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On their final debate, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden sparred over COVID-19, immigration, healthcare, and even the US energy industry. While neither men are particularly articulate, Trump emerged slightly as the frontrunner of the last presidential debate before the election Nov. 3.
On COVID-19, the topic that continues to baffle politicians and regular folk alike, Trump claimed he had done all he could and that he looked forward to battling the coronavirus and beating it, saying it would "soon be gone." Biden on the other hand said it would be a "dark winter" for Americans battling COVID-19 yet when asked what he would have done differently everything he suggested were things everyone has already been instructed to do, such as wearing masks.
Healthcare is always a contentious issue and last night proved no differently. Trump blasted Obamacare as a bad healthcare plan and reminded Americans he got rid of the individual mandate, which he and many in the GOP believed to be the worst part of the plan. The mere mention of Obamacare sent a few conservatives to social media to clarify just how awful the plan has been.
While Trump said "pre-existing conditions will always stay," an issue important to many Americans, Biden said he would create his own version of Obamacare and call it "Bidencare." Although it wasn't clear what that would entail, other than he would create what sounded like an alternative to Medicaid, in that it would be a government-operated public option.
Biden also managed to repeat one of the most egregious falsehoods about Obamacare, namely the myth Obama often repeated before Obamacare went into place, "if you like your healthcare you can keep your healthcare." Last night Biden said, "The idea that I want to eliminate private insurance — not one person with private insurance would lose their health insurance under my plan. Nor did they under Obamacare. They did not lose their insurance unless they chose [that] they wanted to go to something else."
Immigration was another hot topic, which seemed a bit unexpected. Biden blamed Trump for separating over 500 children from their families in an immigration bust and Trump responded that the "children were brought here by coyotes." The word "coyotes" is a slang term, "one who smuggles immigrants," but apparently most of the mainstream media were unfamiliar with this definition and presumed he meant a literal canine.
Trump and Biden sparred on the energy industry as well. Biden maintained that he would "transition from oil," which sparked strong feelings among conservatives, who are generally in favor of fossil fuels and fracking--as is President Trump.
Trump interrupted Biden far less than expected, and even had a few impressive "gotcha" lines.
Balancing those two things, lack of interruption with a few solid clarifications on policy, seemed to help the optics of the debate and push it in Trump's favor, although it's unclear if Trump will bounce in the polls a bit because of the debate, and the election is only 10 days away.