Well, that was a doozy.
President Donald Trump and Joe Biden hosted competing town halls last night, forcing Americans to decide between a capricious chauvinist and a loquacious geriatric. Or the billboard music awards.
In other words, between watching an orangutan with a wig wave an American flag or forcefully listening to your friend’s 15-page collection of amateur poetry centered around “all of my feelings on life, man.”
Jokes aside, let us recap notable moments from both events and think about where this leaves Donald Trump odds and Joe Biden odds as the election approaches.
Donald Trump chose the town hall format after defecting from a virtual second presidential debate. Many reports raised the question of the President’s vulnerability outside of a conservative media bubble, one in which Trump increasingly relies on since his coronavirus diagnosis.
And many people got to witness first-hand moderator Savannah Guthrie challenge the President on his sometimes uncorroborated and unchallenged claims.
“Just the other day, they came out with a statement that 85% of the people that wear masks catch it,” Trump said.
False. A study from the CDC reported that out of a sample of 154 COVID-19 positive individuals, 85% said they were wearing a mask always or often before testing positive.
Guthrie also fact-checked Trump on a statement that the US expects to lose over two million lives due to the pandemic. The moderator added that the projected number depends on whether the government enforces health and safety measures.
Some other notable moments centered around taxes, QAnon, and retweeting a post claiming Osama bin Laden was not killed.
POTUS appeared visibly uncomfortable and struggled to field direct lines of questioning from moderators. Conservatives defend Trump, calling Guthrie a Joe Biden surrogate.
Congratulations to Savannah Guthrie on her appointment as Joe Biden’s White House press secretary!— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) October 16, 2020
Joe Biden appeared to fare slightly better than Donald Trump in responding to questions from moderators in Philadelphia.
The general tone of the Biden town hall resonated with a message of a return to policy-based responses.
However, Biden also made exaggerated statements and roundabout answers to some questions.
When grilled on court-packing, the former VP refused to provide a definite answer. Biden said that he will answer before the end of the election, but that it depends on how the SCOTUS hearings for Amy Coney Barrett play out.
Biden also equivocated around his environmental framework concerning the Green New Deal. Somewhat contradicting what he said in-person and what his website claims.
The town halls produced little clarity on some of the questions voters had on the candidates’ policies. Trump offered no explanation on what will replace the Affordable Care Act, and Biden circumvented some of the more contentious policy questions asked.
The polls and the odds remain steadily in favor of Biden, and with only 19 days left until election day, the town halls did not significantly move the betting lines.
Sources: CNN: Town Hall Takeaways, CNN: Fact Check