“Chaos”: Twitter Reacts to the first US Election Debate of 2020

President Trump (left), former Vice-President Joe Biden (right)

President Trump and former Vice-President Joe Biden debated for the first time last night, in the first debate of the US 2020 election.

The debate was heated throughout, with the two candidates continually speaking over each other, despite the efforts of the moderator, Chris Wallace.

Many took to the internet to voice their opinions on the debate, and comment on particularly volatile quotes.   

A particular focus was President Trump’s comments to the far-right organisation Proud Boys, telling them to “stand back and stand by.”

The comment has been seen by many as a threat, and a potential incitement of future violence.

Another notable moment during the debate was when former Vice-President Joe Biden refused to ask a question on whether he planned to add justices or end the filibuster. He went on to say “The issue is, the American people should speak. You should go out and vote.”

Adding justices to the Supreme Court can dilute the opinions of those within it and influence its decisions.

President Trump recently nominated Amy Coney Barrett for a seat on the Supreme Court. Since the start of his Presidency, five of its judges have been conservatives and the other three more liberal. If Barrett’s appointment were approved, there would be six conservative judges to just two liberal, meaning even if Biden were elected he would struggle to get anything through the Supreme Court.

“I thought it was terrible, it didn’t clarify anything.” Twitter user @real_AriGold said. “One thing that was shocking to me was when Joe Biden was asked about his position on packing the courts and ending filibusters. He refused to state his position but then turned to the cameras and urged viewers to vote for him.”

Many news outlets have conducted polls to understand who viewers felt won the debate. Predictably, these have returned varied results.

Many journalists have been questioning the purpose of the other two debates on news outlets such as the BBC, CNN and the Washington Post. Since there was no fact-checking during the debate, and quite blatant breaking of debate rules from both sides, some believe that the debates themselves spread misinformation rather than bring clarity to voters.