Two candidates facing one another for the last time in a debate with the Prize of President at stake : one rejuvenated after falling a victim to the Coronavirus attack himself presenting his views and policies in fundraisers and rallies in Florida, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Arizona .. trying to project a more positive image of himself ; and the other with seemingly invincible poll advantage giving leeway to lessen the mass rallies but concentrating more on debate preparations.
The two candidates are the incumbent President, Donald Trump, (Republican) and former VP, Joe Biden (Democrat). Both candidates tested negative for Coronavirus prior to the debate.
With 12 days to go for the General Election on November 3, the two candidates stood 12 feet apart in their final face off to speak and influence the voters.
The debate was held at Belmont University, Nashville, Tennessee.
Kristen Welker, American TV journalist working for NBC News moderated the debate.
In the Background : (a) President , Donald Trump, was trailing in the polls by at least 10%. (b) About 46.4 million votes have already been cast. There were 222,925 deaths due to Coronavirus ; and 8,395,100 cases of Coronavirus totally in the U.S.A. now. (c) A morale boosting forceful 35 minutes speech by former President, Barack Obama, campaigning for Joe Biden at 6.30 p.m. Wednesday, October 21, 2020, in Philadelphia. (d) John Ratcliffe, Director of National Intelligence, and Christopher Wray, FBI Director, at a Press Conference at 6.50 p.m. on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, alleviating fears due to interference in the elections by Russia and Iran, which obtained information on Voters’ Registration. and (e) FDA approving Remdesivir for treatment of patients hospitalized for COVID-19. First therapeutic drug to receive the FDA approval on October 21, 2020.
There were six segments of 15 minutes each for a total of 90 minutes covering the following topics : COVID-19 ; National Security ; American Families ; Race Relations ; Climate Change ; and Leadership.
Key Highlights :
Both candidates made their cases equally well to create an identity for themselves. However, there has not been any specific plans from either for COVID-19, Immigration, Healthcare, Relief Bill, or Climate Change.
President, Donald Trump’s gist of arguments can be summarised as in the figure below :
His Leadership style will reflect the revival of Classical Approach to governance, a style that depends upon solving the problems of Citizens, be it economy, education, health, safety or environment. He will strive to preserve and protect the policies and programs initiated during his present term. Help make all Citizens reap the rewards of his initiatives. He was optimistic that Coronavirus will go away without alluding to specifics (other than a vaccine to be ready by the year end) or timeframes. Touting the termination of the individual mandate through legislature and promise to protect those with pre existing conditions, he asserted that he will run the program as well as he can. He called Joe Biden’s program as “socialised medicine”. Blaming Nancy Pelosi for his inability to pass the relief bill on time, he reminded the three bills that have earlier been passed to his credit. He listed his efforts on Criminal Justice Reform, Prison Reform, Opportunity zone bill, Tremendous resources deployed, Uplifting historically black colleges and universities, Providing 10 year long term funding – emphasizing that not since Abraham Lincoln has anybody done what he has done to the blacks. Cleanest air, cleanest water, and best carbon emission standards are his accomplishments, according to him. Voters are the final assessors.
Joe Biden’s gist of arguments can be summarised as in figure below :
Joe Biden will be a leader to all Americans with no distinction whatsoever ; he will strive to build the economy through clean energy programs ; and character, decency, and dignity on the ballot will be the deciding factor for people to vote. He opposed Donald Trump saying, ” People are not learning to live, but they are dying “, I will shut down the virus and not the country. His main argument was centered around President, Donald Trump, ignoring to be truthful in statements and not being transparent in his disclosures. Any country interfering in our elections will pay a big price, he warned. On healthcare, he promised to lower premiums, offer cheaper plans, and make drug prices affordable. Relief bill to concentrate on bailing out small businesses. Moral obligation to protection of environment, in another 8 years we may be reaching a point of no return according to scientists if actions are not taken – the reason that I am running, creation of millions of new jobs, 50000 charging stations on highways for electrical vehicles, and providing enormous opportunities to citizens are at the heart of his programs.
Joe Biden was not without his fumbling moments in this debate too. While answering the question on National Security, he first fumbled : ‘ China is going .. .. to .. .. a .. new .. .. golf course ‘. While detailing his clean energy programs : ‘ facts .. .. growing electric .. .. solar .. .. .. wind mills ‘. Again in the same segment : ‘ subsidy to .. .. the .. oil .. .. industry ‘ – just to cite three instances.
Moment of the Debate :
Donald Trump’s words in the segment on Racism in America : ” Here we go again with Russia. Is the laptop a Russia hoax ? You are kidding ” – to Joe Biden. Reminded of President Reagan’s famous words in his debate with Carter.
About Moderator :
The chaotic first debate with the criticisms that followed for days prompting the CPD to change the format with the decision to mute the microphones when the candidates speak (so audience will not hear, should there be unwanted interruptions) did make the task of the moderator less troublesome in controlling the anger, excitations, and interruptions during the debate. It was a delight to watch the orderly debate.
Conclusion : America needs a strong Government and a strong leader in this critical time. Both candidates showed positive nerves to take on the responsibility. Both in their seventies and still going strong as seen in this debate. President, Donald Trump, appeared to be strong willed. He also showed that he can be different without being aggressive in this debate. Will this make amends to his failings in the last debate ? May be, may be not. Debates are, however, over. Who will give the victory speech on November 3/4 is difficult to make based on this debate.
” Dieu avec nous “
Friday, October 23, 2020 – 10.05 a.m (IST)
Tibit : ” Stock market will bloom if I am elected ; stock market will crash if Joe Biden is elected ” – Donald Trump.
” About President Donald Trump’s Decision not to Participate in a Virtual Debate ” – October 9, 2020.
President Donald Trump possibly remaining contagious still forced the Commission on Presidential Debates to hold the 2nd Presidential debate (October 15, 2020) in a Virtual format with candidates President Donald Trump and former VP Joe Biden in remote locations, and the moderator with participants in Miami, Florida. This is to protect the safety and health of everyone involved in the debate – according to the CPD.
President Donald Trump expressed his disagreement of not doing a virtual debate, but instead holding a rally.
Former VP Joe Biden expressed his willingness to the change in debate format as announced by the CPD, but also added that he will hold a virtual town hall event in the event of President Donald Trump not accepting to participate in the deabate.
Figure below represents the fundamental debate structure in the form of a simple triad:
The basic foundation of a debate is the structure and environment provided by the debate hall/venue that will promote answers to the moderator’s questions ; opinions/views on the topics of the debate ; and the connection that the debaters expect to build with the viewers and listeners. This is what will make a perfect debate hall and environment. The two debaters and the moderator constitute the three pillars of the debate setting and it is necessary that they are physically present in the same place in any genuine debate setting. With participants in the hall of the debate already limited, the orientation of the debaters in trying to face the participants directly ( in good numbers ) remain already limited stifling the interests of debaters ( cheers of encouragement to good points, interventions, replies from the participants driving the motivation factor removed completely ).
There are some factors that need consideration here :
1. Virtual debate is not “real” and in fact disrupts the atmosphere of the debate hall. In real situations the debaters can do justice in terms of how well they can engage Peoples’ attention to non verbal cues and gestures ; reactions of aggression or otherwise to the points made ; and the force and power of rebuttals. It is the experience viewers lose when the debaters resort to face to face exchanges and rebuttals. It is also likely that viewers will feel the debate itself boring.
2. The moderator will have great difficulty leading the debaters with questions ; stopping interruptions ; controlling unnecessary exchanges and extensions ; and posing follow up questions to further explore the thoughts of debaters setting the dynamics of the debate on course. It means simply that there will be difficulty in monitoring the debate perfectly. A new challenge to the Moderator.
3. Although both the debaters of the day come with vast experience in public life – business and political – it is uncertain at this juncture as to how they will feel the “isolation” of remaining in remote places and whether that will impact their real performances even while accepting that it will be a new experience.
4. President Donald Trump avoiding the debate ( even while his decision is correct ) may well be interpreted as his personal dislike and not due to the change in format. President Donald Trump may also be squandering a chance to recover his lost ground in the chaotic first debate. ( Whether viewers will take this seriously is not known yet ). Pros and cons notwithstanding he may find support from people for his bold attitude.
5. Former VP Joe Biden’s keen interest to speak directly to people in terms of a virtual rally will likely add to the gains he has already scored in the first debate. He will be seen as being honest and sympathetic. Biden’s likeness of the CPD doing the right thing in format changes in this critical and risky times of the global pandemic may resonate well with his supporters.
IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN IF THIS IS A BLISS OR A MISERY !
” Dieu avec nous “
Friday, October 9, 2020 – 7.33 a.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” Decision on who is the real winner will be extremely subjective in this debate, when held. “
” President Donald Trump Returns to White House from Walter Reed Medical Center on Monday ” – October 5, 2020.
President Donald Trump has been discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre on Monday evening . He was earlier admitted on Friday last. His condition at that time was marked by only mild symptoms – mild cough, mild nasal congestion, mild exhaustion, and mild fever.
Sean Conley, White House physician, said : ” President has continued to improve; he has met or exceeded all hospital discharge criteria”.
Thoughts and reactions ran wild even as the news of his contracting the Coronavirus came as a revelation earlier. His position as President entails him to the best of the best medical care available.
President Donald Trump tweeted about his condition before leaving for the hospital ; released a short video conveying the message coupled with his optimism to be back soon ; discussions and possibilities based on the 25th Amendment in the media or elsewhere were not perceived as serious (the President himself perceived that all is well ); posted a video on the second day from the hospital that he is doing well and likely resume work as early as possible ; as if to prove his point again he took a short ride in a SUV with security and waved to the people gathered on either side of the road ( the act was portrayed as unwarranted, unsentimental, and unsettling by many in the media ); and finally got discharged from the hospital to be back at the White House on Monday evening .
There has not been a clear and transparent account of the sequence of treatment afforded to him, but it may have to do with the sense of extreme security and sensitivity concerns on this issue.
The first procedure after testing (diagnosis) pertains to the information recorded from Pulse Oximeter placed on the finger (a small device). Using a beam of light it can measure the Oxygen in the blood and the heart rate. Oxygen in blood less than 95% signifies that aggressive anti viral and anti inflammatory treatment immediately. The patient needs to be isolated, monitored carefully, and be aware of the symptoms growing or otherwise.
President Donald Trump is aged 74 ; 6’3″ tall; and weighs 244 lbs. So he is at more than normal risk category. “Remdesivir”, the anti viral medicine, and “Dexamethasone”, the anti inflammatory medicine are usually administered. Remdesivir to stop viral replication and Dexamethasone to decrease disease progression and disease mortality. They, however, are not fully guaranteed in all treatments. But it is known to work better in patients who get respiratory therapy. Convalescent plasma containing a mix of antibodies from patients who have recovered from COVID-19 may also be administered. Use of blood thinner to prevent harmful clotting and organ damage has also been advised. Oxygen therapy is another one used.
Whatever be the treatment that President Donald Trump received in the hospital, the following fact and condition should be observed : Helen Boucher, Chief of the division of Geographic medicine and infectious diseases at Tufts Medical Centre in Boston calls COVID-19 as a ” Two-phase Disease”. She opined that COVID-19 patients need to be monitored closely even if they showed symptoms. The possibility, even when it is restricted to a very small proportion that patients can get sicker in the second week after contracting the virus has to be kept in mind.
President Donald Trump is back in the White House now. He appears pretty healthy and he walked with a brisk pace and steadily ; removed his mask ; offered a salute ; and smiled encouragingly. It is a good sign at this moment.
Now that he is ready and determined to perform his tasks from the White House and be willing to engage in campaign mode again, his staunch supporters and all well wishers will consider the news of his physical and mental pain in the last week as a message directly from GOD.
President, Donald Trump, needs to be cautious, nevertheless.
” Dieu avec nous “
Tuesday, October 6, 2020 – 11.49 a.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” Don’t be afraid of COVID-19 ; Don’t let it dominate your life. ” – President Donald Trump after his return from hospital.
US President, Donald Trump, has joined the latest list of leaders affected by COVID-19. Cases of leaders of many nations – President, PM, Ministers, Party leaders – prior to this latest inclusion have been recorded and documented including their recovery ; their isolation/ treatment ; work performance schedule ; and their popularity after recovery.
The corridors of power in the world have not been exempted from the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 transcends race, religion, ethnicity, class, gender, and any distinctions made on the basis of money, fame, power, status, and the likes.
I present below the case of 7 national leaders that not just shook the nation(s) but stood as testimony to the will, courage, and strength of the leaders in overcoming the disease to make an impact on people.
First, Boris Johnson, 56 years old PM of UK, tested positive for COVID-19 during the first week of April 2020. He had to be given Oxygen before being taken to the St Thomas Hospital . Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab deputised for him. He lamented the stress whole giving up the basic freedoms ; not being able to see friends ; working from home ; managing kids ; and worrying about the nation and its businesses. He wanted businesses to keep going in the same manner in which they have been so far, and urged NHS’s role in saving the lives of people. His resolve to stop the spread of COVID-19 and to take steps to defeat COVID-19 got stronger than ever after he recovered. It also prompted him to start an anti obesity campaign. It was a positive aspect. UK cases : 467146; deaths : 42268; recovered : NA.
Second, Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil, 65 years old, his National Security Adviser, Mines and Energy Minister, and the head of Senate, all tested positive for Coronavirus in July, 2020. There was mounting criticism for lax handling of the outbreak. Bolsonaro is a far right populist and at that time presided over a very weak economy. It made protesters shout, ” Bolsonaro Out”. It was China’s fault, he asserted, and likened it to the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster and Russia’s role in alleging a cover up. He was charged by the Russians as the US spokesperson in Brazil for his methods imitating those of Donald Trump. He instituted strong preventive mechanisms after recovery. He improved his ratings too. Brazil cases registered : 4882231 ; deaths : 145431 ; recovered : 4232593.
Third, Juan Orlando Henderson, 51 year old Honduran President, his wife and two aides tested positive in the second week of June 2020, and Juan Orlando Henderson was hospitalized after tests revealed pneumonia. He received medicines intravenously. He was treated as an in patient in the hospital. He, however, continued work remotely. ” I trust in God, Honduran doctors, and Medicine” – he said. He attributed his inability to stay at home on the job that he was expected to perform for his citizens. Honduras had closed its borders, mandated a blanket curfew, and was just reopening after three months of lockdown. He did better after his recovery. Honduras cases registered : 78269 ; deaths : 2386 ; cases recovered : 28978.
Fourth , Alejandro Giammettei, 64 year old President of Guatemala, tested positive for COVID-19 during the third week of September 2020. He, however, continued his functions remaining in isolation. The country had only then reopened its borders and resumed international flights after a six month closure. The country had a weak healthcare system and experienced anti lockdown demonstrations. He had also taken advice from the US for immigration problems earlier. Doing well after recovery. Guatemala cases registered : 93090 ; deaths : 3267 ; cases recovered : 81466.
Fifth, Jeanine Anez, 53 year old Interim President of Bolivia, tested positive for COVID-19 during the second week of July and worked in isolation. Four members of her cabinet also tested positive prior to that. This happened when Bolivia was gearing up for its general election in October 18. A country of 11 million population its cases registered are : 136219 ; deaths : 8045 ; and cases recovered : 96654.
Sixth, Luis Abinader, 52 year old Dominican Revolutionary Party Leader, tested positive for COVID-19 during the second week of June 2020. One out of every 500 people in Dominican Republic has been infected. He was not a high risk patient and he was isolating with his wife at home. A tourist hub that Dominican Republic has been, is the reason for the speedy Coronavirus spread in the country. The country has a population of 10.6 million. Cases registered : 113350 ; deaths : 2117 ; cases recovered : 88840.
Seventh, Mikhail Mishustin , the 54 year old Russian PM tested positive for COVID-19 on April 30, 2020. He observed self isolation to protect his colleagues. First Deputy PM, Andrei Belousou acted as temporary replacement. Government measures and tough isolation decisions helped Russia contain the impact better at that time. Cases registered : 1194643 ; deaths : 213524 ; Cases recovered : 4776824.
Conclusion : There are five in their 50s and two in their 60s in this group. US President, Donald Trump is 74 years old and may probably be the first leader in their 70s to contract this disease. Are leaders in their 70s less vulnerable ? Luis Abinader, 52, is the only world leader known to have run an election campaign while infected with the novel Coronavirus. He won with 53 % vote. President Donald Trump now finds himself in a similar situation with the general election just about 30 days away. He is expected to recover well by October 12 at the earliest. Like many in the above group, there is every chance that his ratings may also grow now. But there is a significant difference between Luis Abinader and Donald Trump. Luis Abinader has been the challenger with high favourability scores for victory in election while Donald Trump is the incumbent lagging behind Biden, his challenger, in the ratings as at present. He, however, will have personal sympathy – a plus point. It will be exciting to watch the election metrics in the days to come. His faith and trust in God, Medicines, and Doctors need to be stronger than what the Honduran leader, Juan Orlando Hernandez displayed.
” Dieu avec nous “
Saturday, October 3, 2029 – 12.29 p.m. (IST)
Tidbit : ” When there is an adversity, it offers scope for Visionary Leadership looking beyond the survival needs of people “.
A frightening prospect even in dreams that it could happen to President Donald Trump – the person who has been spiritedly downplaying the spread of the Covid-19 since March ; staunchingly defending the preventive measures his government has been engaged in ; swearing off nearly that people need not be compelled to wear masks for ever – is the news of President Donald Trump testing positive ( also his wife and First Lady, Melania Trump ) for Coronavirus in the early morning hours of Friday, today. This, after his aide, Hope Hicks, tested positive and confirmed on Wednesday nightThe President has confirmed his testing positive through a tweet. He, along with his wife, hopes to recover soon. He will, however, be isolated but expected to carry out some of his duties even without someone around.
This is news and information of reality with huge significance that can cause ripples in not just excitement and fear but also in terms of national and global impact in terms of economy ( the DOW shed 400 points after this news ); business ; schools ; restaurants ; social relationships ; in addition to the impending national events of the Presidential debates ; the general election process ; and the National Security itself.
Soon it is hoped that former VP, Joe Biden, will also likely be tested since having a debate with Donald Trump (first Presidential debate on Tuesday, in Cleveland, Ohio ) interacting with verbal force. The maintenance of 6 feet distance not withstanding, the possibility of an asymptomatic Trump spreading the particles of the virus in air like the aerosol spray out of a container exists. Also, having implications will be the family members of the President, who will be undergoing tests soon, who were seen wearing masks while entering the debate Hall but seen them removed after sitting.
” You may not react to the virus ; but your body will ” – is the message.
The good part is that mask wearing will become Infectious from now on irrespective of whether you are a believer in science or not ; and the not so good part is that this is not just an October surprise usually expected in an election year but with potential for an impact beyond the election itself – for the Constitution itself.
” Dieu avec nous “
Friday, October 2, 2020 – 1.49 p.m. (IST).
Tidbit : ” Ignorance, negligence, or recklessness cannot be an excuse for dangers to the welfare of people “