King County politicos share thoughts on presidential debate

“I can tell you who didn’t win the debate, and it was the American public.”

For the first time in seemingly forever, both political parties came to an agreement: The last presidential debate was difficult to watch.

On June 27, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump debated for one hour and presented less than stellar results.

Certain highlights or lowlights of the night included Trump saying he did not have sex with a porn star, and Biden losing his train of thought and saying he finally beat Medicare.

Biden had a coarse voice throughout the entire debate, often teetering on an inability to speak. His team would later say the president was sick and dealing with a cold.

Trump continued his absolutist, hyperbolic rhetoric throughout the debate. Certain extreme lines included: “We had the greatest economy in the history of our country. We have never done so well;” “We had the safest border in the history of our country;” “I had the best environmental numbers ever;” “If [Biden] wins this election, we probably won’t have a country left anymore. He is the worst in history by far.”

The aftermath of the debate had almost nothing to do with actual policy, instead focusing on how each candidate presented themselves during the debate.

Biden, age 81, and Trump, age 78, both received heavy criticism about their age and mental competency while running to become the next president of the United States, but the brunt of this sentiment has fallen upon President Biden.

According to a CBS/YOUGOV poll, before the debate, 35% of Americans said Biden had the mental health to be the president, but that dropped to 27% after the debate. According to the same poll, 51% of voters believed Trump had the mental or cognitive ability to be president again after the debate.

The age situation of this year’s election is unprecedented in American history. When Trump was elected in 2016, he became the oldest president elected. That milestone was then passed by Biden in 2020 and will be passed again in 2024, whichever candidate wins this election.

For reference, both Biden and Trump are older than the current age of all three previous presidents: Obama (62), Bush (77), and Clinton (77). Biden and Trump are closer in age to the invention of the vacuum cleaner, the elevator and the zipper than to a new 18-year-old voter.

King County and Washington

Members of both political parties in King County have reacted strongly to the previous debate.

When asked who won the debate, 30th District State Rep. Kristine Reeves (D) said, “I can tell you who didn’t win the debate, and it was the American public.”

Reeves, a passionate Democrat who worked for the Biden team in 2020, gave her opinions on the debate and her fears about how it will affect the future of the country.

“What scares me most about that debate is what you saw happen is a candidate for president who spent the majority of his time lying, lying about his accomplishments, lying about his team’s work, lying about the accusations against him,” Reeves said on Trump. “What scares me is the potential next president of the United States is talking like Fidel Castro, is talking like Saddam Hussein, is talking like Benito Mussolini. That is not a difference on how we get to public policy. That is a fundamental difference in how we are going to lead our political system.”

Reeves discussed the changing landscape of debates at large, where the focus is no longer on policy, but pushing an agenda the loudest.

“It is not about the policy anymore. The function of a debate used to be about, how do we get there, what is the difference in how we get there,” Reeves said. “In this debate, were not even talking policy. It was gaslighting on display.”

Members of the King County Republican Party highlighted different key takeaways.

“This debate opened a lot of eyes that were not aware of the current state of President Biden,” said Jenna Edlund, King County GOP state committee member and Region Eight Executive Board member. “If the rest of corporate America retires at age 65, or when they can no longer work, then so should our government officials. Running the free world should require some cognitive checks and balances.”

Edlund emphasized how this debate did not change how she or her party views former President Trump — instead it only increased support for him, she said.

She did agree in principle with Rep. Reeves on the lack of policy debated.

“I would agree that the candidates did not get into actual policy as much as I would have hoped,” Edlund said. “The one thing Donald Trump did highlight more than President Biden was his tougher on the border and immigration stance, but again, what I would have liked to hear more of his, ‘1, 2, 3, here is what we are going to do!’ Some actionable steps or plans to take would have been great.”

The American public will have to wait until Sept. 10, 2024, for the next presidential debate.