The final stretch of the US presidential campaign looks stark.
Donald Trump and Joe Biden fought on Tuesday in one of the most bitter and chaotic debates in memory, a reflection of the climate of hostility that the country is experiencing.
A Trump in his most aggressive and indecent version, insubordinate to speaking turns, threw himself into a whirlwind against a Biden who tried to play the presidential role, but also went down to the mud to stop the president.
There were insults and thick words, personal attacks and lies.
The president, subscribed to the same strategy of 2016, imposed his
Trump called Biden stupid, he called him a "clown."
The president interrupted the democrat up to 35 times and his opponent ended up snapping at him: "Are you going to shut up, man?"
The sparks jumped from the first moment in which the two leaders fighting for the White House set foot on the stage of the Cleveland (Ohio) university campus, where the first of the three scheduled crosses was held, until the appointment with the polls , On November 3.
About the pandemic, the wave of protests against racism, the economy, health or the very integrity of the elections, which the president has been questioning for weeks.
There was no matter in which the discussion did not end in flames.
Before minute five, Trump had already called Biden a "socialist."
By the time he turned 10, he had already referred to Senator Elizabeth Warren as "Pocahontas" and had confronted the moderator, Chris Wallace, a star of the conservative Fox network. Thus, for 90 minutes.
Discussing the coronavirus, the Republican insulted Biden: “Did you say the word ready?
Don't use that word with me, "he pointed out, and finished:" Joe, there's nothing smart about you. "
"Oh God ..." Biden replied.
Such was the mess that the Presidential Debate Committee announced Wednesday that it will incorporate changes to achieve a more orderly discussion.
The night served as a tasting of what lies ahead in the five weeks until the elections and showed that the strategy of Trump, now president, is the same that he used four years ago as an
: poisoning the debate, sowing discredit in the system.
He attacked the rival with bad manners, insisted, without basis, on the suspicion of electoral fraud and avoided condemning white supremacism.
Ultimately, it sought to agitate its most faithful bases, not so much to expand them.
The candidates fought on the Case Western Reserve university campus, in strange conditions, like everything in this campaign marked by the pandemic.
As a precaution against the risk of contagion, there were no handshakes or hardly any public, although there were concentrations of protest against the president in the street.
It was difficult to predict what could come out of this first duel.
A veteran politician, with half a century of experience behind him, was facing a
When both were seen for the first time live and direct, the box of thunder was opened.
Biden, 77, is not adept at debates, as was proven during the Democratic primary, and Trump, 74, finds his natural habitat in confrontation and television cameras.
The Republican's rants, that same electricity that he is capable of maintaining during his hour-and-a-half rallies, contrasted with the brittle voice of the Democratic candidate, always less energetic, but who endured the guy and even stopped the president's feet on several occasions.
He looked like that skinny student who one day draws strength from within and stands up to the high school bully: “Are you going to shut up, man?”;
"There is no one who says a word with this clown, sorry, with this person";
"Keep babbling, man," he replied in a few interruptions.
"I am not here to point out his lies, everyone knows he is a liar," he said when Trump accused him of wanting to eliminate the private health insurance system, something that is false.
The candidate who struggles to stay in office is usually the one who receives the attacks and focuses on polishing his management, but the Trump era has also liquidated this convention.
The New York tycoon, haunted by criticism for his management of the health crisis, went on the attack and accused the Democrat of wanting to carry out an electoral program to the liking of leftist senator Bernie Sanders, a former primary candidate, and of "the radical left." of your party.
"The thing is, I beat Bernie Sanders," Biden replied, and then added, in one of those phrases that will be remembered: "Now the Democratic Party is me."
The United States came face-to-face agitated: on Sunday,
The New York Times
had published explosive information, the Republican's tax data of more than 20 years, which paints the portrait of a businessman who bills money in spades, but suffers losses and He barely pays taxes thanks to tax stunts.
Trump simply denied the biggest: "I have paid millions in taxes."
And Biden avoided the personal and chose to use the president's case as an example of the need for the fiscal plan he proposes and would reverse approved rebates.
The Obama-era vice president (2009-2017) generally tried to stay cool in the face of Trump's provocations.
He often reacted by laughing derisively.
In the bloc on racial tensions, the moderator called on Trump to condemn white supremacist groups, whose presence in the streets has multiplied.
Trump avoided rejecting them.
"Almost everything I see [of violence] is from the left, not from the right," he said, and addressed one of those movements: "Proud Boys, back off and stand by."
Polls by CNN and CBS right after the debate gave Biden the victory, but it is not clear what that translates into.
Only 3% of voters say the debate would “probably” help them decide the vote, according to a recent Monmouth University poll.
And there are only 5% undecided, according to that university.
That handful of ballots, however, can be decisive in the hinge and key territories, such as Ohio.
For those who sat in front of the television to make a decision, there were no surprises: each candidate made his own.
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about the elections in the United States