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

Shawn Magnus of Sidney Courier has partnered with Sidney Business Improvement Area Society for free commercial delivery for society members. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney business association partners with courier for free commercial delivery

Service started Oct. 26 and extends to a radius of 35 kilometres

The Starbucks at 3849 Cadboro Bay Rd. closed permanently on Sunday, Oct. 25. (Google Maps)
Cadboro Bay Starbucks closes despite petition signed by nearly 250 residents

Closure part of transition to more drive-thru locations, Starbucks spokesperson says

The iconic and well-loved live music venue Logan’s is permanently closing its doors due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Google Maps)
Fernwood pub Logan’s permanently closing its doors

Live music venue unable to weather COVID-19 storm

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait was elected president of the Union of B.C. Municipalitiesin September 2019. She helped guide the 190-member organization through the coronavirus pandemic. (UBCM photo)
Sooke mayor front-line commander of the coronavirus pandemic

Maja Tait played pivotal role during COVID-19 crisis

Sooke School District No. 62 superintendent Scott Stinson explains that most block classes at Belmont Secondary will be halved. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Sooke School District opens conversation on catchment boundary changes

Feedback solicited at virtual town hall Oct. 28

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

The Nightmare Before Christmas is the featured presentation in the first-ever Drive-In Movie and Concert Event, hosted by Harmony Project Sooke on Saturday (Oct. 31) at the SEAPARC parking lot. (Contributed photo)
TOP 5: Suggestions for your week ahead

We’ve got your weekend plans covered

A picture of John taken at Children’s Hospital Vancouver last week. Photo courtesy, Alicia Sewid.
RCMP investigating after young boy run over by SUV in Campbell River parking lot

The seven-year-old has multiple injuries including a broken pelvis and was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A video message from Mrime Minister Justin Trudeau was streamed to attendees at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Tuesday morning. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Prime minister greets Vancouver Island economic summit attendees

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance conference being held virtually this week

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Most Read