[COMMENTARY] Town Halls Act As Debate Preview, And Biden Has the Edge
The two men running for President each met their public in Pennsylvania this week in two separate, and very different, televised Town Hall appearances. And while Trump’s network appearance on ABC 2020 slightly edged out Biden’s on CNN, Biden still set a ratings record for the cable news outlet for a single-candidate Town Hall.
But Biden won in a much more important way: with the voters. A moment from Trump’s Town Hall with college professor Ellesia Blaque went viral when she shut him down for interrupting her. When a Trump voter tried the same thing with Biden, he quietly apologized and listened to her, then responded thoughtfully despite her clearly hostile attitude.
Other differences were obvious as well: Where Biden stood and vigorously responded to the questions asked by host Anderson Cooper and the guests who had driven up to the event, Trump sat grumpily, often with his arms crossed, and seemed alternately hostile and disinterested in the process. Biden also never used a Teleprompter and was gracious, well-spoken, clearly informed, and very prepared, the opposite of all of the MAGA messaging of late. Conversely, Trump recycled false campaign talking points and talked over host George Stephanopolous, as well as everyone who asked him questions.
Twitter certainly took notice of the extreme differences between Biden, 77, and Trump, 74.
Two nights ago, Trump insisted on sitting down for his town hall with George Stephanopoulos.
Tonight, @JoeBiden stood on stage for an hour and fifteen minutes with Anderson Cooper, fielding questions from the audience.
Begs the question, what is Trump hiding by sitting? UNFIT? pic.twitter.com/LlJSUIcuT3
— Chris D. Jackson (@ChrisDJackson) September 18, 2020
— Jennifer Granholm (@JenGranholm) September 18, 2020
My 13-year-old daughter is at it again.
Watching the Biden Town Hall, she says: “I like that Biden talks about his family, the pain of his son’s death and shares personal stuff, he’s showing vulnerability. That’s a good thing. Trump can’t do that.”
Yep, clearly she’s mine. 😊
— Alicia Carlson 💙 🇺🇸 (@AmicaAli) September 18, 2020
— Tara Dublin ✡️ #BidenHarris2020 (@taradublinrocks) September 18, 2020
The Town Halls also served as a bit of a sneak preview to the upcoming first Presidential debate of 2020, which is still set for the 29th of this month. A lot has been made of this debate, mostly from the Trump camp poking fun at Biden’s abilities, claiming he won’t show up. Despite the posturing, the projection language isn’t working, and even Fox News thinks Trump is at a disadvantage when it comes to debating the experienced Biden. Since Trump famously never prepares for his debate appearances and Biden has asked for live fact-checking because of Trump’s constant lies, the expectation is that Trump will flounder just like he did in the 2016 Presidential debates.