonight, @3d12 has the recap here.

29 comments

  1. [4]
    spit-evil-olive-tips
    Link
    Trump retweeted a conspiracy theory that's deranged even by his standards: Hunter Biden and Obama may have had Seal Team 6 killed! The moderator of Trump's town hall, pressing him about this:...

    Trump retweeted a conspiracy theory that's deranged even by his standards: Hunter Biden and Obama may have had Seal Team 6 killed!

    The moderator of Trump's town hall, pressing him about this: "You're the president, you're not just someone's crazy uncle who can retweet whatever"

    20 votes
    1. [2]
      3d12
      Link Parent
      I'm glad that moderator said that to him, even if he seemed like he didn't even hear it, that's something I think needs to be said to this guy more. To be honest, like kfwyre I too am morbidly...

      I'm glad that moderator said that to him, even if he seemed like he didn't even hear it, that's something I think needs to be said to this guy more. To be honest, like kfwyre I too am morbidly curious about how that town hall went -- did you watch it?

      9 votes
      1. arp242
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Why spend time defending yourself when you can instead make a point about "fake news" and "building our country"? I mean, that's been the strategy for a long time, right? Just don't reply to the...

        Why spend time defending yourself when you can instead make a point about "fake news" and "building our country"? I mean, that's been the strategy for a long time, right? Just don't reply to the actual question and instead repeat an unrelated talking point. This is an old trick politicians have used for a very long time, but it's certainly reached new ... heights ... now.

        I mean, it was the same when asked to denounce QAnon. He simply said he "knows nothing about that" but that he does know about "antifa and the radical left burning down cities" and has an entire rant about that instead.

        3 votes
    2. MonkeyPants
      Link Parent
      Is it my imagination, or is that the hardest hitting interview he has ever been submitted too?

      Is it my imagination, or is that the hardest hitting interview he has ever been submitted too?

      3 votes
  2. [4]
    3d12
    Link
    Thanks for posting this @kfwyre -- I'll post the recap: July 17: The dates for each presidential debate are announced by the commission (source, went by the date of the wikipedia footnote)...

    Thanks for posting this @kfwyre -- I'll post the recap:

    July 17: The dates for each presidential debate are announced by the commission (source, went by the date of the wikipedia footnote)
    September 30: First presidential shitshow debate (not posting a source for that mess, but it happened)
    October 8: The commission announces that, due to Trump's positive COVID diagnosis, the next debate (scheduled in July for October 15) will be virtual (source)
    October 8: Trump campaign announces they will not attend the next debate (source)
    October 14: NBC announces they will be hosting a town hall with Trump on 10/15, scheduled for the same time as the debate (now Biden town hall) was originally scheduled (source)

    In short: #BoycottNBC

    15 votes
    1. [3]
      aphoenix
      Link Parent
      I don't think I understand the people saying to Boycott NBC. NBC isn't glorifying Trump. I've only watched a bit and they've run: a story about how masks are important a story about how QAnon and...

      I don't think I understand the people saying to Boycott NBC.

      NBC isn't glorifying Trump. I've only watched a bit and they've run:

      • a story about how masks are important
      • a story about how QAnon and other Trump supporters are crazy (the headline was something like "[Person] believes False QAnon conspiracy")
      • more stories about YouTube banning QAnon, classifying it as a false conspiracy theory
      • a pro voting public interest story encouraging voting
      • a couple of fact checks on Trump's talking points

      That was only in about 3 - 5 minutes of watching.

      I understand people are upset that they're giving Trump air time, but... he's the freaking president. If the president wants to go on air on a legitimate station (ie - not Fox) then I don't think any major network is likely to turn down that opportunity; both for ratings, and for the purpose of actually spreading news. Like it or not, Trump talking is news.

      14 votes
      1. [2]
        kfwyre
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I think the issue is that NBC effectively became Trump's "out". He previously agreed to the second debate and then rescinded his plans to participate in it. The natural consequence of this...
        • Exemplary

        I think the issue is that NBC effectively became Trump's "out". He previously agreed to the second debate and then rescinded his plans to participate in it. The natural consequence of this decision was that he effectively ceded his time to Biden. Though the town halls looked the same on the surface, Biden didn't set his up independently. He was simply using the previously agreed upon time -- time he should have been sharing with Trump until Trump pulled out.

        Thus, with NBC choosing to give Trump his own town hall, they're negating the effects of his decision to pull out of the debate in the first place. Plus, by then hosting it at the same time, they're actively pulling away viewers from what was supposed to be a bipartisan national focus. There was no reason to have a split viewership this evening for the exact same event. It goes against the entire spirit of the setup of the presidential debates and lets Trump once again flout the rules and escape consequences for his actions.

        32 votes
        1. aphoenix
          Link Parent
          That's a very good explanation - thank you.

          That's a very good explanation - thank you.

          10 votes
  3. kfwyre
    Link
    Biden's on his first question and already this is so much better than either of the other debates because he's actually allowed to finish a thought without interruption. I really hope they're...

    Biden's on his first question and already this is so much better than either of the other debates because he's actually allowed to finish a thought without interruption. I really hope they're taking notes and laying the groundwork for mitigating interruptions for Debate #3.

    14 votes
  4. [7]
    kfwyre
    Link
    Good showing from Biden overall, IMO. I thought his responses were solid for the most part. It almost felt like he was in a hurry to talk as much high-level policy as possible and at times made...

    Good showing from Biden overall, IMO.

    I thought his responses were solid for the most part. It almost felt like he was in a hurry to talk as much high-level policy as possible and at times made him seem distant from the people asking the questions, but I appreciate that he was very policy-focused in the first place and it demonstrated that he has a breadth of knowledge and perspective.

    I thought he really dropped the ball with regards to connecting with black voters (keep in mind this is coming from a white guy, so salt my opinion heavily before considering it, please!). When the man who asked the question about why disaffected black people should participate in a system that oppresses them, Biden's answer didn't seem to reflect the gravity embedded in the question at all. When George Stephanopoulos asked the man if he'd heard what he needed to after Biden's answer, and the man said something like "I believe I have", it didn't sound positive -- it sounded defeated.

    I do think his answer about whether Trump deserves credit for his foreign policy was very well-handled, and his closing speech about unity was great. Unfortunately it got undercut by a quick ad break which didn't let his words breathe, and then we came back to a quick last minute additional question about Trump -- because of course we can't end on a message about togetherness and hope and instead have to let a man who isn't even there somehow still pull focus.

    Overall though this was far and away the best of these events yet, and it was genuinely nice to not have the entire event be rooted in strife, lying, and childish conduct.

    I didn't watch Trump's town hall and don't plan to, but if anyone here did and wants to recap it, I'm morbidly curious to hear how it went.

    9 votes
    1. [5]
      NaraVara
      Link Parent
      What answer could anyone hear that wouldn’t be depressing? The only answer is the “Myth of Sisyphus” one. We go on pushing as a middle finger to the world for making it hard to do so.

      it didn't sound positive -- it sounded defeated.

      What answer could anyone hear that wouldn’t be depressing? The only answer is the “Myth of Sisyphus” one. We go on pushing as a middle finger to the world for making it hard to do so.

      10 votes
      1. [4]
        kfwyre
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Good point. And to be clear, I'm not criticizing the guy for being defeated -- I'm putting it on Biden that he had a man standing in front of him saying "please help me believe in you" and I don't...

        Good point. And to be clear, I'm not criticizing the guy for being defeated -- I'm putting it on Biden that he had a man standing in front of him saying "please help me believe in you" and I don't think Biden gave him something to believe in.

        I did hop on reddit to search out some conversations about the town hall, and I saw this post from Kerry Washington on /r/blackpeopletwitter. It's not specifically about the debate, but I feel it's resonant, reminiscent of the "middle finger" strategy you mention, and is more in line with the type of answer he probably needed to hear -- something that affirmed him, his worth, and his potential for power even in a system working against him.

        7 votes
        1. [3]
          mono
          Link Parent
          I disagree that Biden's answer was that bad or that the asker was necessarily disappointed with it. Here's a link to it. The question was, The first thing he says is a quote from John Lewis about...

          I disagree that Biden's answer was that bad or that the asker was necessarily disappointed with it. Here's a link to it. The question was,

          Besides 'you ain't black,' what do you have to say to young black voters who see voting for you as further participation in a system that continually fails to protect them.

          The first thing he says is a quote from John Lewis about how much the black vote can determine the election, which is the crux of what the Kerry Washington tweet says. He then explains that, in addition to criminal justice reform, an important aspect of making things more fair is help black Americans build wealth. He elaborates that that entails better education, better mental health care and drug rehabilitation, guaranteeing down payments for first time home buyers, and small business programs. He goes on further to acknowledge systemic racism in things like the real estate market.

          It was a full five minute answer and very dense with substance. Sure, it wasn't a very emotional appeal, but I don't think touchy-feely platitudes about race that black people hear all the time from politicians would've done any good. Biden specifically acknowledged (some of) the problems and laid out solutions.

          To me, the asker didn't seem defeated. He seemed maybe a little overwhelmed, and he was sort of put on the spot by Stephanopoulos to say if he was satisfied or not before he could process everything. And obviously, talking about disaffected black voters deserves way more than a five minute monologue so of course they both probably had more they would've liked to have said.

          7 votes
          1. NaraVara
            Link Parent
            Honestly most people asking a question in that circumstance--in front of a big crowd, on live television, in front of who was the second most powerful man in the world and will likely be the...

            To me, the asker didn't seem defeated. He seemed maybe a little overwhelmed, and he was sort of put on the spot by Stephanopoulos to say if he was satisfied or not before he could process everything. And obviously, talking about disaffected black voters deserves way more than a five minute monologue so of course they both probably had more they would've liked to have said.

            Honestly most people asking a question in that circumstance--in front of a big crowd, on live television, in front of who was the second most powerful man in the world and will likely be the future MOST powerful man in the world--are not going to have any clarity of mind to actually absorb what's being said to them. It's a very high-pressure situation to just drop someone with no experience being in a spotlight into.

            9 votes
          2. kfwyre
            Link Parent
            Well said. I'll qualify that my take on this as a white guy should absolutely be given minimal importance. I also think it was probably even negatively textured for me because, as an American...

            Well said. I'll qualify that my take on this as a white guy should absolutely be given minimal importance.

            I also think it was probably even negatively textured for me because, as an American teacher, I tend to roll my eyes whenever pretty much anyone in government talks about education, as it usually comes across like the hollow platitudes you identified. That's my personal "please help me believe in you" issue and very few people ever successfully clear that bar.

            I'm glad you had a much more positive response. I genuinely hope that's the wider takeaway, rather than my more pessimistic reading of the situation.

            2 votes
    2. 3d12
      Link Parent
      You really nailed it on: That was 100% my thought there too, I think that one whiffed so hard you could almost tangibly hear the "whoosh" sound as Biden sailed right past the guy.

      You really nailed it on:

      When George Stephanopoulos asked the man if he'd heard what he needed to after Biden's answer, and the man said something like "I believe I have", it didn't sound positive -- it sounded defeated.

      That was 100% my thought there too, I think that one whiffed so hard you could almost tangibly hear the "whoosh" sound as Biden sailed right past the guy.

      4 votes
  5. kfwyre
    Link
    The courage from the man who asked about black voters and systemic oppression. I really wish Biden hadn't leapt right into policy and instead had stopped and showed some personal empathy for him...

    The courage from the man who asked about black voters and systemic oppression.

    I really wish Biden hadn't leapt right into policy and instead had stopped and showed some personal empathy for him and reflected his concerns. Before this man needs to hear about plans for our country, he needs to hear that he's being heard and I don't think Biden demonstrated that.

    7 votes
  6. kfwyre
    Link
    I will never not cry happy tears when I see a parent publicly standing up for their trans child. While her question was undoubtedly and deservedly solemn, her support is a highlight.

    I will never not cry happy tears when I see a parent publicly standing up for their trans child. While her question was undoubtedly and deservedly solemn, her support is a highlight.

    5 votes
  7. Omnicrola
    Link
    Mark as noise if this is too far OT. I've been watching the West Wing I've the last few months and by happenstance last week I watched S7E07 "The Debate". It was the absolute polar opposite of the...

    Mark as noise if this is too far OT.

    I've been watching the West Wing I've the last few months and by happenstance last week I watched S7E07 "The Debate". It was the absolute polar opposite of the trainwreck we saw in the first Biden/Trump debate. It was simultaneously both delightful to watch, and heartbreaking to contrast it with actual reality.

    5 votes
  8. [4]
    Eabryt
    Link
    I'm hoping someone can explain, is there a reason Biden doesn't just say that he would mandate the vaccine? I'm assuming it's because of what he mentioned after when he said that the government...

    I'm hoping someone can explain, is there a reason Biden doesn't just say that he would mandate the vaccine?

    I'm assuming it's because of what he mentioned after when he said that the government can't legally require it (just like the measles vaccine), but as a "layman" it didn't sound great to have him sort of dodging around the question.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      spit-evil-olive-tips
      Link Parent
      A lot of people have a kneejerk reaction to mandatory vaccines, he may be afraid of turning them off. I suspect that's part of it, but not all of it. The President very likely doesn't have the...

      A lot of people have a kneejerk reaction to mandatory vaccines, he may be afraid of turning them off. I suspect that's part of it, but not all of it.

      The President very likely doesn't have the constitutional ability to enforce a national vaccine mandate. He could try it, but it would certainly get challenged in the courts, and end up in the Supreme Court, which will not be favorable to him (unless Democrats also win the Senate and reform the court).

      Those court cases also take a long time (months to years) and during that time it's very likely there would be an injunction preventing enforcement of the vaccine mandate until the court cases are settled. So the mandate would create a big sort of no-win political fight and probably not have that much of an effect.

      13 votes
      1. Eabryt
        Link Parent
        Thank you, that makes sense. I suppose sort of like the masks, the best thing he can do is support it, encourage it, and show it. Like he said, words and actions matter when you're the president.

        Thank you, that makes sense. I suppose sort of like the masks, the best thing he can do is support it, encourage it, and show it.

        Like he said, words and actions matter when you're the president.

        6 votes
    2. knocklessmonster
      Link Parent
      I'm answering after the fact, and didn't watch the town hall: There's a response to a mandate. Everybody seemingly comes out of the woodwork with a "What if this! What if I have a condition?" The...

      I'm answering after the fact, and didn't watch the town hall:

      There's a response to a mandate. Everybody seemingly comes out of the woodwork with a "What if this! What if I have a condition?" The people asking don't have a condition, ever. The immunocompromised/others with legitimate concerns know what to do (get a waver), sort of like face masks and people with severe lung conditions. The sword swings the other way, too, with Jill Stein, a physician, catching flak for saying a universal vaccine mandate is unreasonable while explaining why that can't work, and the current system (mandatory vaccines for school with medical exemptions).

      There's no win here. Even if he could mandate them, he would lose support if he mentioned it before winning the presidency, and probably if he tried to push it as president.

      3 votes
  9. [6]
    kfwyre
    (edited )
    Link
    This is pure noise, but I haven't watched network television in so long that I legitimately forgot ad breaks are a thing, and WOW do I hate them. It's so uncomfortable that it's a normal thing...

    This is pure noise, but I haven't watched network television in so long that I legitimately forgot ad breaks are a thing, and WOW do I hate them.

    It's so uncomfortable that it's a normal thing that we would interrupt a presidential candidate from answering questions from the public just weeks before an election in order to advertise an All Time Low concert and the Supermarket Sweep reboot.

    12 votes
    1. [2]
      Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      When I was growing up, when we watched TV my dad would change the channel during commercial breaks. Not to another channel, but to the VCR input. We would then sit, maybe chat about something,...

      When I was growing up, when we watched TV my dad would change the channel during commercial breaks. Not to another channel, but to the VCR input. We would then sit, maybe chat about something, staring at the blue "no signal" screen, for a few minutes, and then flip back to see if the show was back.

      Never really thought about it, until I spent about a year without a TV and didn't really watch anything (this was before YouTube really took off). By the time I watched an actual broadcast TV show again, it was unbearable. It's just so...... ugh. WHY do people tollerate this?

      12 votes
      1. Emerald_Knight
        Link Parent
        Advertising is horribly pervasive. Television ads, website ad banners, ads in newspapers, billboards, previews before movies you've purchased, junk mail, marketing emails, recommendations for...

        Advertising is horribly pervasive. Television ads, website ad banners, ads in newspapers, billboards, previews before movies you've purchased, junk mail, marketing emails, recommendations for other products on the packages of the products you buy, airplane banners, ads over the radio, ads played over your grocery store's intercom, stealth marketing in your social media feeds, ads plastered on the sides of cars, ads masquerading as content in YouTube videos, companies plastering their branding all over every single piece of clothing you buy, etc., etc., etc.

        You can't look anywhere without seeing some form of marketing or branding shoving itself right in front of your face. We're all consumers and the free market won't release its iron grip from your throat long enough for you to catch your breath and forget that fact for even a few minutes. It's exhausting, and yet we live our lives so inundated with all of this advertising and marketing and branding that we've become accustomed to it and can no longer imagine a world without it.

        I suppose I don't really have any point in making this comment, except to say that I understand and agree with your sentiment and don't know what else to do except complain about it, stay away from broadcast television as much as humanly possible, and keep an ad blocker installed at all times.

        13 votes
    2. [3]
      3d12
      Link Parent
      To be quite honest, the ad breaks were so distracting to me, that I actually found myself basically tuned out. I'll have to go back and re-watch, I started multitasking when the first ad break...

      To be quite honest, the ad breaks were so distracting to me, that I actually found myself basically tuned out. I'll have to go back and re-watch, I started multitasking when the first ad break came on and never really tuned 100% back in.

      6 votes
      1. [2]
        spit-evil-olive-tips
        Link Parent
        I ended up turning it off halfway through, then going back and rewatching it on YouTube so I could forward through the commercials. The other thing I noticed while doing so was how so many of the...

        I ended up turning it off halfway through, then going back and rewatching it on YouTube so I could forward through the commercials.

        The other thing I noticed while doing so was how so many of the ads were the same, over and over, every commercial break.

        I hate TV ads, basically the only other time I subject myself to them is live Seahawks games because I want to follow along with the reddit live thread. Those are annoying, but they're at least different. These ads seemed to be almost literally the same 5 commercials repeating over and over again in the same order.

        6 votes
        1. 3d12
          Link Parent
          It's a bit different when you're paying someone else for the airtime vs flaunting your own stuff. I think the only non-ABC ad that aired during the Biden town hall was for D+?

          It's a bit different when you're paying someone else for the airtime vs flaunting your own stuff. I think the only non-ABC ad that aired during the Biden town hall was for D+?