Chaotic Presidential Debate Confuses Saint Patrick Voters


Aidan Lewis '21, News Editor

The first Presidential Debate of 2020 was filled with confusion, as President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden squared off for the first time. The debate centered around six main topics: Trump’s and Biden’s records, the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy, the Supreme Court, race and violence in the United States, and the integrity of the election. However, debate moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News was constantly talked over and sometimes blatantly ignored as he tried to calm the candidates down and keep them focused on each topic. The outcome of the debate left many undecided voters questioning who they should cast their ballots for on November 3.

At Saint Patrick High School, the debate left some seniors wondering which candidate would be best suited for the presidency. Senior William McMillan, a registered voter, was excited to watch his first presidential debate and hoped that the debate would help him decide who to vote for. However, he became perplexed by what he witnessed.  “The debate made it harder for me to decide, and my overall impression was confused,” McMillan said. “I came into the debate thinking it would help me choose who I supported but it only made it harder.” McMillan continued, “They tended to pick on each other and talk about what they’ve done in the past rather than talk about what they’re going to do in the future.” 

Saint Patrick history teacher Dan O’Leary said that the first debate between Trump and Biden was “unlike any debate I have ever seen” and described how important the election is to the future of the country: “This debate was a very highly anticipated debate and I do believe it carried a little more importance than debates of recent memory,” Mr. O’Leary stated. “With the world in the midst of a global pandemic, Supreme Court confirmation hearings on the horizon, and the mass movement for racial equality and justice, the next president will be asked to take on numerous challenges as we try to shape what the next four years will look like,” Mr. O’Leary said. 

Although the debate left some undecided voters even more confused, it also reiterated the decision to those who have already made a choice about which candidate they prefer in the White House. One of these voters is Mr. O’Leary, as he plans to stick with his original candidate. “The debate only served to reaffirm my decision with who I believe is best equipped to lead this country going forward,” Mr. O’Leary explained. As for undecided voters, Mr. O’Leary said it best when he stated, “The question remains which candidate connected the best with undecided voters especially those voters in the swing states across the country. What definitely can be said is that the debate did provide for some stark contrast of style and substance between the two candidates.”

Like William, some students at Saint Patrick are still unsure of whom to cast their ballots for come election time. When asked what advice he would give to students who watched the debate, Mr. O’Leary said that each individual student should “educate themselves on where the candidates stand on issues that you care about.” He provided easy ways in which students can find the policies each candidate supports, such as visiting their websites and visiting trustworthy news sources.